Fleet management companies are important because they complete the transportation industry. They also contribute to the economy of the country through tax remittance and creation of employment. When there is an economic downturn, this sector also suffers like any other. The management is, therefore, keen to come up with trends that will propel the industry to higher heights. Some managers are focused on how to set up driver monitoring for a commercial truck fleet while others are looking for other possible solutions to the industry operations. The highlights below cover the trends that are shaping the commercial fleet management in 2018.
Everywhere you go, fleet management will always be looking for ways to deal with the safety of the vehicles, passengers and the drivers. Any fleet manager will agree that this is a major concern. There is a great emphasis on hiring competent drivers with experience and those who will observe safety procedures. One major concern here is the avoidance of the use of handheld phones while driving. Monitoring cameras and the use of SOPs are the main solutions managers are using today.
For any fleet owner, a management company that will promise a cost reduction will be the best. There are various ways that the company can save on fuel for a fleet. Savings can also be achieved in other areas while running a fleet. It is a trend this year that the managers are focusing on the use of the shortest routes possible, escaping traffic jams and adopting fuel-efficient driving methods. Another method used is the buying of fuel-efficient vehicles.
Fuel Price Concerns
Over the years, the fuel prices have been going up globally. It is impossible to track any significant cost reduction on fuel. This has been a concern for the fleet management companies. Since this is a major cost directly affecting everyday operations, they must regulate all other charges to avoid mismanagement of finances. Fuel prices also have an effect on the service charges across the board. Some companies have failed because they could not regulate other charges in relation to that of fuel.
New Vehicle Challenges
Manufacturers continue to change model designs and other specifications after just a few years of operations. Fleet owners and managers complain about this all the time. Choosing similar vehicles is almost becoming impossible. Sometimes, you can have a switch to new models in between years. The ordering becomes a challenge because sometimes one has to wait for the launch of a new model in the fourth month of a year as opposed to the beginning as it was previously.
Shifting of Segment Preferences
How people view different categories of vehicles is significantly changing. Most commercial vehicles are specially made with specific features to suit the roles they fill. This retail trend is now changing as people are selecting to use crossover vehicles for commercial purposes. People now prefer to pick a vehicle that they feel will suit their needs and order that particular model without any customizations. Whether people want cargo vans or passenger vehicles for the city, they will have an option to choose from the regular vehicles.
Challenges With the Chassis
Manufacturers are having difficulties with chassis allocation for commercial vans and passenger vehicles. Some reports show that fleet segments are experiencing order delays because there is a challenge doing this allocation. The trucks are mostly affected, and the shortage can be felt far and wide. The manufacturers seem to have neglected the fleet customers.
Conflicts in Departments
Fleet management companies have different departments like risk management, procurement and human resource. All the departments including the top management have a say in the company. However, procurement seems to have a greater influence when the decisions are being made. They are the ones who decide which vehicles will be purchased next and the suppliers who will provide the vehicles. Apart from this serious decision, there are many others that can lead to conflicts in the departments.
All-Inclusive Decision Making
It is now becoming a trend to gather inputs from all the departments before making decisions. This is in contrast to the past when the top management would make the decisions and just inform the other people. Even the drivers have a say through the feedback and reports they make every day. This all-inclusive approach is meant to make every party feel like part of the company and reduce the chances of making costly mistakes. However, the top management has the greatest control over these decisions.
Challenges With Resale Value
For many years now, fleet companies have had great resale value for their vehicles. They buy new vehicles directly from manufacturers, and buyers are always waiting for when sellers will be upgrading and selling the old vehicles. However, we have numerous fleet management companies disposing of their old vehicles today. This has diluted the market, and the supply is higher than the demand. This has led to a poor resale value of these machines, which is not a good thing for the companies.
Even though safety regulations ensure that the fleet and other vehicles on the road run efficiently, the amendments and changes occur so often. According to some fleet managers, it is a big struggle for them to keep up with the changes. They have to be alert at all times not to become outdated. When buying new vehicles, you need to ensure that they meet the current regulations on safety and the environment. The old ones must be serviced to the new regulations at all times. After all, compliance is the best policy if they must operate smoothly.
Taking Advantage of Technology
Technology greatly evolves with time. Since people cannot evade it, then it has a direct effect on the changes in the fleet industry. Yesterday, the drivers were using forms on a clipboard to make a report. Today, they use internet-connected smartphones or tablets. Other changes that have occurred include the use of real-time tracking GPS, smart monitoring cameras that can count people and many other technological advancements. Indeed, technology is the one determining factor that causes change here.
Training of Drivers
Unless drivers are trained, they will never know the new safety rules, how to meet the SOPs and do the right thing as required. More and more fleet companies are hiring consultants to train the drivers on how to drive fleet vehicles, how to observe safety rules and achieve many other standards that are set by the companies. Such a move brings growth in the company and helps them to be compliant with set laws. None of the companies want to be left behind with these trends.
Written Procedures and Work Standards
According to numerous reports, more fleet companies want to deal with written procedures and work standards. In fact, all drivers and other people working at the company are issued these procedures either as a hard copy or digital copy. Any amendments or changes are made to these documents.
These are the popular trends revolving around any fleet management company today. Even though there are many others, these trends will be evident in any fleet company.