The four fundamentals of fleet managementFleet Management
The safe and efficient management of business mobility is at the core of what we do at SG Fleet, and it’s among the main objectives of our customers when they partner with us.
Our expertise and insights, developed over many years of leading the industry, tell us there are four key fundamentals that underpin fleet safety and efficiency: fit-for-purpose, utilisation, maintenance management and driver management.
We thought we’d take this opportunity to explain these four fundamentals, and how they will continue to relate to your fleet in this rapidly changing world.
Fit-for-purpose decisions are vital to get right, as they have a significant impact on costs, efficiency and safety – key influencers on any organisation’s bottom-line.
You need to have a full understanding of your vehicle’s operating environment – will the vehicle be used mainly in built-up areas, or will it be in the bush, or even both – along with the operational tasks the driver, and the vehicle itself, will be performing daily.
As well as understanding what the vehicle and its driver do, you need to ensure all the relevant WHS laws and regulations (load-bearing capabilities, axle weights, passenger numbers and so forth) are met.
Getting the right vehicle for the right purpose also has productivity and WHS implications. For example, even where operational tasks are the same the vehicle selection may need to vary from driver to driver. A small hatchback is not going to (literally) be a great fit for a 200cm tall delivery driver, and the WHS implications can be serious.
In simple terms, fit-for-purpose means looking at the whole-of-life costs of a vehicle, then getting the right vehicle for the job, fitted with the right accessories, modifications and after-market specs, at the right price.
Under-utilised vehicles can seriously impact fleet efficiency and, conversely, over-utilised vehicles can seriously undermine safety. Ongoing monitoring of your fleet and managing its utilisation is essential to efficient and safe fleet management.
When your car, truck or van is operational, how do you monitor and manage its use? What do you do when the usage requirements of the vehicle change? What processes and systems do you have to monitor, measure and report on vehicle utilisation?
Make sure your fleet provider has the expertise to help you gather data on your fleet’s mileage, fuel economy (or charging data for EVs), and maintenance and repair costs to give you the insights you need to get the most out of your fleet.
Some choose to use telematics to get an even closer view of vehicle use. This can be an option to capture a range of data that can provide useful insights into your staff’s driving habits – harsh acceleration or braking, excessive idling, understeer or oversteer, even engine management system issues.
The information provided through telematics can empower you to take steps to address discrepancies in utilisation, as well as efficiency and safety concerns or risks, as much as it gives you the opportunity to identify and encourage positive driving behaviours your staff may already display.
Setting and managing a maintenance schedule that suits the vehicle and its use is an essential element of fleet safety, as well as ensuring you keep your fleet’s whole-of-life costs down.
Manufacturer maintenance schedules should be adhered to at a minimum, while customised fitouts or specialised vehicle use often requires a more vigorous service schedule.
Your fleet provider should design service schedules for the fleets under management, and oversee the work through a service supplier network – not to mention identifying improvement opportunities and developing strategies to improve efficiency and safety.
We know more than 90 percent of serious injury and road fatalities come down to human factors – distraction (often by mobile phones), fatigue, speeding, and being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Educating your drivers about safe driving habits, the limitations of the vehicles they’re driving, the different roads they’ll use, and the impacts of speed plays a vital role in a fleet manager maintaining a safe fleet. This is increasingly important as auto tech changes so quickly, with new EVs and PHEVs, as well as a number of new vehicle safety features in all cars.
It’s vital to maintain clear policies on elements such as mobile phone and vehicle use, and to promote positive driver behaviours. Offer regular driver training, either online or behind the wheel, and reward drivers for good behaviour.
Adding telematics to monitor and report on driver behaviour can also be of benefit.
These are some of the fundamentals that SG Fleet applies to its business to achieve efficiency and safety.
We continue to apply these fundamentals, even when business mobility, vehicle design and performance, and the technology that drives it, is changing at an unprecedented pace.
Start a conversation with SG Fleet today to make sure you are applying the fundamentals to your business vehicles.