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What are the 5 Problems Facing Vehicle Fleet Owners?
Fleet owners take on the responsibility of keeping their drivers safe and ensuring that their company is continuously performing high-quality services. When fulfilling these responsibilities, fleet managers are often faced with industry and economic-based issues that require smart solutions. Learning more about these issues helps identify the best angle to come up with effective solutions.
Here are the top key issues fleet managers are trying to solve in the transportation industry.
The rising price of fuel is a worldwide concern. In the United States, the price for heavy-duty trucks increased by $1.50 a gallon in two months, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The Wall Street Journal also reports that the national average price of diesel went past $6 a gallon in markets that include Central Atlantic and New England states. Small businesses’ cash flows cannot cushion these continuous increases in fuel costs.
The increased cost forces fleet managers to reconsider the fuel spent per trip. U.S. commercial vehicles burn about 36.5 billion gallons of diesel yearly, according to the American Trucking Association. Fleet owners now face the challenge of maximizing expensive fuel savings across long distances.
To help manage costs, safety managers need to plan more efficient routes based on the vehicles’ current fuel spending. They can also look to drivers for their input and experience in selecting these routes. Managers should define a written policy that will define the driver’s expectations around the fuel. For example, managers can define ways to reduce idle time. Be sure to communicate the policy to drivers and include fuel reduction actions in the mandatory driver training.
Driver shortages have been a concern in the last decade. One cause is that the average commercial truck driver’s age in the U.S. is 55 years old. These individuals are likely to retire soon and will leave behind many roles to fill.
Also, there is a lower number of women drivers than men drivers, leaving a sizable hole in the workforce. Over time this is changing but at a slow pace. According to What Percentage of Truckers Are Female?, an article by Sarah Harris for Freightwaves, “Approximately 47 percent of the trucking business workforce is women. Roughly 7 percent are female truckers, and another 23 percent of all carrier employees are women in management roles.” Though these numbers have increased over the years, the gap between the number of women and men drivers in the transportation industry remains large.
Rising Vehicle Maintenance Costs
Vehicle maintenance is another expensive operational cost. Without proper and regular maintenance, your vehicles are prone to unexpected breakdowns that will cost more than regular check-ups. You also end up paying more for insurance in the event of accidents and maintenance issues.
Amid inflation and rising gas prices, fleet management needs to continue its regular maintenance schedule. To avoid spending more than needed, fleet managers can monitor this schedule with automation. Utilizing a safety solutions app to alert you to any vehicle problems, malfunctions, and the like can better help overall management. Be sure to involve your drivers by having them check in for any issues that come up.
Based on the automated system’s information, fleet managers can see which vehicles require more maintenance and how to prevent its regular check-ups moving forward. Remember that prevention is always better than a cure.
Managing a Team Traveling Across the Country
Fleet managers are constantly dealing with changing delivery schedules, looking for the best routes, and monitoring driver performance. All these operations are managed across state lines or even country borders. Remote communication is crucial to discuss routes or in case of emergencies during travel. Fleet managers must keep in touch with thousands of drivers while they are completing their routes.
Fleet management software easily and quickly brings all that information into one place. Managers can see what’s happening in their trucks and on the road with technologies like GPS tracking, telematics, and 360-degree video. The data provided also helps managers track fleet risk and prevent any accidents from happening.
Excess Time Spent on Fleet Management Administration
A challenge specific to fleet owners is too much time spent on administration tasks rather than focusing on operations, management, and profit planning. According to a global study by TomTom’s cited in Entrepreneur, 49 percent of fleet managers say their team members spend 1.5 to 2 hours on invoicing and quoting 43 percent on expense management and 40 percent on communicating with customers.
Fleet managers need to review if any of these tasks are still paper-based or done manually. An automated, digitized system saves everyone on board time, energy, and resources.
Fleet managers face challenges unique to their industry and the economic climate. But with the right strategy, communication, and technology, they can overcome and deliver the fleet’s much-needed services.
Learn more about how fleet owners can take on these challenges with the right tools.