The one single factor that unites the logistics industry in the UK is the desire to provide efficiency across the board whilst building a reputable service. The operational and business demands of any fleet may be unique, however lowering costs and spiking productivity, is a battle. The larger companies with hundreds of vehicles on the road can generate economies of scale.
However, up and coming companies have the ability to achieve savings and overcome their cost and efficiency blockers. A penny per job, per vehicle will soon amount to and significantly contribute to any business’s bottom line. The same, of course, can be said in reverse – when a company doesn’t tackle a smaller issue, every vehicle can become rather expensive. To state fleet management is a tough job, would be an understatement. Particularly given the current climate.
With issues such as fluctuating fuel costs, rival commercial fleet pressure and the maintenance of driver retention, relying on a sustainable, viable source of income can be highly inconvenient. Foreseeing a problem before it hits can drastically impact on efficiency, and boost operations enormously.
Any company that requires commercial vehicles, in any number, owns the status of a fleet manager/leader. Fleet management is the planning of commercial and specialist vehicles that are used by a company. To maintain the ability to keep a fleet running within budget, on time and efficiently.
There are a range of processes that are used by a fleet manager to monitor fleet activities and make the relevant decisions pertaining to proper asset management, routing and dispatch and, when necessary, vehicle acquisition and then disposal.
The role of a fleet manager is a challenging one, they are the forefront of an establishment with a multitude of problems that can occur that will keep them on their toes.
Arguably the single most important issue that they will face is ensuring the safety of their drivers. After all, without drivers, everything will grind to a halt. Ensuring the safeguarding of each driver and operative both physically and mentally can be a challenge when channelling the productivity and representativity of the business they front.
Fleet managers on a day-to-day basis are busy monitoring drivers. They are the eyes and ears of the entire operation, overseeing disruptions, ensuring correct documentation are submitted and ensuring timeframes are met.
Waiting times and additional hand-balling required where not declared can also trigger a damage control situation. Drivers are encouraged to remain composed when awaiting instruction from cross channels. If a driver has been requested to handball, he must then assess the situation, the fleet manager has to then assess if they are fit to manually intervene? Will additional time impact my driver’s next collection? Will rejecting request reflect on my company? These are all factors that have to be analysed and taken into consideration, these questions are critical in ensuring maximum productivity and driving efficiency.
The logistics sector is full of options for fleet managers, various software packages allow fleet managers to attain more work for their fleet when they are not at capacity, however, this can come at a fairly hefty cost and subscription. This is a recurring issue that can often sway individuals from starting or continuing a fleet. DeliveryApp is free to download and offers a flat, fair rate across the board for fleet managers and their drivers. We operate on a first come first serve basis for the work that is posted on the platform. Eliminating the hassle of bidding for jobs that can be a race to the bottom and ripples into an unsustainable model for fleet managers or individuals carrying out deliveries and courier services.
Whilst it might not be possible to avoid accidents altogether, it is essential that the fleet managers do everything that they can to eliminate preventable accidents. This can be done in part through the use of safety education programs, regulations and also the prevalence of predictive analytics that can be utilised to ensure the safety of drivers, their vehicles and their cargo. The appropriate use of technology by means of driver education is also essential as this can go a long way towards ensuring safety on the road.
The response and how each event is dealt with by a fleet manager hugely reflects on their service. DeliveryApp encourages communication to provide the help of recovery. With a dedicated team of operatives to streamline comms and answer any questions a click away helps construct a bridge of timely service and response.
The proper prevention of accidents goes a long way towards keeping those uncontrollable and unexpected costs down. These are things like repairs, downtime and liability. The insurance costs of a fleet are also tied to its safety history, so keeping accident levels low can help to keep insurance costs down.
Another significant focus for fleet managers is driver productivity. Advances in technology have made this a much easier task, and assistive technology such as GPS and speak-to-call technology will ensure that drivers can utilize their time in the most efficient manner. Other technologies that can prove invaluable are geofencing and automated cellular tracking which allow drivers to spend less time on phone calls and concentrate on the road. Of course, hiring experienced drivers with a satisfactory driving record is still arguably the best way to maintain productivity.
Ultimately, the tech provided does not wake up and drive the van but offers a seamless experience for both the driver and fleet manager. Ensuring drivers are content and fulfilling jobs is imperative, therefore wellbeing, working hours and break enforcement is encouraged and cannot be ignored. When the drivers become the forefront of the fleet, retention should be a walk in the park.
When it comes to trying to keep costs as even as possible, the volatility of fuel prices is a significant headache for fleet managers. These are incredibly difficult to forecast, and therefore, this makes budgeting for fuel extremely challenging. A good cost-management strategy which is planned properly and then executed successfully is not impossible, but the current economic climate is certainly bringing more than its fair share of challenges.
Vehicles that are more fuel efficient are a good way to combat this, with more miles per gallon equating to less fuel. However, this must be offset against the cost of new vehicles and any money made by selling older vehicles. Smaller, less powerful vehicles that are more fuel efficient are not always a popular choice with drivers, so it may be necessary for a fleet manager to educate them on the real benefits of this type of change. Fuel efficiency can be further assisted through consistent maintenance, which will keep fleets in top condition. The EV vehicle debate is still very much at large with drivers who are contemplating going electric are concerned about the number of charging points around the UK and the range of the vehicles, all this can effect their potential earning ability.
It is understandable that many drivers may choose not to remain in the same position for too long. Naturally these prospects remain universal in any role someone decides to pursue. The lack of compatibility between work and home life can become a problem that may mean looking for alternative employment in a more traditional 9-5 pattern. The need to continually recruit and train new drivers can take its toll on a budget and create significant cost constraints. At Delivery, the deliveries available on the platform are all voluntarily accepted by fleet managers and the drivers. The deliveries on the platform are perfect for drivers to earn a supplementary income or fleet managers to expand their fleet at the touch of a button, thus creating a scalable virtual fleet without the cost of buying new vehicles.
Driver retention is another big headache that fleet managers often face. It certainly needs to be addressed to help with cost efficiency and consistent commitment.
If work is not contractual, fleet managers can often face challenges filling gaps in the day-to-day operation, externally using tools such as website’s, recommendations, and the occasional odd job. The maintenance of driver retention falls on the relationship’s built within the company. Our system at DeliveryApp offers the ability to secure drivers via an account that prevents them using the same credentials, to summarise all jobs completed will be paid only to the fleet manager and any account’s attempted to be created for individual pay will not be possible.
When a fleet manager can access work across the board at no extra cost, this alleviates the stress of capital loss. At DeliveryApp, we are proud to be amongst the fastest growing same day delivery disruptors in the UK. Through the use of our innovative technology platform that allows customers to be connected to a network of highly professional, independent courier drivers within a matter of minutes, we are helping to keep the fleets moving. With fast deliveries for all types of jobs, our platform is scalable and efficient whilst offering the user-friendly service and agility that businesses need. Our platform is a scalable fleet for fleet managers at capacity with their own vehicles.
With a comprehensive knowledge of the fleet sector and the numerous issues that fleet managers face daily, we have put our knowledge and understanding of the industry to good use to provide a service that will keep fleet vehicles moving throughout the UK. Through DeliveryApp, companies can make their fleets more productive and expand their businesses in order to make them more efficient.