A lot on your mind? Navigating fleet management for SME's

“What's involved in fleet management exactly?” This is a question we get all the time. The common misconception is that it focuses on holding onto car keys and passing them on to the next person when a company car is needed. Fleet management is much more than holding the keys, so to speak. For the small to medium sized business, fleet management ranges from day to day fuel management all the way to remarketing of company vehicles. The role is big and with new vehicle, fleet and engine technology coming on stream, the decision making element is becoming even bigger.

Key areas

Fuel management – With so many options and differing vehicle types, management in this area can be confusing.  Fleet managers should be aware of what discounts are available and how they can be found. In addition, a close eye should be kept on driving habits and vehicle choices for specific journeys.

Parts and replacements – This area can be a challenge. Without bulk buying fleet managers can themselves pay standard prices for services, parts and labour. Fleet managers should look out for potential buying groups or specific fleet services in this area.

Servicing – Like with maintenance, it can be a good idea to find a way to gain discounts in this area. Servicing has to be done and ignoring a servicing schedule can cost a lot in the long term. It’s important not to forget that in most cases you will need to sell these cars. Try to remember remarketing of a vehicle with poor parts and service history can be a challenge come sale time.

Support, accident and roadside assist – It’s critical to provide support contact information to drivers at all times, unless you want random phone calls at all hours. Solid management in the maintenance and servicing area should reduce the need for thiese services, however with vehicles you always need backup strategy.

Reporting and billing – Like every other area of business a good fleet manager should have a solid reporting and billing structure. Having a transparent flow of billing information and reporting is essential, especially when you consider the insights offered. Quality reporting means that you can learn about fuel and vehicle expense patterns. This is very powerful as spotting waste can be a challenge when you use poor reporting standards or services.

Extras - GPS tracking, E-Tags, insurance and FBT reporting are four relatively lesser known areas of fleet management. A proactive approach to managing or outsourcing these areas is critical if you want to avoid “first purchase” mistakes.

Final reminders

Managing all of these areas can be a real challenge at times as cost considerations may lead to difficult decisions. At these times one area can take priority over another. These decisions can be costly and for this fleet managers should consider getting some outside help. Using specific fleet management products and services can allow you focus on business targets and key competencies. In the end, meeting customer demands and company related goals is the highest priority for any operation.

For the Fleetcare SME product please see our Fleetpro page

Do you think there are other important areas of a fleet manager’s role?

Please comment below.

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