For many businesses, transport is a requirement but not a strength. While transport most likely isn’t your core business, you still need to ensure you are doing right, explains Walter Scremin.
Do you really want to become a fleet manager? Unfortunately, few businesses ask this question, and end up becoming the classic ‘reluctant fleet manager’, dealing with driver absenteeism, vehicle breakdowns, maintenance and delivery schedules when it’s the last thing they want to do. Here are five common characteristics of the ‘reluctant fleet manager’.
1. Not knowing a fleet’s real costs: Measuring a fleet’s exact running cost is difficult, due to many unpredictable and hidden expenses. But until this is done, the fleet will be a financial drag on the business. The answer requires expertise and honesty. You have to locate many minor costs which add up to become large expenses, and then brace for the shock of how much the fleet really is costing you.
2. Too many, or too few, resources: Reluctant fleet managers either have vans and trucks gathering dust because they aren’t busy enough or employees unable to cope with the delivery loads. They either have delivery drivers looking for other work to keep busy, or they drag staff from other duties to run deliveries during busy times. Either scenario is a poor result for your business.
3. Wasted management time: Reluctant fleet managers suffer greatly from having management distracted from their core business due to fleet issues. If this doesn’t seem such a big deal, then consider the cost involved of taking management away from what they do best, and wasting endless hours chasing up fleet problems.
4. Drivers are friends or family: Employing a relative or a ‘friend of a friend’ as driver because he is a good bloke is common. But business should never underestimate the value a professional driver can bring to the role. For many companies the driver is the only regular face-to-face contact with customers.
5. Not tracking performance: GPS technology isn’t new, but the reluctant fleet manager is unlikely to implement it, even though this technology can potentially improve efficiency to the point that more deliveries can be achieved with the same resources.
Walter Scremin is General Manager of Ontime Group.
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