As technology forces us to be more flexible and forward-thinking in order to stand out from the competition, the roles of fleet managers and fleet management companies are changing.
Below are five trends that forward-thinking fleet managers are embracing and implementing.
1. Electric Vehicles
Is an all-electric fleet the future? At the most recent Work Truck Show, electrification was a key topic due to the fact that electric vehicle registrations more than doubled in 2018, reaching a record high of 208,000 registrations. While consumers in some areas of the country are readily adopting this technology, fleets are just beginning to make the change.
Gasoline and diesel fuel prices have become the number one contributing factor to the high cost of fleet operations, which means electric vehicles and their fuel efficiency capabilities may rise in popularity for some fleets. While a fully electric fleet may be a stretch in some industries, for others it may become a reality in as little as the next five years.
2. Leveraging Telematics
Fleets have many sources of data, but converting that information into an effective solution to drive business forward and lower costs can be a challenge.
Measurable success opportunities are achievable with every trip when fleets utilize a telematics solution. Sensors, GPS devices, and engine diagnostics are installed in individual vehicles, and information is then transferred to a central location where it can be analyzed by fleet managers. This technology helps all types of fleets understand things like vehicle utilization and driver trends in order to improve safety, reduce fuel costs, and enforce better maintenance practices.
“Analyzing data to find actionable insights will continue to gain importance as fleets become more connected and the amount of data produced continues to grow,” said Tom Coffey, Senior Vice President of Merchants Fleet. “It will remain essential to start with creating a baseline and then manage to the baseline creating alters and thresholds.”
3. Work Culture
Employee satisfaction has a direct influence on the success of every company in every industry. Creating strong employee engagement starts by building an easily understood and supported culture. How can this be achieved? Here are a few ways:
- Define Your Culture: If you do not define your culture, it will be defined for you. If you find that your workplace culture is not deliberate, this is a great opportunity to review and make changes. Think about your company’s core values and the attributes that can be amplified. Then you can work on better articulating these traits to increase employee understanding.
- Hire & Retain Employees Based on Your Culture: If you define your workplace culture to be service-oriented and innovative, make sure the people you are bringing on board to work for you embody these characteristics. On the other hand, companies should recognize when people do not fit the culture. If an employee is struggling, try to help them understand why. This can include taking steps to improve their performance or removing them from their position.
- Make Culture Part of the Management Process: If you define your workplace culture as collaborative but do not mention collaboration during employee performance reviews, you are telling your workforce that it actually is not important to your company.
Flexibility has become a competitive differentiator in the world of fleet management. Many top-tier fleet companies have identified market segments where they want to be known as the dominant provider, which can be an efficient way to establish a business proposition.
Here are just a few of the many options for creating a more flexible business model:
- Client Services: Let’s say that a client needs their invoices to look a certain way because the format must match with their internal processes. This is a small ask, but the flexibility a business offers to meet the client’s needs will go a long way.
- Scalability: For fleet management companies, especially, it is important to help clients feel like they fit with a business. Offering flexible leasing terms, operations, and services are a way to show clients that you are willing and able to scale with them.
- Adaptability: What will the future hold for your company and your clients? In fleet management, this could include new modes of transportation or services. Being cognizant of what the future may bring will leave you open and flexible for whatever may come next.
The level of flexibility a company can provide will depend on the types of clients they serve. This could be based on fleet size, fleet type, industry, and other factors.
5. Vehicle Access
Vehicle sharing is alreadycommon in our personal lives, so it makes sense that schools, businesses, and local government offices are exploring the benefits from a business standpoint. For companies in urban areas or businesses with clustered locations, access to a centralized pool of vehicles can provide significant cost savings and a high level of convenience.
The Boston metro area and its many colleges and universities are an example of a prime location for this type of model. The countless colleges and universities in the city have a variety of departments that require different types of vehicles for different amounts of time. Instead of each campus owning its own fleet, many schools share a single pool of vehicles. Using an easy-to-use online reservation system, a faculty member can quickly book a van to take students to an off-campus event. The benefits for the colleges are two-fold: Vehicles are available on demand and institutions do not need to invest capital into a full-time fleet management program.
The fleet businesses that will succeed in the future will be the ones that harness data and technology to help their clients increase productivity and efficiency. It is important that fleet managers follow industry trends and utilize tools to propose forward-thinking solutions that will keep their clients laser-focused on the future.