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3 Routes to Fleet Manager Failure

By Todd HodgesFebruary 2, 2020
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If you're a fleet owner or operator, you understand that finding the right individual to fill the role of fleet manager takes more than a job post online with a defined set of "roles & responsibilities” because those responsibilities can change on a daily basis. Though the core duties of a fleet manager range from vehicle maintenance and driver safety to overall organizational compliance, with so much riding on one employee's shoulders it's important to avoid common mismanagement mistakes that can cause major problems. Let's take a look at four common fleet manager failures that can wreck your operation.

Fleet managers don’t have the luxury of doing things “the way they’ve always done it.” For example, constantly evolving state and federal laws require that fleet managers stay up-to-date on current legislation, particularly Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, to stay ahead of the trends shaping the fleet industry and avoid penalties for your business. Additionally, the amount of data available to improve fleet operational efficiency has never been more abundant in industry history. Managers need to be vigilant to protect the welfare of the business, as well as the operators on the road,  based on calculated insights.

1. They prefer following to leading

On any given day, your fleet manager is likely to interact directly with dispatchers, operators and business owners in a variety of capacities. Maintaining a productive and profitable fleet operation hinges on fleet managers who are ready, willing and able to communicate effectively with key stakeholders inside and outside your business. When it comes to managing relationships with operators in an industry with incredibly high turnover, a competent fleet manager can go a long way towards increasing retention by taking the lead and keeping drivers engaged and satisfied to maximize retention.

Thought it can be daunting, it is crucial your fleet manager be open about current issues, aware of common trucking/distribution problems and capable of taking charge to manage crises as they arise in real-time, as well as rally employees to achieve key business.

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2. They can’t take the heat

The fleet industry is unpredictable. During the course of a typical day, a fleet manager might encounter multiple broken down vehicles, vehicle accidents or angry operators. And while the clock is ticking, your business is losing out on profit. Fleet managers are in a high-visibility role where the pressure is high and the bottom line is always top of mind. Inability to think on the fly and handle high-stress situations can result in disaster. The ability to multitask and maintain composure amidst constantly shifting priorities is essential for fleet manager success in any size operation.

3. They don’t have the right tools

No matter how many years of experience or on-the-job training a fleet manager has, if they don’t have access to the right software and equipment they will not be able to deliver against key objectives. Like any professional in an on-the-go business, fleet managers require the right tools in their toolbox to create custom solutions to problems as they are presented. Just as every business is unique, every fleet manager is different and requires a custom set of solutions that are right for your particular business to thrive.

Running an efficient, safe and productive fleet starts with hiring a fleet manager is right for your business. This person needs to be a leader that is flexible, composed and willing to adapt to ever-changing duties the industry demands. Most importantly, if your fleet manager is not equipped with the necessary tools to successfully navigate the needs of your business, no person will ever satisfy your qualifications or help you improve productivity and grow.

Learn more about the essential role of fleet managers and how properly empowering them can help your business thrive with our free ebook, What Fleet Managers (Really) Do.

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Todd Hodges

Hodges is a pioneer in the telematics space with over 20 years’ experience, having helped many customers draw actionable insights about their business.

Tags: Cost control, Customer Service, Data & Analytics, Dispatching & Scheduling, ELD & Compliance, Field management, Performance & Coaching, Revenue & ROI, Safety, Team Management, Training, Vehicle & asset security, Vehicle Maintenance, Productivity & Efficiency