“Fleet and transport managers have one of the most complex roles in an organisation, and certainly one of the most responsible. Every day brings new challenges and an abundance of risks.
It’s easy to see why the core requirement of fleet management is ensuring you have reliable data, sound procedures and a robust audit trail of all activity.”
Fleet managers play a vital role in any organisation with a fleet of vehicles. AES FLEET explains their role.
Fleet managers, also known as transportation managers, play a vital role in any organisation with a fleet of vehicles.
A well-managed fleet means logistics being carried out on time, savings being made, and company safety and compliance are met.
What does a fleet manager do?
Fleet managers are responsible for handling all facets of fleet activities within an organisation. This includes vehicle maintenance, managing drivers, negotiating with suppliers, and more.
Key responsibilities and duties of a fleet manager
Some of the key responsibilities of a fleet manager include:
Recordkeeping – mostly electronic recordkeeping, although there will likely be some physical copies of legal and vehicle documents involved.
Managing team members – a fleet manager is responsible for drivers and team members.
Negotiating with Suppliers – there are huge savings to be made for skilled negotiators and managers who build their network and relationships with clients.
Maintaining compliance – meeting compliance responsibilities improve driver safety by reducing the risk of accidents. As well as lower costs associated with accidents and potential fines.
Analysing data – analysing the data summarized by fleet management software is a core part of a fleet manager’s role. Modern software makes monitoring hundreds, even thousands of vehicles, very efficient.
Dealing with disputes – disputes, differences of opinion and managing conflicts all come under the banner of most management roles.
Fleet manager skills and competencies
Some of the desirable skills and competencies that help fleet managers perform their role to a high standard include:
IT and software skills – computer literacy is essential for the role of a fleet manager. While good fleet management software automates all the time-consuming day-to-day tasks, in most instances it’s only as good as the person operating it.
Attention to detail – the details are in the data. The software makes all the data available, being able to drill down with a keen eye for detail opens up the possibility to make huge cost savings. From spotting potential risks before they happen, areas where costs can be saved, and complying with legal requirements.
Staff management – the most challenging part of any manager’s job is managing staff. Depending on the size of the team, a fleet manager can easily be responsible for dozens, if not hundreds of drivers remotely. As well as some office-based admin staff.
Communication skills – good communication is vital for smooth operations within the fleet department. Being a skilled negotiator is a pro when dealing with suppliers, as are interpersonal skills.
Up-to-date vehicle knowledge – you may not be behind the wheel, but keeping your knowledge up-to-date regarding what’s under the bonnet gives you an advantage when authorizing repairs.
Accounting literacy – managing fleet costs and negotiating savings to keep in line with a budget is one aspect. Most fleet managers will also be responsible for their department’s profit and loss and balance sheet.
The importance of fleet management software
Fleet management software is an application that helps a fleet manager manage every facet of the organization’s fleet of vehicles.
The software provides several benefits that far extends what a fleet manager can do alone. As well as what was previously possible with paper records.
Some of the key benefits of fleet management software include:
- Saving on fuel and repair costs
- Gaining better control over drivers and vehicles
- Preventing delays by using real-time information
- Faster daily driver checks with electronic records
- Reducing maintenance costs
- Better communication with drivers and external suppliers
- Information to provide better training and awareness for drivers
- Better safety protection and awareness
Fleet management software stores all fleet-related information, giving the fleet manager the tools to generate reports and drill down on any aspect of their fleet. From tracking the path vehicles are taking, to finding ways to save costs on fuel usage and maintenance.
The real savings come from the time and employee hours being reduced by the software handling all those time-consuming day-to-day administration tasks. Allowing a fleet manager and his staff to spend time on more important areas of the business, such as sales and company growth.
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