To say operating a fleet in 2020 is “challenging” would likely be the biggest understatement of the year. Nothing is the same as it was in 2019. Even if your operations never stopped, there are likely big changes you have had to deal with.
From increased sanitization requirements to adjustments in staffing, far more time is being spent performing non-traditional responsibilities than we ever would have imagined.
Many of us are currently just trying to stay on top of our day-to-day responsibilities. The current definition of “productive” is likely just getting your job done. But now, more than ever, focusing on productivity is essential to a thriving operation, versus a surviving one.
“With so much on their plate, it’s difficult for fleet managers to execute all the ways of maximizing productivity on their own. When fleet managers turn to us to help them with their heavy load of responsibilities, they recover the time to focus on big picture fleet enhancements and customer service – it’s important to keep in mind that a company’s main purpose for having a fleet of vehicles and drivers is to serve customers,” said Nate Niese, director, national client partnerships for Mike Albert.
Productivity & Fleet Management
The overall health of a fleet influences fleet manager, driver, and vehicle productivity.
“For that reason, it is essential to have a plan in place for selecting the right vehicles at the optimal time and knowing when to put those vehicles in service versus when to take them out. It is these fundamentals that have greatest impact on areas that can inhibit productivity,” said Frank Thurman, VP of operations for Enterprise Fleet Management.
It is important to keep in mind that the driver plays a vital role in increasing productivity.
“As a fleet operator, it is virtually impossible to know the exact status of each one of your vehicles. Empower your drivers to be an extension of your eyes and ears in the field. Encourage them that if they see something, be sure to say something. Don’t let minor issues go unchecked and balloon into potentially much larger problems. An hour spent addressing a minor issue now may eliminate 10 hours of future downtime,” said Ed Powell, manager, Business Intelligence and Analytics for ARI.
During these unprecedented times, it is especially important to make sure fleet managers are focused on the overall engagement levels with their drivers.
“Then it is imperative to provide their drivers with the right tools coupled with the right truck rental or fleet management partner that is committed to taking care of their needs and improving overall productivity,” said Todd Elmore, corporate rental manager for Enterprise Truck Rental.
Niese of Mike Albert noted one way to improve productivity is to take a wholistic view of your fleet. He recommended providing a comprehensive line of services that enables your fleet operators to:
- Have the right vehicles for the job with the right upfit equipment.
- Maintain the health and resale value of vehicles.
- Lower maintenance and repair costs.
- Lower fuel costs.
- Improve tracking and reporting.
- Increase safety and compliance.
- Simplify expense management.
- Streamline registration management.
- Simplify toll management.
When making any changes to your process to improve productivity, communication is crucial.
“Emphasize to your drivers that technology and process improvement isn’t an attack on their daily routine. Technology will allow for proactive positive decisions and communications with you drivers to increase their safety. Keep up-to-date records of vehicles and drivers. Most importantly, stay safe and clean,” said Jeremy Green, sales & marketing manager for Union Leasing.
Over the next few months, we’ll take a deep dive into the causes of and tips to solve driver, fleet manager, and vehicle productivity issues.
This month we look at how to increase driver productivity. What are you doing to stay productive? E-mail me, let’s chat!
Lauren Fletcher, Executive Editor