February 10, 2020
Improving productivity in a small fleet
Fleet managers wear a lot of hats, especially those managing small fleets and working with reduced budgets and resources.
But there are ways small fleets can make gains in productivity to improve their operations as well as reduce operational expenses.
In this blog, we’re highlighting four ways small fleets can improve productivity, from relying on today’s technology to streamlining everyday processes.
4 tips for improving your small fleet’s productivity
1. Run an audit
One of the best ways to identify areas of improvement when it comes to productivity is to run an operational audit. Now, don’t be scared by the word “audit.” It can take time to gather and analyze all the data, but the returns out of going through that data will pay off tenfold.
This comprehensive review of your fleet’s operations assesses the tools you use, your employee’s productivity levels, benchmarks current performance, and highlights areas that need to change.
You won’t be able to know if your fleet is more productive without doing the groundwork and knowing where your fleet stands today. This also sets you up for success for the long run as you can do year-over-year comparisons to make sure your changes are effective and driving the results you need.
Some things you’ll want to work into your fleet audit include:
- Fleet goals and departmental goals (are they aiming too high/low)
- Budgeting process
- Fleet policies
- Your fleet’s organizational structure
- Staffing levels
- Reporting processes and responsible parties
- Technology and communication systems
- Vehicle assignment processes (and employee use of company vehicles)
- Fleet vehicles and their conditions
- Vehicle utilization and fit for your fleet’s mission
- Preventative maintenance programs, costs, and staffing levels
- Fleet maintenance efficiency
- Set criteria for vehicle repair, rebuild, and replace
- Fuel management
Ask for input from all your department heads or other members of staff on what should go in the audit and how they can help pull, track, and analyze that data. Everyone should have a stake in improving the fleet’s productivity and cutting costs that can be re-invested back into the company.
2. Use telematics
Automate a lot of this data pulling and analysis by using telematics in your small fleet. With features like GPS tracking, driver-pairing, routing, and vehicle diagnostic alerts, you can have greater and real-time visibility into your fleet’s daily operations and pinpoint areas of improvement.
Some benefits of using telematics within your small fleet include:
- Real-time data and vehicle tracking
- Alerts for idling and speeding
- Maximizing productivity with better routes and increased stops or deliveries
- Improved scheduling to reduce overtime
The automated nature of telematics can be a huge time-saver for small sleets and keeps everyone accountable for their job functions with a digital paper trail of completed work.
3. Manage vehicles and fuel
Your drivers can only be as productive as their vehicle allows them to be, and if a vehicle is constantly breaking down or stuck in the shop, that’ll severely impact your productivity metrics.
Many telematics systems offer robust vehicle maintenance reports and alerts to address a small problem or diagnostic issue before it becomes a big problem. These alerts can reduce breakdowns, down time, and keep drivers on the go, both improving productivity and saving your fleet time and money.
Managing fuel is important for finding savings in your fleet but can also bump up productivity. Tracking excessive idling can show you inefficient routes or poor job sites and show you when vehicles are wasting fuel and driving up fuel costs – as well as reducing productivity with more frequent fill ups. Also, vehicles that are prone to idling can add more wear and tear to the engines, causing the need for more maintenance and time in the shop.
4. Cross train employees
Educate and train your employees on multiple tasks or job functions so labor can be moved around to address the immediate needs of the fleet or your customers. Continued education or certifications can help with your fleet’s employee and driver retention, keeping productivity at its peak with less turnover.
Fleet managers must also take the time to review employee expectations and job responsibilities so employees can be held accountable for their productivity levels.
Interested in learning more about improving fleet productivity? Download Derive’s free full guide!