Being the manager of a small business fleet is never an easy task. From organisation and logistics to juggling a number of different roles and responsibilities, the job can be quite challenging and demanding at times.
However, asset reliability and operational performance should ideally be the least of your concerns as a small business fleet owner. To that end, here are some simple yet efficient tips that will allow you to optimise your business fleet and keep it running smoothly:
Ensure the Vehicles are Suitable
Making sure that all of the vehicles in your fleet are perfectly suitable and properly equipped for their intended purpose is incredibly important. Specifications that underperform can often lead to signs of wear and tear quickly appearing, while overperforming specifications might lead to larger coasts that can easily be avoided.
For that reason, one of the best and most important money-saving tips to consider is the overall fitness and suitability of your vehicles. When assigning tasks or purchasing new vehicles, determine the potential load and the operating conditions in advance, in order to maximise the usage and the efficiency of your vehicles.
Consider a Fleet Inspector Role
Among the most important aspects of maintaining a smooth and efficient fleet is creating a defined, well-structured inspection schedule. Maintenance aspects such as engine cleaning, brake checks, filter changes, and oil or other liquid changes need to be performed regularly, in order to prevent mishaps and breakdowns, and ensure a healthy fleet.
However, as the time, effort, and cost needed to maintain this schedule yourself can often be too high, you might want to consider outsourcing this important role. For instance, you could hire an experienced and professional vehicle maintenance provider to deal with inspections, leaving you with more time to focus on business management.
Collect Drivers’ Reports Regularly
Along with regular maintenance inspections, it would also be wise to communicate with your drivers frequently, as they spend the most time on the road with your vehicles. For instance, you might want to task your drivers with checking aspects such as fuel efficiency, oil levels, tyre pressure, or even making any necessary repairs and maintenance work on the road, and asking them to submit detailed reports in written form.
This will allow you to effortlessly keep track of administration and operation costs, while also giving you the opportunity to build more productive working relationships with your team.
Pay Attention to the Tyres
Although tyres should be included in any regular vehicle checkup, this aspect deserves a bit more attention. Apart from being the most exposed part of the vehicle that sustains plenty of damage, tyres are also essential for optimal vehicle safety and performance, which is why they should never be overlooked.
Firstly, it’s important to invest in high-quality tyres for the entire fleet that could easily sustain the higher mileage and heavier loads your vehicles will likely carry. Then, make sure that the tyre pressure and tread depth are inspected regularly, as they impact vehicle handling, fuel economy, as well as overall wear and tear.
Always Keep Detailed Records
While the efficiency of the vehicles might depend on regular maintenance and good communication, the efficiency of the entire business often depends on thorough paperwork and detailed planning. To that end, one of the most important things you could do is monitor your fleet’s true total cost of ownership (TCO), or the price of your assets combined with the cost of operation.
Apart from allowing you to minimise spending, keeping track of aspects like insurance, registration, and the overall efficiency of your fleet will also give you the opportunity to make smarter, data-influenced decisions for the future development of your business.
Automate the Entire Process
Even though the overall efficacy of your fleet certainly depends on the quality of your vehicles and the skill of your drivers, introducing modern fleet management software into your business could be a brilliant tool for achieving greater success.
Not only collecting vital data and helping to streamline your operations, but smart software will also be able to notify both you and the driver of any damage or other issues in advance, thus giving you the opportunity to save more time and money in the long run.
As a small business fleet owner, taking a preventative approach might be the key to success. With regular vehicle maintenance, good team communication, and streamlined operations, you will be able to construct an efficient and well-organised fleet that will surely outmanoeuvre the competition.
By Mike Johnston