Myths of Fleet Management Dispelled

by Pride Transport | May 26, 2021

 

Fleet management is the process your business uses to manage all fleet and asset information, from acquisition to disposal. This process allows your business to reduce costs, improve efficiency and ensure compliance across an entire fleet operation.

Whether your company has a loading dock and a fleet of delivery trucks, also called a private fleet. Or your entire operation is transportation-based like Pride Transport, aspects of the fleet need to be overseen and managed. For most companies, having a fleet manager just makes sense; however, some either don’t understand or simply downplay the need for fleet management. 

This management of a fleet can include software and telematics. Telematics are interdisciplinary fields involving telecommunications, vehicular technologies, electrical engineering, and computer science, all employed to achieve better fleet management.

Software, such as an ERP and telematics, makes managing a fleet much more straightforward and cost-efficient. These can be employed by a private or a dedicated fleet manager.

A dedicated fleet consists of tractors, trailers, drivers, and other resources assigned to carry out shipping operations for a facility or transportation network. 

So, what holds companies back from having a fleet manager? Usually, it is one of the ten common myths about fleet management. Perhaps it is a misunderstanding or just a stubborn adherence to the old ways; no matter what, having a fleet manager will save money, time and effort. To help get this point home, we’ll share the ten most common myths about fleet management and help you understand why a fleet manager isn’t as scary or useless as you may have thought.

 

 

Fleet management is a part-time job

This is simply not true, and it is a dangerous mistake to make if you’re thinking about adopting a fleet management process. Fleet managers are probably involved with more employees in more situations than just about anyone else in your company. 

A fleet manager’s job extends into after-business hours and weekends. It is much more than a 9-5 job. A fleet manager has to settle problems with drivers, deal with broken down forklifts, battery issues, perhaps a forklift operator-pedestrian accident, safety issues involving employees and machinery, how the operator drives it, efficiency issues, and so much more. Sometimes a fleet manager is called on to train and certify drivers. 

Fleet managers decide when to upgrade equipment, to buy or lease, whether the equipment is battery or fuel-powered, proper maintenance of said equipment, and that is the tip of the iceberg.

The bottom line here is fleet management is not a part-time situation, and if you set up your fleet management and run it as a part-time position, it’s going to cause you problems, cost you money, and damage your business.

 

Fleet managers have to be on-site to do their job

Not true. Smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices have given fleet managers the freedom and the power to operate anywhere. They can manage the fleet on the warehouse floor, the loading dock, an office on-site, at home, or even traveling. As long as the manager is connected, they are running the fleet.

There is no need to be on-site as long as the fleet manager receives data about equipment use, operator performance, and even cost efficiencies. And, all of this can be done in real-time because of updated technology.

The days of the fleet manager being chained to one place in the warehouse are gone. Technology has freed the fleet manager up to scale their visibility to multiple sites and never lose control over the fleet’s management.

 

The telematics device you use has to come from the equipment manufacturer

A telematics device, which at its core, includes a vehicle tracking device installed in a vehicle that allows the sending, receiving, and storing of telemetry data. The telematics data captured can consist of location, speed, idling time, harsh acceleration or braking, fuel consumption, vehicle faults, and more.

As most operations rely on different manufacturers’ products to make up their fleet, it can become a nightmare if every piece of equipment operates on a separate fleet management system. None of the data is uniform; the fleet manager has to know how to run multiple platforms, and when it comes to customer service, there are numerous providers to deal with. 

Sure, you may be able to patch things together in the short term if you’re into that kind of nightmarish solution, or you could acquire telematics devices that come from an independent source that works with any brand of equipment; this choice allows you to consolidate all systems into one, this is the best way to have truly effective fleet management.

 

Fleet managers are being replaced by new technologies

Technology isn’t coming to take your job or enslave humanity. Yes, new technologies certainly aid and enhance warehouse or distribution center operations, and improvements to those technologies are continually being introduced. However, fleet managers are needed to interpret data and monitor it as well. 

The technology generates the data but, a human manager is needed to make sense of it and see where it is applicable and most helpful. And a fleet manager is required to look at all data being generated and decide where improvements should be adopted.

 

Fleet management software is too difficult to implement

The supplier of the software should make the implementation quick and easy. To get the full benefit out of the software, the supplier should also provide ongoing training and technical support to assist you with understanding the data being collected from your fleet. 

On top of this, there are open source ERP solutions available that can be customized to fit your company’s specific needs. In an open-source forum, there are people who are constantly tweaking and adapting the software, and that community is available for questions and help.

Whether you go open-source or off the shelf, the provider should help you maintain and integrate the software and give you instructions to make the transition as simple as possible.

 

Fleet management is for fuel-powered vehicles, not battery powered

Electric vehicles are still relatively new to the market. However, they are here, and they are improving rapidly. With the world taking global warming more seriously and saving the planet for our progeny, the push for more electric or non-fossil fuel-powered vehicles will become something a fleet manager needs to accept and incorporate.

It’s important to note that today’s telematics devices are designed to do many things, including monitoring the condition of the battery of an electric forklift or other electric equipment. These devices warn you when the battery needs water, requires a charge, and more so you can prolong the life of your electric vehicles and their batteries. Non-fossil fuel machines like trucks, forklifts, and other warehouse machinery are certainly in the purview of today’s fleet manager.

 

One vehicle is the same as any other

For vehicles used in warehouses and distribution centers, this statement is not necessarily true. A myriad of things need to be monitored based on the vehicle and how it is being used. 

The battery used to power electric forklifts must be monitored in real-time for water levels and charging opportunities. If gasoline or a propane-powered vehicle is used, the hour meter needs to be monitored to ascertain the efficiency of use and determine proper maintenance schedules. 

Trucks in a fleet have to be maintained and watched. Even if every truck in the fleet is the same, how it is driven, the distance, the terrain will be factored in maintenance, and the fleet’s upkeep.

A fleet of vehicles is not one-size-fits-all. Each vehicle needs to be given proper attention and treated as a unique part of the fleet.

 

Smaller fleets don’t need to be managed

Regardless of your size, you will want to manage workflow, send alerts to individual drivers, and generate reports concerning the operation’s efficiency and other issues. For this, fleet management software is beneficial for any business that utilizes vehicles, no matter the size. Fleet management software is advantageous to any size business because it helps to lower expenses and increase productivity.

If you have a fleet, it needs to be well managed and cared for. The fleet’s size may make it easier to manage; however, it still needs to be addressed to perform at its optimum, save money, and maintain production.

 

Fleet management is only about cost savings

A prime reason for fleet management is to identify cost savings; this is true; however,  it doesn’t just stop there. Another critical function is to help ensure that the equipment being monitored is used safely and correctly. 

If a driver is not operating his vehicle safely, the fleet manager can educate him on proper safety methods. The data generated concerning safe and appropriate operation can also help the fleet manager identify what drivers need retraining.

 

Fleet management software and telematics are too expensive

Although the initial cost may seem expensive, the use of fleet management software and telematics identifies ways a business can save money. Thus, the return on investment (ROI) is dramatic. 

Management software and telematics can assist in scheduling workers more efficiently, help identify ways to save money on fleet operations and maintenance, and determine whether a more efficient layout of the warehouse or distribution center is necessary to save on costs and more. 

You shouldn’t just look at the initial expense when deciding on its worth. You need to consider the ROI and balance it with the cost to make an informed decision on the best way to spend the company’s money.

 

Recognize some of those? Maybe this list can help you rethink your company’s need for a fleet manager. It may be time. A good fleet manager and management system that involves up-to-date software, telematics, and a new view on how you handle your fleet could be just the thing you’ve been missing. Rethink fleet management and save time, money, and aggravation.

 

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