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Tips for first time fleet managers

The role of fleet manager brings with it many challenges and expectations.

There’s no substitute for experience

Formal education, work experience and previous employment in the field can all offer valuable insights into the position and while it is natural for new managers to feel they must immediately display their skills, taking advice from industry veterans is always the first step to success.

Every business functions differently and it is important that any new employee gains a full, in-depth understanding of the company structure before attempting to implement change. Particular company protocol can sometimes appear peculiar to an outsider but may turn out to be the most effective arrangement.

Listen to the staff

As fleet manager, never forget that ensuring staff are able to carry out their duties to the best of their ability is your primary concern. Always ask yourself whether your decisions are in the best interest of the staff. Be a listener and respond in a clear, fair and consistent manner. Regular consultation can help boost relationships and confirm everyone is seeing eye-to-eye.

The fleet should be tailored to your company’s requirements rather than structured to fit a predetermined programme and it is imperative that managers use personal judgement and staff feedback to provide each employee with an appropriate vehicle.

Organise and optimise

One of the key roles of a fleet manager is tracking and organising fleet data and it goes without saying that staying in control of this enormous daily influx of data is of prime importance. When taking on the role of fleet manager, analyse company records to identify company achievements and failures. A fresh perspective can root out obsolete habits.

Centralise fleet management software and store information in a simple, practical system. Recording and analysing financial data is the only way to optimise your funding. Monitoring internal performance will be another important duty for your attention.

Be proactive about maintenance

A well-formulated maintenance plan is the best strategy for ensuring longer vehicle life cycles, roadworthiness and savings whilst also keeping employees safe. Reducing the amount of time that vehicles remain off the road is vital to keeping a business flowing and productive. Developing a predictive maintenance plan is the most effective strategy for managing large fleets; however, this requires a skilful balance to avoid excessive or overdue maintenance.

Although it is essential that fleet managers appear approachable, a stringent set of standards for drivers must be produced. Present contract obligations in a clear and understandable format so that employees are aware of the expectations of the company regarding car use.

Think ahead

It is a common mistake for inexperienced fleet managers to devote their attention entirely to present proceedings. By analysing industry trends and observing factors such as rapidly improving technology, environmental regulations and the rising cost of fuel, a company can place themselves in a favourable position moving forward. Implementing the transition to greener practices has numerous long-term benefits including highlighting the company’s progressive identity.

For advice on how to manage your fleet, contact ACVM on 0141 332 2626.

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