Find out what fleet management is, who is responsible for it and what successful fleet management looks like. To keep informed, get our free 2021 Fleet Management Guide for Beginners as well.
A fleet is any unit of vehicles, aircrafts or ships that operate together under the same ownership. The term fleet management is most commonly referred to as the management of a fleet of vehicles (vans, cars and lorries).
What is Fleet
Fleet management refers to the administration, monitoring and coordination of a fleet. For each individual fleet car, fleet management can consist of all of the following tasks:
- Vehicle maintenance
- Licensing and insurance handling
- Compliance with relevant laws and regulations (e.g. health and safety legislation)
- Damage and accident management
- Fuel management
- Vehicle telematics
- Vehicle resale/return to leasing agency
- Driver management
Fleet management is applicable to companies with a small, medium, or large inventory of cars and is hugely relevant in vehicle-related sectors such as taxi companies, rescue organisations and shipping companies.
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Make sure you know the essential tips on how to save money and manage your fleet as best as possible. Download our Beginners Guide to Fleet Management:
The Fleet Manager
A fleet manager is the employee responsible for vehicle fleet management. Whether the fleet be large or small, there are a wide range of topics - each requiring deep knowledge - that every manager of a fleet should cover. Below are some of the core tasks of a fleet manager, broken down:
- Purchasing or leasing of the fleet
- Negotiating the terms of purchase/leasing agreements
- Vehicle management (e.g. tires and repairs)
- Eventual disposal management
- Parking ticket management
- Management of ‘smart repairs’
- Tank fraud
- Theft protection
- Analyses of fleet’s health and safety and accident prevention
- MOT checks
- Communication with drivers
- Mileage tracking
- Driver license check
- Definition of ‘fair wear and tear’ on company cars
- Environmental protection measures
- Cost containment through low fleet carbon emission: limited taxation and fuel consumption
With Vimcar's fleet management software you can:
1. Save up to 15% on fleet related costs
2. Boost productivity by up to 30%
3. Save up to 60% on fleet-related time
Find out exactly how your business could save time, money and hassle by downloading our free brochure.
In the best case scenario, the manager of a company’s fleet is a fleet manager. That said, many companies do not have the luxury to have a designated vehicle fleet manager. In those cases, the tasks of a fleet manager are usually undertaken by staff in the accounting, finance or operations department or by the company director.
When fleet management is only a part of someone's job, reliable fleet management software is often key to alleviate some of the complexities of managing a fleet. Such software can simplify administrative tasks, help create a highly optimised fleet and therefore save the company money.
In fact, fleet software has made such strides in improving the cost and hassle associated with fleet management in the last few years, that even designated fleet managers are installing software into their fleet.
Fleet management has been digitalised to such an extent that, sometimes, the term ‘fleet management’ itself refers exclusively to a fleet software and what it can do for a fleet.
A critical component of all good car fleet management technology is vehicle tracking, made possible by GPS technology. A piece of hardware has to be installed in fleet vehicles which records data at regular intervals and saves it for later retrieval or forwards it to a server. The data transmission can be either terrestrial or satellite-based.
This software gives an exact location of all vehicles in a fleet, at all times. Some of the practical implications, that enhances fleet management in business, are named below (see Fleet Management Software Solutions).
A fleet management company offer services to help business improve their fleet management services. Most fleet management companies offer a way to help digitalise with fleet management software.
Using features (some of which are named in a section below), there are various, everyday solutions that car fleet management companies can offer you:
- Prevent Vehicle Misuse. Be notified of potential unauthorised use and keep track of how your drivers operate.
- Find the Right Drivers. Easily locate and dispatch your nearest vehicles to customers: deliver a quicker, more efficient service.
- Improve Customer Service. Deliver to more customers in one day, with a more efficient fleet, and give them real-time data on ETAs.
- Optimise Routes. Gain intuitive access to your fleet’s route history. Avoid route overlaps, time-wasting stops and unnecessarily long journeys.
- Cut Costs. Save time and money with Fleet Geo. Save up to 15% on costs and 60% on time.
- Protect Against Theft. Track your vehicles’ live locations and customise our alerts to be notified of any suspicious activity.
Here are a few things you should look out for when evaluating a fleet management company's profile:
No hidden costs
One price might be more expensive than you first think. Some costs that fleet management companies tend to hide include the price of shipping the hardware, installation, administration charges, cancellation and de-installation.
It is vital that you buy from a fleet management company whose product can easily fit into your day to day business. A good clue is if the fleet management company offers self-installation. If a fleet management company's hardware can be quickly self-installed, that is a good sign.
Quality customer service
Part of whether a fleet management company's product is easy-to-use also centres around the quality of their customer service. In order to make sure you can set up the product quickly and use it efficiently in the long term, the company's customer service must be personal and available.
Of course, price is always important. Once the hidden costs are clear to you, try and find the pricing plan that works for you: whether you are open to a longer, multi-year contract or would prefer a shorter-term, monthly contract.
Vimcar offers much of what is outlined above. Including, flexible pricing (starting at just £7.90) with no hidden costs, a dedicated customer support agent per customer, self-installation and an easy-to-use product.
If you are interested in exploring our product, feel free to get our brochure:
Features of Vehicle
Fleet Management Software
You can view your vehicles’ route history with exact coordinates, including any stops made and the duration of each job. A fleet manager is then able to find any gaps in route efficiency and optimise the fleet accordingly.
Find The Nearest Vehicle
Locate and dispatch your nearest vehicles to a drop off/pick up request, provide accurate ETAs to clients and respond to last minute changes - essentially, be able to provide improved customer service.
You can protect your fleet by receiving live alerts whenever a vehicle moves beyond a designated area or turns on outside of working hours.
Create virtual barriers around specified locations and be notified when a vehicle leaves or enters that barrier, giving you more control over your fleet and allowing you to be notified when high-priority clients are served.
You can set up time restrictions (and be notified when they are exceeded) to help drivers stay within legal HOS limitations.
See which vehicles are on the road and which are on the premises of a business, and assign parking spots accordingly. This makes it easier for your drivers to find parking.
Download all the raw data recorded by the fleet management system and put them to practical use. Instantly create employee time sheets or mileage trackers.
Finding the right fleet software to help with fleet management is not easy. There are several options on the market ranging in price and capability.
Especially for those who are new to digitised fleet management, consumers often prioritise fleet software that is easy to use, not expensive and has a proven track record of reliability and success at fleet management optimisation.
Vimcar’s award-winning fleet management and tracking software is the market leader in Germany. It's well-known for its user-friendly software and its hardware that can be self-installed in minutes. For those wanting more support, Vimcar’s free onboarding and direct customer assistance is also available.
Fleet management will probably face far-reaching changes in the future. A clearly emerging trend is, for example, the increase in corporate car sharing (also called business car sharing or commercial car sharing). Corporate car sharing is the shared and organised use of one or more vehicles.
Leasing, too, is becoming more prevalent and is replacing the ‘buying’ of cars, in the traditional sense. Leasing is comparatively inexpensive and offers a high degree of planning security - the variety of leasing options will likely continue to grow.
Beyond this, there is a clear push, for fleet management to be more environmentally focussed. Electric fleet vehicles, for example, are more popular every year. This is largely financially motivated. A fleet that has a smaller carbon footprint often pays significantly less in taxes and fuel consumption.
In general, most trends seem to point in one direction: continued digitalisation. Now, when asking ‘what is fleet management?’ you must also ask what is ‘digital fleet management’. Fleet technology digitsalises, consolidates and drastically simplifies the administrative tasks surrounding a more complex company car and leasing environment. To help with this, fleel free to download our company car policy template.
Software currently on the market also makes fleets more efficient and greener and therefore less expensive to run.
All over the world, company fleets are going green, in part because of a renewed focus on sustainability. Nowadays, customers are enthusiastic to patronise businesses that adopt eco-friendly practices.
You too can benefit from this by reducing your company’s carbon footprint. Find out below how fleet management services can help you do that.
The burning of fossil fuels remains a huge driver of pollution in the world. Reducing fuel consumption would help decrease emissions. The Fleet Geo tracker can help you plan delivery routes ahead so your drivers can cut time spent in traffic. That allows for lower fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions, which ultimately means less pollution.
A good fleet management services software will give you details of your car’s route history and real-time location. Based on this data, you can streamline future fleet operations to cut down on inefficiency. For example, if a particular road is prone to gridlock, you can optimise future routes to avoid that area.
In addition, increased efficiency helps with last-minute calls from customers. Tracking your fleet lets you know which vehicle is closer, so your drivers don’t waste time on the road.
By cutting down on your fleet’s inefficiency, fleet management services reduce carbon emissions and makes your fleet greener.
Governments are encouraging citizens to reduce their use of vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint. You can contribute to this by making sure your employees don’t use vehicles for non-business purposes.
This is possible when you use the geofencing feature on your car fleet management service's GPS tracker. Geofencing will alert you when your driver moves outside the predetermined route. That way, you can easily know when your driver is increasing your firm’s carbon emissions with needless road trips.
Clean Air Zones (CAZ) are areas that have strict laws regarding vehicle emissions. Passing through such areas — especially if your vehicle is a high-emissions vehicle — may earn your business fines from the government.
Fleet management systems can help you plan your fleet’s itinerary in advance and handle CAZ better. You can even create a geofence so drivers can get alerts when any of your vehicles enter CAZ areas.
Green fleets are on the rise. Why don’t you join the train and increase your company’s sustainability efforts by investing in Fleet Geo today?
More on: Car Fleet Management Tasks
In the rapidly growing business terrain, fleet managers play a crucial role in industries relevant to vehicle-related sectors. Besides optimising transportation operations and overseeing vehicle maintenance, they work with other key departments to meet budgeting and organisational priorities. Here are some of the primary duties of fleet managers.
1. Record Accurate Information on Fleets
Fleet managers record and maintain correct data concerning company vehicles. Simply put, they keep a detailed history for every car in their fleet.
And that’s not all, they also examine the recorded data and extrapolate possible problems and solutions from this information. This allows them to change a travel schedule or reroute vehicles when needed.
2. Driver Retention
With driver shortages being on the rise, fleet managers help organisations stabilise and increase driver retention. By improving workplace conditions, creating mentorship programs, or simply building trust between drivers and the management, they pin down different ways to ensure drivers are satisfied and happy.
3. Fleet Tracking
To ensure vehicle and driver safety, fleet managers should know the exact location of company cars at any given time. This might seem simple enough, but the truth is tracking these vehicles can be a challenging feat regardless of the number of vehicles in the fleet.
That's where fleet management software comes in. Fleet managers mainly depend on GPS technology and other tracking systems to increase their vehicle safety and streamline their fleet operation.
4. Set Up Maintenance Schedules
It's the responsibility of fleet managers to ensure that company vehicles are in top shape to perform their various functions. This can be achieved by setting up a maintenance schedule. The service department often does vehicle maintenance.
External auto-service centers can also perform maintenance besides providing spare parts when needed. Through maintenance services, your cars will not only work flawlessly but also deliver services and products at a minimal cost.
5. Vehicle Acquisition
Fleet managers need to forecast the number and type of vehicles your fleet will need to operate effectively. You might think it's easy to purchase a new car when the need arises.
However, understanding and forecasting fleet utilisation is essential in formulating a purchase strategy. Market timing, vehicle lifecycle, and employee eligibility for a type of vehicle class all list among the crucial factors that contribute to an efficient vehicle acquisition strategy.
6. Total Cost Reduction
Another essential task for fleet managers is to identify and eliminate unnecessary expenses to help organisations create more efficient and cost-effective fleet operations. Your company's maintenance, operational, and fuel costs can quickly add up.
That's why you need a fleet manager to instate fuel efficiency programs or fleet management software to help your company increase productivity. These play a pivotal role in determining cost-effective solutions for your business.
7. Establish Situational Measures for Potential Problems
Fleet managers understand how various issues can prevent your fleet from delivering services on time. They can devise situational plans and solutions when problems arise. A good fleet manager should have detailed plans for conditions like traffic crashes, vehicle breakdowns, and other incidents that may happen while vehicles are traveling to their destination.
More on Fleet Management Software
Although fleet managers can efficiently manage your vehicles, dependable fleet management software is critical to alleviating fleet management complexities. This software helps create an optimised fleet, plus simplifies administrative tasks, and thus saving the company money.
You have to install a piece of hardware in your vehicles which records and saves data at regular intervals for later retrieval. Data transmission can be either satellite or terrestrial-based.
Skills Needed to Be a Fleet Manager
Car fleet management is a critical part of modern business. Most businesses rely on vehicles to deliver services and products to customers. That's why these fleets need to be managed appropriately.
Contrary to peoples' opinion, fleet management is a complex role that needs wearing different hats and wearing them well. Although most fleet managers enjoy long, exciting careers, they require specific skills to thrive in their businesses.
From communicating with an array of individuals to multi-tasking, fleet managers need to possess many dynamic qualities and to be well-versed in various disciplines.
Great Time Management Skills
The best fleet managers must know how to manage time efficiently. With many customers ranging from drivers to upper management, they have to satisfy everyone's needs while ensuring they're running smoothly. A great fleet manager can prioritise the most vital things without being side-lined by emergencies.
In tandem with being masters of time management, the best fleet managers are goal-oriented in every aspect of fleet management. Besides that, they employ metrics like fuel management to increase productivity continually.
By dedicating their time to achieve specific results, fleet managers govern their operations effectively. This, in turn, drives them to be creative in tackling the ever-changing challenges of managing fleets.
Ability to Multitask
A fleet manager needs to know how to handle their various obligations smoothly and simultaneously. They should balance everything for the fleet to run efficiently. With handling the management, suppliers, and drivers, fleet managers need to juggle various challenges and demands. Otherwise, their time as fleet managers might be short-lived.
Strong Communication Skills.
A fleet manager should be able to conceptualise ideas and efficiently communicate them both in writing and orally. Besides, it's wise for them to convincingly articulate their thoughts to their colleagues at any management level. This gives them an easy time communicating the fleet's needs and a receptive platform when proposing new initiatives and programs.
Patient and Flexible
Patience is undoubtedly a virtue of a good fleet manager. Any fleet manager, especially the newbies in the industry, should understand that it often takes time for senior positions to recognise their contribution.
Additionally, they should be able to adapt to changing business trends through strategic planning. This is because of the highly dynamic industry that's constantly evolving. So, fleet managers must adapt as necessary to get the job done right.
The best fleet managers are resourceful and innovative, thinking out of the box to develop new ideas. By thinking about the future and being proactive, they're able to prepare for challenges and opportunities.
Since your company's success rests on their shoulders, fleet managers should be accountable for maintaining vehicles, policies, and programs. They must understand the importance of playing their roles effectively and taking their responsibilities seriously.
What's a Fleet Management Company?
A fleet management company provides services to help improve your fleet management services. Most of these companies offer a way to digitise through fleet management software. Some of the benefits that a fleet management company brings forth include:
- Improve customer service
- Cut costs
- Prevent vehicle misuse
- Optimise routes
- Find the right drivers
Factors to Consider When Looking for Car Fleet Management Providers
With thousands of fleet management companies out there, pinning down one that's suitable for your organisation can be pretty challenging. But there's no need to panic. Here are some of the things you need to consider when choosing a fleet management company.
Remember that it's crucial to deal with a company whose products can fit into your company's day-to-day operations. A good sign to look for is whether that company offers self-installation or not.
No hidden costs
It would help if you were extra careful when it comes to making payments. One price might be way too high than you think. So, avoid going for a fleet management company that doesn't offer administration, installation, and de-installation charges.
Otherwise, you might end up spending more in the long run. Also, remember to find a pricing plan that suits you best. A reliable company should offer multiple pricing plans ranging from long-term contracts to short-term, besides monthly contracts.
Quality customer service
Knowing whether you can work with a particular company also depends on their customer service. The company's customer service should be personalised and available at all times. That way, you can rest easy knowing that you'll use the software effectively for years to come,
Today, Fleet management has been made easier and more efficient through management software. It helps you gain real-time visibility into your day-to-day operations while increasing your drivers' satisfaction.
Don't be left out. Take advantage of Vimcar's top-rated products to optimise your fleet for a more effective and productive operation.