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With today's abundance of fleet management solution providers, how do you choose the right one for your fleet?
Fleet is an integral part of many businesses and technology is the cornerstone of effective and efficient fleet management and fundamentally, it makes sense to outsource the fleet management solution for companies of all sizes. There are number of technologies available to choose from and there is no silver-bullet solution for every fleet. To make the right decisions, you need to evaluate your need - explore various technologies available, key-in your requirements, capabilities and specific results you're trying to achieve. Though choosing the right one is worth the effort, when applied correctly it can impact a number of operational factors such as minimizing the downtime of drivers and vehicles, and can save you thousand of bucks per vehicle each year.
A typical ballpark approach goes like:
• Define your Goals
• Do your research
• Request a Demo
• Schedule Installation
• Get buy-in from management and drivers
• Coach everyone involved
• Make it fun
Define your Goals:
To get started fleet managers, vehicle management partners, and other stakeholders need to answer following fundamental questions:
• How are we currently tracking current vehicle performance (such as mileage and maintenance), and how could the existing process be improved?
• What is the purpose of the technology and what vehicle and overall fleet data will help make us more efficient?
• Who needs to have access to the data and who will make actionable decisions based on the output?
• Can the technology integrate with the company’s existing software solutions, if any?
• Is the solution offered scalable and customizable?
• How will drivers use the technology?
• Are your staff reliable enough to manage the system when logging the data and keeping the track of your fleet vehicle?
• What is the break-in period on your investment?
Start with two or three short term goals. For example, if you wish to reduce the fuel consumption by drivers and vehicles, you should be tracking the following metrics:
• Driving behavior of the drivers for eg: Idling, speeding, sharp turns, high acceleration/de-acceleration, Ignition on/offs etc.
• Fuel consumed by the drivers and vehicles.
• Routes taken for any of the trip and see if they're optimized.
Do your research:
There are lot of fleet management solutions available that you can choose from, though the quality and the customer service varies with each. Choose the one who is willing to dive deeper into the specifics of the your fleet business and able to offer a customized solution based on what you are trying to achieve. Keep a checklist in mind of what features and functions you'll need with the solution. Technology is a big investment, make sure your company has responsive and knowledgeable Account Managers and CS reps. Get reviews from those who has been using or struggling with a selected provider, to get the complete picture of the services offered and the trustworthiness of the provider.
Request a Demo:
As next step, when you have zeroed-in on your choices, you should start requesting the demos if available with the respective fleet management solution provider. A fleet management provider should be willing to demonstrate the features and capabilities of the system specific to your business needs so as you get the fair idea of how the system will perform if goes live on your entire fleet.
You should be thoughtful here with the dates you pick for the installation. Prepare a full list of vehicles you wish to equip the system with and be careful. Ask your provider to schedule the installation on dates which has minimal impact on the downtime of your vehicles or any other daily operation.
Get buy-in from management and drivers:
No matter how dynamic and functional a fleet management solution is, getting managers, supervisors, operator and other employees on-board is crucial. Your implementation will suffer a lot if everyone involved and everyone who is needed is not on-boarded with the system. Get everyone on the same page by sharing what you're trying to achieve with this fleet management system. Outline how the system will benefit the company and the associated drivers.
Coach everyone involved:
Fleet management is not among the "set and forget" setups, you need to coach your staff at all levels on how to access, analyze and act on the insights provided by the fleet management solution. Provide on-going training for your staff and answer their questions on timely fashion.
Make it fun:
Don't forget to make the last step exciting and fun. There would be drivers who are new to technology and would show negative response. Make sure you reward the drivers who show the most improvement and make it little competitive, challenging and fun.
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