18 Effective Truck Fleet Management Tips

By Marc Ready / September 9, 2016


Truck fleet management is increasingly becoming a large industry and management solutions are also increasing equally in number thanks to the technological advancements of today. In fact, it is provable that even the most minimal of changes can lead to significant bumps in profits. Here are the top truck fleet management tips.

1. Controlling Fleet Size

Fleets need to contain the least number of trucks necessary to do the job and no more. Fleet managers need to conduct periodic reviews of fleet usage to ensure that no trucks are unnecessary or underused. Controlling fleet size is critical to controlling the costs and ensuring maximum efficiency.

2. Using The Right Truck For The Job

You need to use the right truck to help you win in business. When securing trucks for your fleet, you need to look beyond acquisition cost. Fleet managers need to recognize how the trucks will operate within a specific business application if you would like to secure vehicles in the right way.

Determine whether a truck is the right fit for the required delivery routes, loads, terrain, driver needs among other elements. It is also critical to understand whether the equipment is up-to-date with the dynamic business environment.

3. Managing Life Cycles

Repairs might appear cheaper in the short-term than replacement. This is however risky since it masks the real cost of keeping trucks for too long. Fleet managers need to analyze costs to set the replacement cycles for minimizing the total cost of ownership. It is important to consider leasing as opposed to buying particularly if you are spending much time and money on repairs or if technology has advanced and more energy efficient options are available.

4. Determining Fleet Reliability Goals

Good fleet managers set goals for reducing unscheduled repairs while understanding that newer fleets require fewer unscheduled repairs. A reliable fleet has lower associated costs and enhanced fleet client satisfaction. Do some research and identify the leading practices to ensure that you are among the leading fleets in your industry.

5. Managing Vehicle Downtime

Vehicle downtime affects fleet users negatively. Managing in-house repairs, identifying responsible repair vendors, and managing accident work and recalls allows your truck users to stay focused and productive on their job. While it might be unfeasible to keep a spare of everything especially trucks, having a plan for expenses and a plan for reducing downtime is important for managing your asset downtime. Managing asset downtime is critical to the success of your mission and business.

6. Budgeting For Fleet Replacement

A budget for replacing the fleet should be set at a level that keeps trucks within their appropriate lifecycle. Fleet managers should advocate for the suitable level of funding by explaining the consequences of underfunding the fleet replacement. There is always value in preparing a budget and ensuring that it is utilized effectively including the recycling, upgrading, and replacing of assets such as trucks efficiently.

7. Preventing Unauthorized Use

Effective fleet managers use fuel management systems, exception reports, as well as telematics for identifying misuse and unauthorized vehicle use as well as usage of fuel cards. Nothing costs and hurts more than having totally avoidable expenses. You need to have tools in place for identifying potential abuse, misuse, theft, loss, or destruction of your company assets. It will save you from lots of unnecessary expenses.

8. Improving Fleet Safety

Older fleets of trucks usually have fewer safety features and are thus more prone to breaking down than newer fleets. Effective management of fleets facilitates the procurement of newer vehicles that have better safety features, which in turn reduces injuries, accidents, and liability.

9. Investing In Navigation Software For Your Drivers

Navigation software is quite effective in eliminating most of the stress associated with driving by offering drivers relevant information such as points of interest (direction for private roads, road updates, safe overnight parking, or rest stops) and truck-specific routes. This is in turn leads to improved efficiency and safety.

10. Investing In Fleet Management Software

Fleet management software is important since it helps in identifying potential areas where money can be saved and monitoring expenditure. It helps to digitally keep track of all the relevant data, which increases efficiency in the end. In addition, fleet management software offers a host of benefits not listed here such as client retention, increased profitability, maximizing driver satisfaction, and improved fleet fuel management.

11. Tracking Distance and Fuel

Tracking fuel output and distance can both be used for identifying inefficient driving resulting in lower overall costs if rectified. In similar fashion, you should always strive to ensure that the right vehicle is used for the required task to avoid any unnecessary costs as stated in point 2 above.

12. Ensuring Energy Efficiency Of Vehicles

Fuel efficiency of vehicles improves with each passing year. Effective truck fleet management with a strong focus on modernization helps in lowering emissions and lowering the total costs of ownership. Trucks that have a lower carbon dioxide emissions helps to lessen the impact on the environment ensuring that your fleet does not add to climate problems such as global warming. In addition, clients are now more environmentally conscious than ever and would like to know that they are doing business with companies that are energy efficient.

13. Going Electronic With DVIRs and ELDs

Electronic ELDs help drivers to stay on top of their paperwork by collecting data automatically, lowering administrative costs, and maximizing driver productivity. This helps to improve the efficiency of roadside inspections. Electronic DVIRs through a smartphone have the capability of collecting video or photo evidence and give an option to schedule repairs automatically or order new parts, all of which contribute to enhancing efficiency.

14. Using Geofence

Geofence uses GPS tracking for detecting when a vehicle enters or exits a particular location and has various practical uses. For instance, you can use it for confirming deliveries by tracking a truck’s location, marking it as completed then sending suitable notifications for follow-up. This helps in lowering administrative and administration costs and increases productivity.

15. Built-In Telematics

Investing in trucks that have in-built telematics such as predictive vehicle maintenance or GPS-tracking hardware helps to increase efficiency, lower administration costs, and lower overall costs. Some of the best manufacturers of trucks that have these devices are Hino and Isuzu.

16. ETA Notifications

Receiving timely notifications on ETAs helps in giving more accurate information to drivers and help them share the information with clients leading to enhanced productivity.

17. Conducting A Thorough Risk Assessment

Fleet management is quite a risky operation and a good initial risk assessment that looks into all the risks of running a motor fleet is necessary from the outset. The assessment needs to outline the training and procedures that should be implemented to reduce these risks.

18. Driver Checks

Regular driver checks including 6 monthly medical examinations and original license checks to identification of any physical or mental inadequacies such as eye test can be implemented to protect against the risk of accidents happening. Reminders of organizational policy particularly with regards to the use of mobile phones, alcohol, and drugs while driving need to be made abundantly clear.

Final Thoughts

Fleet management is critical to keeping your drivers safe and your costs low. Given the seemingly never-ending challenges and tasks associated with fleet management, it is important for companies to make use of the available solutions to help them operate more efficiently.

The 18 truck fleet management tips discussed in this article will definitely help your company achieve its goals of improving efficiency and lowering costs for enhanced profits.

About the author

Marc Ready