Intense competition and a weaker economy have put more pressure on many small business owners to control expenses. Optimizing fleet operations is one way to improve a company’s productivity, reduce costs and positively impact the bottom line. In this post, we identify some questions you should consider when planning and managing your fleet.
1. Have you determined the ideal type and number of vehicles you would need to efficiently run your business?
The first step is to evaluate your fleet requirements before acquiring the vehicles. Will you need sedans, delivery vans, work trucks, semi-trucks? Specify what job each vehicle will perform and determine how critical they are to your operations.
2. Are there vehicle options that are “greener” or more fuel efficient?
“Green fleets” have risen in popularity as a way to mitigate volatile fuel prices. Cutting down on emissions can immediately reduce your company’s carbon footprint. Numerous studies have found that consumers view companies more favorably when they have sustainable or environmentally-friendly business practices.
3. Have you considered maintenance costs?
Monitor the actual condition of your vehicles and prioritize maintenance schedules. Assess which vehicles have the highest breakdown rates and highest repair costs, and decide if it would be more beneficial to sell or replace them.
4. Would it be more cost-effective to lease rather than purchase your own vehicles?
If you are struggling with capital or cashflow, leasing work trucks can be a wiser decision since initial savings could be used in expanding your business. Many leasing programs also provide maintenance programs, leading to more cost certainty when it comes to budgeting.
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5. How are you managing vehicle routes?
A dispatch system is also essential to coordinate drivers, dispatchers and call agents to facilitate assignment of deliveries, streamline operations, and reduce waiting time for customers. Efficient operations also entail a certain flexibility in adjusting to day-to-day uncertainties in driving routes and road conditions. These discrepancies should be measured often to attain maximum productivity and meet customer expectations.
6. Should you invest in a telematics system?
The primary objective of this system is to improve the management of vehicle fleets to reduce their operating costs. It helps you track vehicle speed, location, idling time, fuel consumption, etc. It can also monitor long-term driving patterns and assist you in streamlining operations.
7. How will you enforce route compliance?
Recent technological advances have allowed business owners to impose “geofences” that restrict unauthorized vehicle use. These are basically a set of imaginary boundaries around designated geographical areas that track fleet vehicles as they move in and out of those areas. Alerts are sent automatically when a violation occurs allowing you to take immediate action.
8. Do you have a formal training program for your drivers?
Educate drivers on fleet strategies that lower operational costs and avoid accidents. These programs could include instructions for driving on different types of terrain, improving fuel economy, reducing idle time, optimizing vehicle speed and minimizing risky driving behaviors.
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Do you need work trucks or cars for your business? With a fleet of over 800 vehicles and growing, Thomas Solutions has a wide array of work vehicles for lease or rent. Whether you are in Hamilton, Niagara, GTA or anywhere in Southern Ontario for that matter, we would welcome the chance to see if we can help you with your fleet needs. Contact us today.