Answering the question How to manage a fleet? is not a simple task. Whether fleet management is your main or secondary activity, many factors must be considered to avoid this fleet becoming a source of uncertainty and uncontrolled costs. This is why we present you with 10 essential points to consider in order to calmly tackle this mission of how to manage a fleet of cars with peace of mind.
How to manage a fleet, the first 9 points
- 1 – The general policy on how to manage a fleet of vehicles
Define who is responsible for establishing the general policy and procedures for your fleet. You must communicate this policy to all persons involved in fleet management, including vehicle users. Plan to review this policy and procedures regularly, such as annually.
- 2 – Fleet budget and costs
Establish and monitor the annual budget allocated to your fleet. It is essential that you clearly identify all the costs generated by your fleet. You must set up a system for reporting and centralising information in order to control these costs.
- 3 – Calculate the optimal number of vehicles for your fleet
In order to know how to manage a fleet, you must define at which level(s) of your activity your fleet will be used. The maximum distance that vehicles should travel must also be determined. In addition, it is wise to set a maximum operational cost per vehicle. Establish a calculation method that allows you to know the optimal number of vehicles in your fleet. Many variables can be considered depending on your management policy (consumption, distance travelled, maintenance, vehicle capacity, taxation, etc.).
- 4 – Acquisition of vehicles
First of all, you must choose the mode of acquisition of the vehicles: purchase, rental, leasing, a combination of several of these modes.
If you decide to buy used vehicles, define a maximum mileage or age limit. Also choose what type of energy or fuel you want to use for your fleet: diesel, gasoline, hybrid, electric, hydrogen, a combination of several of these energies. Establish which make and model of vehicle you want to buy, with which options and equipment.
One point not to be overlooked is the choice of insurance policy for your fleet, here again, many parameters are to be taken into consideration depending on your activity such as user profile, location and many others.
You now have to define your supplier, he will be a decisive partner for the management of your fleet.
- 5 –Vehicle operation
Set up a maintenance program for your vehicles in order to prevent rather than cure. You must establish a list of your vehicles by defining which ones have priority for maintenance or repair operations. Also choose if you want to use original or alternative parts for consumables replacement. Establish a program to control the fuel consumption of your vehicles. Define a system that allows you to regularly check the tyres of your vehicles. Establish procedures to prevent and minimise the number of road accidents, such as regular medical visits by users or checking the validity of their driving licences.
Choose to internalise or outsource routine maintenance operations according to your means and budget.
Define suppliers for spare parts, consumables and repair and maintenance operations if the latter are outsourced.
- 6 – Reselling of vehicles
Determine the criteria according to which your vehicle will be resold or replaced: mileage, age, date or the first criterion that appears among the latter. Choose a partner who will buy back your vehicles, often your supplier will be able to offer you buy-back options. This choice will depend on many criteria, including the size of your fleet.
- 7 – Information collection system
Define what data you want to collect about your fleet. Establish relevant indicators according to the activities (maintenance, use, accident…). Choose a frequency at which this information and indicators should be analysed in order to prepare a vehicle fleet management report.
- 8 – Measure the performance of your fleet
Establish the frequency of a report on the performance of your fleet. Define the variables on which you must act as a priority in order to increase the quality of service of your fleet and reduce the costs it generates.
- 9 – Management of ancillary services
Choose an insurance company according to the desired level of coverage. Define and schedule a technical maintenance schedule for your vehicles. Implement a fuel card management system. Establish a management system for contraventions.
The 10th point, or how to manage a car fleet efficiently thanks to IT solutions
10 – This is the 10th and last essential point in order to understand how to manage a fleet in an optimal way. The use of a software solution dedicated to fleet management is a significant tool. A software dedicated to fleet management is able to collect the information you need, centralise it, analyse it and possibly export it to the other management tools you use (accounting software for example).
Choosing a suitable tool is not always easy, which is why we will discuss in a future article the essential characteristics that the software you will adopt must have.