How to Overcome the 5 Top Challenges in Fleet Management
Managing a fleet can get complex and challenging quickly. That’s why we’ve found solutions to the top 5 challenges fleet managers face in South Africa.
Delivery and logistics companies can be rewarding, but they come with complex challenges. Aside from ensuring driver safety and careful risk management, fleet managers must overcome massive hurdles to make the business a success. Many fleet managers get swamped with menial and time-consuming tasks that don’t contribute to the bottom line of the business.
What Are the Top 5 Challenges Fleet Owners Face?
Delivering to Customers on Time
High Fuel Prices
Escalating Fleet Maintenance Costs
Relaying Information to Fleet Drivers
Admin Tasks Consume too Much Time
To overcome this wide range of challenges takes technology and initiative from top decision-making members of the company. Below, we discuss the top 5 challenges South African fleet owners and managers face and offer tips for solving these challenges. By applying these solutions, you can improve productivity and efficiency in your logistics company’s fleet.
The 5 Top Challenges in Fleet Management in South Africa
1. Delivering to Customers on Time
Your fleet may look great on paper, but the reality is that many drivers and field teams struggle to follow their assigned schedule. This negatively impacts the business. When the estimated time of arrival is incorrect, customer dissatisfaction rises. Your business can then lose customers and gain a negative reputation.
Many customers want to be given a precise time-window on a specific day when the item will arrive. As a result, fleet managers can often end up spending 2 or more hours a day just letting people know when their delivery will arrive! It is critical that businesses respond to customer expectations and do everything possible to meet them.
A simple solution to this challenge is utilising digitisation of the process. Digital tools can assess traffic conditions accurately to calculate a more accurate estimated time of arrival. You can also automate the communication of unexpected changes instead of having to contact each customer affected manually.
It’s also important to use driver management tools that incentivise drivers to reach their delivery goals each day with rewards and kick-backs. You can also assist drivers with automated tools that find the fastest routes and cut out traffic jams to ensure your deliveries run more efficiently. Vehicle tracking systems can help ensure drivers are keeping to their schedule and following their allotted delivery pattern.
2. High Fuel Prices
According to a study by TomTom, 34% of fleet managers believe their commercial vehicle costs are too high. Fuel consumption is a major contributing factor. We may not be able to change the rising cost of fuel in South Africa, but we can implement strategies to lower our fleet’s fuel usage.
Fleet efficiencies play a big role. The first step you can take to reduce fuel costs is to cut back on vehicle idle times. According to Derive Systems, an average fleet could burn 19 litres of fuel per hour if they idle for 3 – 4 hours each day. By reducing idle time, fleets can save thousands of Rands in fuel. It is possible to reduce idle time for your fleet by tracking their consumption, driver behaviour, and other telematics.
Reducing idling time also lowers vehicle maintenance costs and helps your vehicle’s engine last longer. Even when you have cut excessive idling costs, fuel can equal up to 60% of your fleet costs. For this reason, putting a fuel reduction policy with parameters and acceptable practices is a great idea.
A written policy helps your drivers become aware of which driving practices they should avoid. You can include this policy in driver training and inform your drivers about keeping the policy at least yearly. With improved fuel management, you can drop costs drastically.
3. Escalating Fleet Maintenance Costs
Fleet vehicles can cost you a lot in maintenance because frequent use leads to quicker wear and tear. Even so, maintaining your commercial fleets is vital for continued operation of your business. If you do not maintain your vehicles, your fleet insurance claims may also get rejected.
The cost of maintaining your fleet is unavoidable, but you can take steps to lower the fleet expenses related to maintenance. For example, by routinely checking tyre pressure, drivers can save 3% of their mileage!
Start by keeping stringent records of the maintenance schedule of each vehicle. By following each vehicle’s schedule carefully, you can avoid unexpected breakdowns and the costs involved. Instead of checking the papers of each vehicle every day, you can digitise the process and get reminders when a car or truck is due for a service.
When a vehicle breaks down unexpectedly, having the right fleet insurance in place can also save you a lot of time and money. Many insurance companies include roadside assistance, towing, and repair costs in their cover. Not all plans are alike.
Before you buy fleet insurance in South Africa, it pays to compare your options. You may find an insurer that offers you better benefits and lower monthly premiums. For example, Zurich Fleet Insurance (now known as Bryte) offers commercial motor insurance clients personal accident cover alongside their fleet cover.
4. Relaying Information to Fleet Drivers
When drivers are out on the road, keeping in contact can become challenging. Moving vehicles often don’t pick up mobile signals well. Even reaching them using SMS or email isn’t always possible.
Asa result, you may find your drivers not following their schedules properly or missing important updates. Fleet managers say they can spend an average of 2 hours a day just trying to get hold of different drivers. To improve productivity for the business, automating this process can really help.
A simple solution is a customised mobile application with automated status reports and updates as the driver progresses with deliveries. Apps can also include fleet cards and fleet tracking. Along with asset tracking, these applications can ensure clearer lines of communication with a predictable pattern to reduce your operational costs and give you peace of mind.
5. Admin Tasks Consume Too Much Time
By now it should be clear that there is a flood of administrative tasks taking up a fleet manager’s time. Spending hours on various types of administration means more stress and less time focusing on growing the business.
Tasks like quoting and invoicing can also take up a lot of extra time. You can hire an independent assessor to inspect your operational efficiencies and systems. An outsider can often spot places where unnecessary double work is being performed or where processes can be streamlined to allow for greater efficiency and effectiveness.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this article is not intended to be a substitute for legal, medical, or financial advice, but is only provided for informational purposes. At the time of publication, the facts are correct in this article.