It’s no secret that running a fleet management program is challenging because of all the different factors that you need to be aware of to find the optimal use of your fleet vehicles. It would be ideal to run a fleet with 100% asset utilization but with the industry average running closer to only 50%, there is definitely a lot of room for improvement. Here are a few tips and techniques that you can apply to your fleet operations that may help improve your bottom line.
The first step in identifying where problems may lie in your fleet management is to find out certain parameters in average fleet operations. Factors such as the volume of product that your truck or trailer can carry, the customer service requirements that need to be met, and the driver’s available service hours are important metrics to collect.
Other questions you need to ask are: How often do your trucks travel with less than maximum capacity? How many scheduled stops are made on planned routes? How long is each stop? What is the schedule followed by your work truck drivers to meet customer requirements? How many drivers are needed to meet these requirements as planned?
This all becomes even more complicated when you factor in the mix of assets that you are using and the specific delivery timeframes that need to be met for some customers.
You can use fleet tracking software to monitor the actual use of the vehicles in your fleet to determine which are getting the most or the least use and make the necessary changes to your inventory.
Use Dynamic Routing/Backhauling
A smart way of handling these multiple factors effectively is to use dynamic routing. Many fleet operations managers use static routing where there are predetermined stops but if there are stops that have not been scheduled, the work truck may waste time and fuel travelling in the same path. With dynamic routing, all the stops for delivery are analyzed each day to determine the best route by using the best sequence of stops to save on time and fuel consumption of the trucks.
Backhauling is another cost-effective way to maximize each trip. This means that the fleet vehicles transport goods not only from the source to the destination but also during the return trip. Finding back loads for the return trip could be difficult but modern data could help. Tap into customer data to find the most likely source for a back load to keep your trucks productive.
Optimize Maintenance of Fleet Vehicles
Maintenance may affect how often your trucks are available for service. Unscheduled service maintenance may severely affect your fleet operations. Many factors may contribute to this like poor event/case management, reliance on phone-cased and paper/manual communication, lack of transparency in service event activities, and inconsistent inspection processes and reporting.
To avoid costly delays, you need to reduce downtime by having programs in place to address these issues. A lot of unproductive time can be avoided if there are clear communications and a definite program of action. Use VMRS codes to specifically identify a problem and determine how to deal with it effectively. You may need to start campaigns to address specific issues and eliminate any latency to support decision making and reporting requirements.
Doing regularly scheduled preventive maintenance is one of the best practices your fleet managers should adopt. Use a Service Relationship Management (SRM) system to develop a schedule for your assets based on age, mileage, specifications, etc. and make access to real-time SRM available to everyone in the company to improve communication, build trust, and improve asset utilization rates.
Contact us at 1-877-479-1388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for your truck or fleet rental and maintenance needs. With a fleet of over 800 vehicles and growing, Thomas Solutions has a wide array of work vehicles for lease or rent. We service all of Southern Ontario through our locations in Hamilton, Selkirk & Niagara as well as through our growing list of service partners.