Top 2014 Fleet Management Trends
Fleet managers are faced with many challenges every day. The pressure is growing in to reduce costs while improving driver productivity. There is also pressure to make fleet practices more “green”. According to a panel of truck experts, the top fleet management trends in 2014 include:
Managing Fleets With Telematics
Advanced technology has opened so many doors in the fleet management industry. Businesses are finally able to properly manage their mobile assets from the comfort of their office computer and/or mobile device. Fleet managers can instantly monitor vehicle locations, driver behaviors, routing, arrival times and so much more using a GPS device installed in each vehicle, a GPS receiver and web-based software. As reliable GPS fleet management solutions become more affordable and fleet managers are becoming more aware of the limitless benefits, managing fleets with telematics is becoming a norm in most businesses with fleet operations. .
Predictive Vehicle Maintenance Instead of Just Preventative Maintenance
The newest vehicle maintenance trend emerging is practicing predictive maintenance instead of the traditional preventative approach. Forward-thinking fleet managers are leveraging vehicle maintenance reports to fully understand what exactly is failing in their vehicles and when it will fail in their other vehicles. Then they use the data that was uncovered to create and establish a policy to replace the vehicles’ critical components before they fail, ultimately reducing vehicle downtime.
Many businesses are “rightsizing” their fleets, when possible. For example, instead of using a 1-ton pickup, businesses are using a ¾ ton pickup. In addition to reducing the initial costs of a purchasing a new fleet vehicle, it also improves fuel efficiency over the vehicle’s life. Rightsizing means choosing the best vehicle for the specific job. Business owners should carefully compare the vehicle specs to the intended vehicle use to find the fleet vehicles that are best designed for their business.
Increasing Fleet Vehicle Replacement Cycle Times
Fleet managers are constantly faced with making the dollar stretch as far as possible. Experts say there is a current fleet management trend of businesses keeping their work trucks in services longer than the traditional replacement cycle. In general, experts do not recommend increasing the replacement cycle times too much because increasing the service time, increases the vehicles’ mileage, maintenance costs and the risk the vehicle will fail catastrophically. Business owners must carefully weigh the pros and cons before deciding to increase the cycle times. If they do decide to keep vehicles in service longer, it is extremely important to keep up with preventative maintenance.
Many businesses are implementing anti-idling policies for their fleet drivers. As more and more states and municipalities are adopting anti-idling laws, businesses want to ensure that they are in compliance. Reducing excessive idling will also improve productivity, reduce fuel costs and reduce greenhouse emissions.