The Fleet Manager position is one of the most challenging roles in the logistics and transportation industry. The most important task in his work is vehicle management.
In fleet management, the fleet manager needs to keep vehicles in good condition, and in driver management, he needs to take care of everything from training to monitoring driver behavior, driving costs and also managing fuel costs, travel expenses and vehicle maintenance services.
Among other things, it is an integral part of the work and business profile . He needs to interact with various stakeholders such as customers, warehouse managers, transportation issues (with drivers during trip.
The fleet manager always has a lot of work, and each task requires different qualities and attributes, such as: Communication skills, multitasking skills, decision-making ability and many other qualities
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Here we discuss 5 major characteristics that every fleet manager should have to run a successful fleet business.
Vehicle and Resource Management
In fleet management, the fleet manager acts as a nodal point and becomes a responsible for the vehicles and resources management.
The key role in his day-to-day operations is vehicle trip planning and scheduling the vehicles as per the customer consignment requirements. He needs to have complete data and understanding of the vehicles and drivers allotting to the trips.
If there is any lag or delay in scheduling, it has ripple effects in the logistics operations. Also, the management of drivers, giving proper standing instructions, fund allocation to each trip and documents management for the operations.
Finally, the resources management, the fleet manager is the sole owner in complete resources allocation, time allotting to workers, on-time vehicle reaching the loading and unloading points to complete the trip process and customer satisfaction.
Vehicle Maintenance Management
One of the major problems in the logistics industry is vehicle downtime and unplanned planning leading to vehicle breakdowns.
To avoid such occurrences, the fleet manager should have a proper vehicle maintenance schedule to prevent the unplanned vehicle services cycles and breakdowns during the trips.
To achieve this, the fleet manager should use the best fleet management software to get regular reminders and notifications for all the vehicles under his control. So, the fleet manager can plan the vehicle maintenance slots and also avoid the vehicles that are not in good condition for trip allocation.
Driver Performance Assessment
In the logistics industry, the driver plays an important role in fleet management and his performance determines the organisation’s progress.
The fleet manager and driver relationship is crucial for successful fleet operations. Most of the time, the fleet manager assesses the driver performance based on external factors with some assumptions.
But this is not the right way to do it, the fleet manager should use the telematics and fleet management system technologies to assess the driver behaviour and performance.
There are technologies such as GPS vehicle tracking software, fleet dashcam with gps and FMS tools, these applications will provide the vital data and reports, live video recordings, speeding patterns, braking patterns, vehicle idling and other reports. Using this report the fleet manager can assess the driver performance better.
If the driver performance is improved, it will reduce the major workload of the fleet manager, because the best driver will ensure the trip is completed with less interference from the manager, which in turn improves productivity and customer retention.
Fleet Safety is Important
Fleet managers should have detailed planning and comprehensive execution to ensure fleet safety in the logistics business.
When it comes to fleet safety, it includes both vehicles (asset) and driver safety.
The fleet manager needs to lay out rules and protocols that need to be followed before starting the trip for the vehicles and safety instruction to drivers during the enroute.
There should be a proper review mechanism month on month, to find the gaps and improve the organisational fleet safety as prescribed by the company and safety laws directed by authorities.
Training and Encouragement
As we discussed on the Driver performance assessment, if the fleet manager finds any driver behaviour is poor and needs to be improved, the fleet manager needs to identify the drivers based on reports and arrange the driver training sessions to improve the performance.
Similarly, while on-boarding the new driver, the driver should undergo the training program to understand the company norms, organisation safety standards and maintain the company reputation.
The next major aspect is the fleet manager should identify and encourage the best performing team members and drivers. This will have a positive impact on the employees working under the respective fleet managers.
The role of fleet manager is not a cakewalk job, the above mentioned characteristics are not comprehensive, these are some of the basic and fundamental in nature. The real fleet manager will have multiple characteristics that vary according to the work and industry they operate.