Considering the fleet managers’ numerous time-consuming daily responsibilities, they endlessly run out of time in the workday. It’s safe to say if there were 48 hours in a day, fleet managers would have little trouble finding tasks to fill the time. With too few hours coupled with a never-ending list of “to-dos,” fleet managers must take advantage of every minute in the hours they do have—the solution: effectively managing their time and energy to improve their productivity.
Ineffective time management in today’s ever-changing and always challenging business climate is a risk no fleet manager can afford to take. So it’s imperative to have solutions in place that overcome the numerous challenges that impact fleet manager productivity.
Time is money; wasted time wastes money. Let’s take a brief look at four key fleet manager productivity challenges and the solutions to overcome them to ensure your time works for you.
One of the top causes of lost fleet manager productivity, inefficient processes waste valuable time and money. A top priority for fleet managers is to ensure their operations run as effectively and efficiently as possible.
The solution is to have outside partners to help manage critical areas such as fuel management, maintenance, vehicle acquisition/remarketing, safety, and compliance. Outsourcing the management of these areas gives you the freedom to concentrate on significant picture areas and goals.
Outside partners work with you to help determine the structures and best practices needed to create more efficient processes for these areas. Not only do you get the advantage of their experience and expertise, but you are also freed from the tedious and time-consuming task of building these processes alone and from the ground up and have more time to concentrate on significant picture areas and goals.
Poor Data Management
Effectively managing data is key to growth and profitability. Fleets generate all kinds of data points, including fuel transactions, maintenance, vehicles, drivers, etc. When managed correctly, data can provide valuable insight into fleet operations. The problem is there is so much data that it can be overwhelming. Often fleet managers spend enormous amounts of time managing the data rather than using it to develop strategies.
The solution is to identify critical issues that will define success for your fleet. Once you identify these, you can then determine the data metrics that will help you make more informed decisions that lay the groundwork for winning strategies. This process allows you to spend more time on the data that matters most and moves you along a more straightforward path to successfully executing your plan and achieving organizational goals.
Time-Consuming Administrative Tasks
Handling routine administrative tasks can create productivity headwinds, and the costs can quickly add up. The more time that fleet managers spend on these everyday activities means less time spent on revenue-generating activities that grow the bottom line.
One solution is to get rid of paper-based systems. A digitized workflow will allow you to complete administrative tasks in less time, reduce miscommunication and other human errors, and automate tasks such as billing, sending jobs to drivers, scheduling deliveries, sending maintenance reminders, and performing vehicle inspections.
Another solution is outsourcing administrative and routine daily tasks, which can provide numerous bottom-line benefits. For starters, your outsourcing partner supports the financial and productivity goals of your organization. Next, outsourcing gives you more time to concentrate on higher-level responsibilities, such as analysis and reporting. And finally, outsourcing eliminates the need for additional headcount, which allows you to use current staff for more strategic and income-generating functions.
Being a Tactical Fleet Manager
The productive fleet manager’s role is now shifting from a tactical management style to a more strategic style. Solely tactical fleet managers often fall into these productivity-draining traps:
- Focusing on the short term
- Administering to a fleet policy that they did not create
- Repeating manual tasks
- Relying on personal fleet and industry experience to make decisions rather than relying on data
- Carrying out change defined by others
The solution is improving your productivity and effectiveness by adopting a more strategic management style where you:
- Define your vision for the next three to five years
- Ensure the fleet policy is updated and compatible with company culture and objectives, supported by leadership, and acknowledged by drivers
- Leverage technology to automate repeatable tasks
- Use metrics to anticipate problems
- Make data-driven decisions even if they conflict with personal experience
- Define new and innovative programs and technology