Of course, the top priority for all fleet managers is to protect their employees and the people they come in contact with, but it’s still important to manage assets, reduce business risk, and keep a handle on the budget. With so many potential impacts on your business, it makes more sense than ever to develop a sound vehicle fleet management strategy, which will help to avoid as much downtime and repair bills as possible. One of the most important points of your fleet management strategy should be keeping your employees connected, so they can effectively communicate, and be as productive as possible.
Increase your Maintenance Efforts
For many firms that operate a fleet of vehicles in their business, there has been a slowdown because some clients have had to tighten their belts, or they may have had to shut down altogether. If you’re experiencing a dropoff in work activity, this might be a good time to increase your maintenance efforts to better prepare your vehicles for the upcoming boost in activity, when the pandemic subsides.
By being proactive now, you will ensure that your fleet is in tip-top shape and ready to resume full operations as soon as you get the green light. Scheduling preventive maintenance is always a good idea because it’s so important to avoid downtime which results from vehicle breakdowns and repairs. If you have a cloud-based management software system, you’ll be able to schedule preventive maintenance appropriately, so that nothing gets overlooked.
Keep Tabs on Vehicle Expenses
More now than ever, it’s really critical to have a solid grasp of vehicle expenses, one of the largest of which is maintenance for the entire fleet. Operating costs are also a major area of expense, so tracking these costs should be an important part of your strategy as well. If you have modern fleet management software, it will be much easier to monitor ongoing expenses, because you’ll have much better data visibility. Any good fleet management system will allow you to calculate the total cost of ownership, which is an important metric in your overall strategy. Having access to important data will allow you to be proactive in managing your fleet, and will ultimately contribute to greater success.
Optimize Management of Inventory
One of the early impacts of the pandemic on fleet management is the shortages that have popped up throughout supply chains everywhere. A great many parts and assemblies are shipped internationally, and any kind of breakdown in the supply chain for these components will cause serious disruption to your fleet management efforts.
This makes it critical that you track inventory for your fleet, so you can avoid stockouts which might happen at the worst possible time. It will also help you make appropriate decisions relative to re-ordering so that you don’t run into situations where specific parts become difficult to obtain. A web-based system of fleet management will effectively track inventory for you, and ensure that you don’t run into issues with parts you need.
Manage Maintenance Remotely
Like many other businesses, fleet managers and the associated administrative staff have already begun working remotely in an effort to limit the spread of the COVID–19 virus. Obviously, this may present something of a challenge to managers and personnel who have never been obliged to work from home before, and that’s especially true if you’ve been managing your fleet on paper up to now.
Even if you’ve been using installed software, that will not be available from for remote access, and you’ll need to have a web-based system in order to have access from home. Once you have such a system in place, remote vehicle fleet management becomes much easier. With the right software, you will be able to assign and track all maintenance work orders in real-time, so that you’ll have a good idea about productivity, and you’ll also be sure that your assets are being protected.
If you are not aware of any software systems which can help you remotely manage maintenance, one good one is Fleetio’s Maintenance Shop Integration, and this will help you manage your repair costs all from one centralized location. When you set up an effective remote management system, you won’t be obliged to spend hours on the phone with in-house mechanics, or with external repair shops.
Approvals can be automated, work statuses can be monitored in real-time, and maintenance efforts can be approved remotely. You will also be in constant contact with your team so that you can be sure standards are being adhered to all throughout your fleet.
Reduce Risk through Good Hygiene
Concern for your employees and the members of the public they interact with, has to remain a top priority for your business, even while you are attempting to roll with the punches on vehicle fleet management. It will be essential to ensure that your fleet remains clean, so you can do your part to reduce the spread of the virus, and protect both employees and public personnel as much as possible.
This means you should have your team practice social distancing with coworkers and clients, and to make sure that vehicles are sanitized every day, especially all those places where hands will come in contact. Any of your drivers who come in contact with the public should be instructed about the usage of protective wear like gloves and masks, so they can prevent the possible spread of the disease.
It might be a good idea to include daily cleaning tasks for your entire team, and make them a formal part of daily inspections. Some fleet managers have already instituted inspection forms which must be filled out by vehicle operators daily, to ensure that nothing is overlooked in the way of safety and cleanliness protocols. It might seem like a bit of overkill to sanitize all vehicles and equipment before and after usage, but it’s the best way to ensure that the virus does not get spread to others.