If you’re in charge of managing a fleet, then you know that productivity is important. But you may also be wondering how you can improve in this area. (After all, you already feel stretched thin across the board.) Thankfully, there’s always room to grow.
Try These Productivity Tips
Productivity is one of the measures of success for fleet managers. It’s a clear indicator of how much you’re getting out of your inputs. Growth in this area can have a fundamentally positive impact on everything you do.
Here are several tips for enhancing your fleet’s productivity without having to overhaul your department from the inside out.
1. Maintain Regular Checkups
Maintaining an entire fleet can quickly become overwhelming if there isn’t a standardized plan in place for regular checkups. To ensure you get optimum performance out of your vehicles over a long life, make sure every vehicle is put through a consistent checkup process that analyzes all key systems and identifies any problems, concerns, or unusual deterioration.
These regular checkups should be especially focused on tires, brakes, suspension, belts, hoses, and engine components. Catching any issues with these parts early on can ensure greater efficiency and lower future repair costs.
2. Use the Right Software
There’s only so much you can do by hand. If you’re serious about improving your fleet’s productivity in significant ways, it starts with using the correct technology. Automated software like Cetaris fleet maintenance is especially helpful.
Robin, a maintenance manager for a retail company, implemented Cetaris to address a problem that her fleet’s shop was experiencing: Always busy, but rarely productive. Her goal was to decrease wrench hours by emphasizing better workflow, productivity, and parts management. The results were significant.
“The shop’s productivity skyrocketed,” Cetaris explains. “Repair times decreased by 57%, outside repair costs decreased by 80%, and repair overtime decreased by 90%. The shop experienced a 33% overall cost reduction! And they are still finding new workflow optimizations every day.”
Whether it’s a fleet maintenance tool like Cetaris or something else, the right software can make a big difference in your ability to maximize the resources you have. It won’t always be perfect, but it’s better than doing it manually.
3. Develop Vehicle Safety Protocols
Nothing squashes productivity faster than vehicle safety issues. When safety issues become a problem, it can impact both the vehicle itself and your drivers. This causes everything to slow down to a screeching halt.
For starters, you need documented vehicle safety protocols that address things like reckless driving and distracted driving. It’s also wise to have some sort of vehicle tracking/monitoring solution in place to monitor driver activities like harsh acceleration, hard braking, and speeding.
4. Hire the Right People
We can talk all we want about vehicle protocols and technology, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to hiring the right people. You either have the right people or you don’t.
While the idea of hiring “the right” people may seem subjective, it ultimately comes down to onboarding (and retaining) people who are conscientious and hungry to grow. These are the kinds of people who will actively make your fleet better.
5. Create a Fuel Program
Now more than ever, having a formal fuel program for your fleet is extremely important. Vehicle fueling represents one of the major costs for a fleet and an intentionally designed program can boost productivity and eliminate waste in this area.
Each driver should have a company fuel card assigned to them. Not only does this allow you to standardize savings by securing cash-back rewards, but it lets you track how much fuel each driver is using, when they’re stopping for fuel, etc.
Remember that even the smallest improvements can generate significant savings on this front. For example, reducing your fleet’s total consumption by 250 gallons per week could result in more than $4,000 in monthly savings. And if you find a way to leverage lower fuel prices with the right cards, a five-cent savings at the pump could result in hundreds of dollars in additional savings.
Putting it All Together
It’s difficult to ignore the growth that occurs when there’s such tangible change within an organization. As you rethink your fleet’s productivity, good things will happen for your company. Be patient and disciplined, but don’t be afraid to tackle each of the items listed above.