Fleet management is the term given to the management of commercial motor vehicles such as vans, specialist machinery, cars, trucks, and trailers. It can also include aircraft, boats, and private vehicles that are used for work purposes. So that’s the basics but what does it entail and what are the benefits? Let’s take a look.
Depending on the industry and scope of the business, the specific uses of fleet management can change. Some of the most popular include compliance and licensing, vehicle maintenance, supply chain management, vehicle telematics (diagnostics and tracking), accident management, driver management, speed management, health and safety management, and fuel management.
So, is it useful for everyone? If, for example, you run a transport or courier company, owning your own fleet is a smart move because it helps reduce costs, as you can take care of the purchasing and maintenance of all vehicles yourself. If you have a larger selection of vehicles, you may wish to keep using an external mechanical engineer to look after them, but if they are all the same build, make and model of a coach, for example, then hiring a mechanic full-time to keep them maintained may be more practical.
For an office supplier, for example, this fleet would be in two parts: commercial and private. On the one hand, you have the commercial vehicles that are taken out by your delivery agents to help move the product from point A to B, usually from the warehouse (or wherever you store your products) to your customers (stationers, using the above example). The second part of the fleet would be the private use vehicles used by sales agents, upper-level management, and by those deemed necessary by the management to use them.
Because sales agents generally have meetings in various locations in their area throughout the day, it can work out easier and cheaper if the company owns the car and the agent invoices for petrol usage (if they don’t have a company card to track it). Similarly, if the company in question has a large international operation, then having a private jet for the company executives would make viable sense if they have to fly short notice across the world for important meetings that may occur.
Managing the fleet is always a tricky thing because it depends on the type and size of the fleet and the industry you work in. You will always have some sort of operational position that means that there is a person managing the vehicles and their maintenance but they’re not going to know if a sales agent’s car needs an oil change, for example. You can track your vehicles by using an app, which means that you can receive fault code alerts to your mobile device or computer telling you what the problem with a specific vehicle is.
The most complicated part, above all else, when it comes to fleet management is the negotiating of international law when it comes to the movement of people or goods. Ignoring the obvious human trafficking element for a moment, ensuring that your driver is knowledgeable about the specifics of the laws of a specific country is useful if they differ significantly to the laws of surrounding countries. As a result, making sure management knows these slight differences to advise their drivers is always going to reap benefits.