Fleet Management Weekly Staff
While the business world has changed immensely since the COVID pandemic, best business practices have not. Budget constraints, metrics-driven performance, customer experience, profitability … they all continue to define fleet operational performance.
The difference is the relative criticality of the different facets of fleet management. Supply chain has heightened attention. Vehicle lifecycle and replacement are getting much more attention. Asset management with the transition to EVs is another wrinkle, and there’s much more.
Managers could easily fall into a “chicken little” posture looking at a sky full of challenges raining down around them. Or, they could remember the best practices that still define a successful fleet operation.
ARI recently listed some of the steps necessary to keep from straying off the path that has always led to a successful fleet operation. Here are the highlights of those recommended actions:
- Strategy: No matter how large the fleet, fleet operations must be managed to define and enforce a single policy and uniform processes with proactive performance reviews and continuous improvement especially in this era of COVID-caused change.
- Assets: Standardize specs and upfits based on job function and/or business need and review the selector annually based on budget, fit for purpose, utilization, and performance. Fully vet all vehicle sources and incentives.
- Connected vehicles: Regularly review telematics applications for driver behavior, vehicle performance, optimization in light of changing technology, business analytics and reporting needs, fleet expense reporting, and driver risk trends.
- Driver safety: Have you kept up with changing “best practices” in driver safety, such as continuous MVR monitoring rather than intermittent campaigns, new hire MVRs, incidents/ policy exceptions, and high-risk driver remediation.
- Cost containment: Control of expenses, including authorization of maintenance and repairs, fuel expenses with card restrictions and fraud detection, personal use of company vehicles, should be regularly revisited especially with so many recent changes to utilization.
- Vehicle downtime: Given the COVID-caused disruptions in vehicle availability, careful coordination of OEM production schedules will help you adjust planned orders and replacements as a result of any short-term utilization and liquidation decisions. Meanwhile, it’s more than ever to check maintenance purchase orders for excessive or redundant work.
- Capital forecasting: Enforcing a formal vehicle replacement policy and the replacement criteria that serve as the basis for the policy (vehicle selector, driving pattern, operation, etc.) must be reviewed in light of annual budgets and funding options.
- Vehicle remarketing: In a market that is unlike any before, be willing to question the index you use to measure your used vehicle sales performance, if you should allow employees to purchase used company vehicles. Review trends liquidating underutilized or aged vehicles. The used vehicle market will certainly impact your past remarketing processes and call for new plans.