Learning Zone

Five traits of effective fleet managers

By Ellen Sowerby
25 January 2021

Fleet management can be a rewarding career. Being faced with fresh challenges on a regular basis, and keeping a business moving is a fascinating, yet demanding role.


So, what are the traits of highly effective fleet managers? We look at those qualities and share our tips to help you succeed.


1. They understand the important information

Knowing what counts – and what doesn’t – is essential to good fleet management. You can record a vast amount of information, but knowing which pieces of data really deliver the key insights is a skill. It will stop you heading down blind alleys operationally, and help you make the right decisions that result in positive outcomes for your business.

So only collect the information necessary to make informed decisions. This includes:

  • Procurement: The purchase or leasing contract details of each vehicle
  • Utilization: The time, date and distance vehicles have made, including odometer readings
  • Fuel: The fuel transactions including costs, fuel type, quantity and date
  • Maintenance: The service schedules, costs, parts, labor and work done
  • Accidents: The driver, vehicle, damage, cost and liability
  • Compliance: Dates of compliance events, requirements and documentation


2. They keep their drivers safe

The safety of your drivers, employees, customers and other road users is at the heart of what you do. Monitor driving behavior, update policies and review fleet driver training tools that are in place.

Having appropriate health and safety measures in place is a necessity. These should be regularly reviewed and updated for auditing purposes should an incident occur. Technological support is available to ensure that rules and regulations are adhered to. These include digital fleet vehicle inspection forms that can record when and where they were created and submitted through to telematics to track driving habits. Fleet managers need to work closely with both human resources and health and safety departments to manage potential risk and develop suitable training plans.


3. They manage costs

Keeping track of all fleet management costs by recording and monitoring will really help control budgets. Vehicle, maintenance, fuel, staff and other business costs all add up and it is essential to look for possible savings and avoid unnecessary losses across the entire business. Be vigilant too – a saving in one department can easily be lost by another.

Always look for alternative ways of saving money such as encouraging better driving from your drivers, as an example. Consider the vehicles in your fleet too. Is it time to switch to alternative fuel types? Vehicle maintenance can play its part as well – an under-inflated tire can increase fuel consumption by up to 10%!

4. They never stop learning

There’s always something new to discover. Being actively involved in industry organizations can be highly beneficial on this front, because you can learn from your peers.

Events aimed at fleet operators can provide a wealth of information on industry issues, the sharing of ideas and support on areas of concern. A word of caution though – try and avoid ‘associations’ that heavily push their own commercial interests or business partnerships.

Groups such as NAFA Fleet Management Association and AFLA host regular events that are worthwhile including in your calendar. In addition, take the time to attend leading industry events such as the Global Fleet Conference.


5. They marshal their resources

Regularly review your fleet of vehicles and the tasks that they need to carry out to determine suitability for the job. Look at alternative fuel and vehicle types to see if by switching, your fleet could return greater efficiencies and cost savings.

Consider investing in technology such as fleet management software to save your operation both time and money. That initial investment can soon be recouped by reducing administration time and cost through automated processes and procedures. The data recorded can provide fleet managers, drivers, technicians, parts managers, supervisors and other personnel the reports needed to keep a modern fleet running efficiently.

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