Following fleet best practice means ensuring your fleet complies with all current regulations and that your fleet is optimised for the best return on investment. Ignoring best practice can lead to unnecessary costs that you might not be able to recover from.
The term ‘best practice’ can be misleading. It doesn’t simply mean ‘doing what everyone else is doing’, but rather keeping track of all developments in the fleet industry and finding new ways to keep your fleet running smoothly.
Falling behind on industry best practice is risky as it can result in anything from paying unexpected fees to rendering your business model uncompetitive. A missed opportunity or fleet adjustment can have long-lasting consequences in today’s economy. Being out of the ‘best practice’ loop places your business at risk.
1. Unfit for purpose
All fleet managers have a choice of vehicles to choose from. Whether you’re transporting petroleum or flower arrangements, you have a choice in exactly how you structure your fleet and which vehicles you use.
Keeping track of best practice means you know how all of these vehicles perform under different conditions, what they cost to maintain, and how long each can reasonably be kept in service. It also means you’re aware of future options: new vehicles destined for market, or even upcoming finance deals on existing vehicles.
Without this information you risk making the wrong vehicle choice and acquiring a fleet that doesn’t perform as expected and costs too much to maintain. Meanwhile, your direct competitor made a better choice, which immediately puts your business at risk.
No one person can keep track of all these details, which is why you need an expert fleet partner to help you make these decisions.
2. Regulation changes
Transport regulation has many ‘basics’ that will likely never change, but there are many other regulations that are often amended as the economy or country changes. Licensing requirements to transport certain goods are often reviewed, as well as storage and vehicle capacity rules. Every time there’s a change, fleet managers are at risk of hefty fines or downtime for being non-compliant.
You must ensure that you know all current, and potential future regulations that apply to your fleet in order to make necessary changes on time. In many cases this requires planning and fleet restructuring, so advanced knowledge is crucial to avoid disruptions to your fleet.
Disregarding best practice when it comes to fleet regulation puts your company’s ability to operate at risk.
3. Bleeding money
Fleet management consists of so many moving parts - from invoicing to vehicle repairs - that you need a robust admin system to keep track of it all. Many fleets can bleed money for years without noticing. This can be in the form of excessive fuel cost due to poor driving or unfit vehicles, or excessive repair costs due to route planning.
Unless you know where to look you’re unlikely to find where your fleet costs are too high. If you’re not in the loop with best practice you won’t know that you’re spending too much on fuel / maintenance / tyres.
Keeping track of industry best practice means you always have a point of comparison making it easier to identify and fix fleet inefficiencies.
4. Outdated Data
Industry best practice is often most helpful when you need to review your fleet telematics and data. These systems are constantly being refined and improved. This doesn’t mean you need to invest in a new system every few months, but rather that you should always benchmark what your current system delivers against new solutions.
The risk of assuming your system is ‘still fine’ is that you won’t know you’re working with faulty data until it’s too late. By the time you notice consistently poor fleet performance you have likely already lost a lot of money.
So whether your priority is route optimisation, driver performance or vehicle location, it’s wise to keep track of industry best practice to ensure you’re not relying on an outdated system and poor quality data.
5. Pointless Data
Another big risk in fleet management is that you’re making decisions based on the wrong data. While your telematics system may collect everything from fuel usage to idling times, knowing how to read the data is even more important.
Expert fleet companies have access to plenty of comparative data, which means they can tell the difference between a once-off incident and a consistent problem. If you don’t know how to interpret your fleet data you can easily make very expensive mistakes. For example: if your fuel usage suddenly spikes it might not be a problem with the vehicles, it may just be the result of a different route. This sounds simple when you read it, but when you’re looking at a series of graphs and spreadsheets it may not be so easy to identify.
If you’re going to commit to optimising your fleet you need to ensure you have the right people who can help you interpret all your fleet data. Otherwise the data may as well not be collected.
There are many more examples where keeping track of industry best practice will help you keep your fleet running as efficiently as possible. Everything from documentation to driver training can be tailored to suit your specific fleet needs. But, if you’re unaware of the latest solutions, your fleet will always be at risk of falling behind the competition.
Keeping track of industry best practice means you always have a point of comparison making it easier to identify and fix fleet inefficiencies. Contact us for more information on how EQSTRA can support your fleet requirements.