Alexa

MANAGEMENT CONSULTING

9 Common Fleet Management Challenges and How to Overcome Them

9 Common Fleet Management Challenges and How to Overcome Them
The Siliconreview
24 Febuary, 2022

Successful management is crucial for smooth fleet operations, but like other businesses, fleet management is faced with hurdles that limit their ability to achieve their bottom line. To keep up with the industry, you need to remain prepared with resources to help overcome fleet management challenges. Read on for nine common fleet management challenges and how to curb them.

1.    Fluctuations in fuel prices

Fuel prices are some of the most significant cost-saving challenges most fleet managers face as the actual expense is difficult to predict. This is because fuel costs are constantly changing, with even the modest fluctuations having a substantial impact on your company’s bottom line. To curb this challenge, you should consider:

  • Providing driver training to help them maximize fuel economy by adjusting some of their driving habits
  • Investing in fleet management software to monitor and manage driver performance. This tool enables you to track driver idle time, performance, and route planning to help cut fuel costs.
  • Offering incentives including mile-per-gallon challenges to develop expectations for how much fuel a driver should use

2.    Driver safety issues

Fleet drivers are more likely to be involved in car accidents than non-fleet drivers, as they spend more time on the road and cover longer distances. An accident involving a fleet driver could incur expenses such as property damage, insurance increases, legal suits, workers compensation claims, and reduced productivity. To overcome the challenge of driver safety to improve the health of your company’s operations, you should:

  • Equip the company’s vehicles with modern safety equipment including backup cameras, blindspot detection, automatic braking, and parking sensors to reduce accident risks
  • Offer regular driver training to keep them up-to-date with the current rules and regulations concerning road safety.
  • Invest in tracking software to monitor driving habits

3.    Driver shortages

One of the top challenges for most fleet managers in the past decade has been driver shortages. While the demand for freight transportation increases, there has been stagnation in the number of new driver applicants. This has led to the recruitment of inexperienced drivers, safety issues and increased expenses due to the need for tracking driver tactics and habits. Consider offering incentives to reduce employee turnover and training inexperienced drivers to mitigate the driver shortage challenge.

4.    Reducing the overall fleet expenses

While you want enough cars to meet your needs, you do not want too many of them that may end up eating up your profits. Other expenses that may impact your company’s bottom line include insurance, marketing, tires, financing or leasing vehicles, training employees, labor expenses, and oil changes and maintenance. To keep these expenses to the minimum, you should:

  • Conduct regular vehicle maintenance to prevent expensive, unexpected repairs
  • Keep the fleet with the minimum number of vehicles and consider leasing when the demand for your fleet’s services increases
  • Offer continuous training, reward, and retain excellent employees to increase productivity to avoid increasing expenses on recruiting and training new staff
  • Use telematics to monitor vehicles and drivers to determine problem areas and rectify them

5.    Environmental controls

These days, there is a greater awareness of changes in the climate, leading to new clean air standards to improve air quality in areas with high vehicle emissions. This means that you have to phase out internal combustion engines to avoid exceeding emission standards or paying hefty fines. To tackle this challenge, consider using fleet management software and telematics. The fleet management software helps you determine the total fleet cost of ownership (TCO) while the telematics device reports on the vehicle's carbon footprint and CO2 emission.

6.    Meeting compliance requirements

You have to meet compliance requirements for the trucking business to run your organization efficiently. However, these rules can be complex and difficult to recall. Some of the FMCSA compliance guidelines include:

  • Inspecting vehicles before and after every trip and documenting the results
  • Ascertaining that all vehicles display DOT inspection number
  • Maintaining current copies of FMCSA rules
  • Conducting and keeping records of routine vehicle maintenance checks
  • Recording HOS for all drivers
  • Recording any incidents that take place while on the road
  • Keeping a record of driver qualifications and safety history
  • Conducting random or pre-employment drug testing of drivers and documenting the results

You should also prepare for a regular DOT audit, where you need to provide information regarding drug and alcohol testing, vehicles, drivers, and revenue. Ensure you keep accurate and organized records that help you obtain relevant data and achieve timely responses to audits. Consider investing in fleet management software to ensure compliance and proper record-keeping to avoid hefty fines and legal suits.

7.    Driver behavior

While drivers are a great asset in your organization, excessive idling, improper shifting, aggressive driving, deactivating safety controls, and improper shifting lead to reduced productivity and increased overall expenses. To curb this challenge, you should consider training and educating your employees on expectations and encourage improvement through rewards. You could also monitor and assess the driver's behaviors via fleet management software and GPS tracking to determine how to help them uphold safety standards or retrain them.

8.    Information overload

Regardless of the size of your fleet, its operations often generate data that you have to manage to make crucial decisions. Fortunately, using fleet management software can help you handle all this information. The fleet management software has tools that help you sort data, allowing you to focus on relevant information.

9.    Unapproved use of fleet assets

Drivers often misuse the fleet’s assets or run unauthorized errands, including using vehicles outside working hours, driving past the designated locations, or reckless driving. This costs your company money due to increased wear and tear and more fuel consumption, not to mention exposure to potential liability risks.

Fleet management software can help combat this challenge by monitoring your business assets 24/7. The tool can track vehicle usage, speed, and location and even alert you on instances of reckless driving. This helps you identify undesirable trends, allowing you to make strategic decisions to address the issues.

Endnote

Regardless of the size of your organization, increasing profits while minimizing expenses is crucial to your success. Familiarize yourself with the above fleet management challenges and how to solve them to increase productivity and achieve your company’s bottom line.