It's more essential than ever to manage company vehicles. Supply chain issues, increased fuel costs, Brexit, COVID, and common crime are among the many reasons to improve your service. Fortunately, modern technology makes it easier than ever. And if implemented correctly, you can even save money and provide a first-class customer experience. Here are some pro tips.
Keep Track of Fuel Spending
The cost of fuel increases all the time. And there's no sign of it slowing down. Given how much fuel your company needs, it should only be used for business purposes. Therefore, you need some way of tracking usage or limiting the amount in your vehicles. You would have to personally monitor each vehicle to do this, which is unfeasible. You could, however, use fleet cards for use at fuel stations, with pre-purchased limits for fuel only (The Business Owner's Guide To Fleet Gas Cards), and you can also track fuel purchases with linked fleet card apps.
Plan Routes with Modern Tech
Your drivers can use up a lot of fuel and, therefore, money by getting lost or diverting off-route. However, this need to no longer be the case. Modern technology, as always, can save you time and money. For example, GPS systems are no longer as inaccurate as they once were. And even free GPS apps like Google Maps are vastly improved. Further, modern systems can alert your drivers to roadblocks, incoming weather, and emergency services activity in the area. Such information means you can plan around and ahead of time for almost every eventuality.
Manage Company Vehicles Digitally
In 2022, there's no need to use paper. First, it's an added expense. Second, it's unsustainable, so it makes your company look bad. And finally, it's just slower and prone to error. You can greatly reduce the time and money spent on administration work by switching to paperless logbooks and electronic logging services. With digital services, drivers can fill reports on the go without coming into the office at the end of the day. And with a shortage of 80,000 truck drivers in the US alone, you need all the man-hours you can get these days.
Reward Good Driving Habits
Often it is the case that fuel efficiency and vehicle maintenance come down to how well you drive. Bad habits such as engine revving and late braking use more fuel than necessary and cause premature wear and tear to specific vehicle components. However, you can save a lot of money on repairing damaged car or van parts and maximize fuel economy by promoting good driving habits in your drivers. You can monitor driving habits with telematics devices that record the actions of a vehicle. You can use this information to offer bonuses for good driving.
FLOWER Check Vehicles Every Day
The safety of your drivers and the public is paramount. With so much use, your fleet will get damaged over time because of general wear and tear. And specific systems could begin to fail. Therefore it is advised you perform a FLOWER check every day before a vehicle leaves:
This simple check should take no more than five minutes. Yet it can save time, money, and lives compared to the consequences of not paying attention to your vehicles. Ensure your in-house mechanics, drivers, and yourself understand that a FLOWER check should be done daily.
Assess Drivers Regularly
Further to the safety of your vehicles, you should also assess the abilities of your drivers. Some might think this is a little Draconian, but a lousy driver will cost you money. And a bad apple could cost your business. Therefore, it is recommended that you check licenses once per year. And it's also helpful to assess your drivers' abilities for each vehicle and knowledge of the road safety laws. Further, it's not wrong to regularly and randomly check your drivers for drugs and alcohol. As an employer, you have the right to do this. And a moral obligation regarding safety.
Watch Your Loads
Weight is very important when loading a car, van, or truck. Excess weight can damage a vehicle, and incorrect loading procedures will cause your vehicles to use more fuel than necessary. Additionally, obstacles on the route could hinder safe passage if your car isn't safely loaded. For example, large items should always be dismantled to lower the center of gravity of a vehicle. And you should always check your route for things like low bridges and rough terrain. These could be treacherous for your vehicles to traverse while carrying a heavy load.
Use Trackers to Manage Company Vehicles
Your vehicles are your property, and you have the right to know where they go at all times. Using modern tracking devices isn't spying on your employees. It's knowing where your vehicles are and have been. For example, suppose one driver's fuel expenses are more than the others. In that case, they may be using your vans for a side hustle. That's just not right. Additionally, you can protect against theft. Car theft is a global issue. But in the UK alone, over 80,000 vans are stolen each year. Many aren't recovered because they don't have trackers installed.
Don't Forget the Customer Experience
Finally, your business is there to provide a service. And your reputation depends on your ability to create more business. A customer waiting for a long time over your dedicated ETA isn't happy and is likely to call you to complain, or worse, leave a bad review on Google or a trade site. Either of these can be very damaging to your business. However, using the features of reliable GPS systems, you can get real-time updates on anything likely to cause a delay. Should there be a delay, make it company policy to inform any customers waiting for a delivery to arrive.
Poor fleet management costs time and money. But it can also cost lives. However, you can maintain your fleet and keep expenses to a minimum. Fleet cards can ensure you don't spend more than you need to on fuel, while GPS systems will help you plan the most efficient routes. Yet you must also check your vehicles for defects and ensure your drivers are suitable.