MANAGING A FLEET: A LOT OF MOVING PIECES
Vehicles are always on the go. When your fleet is working its best, you’re working hard to stay up to date on the mountains of data about vehicle performance and cost.
You’re tracking maintenance expenses and residual values, while trying to forecast market trends. Now, imagine the data you would have to sort through if your fleet wasn’t at its best – it’s overwhelming.
With all of the technology available to track and report data, it might seem possible to handle fleet management on a spreadsheet. Or you may turn to standalone tools to handle single tasks like telematics.
At the same time, you’re also asking ever present questions: How does your fleet compare to others of similar size? Are you paying too much for vehicles, maintenance and fuel? And is everything really running as smoothly and efficiently as it could?
THE TRUTH IS, WHILE THE A LA CARTE APPROACH MIGHT WORK IN THE SHORT-TERM, OR FOR SMALL, VERY SPECIALIZED FLEETS, IN GENERAL IT WILL NOT BRING THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES FOR SAVINGS AND PERFORMANCE AS A COMPREHENSIVE PARTNERSHIP WITH A FLEET MANAGEMENT COMPANY (FMC).
3 PITFALLS OF SELF-MANAGEMENT
Telematics. Maintenance. Fuel management. Industry black books. Software to track total cost of ownership. There are so many individual solutions to help you manage your fleet. Use them properly, and you’ll be able to make smart, informed decisions about reducing maintenance costs and making your drivers more productive. However, while these cobbled-together solutions provide incremental gains, they often leave a lot of the heavy lifting to you and your team–which may leave several key opportunities on the table.
1. ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN
With so much going on, it’s easy for your team to get bogged down in the day-to-day management of your fleet. Unfortunately, this often leaves little time to actually use the data your programs have collected.
The lack of long-term strategic planning can leave your fleet exposed to risk–and you may end up paying too much for vehicles and core services.
2. LACK OF DATA INSIGHTS
You might have a good amount of data about your fleet – but do you know how to use it to improve your performance? For example, if you’re tracking mileage, routes and fuel usage, how do you use this data to save time and money?
Deeper analysis can let you know if you’re paying too much for fuel or missing out on residual value when you trade in.
3. NO TOOLS TO ADAPT
No tools to adapt. When you manage your fleet on your own, your focus is often on day-to- day tasks. You may not have the broader industry view to adapt to changing conditions.
As a result, you may be unable to add vehicles when you need to grow or sell vehicles at the most opportune time during an unexpected downturn.
HOW DO YOU BRING EVERYTHING TOGETHER–AND HELP YOUR TEAM REFOCUS ON WAYS TO DRIVE YOUR FLEET FORWARD? ONE OF THE WAYS IS WITH A PARTNERSHIP WITH AN FMC.
HOW A FLEET MANAGEMENT PARTNERSHIP CAN IMPROVE YOUR FLEET
The best fleet management company will not replace your existing infrastructure, but will act as an extension of your business. The right fleet management partner will work side-by-side with you to help you make your fleet an even more valuable asset for your organization.
It’s not easy to bring in outside help for something that is such an ingrained, specialized part of your everyday job. However, fleet management companies bring a level of integrated, specialized expertise that standalone fleet technology programs simply cannot match.
The best fleet management companies bring close relationships with networks of dealers and repair shops, along with integrated technology solutions that bring new data and insight into every decision. Perhaps more importantly, the most effective FMCs bring outside strategic perspective based on deep industry data.
THIS DATA, AND THE ASSOCIATED EXPERTISE TO DRIVE BETTER DECISIONS, ULTIMATELY BECOMES ONE OF THE BIGGEST ADVANTAGES TO HAVING A FLEET MANAGEMENT PARTNER ON YOUR SIDE.
LET DATA DRIVE YOUR FLEET FORWARD
There’s a lot of data involved in maintaining a fleet–and a fleet management partner like Enterprise Fleet Management can help you make sense of it all. You’ll gain new insight into what the numbers mean for your organization and your fleet. Moreover, you gain access to benchmark data comparing your fleet’s performance against others in your industry, with a similar fleet make-up or geography.
For example, you may discover that your fleet is spending on average six cents per mile on maintenance. That might sound good until you learn similar fleets in your area spend an average of four cents per mile.
A fleet management partner can connect you with telematics solutions to better track mileage and engine alerts to ensure timely maintenance routines are followed. You may also gain access to a preferred repair shop network that can lower your repair costs and guarantee timely services to get your drivers back on the road.
Another example: selecting vehicles for your fleet can be a difficult process. Emotional factors and personal preferences often play a role. A fleet management company can help you take the guesswork out of the process, measuring lifetime costs, features, availability, estimated future resale values and other factors to determine the right vehicles for the right tasks within your fleet, and even the right times to bring them on board.
This level of insight goes beyond what most procurement managers can tackle and frees your team to look beyond immediate acquisition costs to ensure you’re always making the smartest decisions for your fleet.
LET DATA DRIVE YOUR FLEET FORWARD THE BEST FLEET MANAGEMENT PARTNERS WILL CONSIDER TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP, MEASURING A VEHICLE’S EXPENSE ACROSS ITS ENTIRE LIFETIME, INCLUDING ACQUISITION, MAINTENANCE AND FORECAST TRADE-IN VALUES.
PROGRESS AT YOUR OWN PACE.
Even if this isn’t the right time to start a full-service partnership with an FMC, there’s still opportunity for incremental improvement as you outsource some aspects of your fleet management.
There may be situations where full service may not be feasible. Perhaps you have existing vendor contracts. Or union relationships that may preclude turning over maintenance, fuel management or other tasks to an FMC. That’s OK – you can still design a customized partnership with an FMC like Enterprise Fleet Management that includes the services you need to optimize your fleet.
However, one of the biggest roadblocks to FMC partnerships is often internal inertia. It’s much easier to keep doing what you’re doing, and fear of the unknown can hold you back from improving your program. In these cases, it may make sense to take small steps as you transition to a full-service model.
This may involve moving some aspects of fleet management to a professional fleet management company. For example, Enterprise Fleet Management offers the option to add client-owned vehicles (COV) to the management program, in addition to leased vehicles. Adding a telematics program to your leased vehicles is a great entry point to start measuring fleet performance, while evaluating the value of a prospective partnership.
You may also be able to work with a prospective FMC to craft a pilot acquisition strategy, testing logistics and delivery before you roll out the approach to your entire fleet.
These incremental steps may slow the benefits you’ll see under an FMC’s full-service model; however, they can go a long way to getting buy-in from key decision- makers and employee groups who can later become your fleet’s biggest advocates.
THE RIGHT FMC WILL SEE THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO PROVE ITS ABILITY TO DELIVER VALUE TO YOUR FLEET AND WILL WORK WITH YOU TO CRAFT A CUSTOM SET OF SOLUTIONS THAT HELP YOU BUILD A BETTER FLEET TODAY AND SET THE STAGE FOR A BROADER ENGAGEMENT TOMORROW.
WHY ENTERPRISE MAKES SENSE
From the first time you call Enterprise Fleet Management, you’ll discover we are a true business partner. With more than 50 offices across the country, we have a local support team ready to make sure you have the data, insight and tools you need to meet your fleet’s goals.
As time goes by, your dedicated Client Strategy Manager will check in with you on a regular basis to adjust as your business needs change.
One of our hallmarks is clear, transparent communication. Our goal is to keep you and your drivers informed about what is going on with your fleet at all times. This improves adoption of and adherence to new policies and has been proven to drive long- term, positive results.