Fleet managers work long hours – often under significant amounts of stress. And in many cases, this leads to costly mistakes and shortcomings. But the more familiar you are with these mistakes, the less likely it is that you’ll make the same ones in your own business.
Avoid These 3 Costly Mistakes
Fleet management is a lot more challenging and complex than most business leaders give it credit for. But if they put themselves on the front lines and saw what you see every day, their mindset would probably shift a bit.
With so much happening on a daily basis, it can be easy to slip into bad habits or to ignore certain things that you should be focusing on. And with that being said, let’s explore a few of the costliest mistakes we see fleet managers make – and how you can avoid them.
1. Not Adapting to Change
Change is inevitable in every area of life, but it’s especially common within the area of fleet management. If you try to puff your chest out and stand strong against the winds of change, you’ll eventually be pushed to the side. Change is coming – and whether we like it or not, we must be willing to adapt.
The reverberations of change are most evident when you look at technology. New devices, software, and solutions make it possible to automate tasks that once required a lot of man hours.
Ignoring or delaying the integration of something like fleet maintenance software is one mistake that we commonly see. Fleet managers may write it off as “we already have a process that works, so we don’t need to overcomplicate things,” but that’s just a cover for the real issue. At the root of this intentional avoidance of technology is a fear of change.
The irony is that there’s nothing to fear with technology. Fleet maintenance software, for example, is as easy to use as the smartphone application you access on your phone every day. And because everything is automated, you don’t have to worry about manually inputting a lot of information. Instead, you treat it like a dashboard that you can monitor and refer to when making decisions.
We often view change as having multiple layers of complexity, when in reality it dissolves the complexities that we’ve become accustomed to and replaces them with processes that are characterized by effortless simplicity.
2. Failing to be a Good Communicator
There’s a lot that can be automated and streamlined with the right technology, but there are no shortcuts for good communication. Failing to properly communicate the right expectations to the right people at the right time is a huge mistake. And if it hasn’t already come back to bite you, it’s going to sooner rather than later.
When most fleet managers try to improve their communication, they immediately turn to meetings. But here’s the thing: More meetings is rarely the answer. In fact, more meetings could actually hurt your communication and have a decidedly negative impact on process efficiency.
If meetings are a big part of your communication strategy, focus on how to make them more efficient and direct. For example, can you host a 15-minute “huddle” first thing in the morning in place of an hour-long afternoon meeting that disrupts everyone’s flow?
If your team regularly communicates via email, consider if a switch to SMS (or a chat app like Slack) would be more direct and efficient. Little details like this can make a big difference.
3. Mismanaging or Misreading Data
Having advanced technology is great, but it can lead to another problem if you aren’t careful. In many cases, fleet managers who haven’t been properly trained on how to use the technology they’ve been given will actually misread or misuse the data they have. This can lead to poor decision making and misinformed strategies.
Data is good – make no mistake about it – but it’s a weapon that must be properly wielded. If you don’t feel like you know how to interpret the mountains of data your software is spitting out at you, demand more training. This is absolutely integral to your success.
Ready, Set, Go
We often learn more from our mistakes than from our successes. But whenever possible, you should aim to learn from someone else’s mistakes. (It’s a lot less painful and costly that way!) Hopefully, this article has given you some keen insights into specific areas that you can clean up within your own department. But if nothing else, we hope it’s changed the way you view your approach to fleet management!