Expanding your vehicle fleet –Some top tips to manage fleet growth
For many, the transition from one or two company vehicles to a full fleet can be slow, careful and easy to manage. For many others however, this process can be sudden and scaling up in a very short time period can cause real difficulty. When a significant number of new vehicles are added, spotting problems, maintenance issues and even fraud can become a real chore. In these cases the slow trickle of receipts from one or two cars turns into a flood of receipts and information on many new vehicles.
Getting a handle on the figures
The first thing to look for when moving from a small fleet to a larger fleet are the key figures involved. These figures, like average fuel costs and running costs per vehicle, shouldn’t change significantly when the fleet is scaled up. Other figures like average travel time and call out time also shouldn’t change, however with new drivers adjustment time may be needed. The bottom line with fleet figures is that just because the fleet has expanded does not mean that the previous figures are insignificant. Equally, if you did not previously have access to “drilled down” figures now is the time to work on them. You can do this by collecting receipts and invoices from the past few months and try to tabulate them into a real report on fleet spending. Once you have a real fleet reporting setup (with fuel cards and receipt free reporting) you won't need to continue doing this. Pay particular attention to figures for maintenance and fuel cost per vehicle.
Making use of the larger numbers
Like with most areas of business, scaling up in numbers can mean economies of scale and cost savings. In fleet management this usually means either an extreme expansion on a fleet or by partnering with a fleet management company. In any event it helps to consider the costs in component parts and using these to compare prospective providers.
Ask the following questions;
Maintenance and Roadside – Is this included? Are there discounts available? How comprehensive is the roadside network?
Fuel – Are fuel cards an option? Are there discounted pump prices or transaction fees available?
Reporting – What kind of reporting is available? Can I drill down into the facts and figures without too much difficulty? Are there any additional features here which flag suspicious or costly behaviour?
Extra services – Is there a GPS or tracking service available? Do I need to consider Fringe Benefit Tax (FBT) reports? Will I need Etags for toll roads?
Managing change in business can be a huge challenge, however on a professional level it can also present real opportunities. Knowing how to scale up with minimal waste will get you noticed and the experience will serve you well. This is especially true when you consider that this can happen in any area of business. When it comes to scaling up in fleet management the rules are equally straightforward, keep costs down and be on the look out for value add at every turn.
Do you have a story about scalling up your fleet?
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