Keeping your drivers and your vehicles productive and safe on the open road is the key to achieving your business goals. As a business owner or fleet manager, what are some of the things that you can do to keep your fleet and employees in tip top condition? We share a list of 4 tips for managing your SMB fleet.
Prevention is Better Than a Cure
Keeping your vehicles in good condition is a key prerequisite of achieving your business goals. Unscheduled downtime and costly repairs are enough to run your margins into the red. Preventative vehicle maintenance such as tire rotation, oil changes, air and oil filters, regular servicing, and vehicles safety checks may seem like a chore — but they are crucial to keeping your fleet in good condition and your employees safe on the open road.
Whether you choose to follow oil change intervals at a predetermined mileage or monitor the vehicle oil on a weekly basis, it’s essential that you keep an eye on the most important fluids in your fleet vehicles. In addition to regular maintenance checks, keep an open line of communication between your drivers and encourage them to report any unusual vehicle noises or driving irregularities. Your drivers are the key to understanding the daily performance of your fleet — encourage them to speak up and report any issues.
Monitor Ownership Costs
In order to keep your business in the green, you need to keep a close eye on your maintenance costs and monitor when your maintenance costs begin to rise as the vehicle gets older. It’s also important to understand the vehicle manufacturer warranty coverage and how it will impact your total cost of ownership. Like everything in your business, your fleet will have an optimal life span that factors in rising maintenance costs, warranty period, and resale value. All of these factors will have an influence on the total cost of vehicle ownership and should be closely monitored so that you are turning over your fleet at a sensible time.
Don’t Skimp on Spec
It can be tempting to leave all of the option boxes empty at the dealership as a way of keeping your vehicle costs down, however, it’s important that be aware of the demands that each vehicle will face throughout its lifetime. Choosing the appropriate vehicle spec can enhance vehicle performance and reduce maintenance costs, improve employee (driver) morale, and ensure that you get the most out of your vehicle when it comes time to update your fleet. On the flip side of the equation, putting too many options on your fleet vehicles can increase the cost of ownership and hurt your margins. Work with your fleet management company to find a balance based on intended usage, operating conditions, and carried loads.
Communicate with Drivers
Your drivers are the lifeblood of your SMB fleet. Make sure that you are communicating with drivers, making them aware of expectations and company policy, and ensuring that they are on board with the goals of your business. It doesn’t matter how good your vehicle fleet is, or your fleet management skills — if your drivers are not up to the task then your whole business model can quickly fall apart. Drivers should have a complete understanding of company driving policies, expectations, know how to report problems with the vehicle, and what to do in case of an accident.
Effectively managing your SMB fleet can be the difference between smashing your company goals and falling short of your targets. Fleet management is serious business, if you have limited experience with managing a fleet, it could be would working with a company who specialises in it or keeping a consultant on call.