Increasing the efficiency of a company’s fleet is essential for financial success, even more so if the company relies heavily on its fleet for revenue, such as the case with courier and freighting companies. The best way to increase a fleet’s efficiency is to determine what to measure or track, finding ways to effectively measure or track it, considering the results, then implementing appropriate changes.
Here are nine ways to increase fleet efficiency:
Running a more efficient fleet is not only good for business, it’s also good for customer satisfaction. Monitoring things like how long it takes to answer a phone call, how quickly an order is processed, and how long it takes to resolve a problem, all affect efficiency. Improving on these leads to quicker delivery of products, swifter pickups, and the right products arriving on-time. This helps you to better time-manage your fleet, increasing efficiency.
To run an efficient fleet, you need efficient management. If the department managing the fleet is not operating at peak performance, then the efficiency of the fleet will suffer as a result. Look at the ability of fleet managers to manage admin staff effectively, and deliver the best, most appropriate vehicles for the job. Provide additional skills training to both managers and staff, if necessary.
While some paper records are necessary, the majority of documentation should be digital. This can greatly improve efficiency, as digital documents are easier to create, doesn’t take up space, and are easier to search. Fleet managers should look at all the processes and determine which documents can go digital, and which documents, such as vehicle titles, should be kept as paper originals. The rest of the documents should replaced by digital copies, such as scanned copies.
Cost per Vehicle
How much a vehicle costs to run is one of the number one concerns of a company. The cost includes everything from salaries of fleet managers and staff, to maintenance costs, fuel costs, and the vehicle lifecycle. It is important to consider all of these factors and look for ways to save costs. For instance, is the department overstaffed, or can its efficiency be improved to such an extent that one person can do the job of two? Can the cost of services be reduced.
Depreciation of vehicles is a massive expense for fleet managers, and plays a major part in determining a vehicle’s lifecycle within a fleet. Not all vehicle models depreciate at the same rate, with some retaining their value over time better than others. This should be taken in consideration when selecting vehicles for the fleet, since a vehicle that retains its value longer is likely to have a longer lifecycle, and thus be more cost-effective. In addition to depreciation rates, fleet managers should also pay attention to maintenance costs of ageing vehicles and keep it in mind when determining the optimum, most cost effective time to replace (sell) vehicles.
Wear and tear, breakdowns, and consumables like tires require maintenance, and is one of the major expenses when running a fleet. It also affects fleet efficiency, since it takes vehicles out of service for certain periods of time. This is why preventative maintenance is so important. In the past this was done by servicing vehicles at regular intervals, however, problems could still crop up between services, leading to breakdowns or repairs at the time of service. New technology enables fleet owners to actively monitor the health of vehicles and consumables such as oil and tires, in real-time. Sophisticated software identifies potential problems before they occur, allowing vehicles to be serviced before a problem actually occurs. These services are quicker and also means fleet managers can plan better.
Keep up with technology
Vehicle technology is constantly changing, and can have a major effect on fleet efficiency. Technology like GPS has had a major impact on the efficiency of fleets all around the world. Similarly, recent tracking technology that allows fleet managers to monitor the health of vehicles in real-time, and schedule preventative management, is becoming increasingly important. However, long approval processes for the implementation of technology can affect the efficiency of a fleet, since the longer it takes to approve the roll-out of technology, the longer it takes for the company to benefit from the improvement in fleet efficiency. Monitor how long it takes from proposal to implementation and look for ways to improve. However, some processes like approval chains are beyond the control of a fleet manager, and the time it takes to get approval should be taken into account when considering new technology.
Another major expense for fleet managers is fuel. Since the cost of fuel is based on a number of factors, including the price of oil, economic stability, and taxes, it is quite variable even in stable economies. Even a slight change in the fuel price can have an enormous financial impact, especially for companies with large fleets. It is thus critical for fuel costs to be kept to an absolute minimum. Implementing more fuel efficient vehicles that drive more fuel efficient routes, even training drivers to drive more fuel efficiently, can help reduce fuel costs dramatically, and make a fleet more efficient. In fact, often the most fuel efficient route is also the quickest.
Accidents can seriously hamper fleet efficiency. Damage to vehicles can be costly to fix, and it can have a considerable effect on insurance premiums, especially if the company’s driver was at fault. When a vehicle needs to be repaired it also means that it is off the road for an extended period of time, affecting overall fleet efficiency. However, accidents happen, and fleet managers should track the number of accidents, as well as the reasons for these accidents, so it can be factored into the fleet planning, used to screen drivers, train staff, and find safer routes.
A more efficient fleet is a more cost-effective fleet, and can lead to a more profitable business, and fleet managers should constantly look for ways to improve the efficiency of their fleets.