Any organization that relies on vehicles to do business needs a strong fleet strategy. Taking time to come up with a plan that makes sense can help you manage costs and maintain standards by ensuring your fleet is fit to carry out the tasks required with maximum efficiency.
Furthermore, in the current era of environmental accountability and public expectation for businesses to show a commitment to 'going green', it's important that your fleet management plan includes measures to track and reduce harmful emissions.
What is a fleet strategy?
Your fleet strategy is your plan for ensuring the business can access the vehicles it needs to function on a day-to-day basis, with maximum reliability and efficiency. Keeping fleet costs to a minimum without sacrificing standards can contribute massively to your overall performance and success as a business.
Moreover, a carefully planned, regularly updated strategy can help you mitigate the impact your vehicles have on the environment and keep you in line with the latest rules and regulations.
Key aspects of a fleet strategy include:
- Vehicles - the type of vehicles you own, how many you need and how you plan to manage and maintain them
- Replacement frequency - timeframes to replace vehicles, taking into account the cost of replacement versus the cost of maintaining existing and older vehicles
- Efficiency - outlining plans and goals to achieve high levels of efficiency, particularly in terms of fuel consumption, costs and environmental impact
- Departmental collaboration - how fleet management works with respect to the various business departments, such as HR and finance
Effective fleet management
There are various actions and measures you can introduce to optimize your fleet management, all of which can deliver valuable business benefits.
One of the most important steps is to put clear guidelines and policies in place relating to the operation of the fleet. This helps ensure that everyone - from frontline workers, team members and the people actually using the vehicles, all the way up to senior managers and decision-makers - understands the business rationale behind the fleet and how it’s used.
Similarly, it's advisable to have established processes in place to support your policy. Drivers, for example, should be well aware of the procedures they’re expected to follow when it comes to refueling and general use of the vehicle.
Another crucial aspect of fleet management is vehicle selection. Your fleet is a big investment, so you want to have maximum confidence that the vehicles you choose are well-suited to your needs. When making your decision, consider the following criteria:
- Basic ability of the vehicle to fulfil your commercial requirements
- Whole life costs, including depreciation
- Fuel economy
- Potential costs of servicing, maintenance and repairs
It's also important that your fleet management plan includes measures to monitor the performance of your fleet and the people operating the vehicles, with a focus on continuous improvement. Regular tracking of metrics like fuel costs, frequency of safety incidents and vehicle inspection results will give you insights into where you can make changes to deliver positive outcomes.
Using strategy to reduce CO2 emissions
Perhaps most significantly of all right now - considering that environmental responsibility and sustainability are growing in importance for many firms - a strong fleet strategy can help you minimize carbon emissions and be a greener business.
Regularly revisiting your strategy and looking for opportunities to drive efficiency and eco-friendliness can help you comply with changing regulations and improve perceptions of your brand.
Furthermore, there are opportunities to cut costs by reducing fuel consumption and avoiding the emissions charges that are payable in built-up areas like central London.
Here are some of the specific measures you can incorporate into your fleet strategy to mitigate your impact on the environment:
- Introduce electric or alternative-fuel vehicles
- Develop a vehicle-sharing plan for drivers
- Optimize route planning to reduce mileage
- Offer incentives to drivers who find the best routes and other ways to reduce their mileage
- Provide driver training on fuel efficiency and effective driving strategies
- Use telematics to monitor driver behavior and see where improvements can be made
As well as giving rise to various cost and commercial advantages for the business, measures such as these can demonstrate to customers, competitors and regulators that you’re committed to the efficient management of your fleet and the reduction of harmful emissions.
They’ll also set you on the right path to becoming a more sustainable and responsible organization.