Procuring vehicles for your fleet will take up a major part of your budget, so it’s important to choose the right vehicles.
As a fleet manager, selecting the best and most suitable vehicles can present one of your greatest conundrums. It’s not just about keeping employees happy – which is a challenge. And that sometimes means that the obvious choice isn’t always the best.
So when it comes to vehicle selection, one of the biggest questions we hear from fleet managers is: “How can I make the best procurement decisions?”
First things first: do your research! The best strategy is to assesses all factors that can impact on budget: capital expenditure, leasing options, practicality and cost of ownership.
When choosing fleet vehicles, here are five top considerations:
1. Work out usage and operation
Whether you’ll be buying, financing or leasing your fleet vehicles, make sure that they are appropriate for the intended use. This includes doing your research on routes.
With a huge range of petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric vehicles, it’s more important than ever to work out if the vehicle will be used for lengthy motorway commutes, urban stop-start driving or other specialisms such as off-road jobs.
This is where vehicle type and fuel become very important. An electric car isn’t quite there in terms of range if a driver does 25,000 miles a year. A compact, economical van wouldn’t be fit for purpose with the rigours of driving around construction sites carrying heavy loads. Similarly, an off-road 4×4 doing regular long road trips would prove costly to run in terms of fuel consumption.
Cost counts. It underpins everything, not just the up-front sticker price. Do some research into tax burdens, funding costs, leasing costs, maintenance and fuel costs and even residual values.
You might be leasing and think used values don’t matter. They do. Cars or vans with poor residual values are usually that way for a reason. It’s up to you to find what their weakness is, because it might be something that could cost you a lot of money in the long run.
For this reason, it’s best to look at the total cost of ownership. Understand every aspect of what you will incur financially, and your long list will soon become a shortlist.
3. Set standards
Are your chosen vehicles a good representation of your business? By standardising specifications and having a clear idea of what you want from the start, you can make sure that your chosen vehicles reflect your business objectives, branding and image, as well as providing employees with the right vehicle for the job.
By having standardised specifications for vehicle types and roles, you can also be consistent when it comes to maintenance, training and parts.
4. Be safe
While reducing accidents will make your fleet safer, it will also save you money with lower insurance premiums and reduced vehicle downtime.
So it’s worth considering vehicle technologies that are designed to enhance safety and limit the potential for accidents. A cost-benefit analysis of those solutions can lead to more informed choices.
Plus, it’s worth considering that better accident management might go hand-in-hand with a faster return on investment and lower costs.
5. Maintain and repair
Maintenance can be a costly element of vehicle ownership, so be sure to do your research into projected costs for a vehicle’s routine service needs, parts and labour.
Check the warranty coverage to ensure that it will offset against projected repair costs, too.
Fleet maintenance software can be invaluable when it comes to reporting on vehicle performance, maintenance and costs to help influence future choice.
With big variances across different fleet operations, this list is by no means exhaustive. To help select the most appropriate vehicles for your fleet, these factors need to be considered and measured against your business requirements.
Smart fleet management software can play a critical role here, presenting information that allows you to make informed decisions. We understand that every fleet operation is different and so the information you need to improve your procurement will vary. That’s where we come in. We can adapt and analyse so you can buy with confidence.