There should be no denying that information technologies drastically changed the way we think about and do business. However, the fact remains that when deals are struck and transactions made, the goods and human resources still need to be able to travel from point A to point B for the economy to run smoothly. The ability to perform this task in the least possible amount of time can give businesses a strong edge over the less nimble competitors.
Let us take a look at a couple of practices that should help you keep your business fleet in top shape and build operational efficiency into the very core of your organization.
Keep the detailed records
Yes, as much as the efficiency of the business depends on its vehicle fleet, the efficiency of the fleet depends on good old planning and thorough paperwork. So, do your best to always keep track of the fleets TCO (total cost of ownership). Not only will you keep the costs under control, but you’ll also be able to draw out patterns, find new ways to rationalize spending, make data-driven decisions and get the necessary feedback for making long-term developmental plans.
Once you set these foundations, you can go in greater detail and start implementing more specific processes like fuel maintenance system, preventive maintenance schedules, etc.
Schedule regular inspections and tune-ups
Speaking of preventive maintenance, it is very hard to stress enough just how important regular maintenance can be. Sure, doing weekly inspections can seem overly zealous, but prevention is far more rational than repairs. For instance, if your fleet consists of expensive 4WD vehicles, quick inspections and simple tune-up tasks can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Here are a couple of things you should keep in focus:
- Oil –Inspect at least once per month, change after you hit 3,000 miles mark
- Air filters – Replace every 12-18 months or every 30,000 miles
- Brakes – The brakes should be inspected and serviced every 30,000-70,000 miles.
Take care of the tyres
We purposefully left out the tyres from the previous discussion because they are an entirely different beast – out of all vehicle parts, they are, by far, the most exposed and sustain the most damage. Keeping in mind their immense influence on vehicle performance (they provide the vehicle with traction), it is easy to see why tyres should take a special place in your maintenance schedule.
So, be as thorough as possible, give the pneumatics visual inspection before every delivery, check pressure every two weeks, rotate the tires every 3,000 miles and replace them every 40,000 miles. Of course, pay special attention if your fleet consists of four-wheel drive vehicles and buy only the quality 4WD tyres able to sustain the heavy load produced by these vehicles.
Make sure you employ the best drivers in the business
Every experienced driver knows that one vehicle is only as efficient as the man behind the wheel. The driver’s skill can have a tremendous impact on fuel economy, vehicle wear, and finally delivery times. That is why assembling experienced, punctual and skilled personnel should be as much of a priority to you as assembling and maintaining your vehicle fleet.
From this point on, the efficiency of your personnel can be drastically improved by regular training, efficient scheduling (shorter shifts and higher driver rotation) and various incentives.
Automate fleet management processes
In the introduction, we briefly mentioned how information technologies are completely changing the outlook of the business landscape. This remains true even when we talk about something so rooted in real-life performance and transportation and logistics. Although the efficiency of your fleet will ultimately depend on your vehicles and the skill of your drivers, investing in some contemporary fleet management software can go a long way in setting these assets up for success.
Inclusion of these software packages won’t only considerably streamline the processes within your company and save you a lot of money you would spend on busy work but also reduce the margin of error to a negligible level.
We hope these few tips will help you to get a general idea of what makes a well-organized and efficient business fleet. The contemporary business may have its head high in the cloud, but its foundations are still based on good old transportation and logistics. Even if you may be lacking in other areas, being able to outmanoeuvre the competition can still lead your business to victory. Having an efficient and economical business fleet makes a huge piece of this puzzle.
About the author: Mike Johnston is a blogger and content writer with a focus in real estate, home improvement, and the construction industry.