Asset and fleet management is critical to the success of any freight company. However, fleet and asset management also represents one of the biggest pain points for business leaders within the trucking industry.
This reality should come as no surprise, as maintaining real-time visibility of available assets and then deciding how to allocate those assets can be a nightmarishly difficult balancing act.
If you are involved in your organization’s fleet management processes, then you know exactly what this means. The good news is that you can improve your asset management capabilities by leveraging a few key tips, as outlined below.
What Is Fleet and Asset Management?
Fleet and asset management refers to various processes involved in monitoring, allocating and deploying fleet assets. Some of these assets include semi trucks, trailers, containers and specialized support vehicles.
Due to the complexities involved with asset management, many businesses have elected to partner with fleet management companies. While the specific services these entities provide vary greatly, most provide both fleet and asset management software.
In addition to providing fleet and asset management software, many of these companies also help clients create management strategies, establish replacement protocols and refine existing processes.
10 Steps to Improve Fleet and Asset Management
By leveraging the following proven tactics, businesses can optimize their fleet management capabilities.
Create a Long-Term Strategy
A great strategy is the cornerstone of any business improvement initiative. This reality holds true when discussing ways to improve asset management capabilities as well.
The strategy should include the following information:
- Short and long-term goals
- Current pain points
- A plan for addressing noted deficiencies
- A timetable for accomplishing each objective
Each long-term strategy serves as the company’s roadmap for optimizing your fleet. Your strategy should help organizational leadership members stay focused on the most important goals while providing guidance regarding how you can achieve those goals.
Max Out Asset Utilization
The term asset utilization refers to the percentage of your equipment — whether that be trucks, trailers or other types of equipment — that is actively being used. The goal is to achieve a 100% utilization rate, which means that all of your equipment and vehicles are being used for the purpose of generating revenue for your business at all times.
Conversely, if your utilization rate is low, you will have assets that are not only unused but that are actively depreciating in value. This is the opposite of the goal.
Establish Vehicle Replacement Protocols
As vehicles age, they operate with less efficiency. Additionally, repair costs will begin to pile up, and these vehicles will be regarded as being out of service quite frequently.
On that note, it is important that you establish clear vehicle replacement protocols. These protocols should outline the mileage or age thresholds that a vehicle must meet before they can be replaced. Establishing these guidelines will help you reduce total repair expenses while keeping your fleet utilization rate high.
Do More Preventive Maintenance
If your goal is to keep your vehicles on the road, as it should be, then you must adhere to rigorous preventive maintenance schedules. This approach includes regular oil and filter changes, brake replacements, inspections and various other preventative maintenance efforts.
Strictly follow all of the manufacturer-recommended maintenance protocols. By doing so, you can minimize vehicle downtime and reduce the likelihood of incurring major repair expenses.
Modern technology, such as fleet management software, GPS devices, electronic logging devices (ELDs) and the like, has made it possible to track everything. You can monitor information, including vehicle speed, location, the direction of travel, engine performance and so much more.
This data provides real-time visibility of your supply chain. In turn, this can help your business operate with increased efficiency, serve clients better and hit key milestones.
Encourage Safe Driving
Protecting your assets is a key facet of fleet management. With that in mind, fleet managers should proactively encourage staff to practice safe driving habits. Leaders can do this by providing training opportunities, instituting rewards programs and implementing technologies designed to monitor activities.
Know Your Ownership Costs
Fleet managers can set spending thresholds and remain within their budgetary limits by knowing what their ownership costs include. Ownership or operating costs should account for a multitude of different expenses, such as fuel, maintenance, repairs and new equipment purchases.
Put Strong Company Policies in Place
It is virtually impossible to hold drivers and other staff members accountable if the company has not taken a clear stance on the company’s key issues. Therefore, businesses must establish strong, transparent policies regarding training requirements, vehicle maintenance expectations and driver behavior.
Geofencing involves creating virtual fences using fleet management software. When vehicles go outside of these customizable fences, the fleet manager will be notified. This set-up allows management to precisely track all vehicles and other assets to maintain total fleet visibility.
Invest in High-Quality Fleet Management Software
Fleet management software includes a full suite of tools and technologies designed to assist fleet managers. These tools include monitoring software, tracking features, geofencing functionality and other solutions.
By investing in quality fleet and asset management software, businesses can gain superior visibility over their assets and streamline their management processes.
Use a Multifaceted Approach For Effective Fleet Management
Each of the aforementioned tips and tricks can help you better manage your fleet when implemented on an individual level. Implementing a fleet management software solution can be especially beneficial.
However, combining multiple tips and tricks will yield the most significant results for your organization. You will experience measurable improvements in efficiency, client satisfaction, utilization rate and, of course, profitability.
The most pragmatic way to keep track of fleet vehicles is to invest in GPS solutions that provide real-time data about the vehicle’s location, speed and direction of travel.
Succeeding in asset management requires a multifaceted approach. More specifically, you will need to pair experienced management personnel with quality technologies and a great game plan.
A great fleet manager can provide real-time visibility into your available assets. They can also assist with asset allocation, scheduling and other activities that directly impact productivity.