By Shell on Dec. 07, 2020
The task has been made more difficult during these recent tough financial years, pushing fleet managers to consider how to minimise operating costs.
Being able to react to the trading environment has been crucial for James Hucker, the national fleet manager for one of Australia’s largest franchise businesses, CouriersPlease.
Hucker says fleet managers need to manage costs meticulously by working towards maximum density, efficiency and throughput at all times.
“Forecasting and harnessing data is an important activity for fleet managers to ensure they’re informed and able to adapt their fleet configuration and vehicle requirements to meet potential changes in throughput and volumes,” he says.
“By improving overall density, fleets are completing more pick-ups and deliveries within a specified geographic area, therefore reducing the overall cost per stop. Creating a data metric focusing on this key success criteria is a must to ensure the fleet is operating as efficiently as possible.”
Hucker admits the COVID-19 crisis has created enormous challenges for fleet managers. While some businesses reported a drop in demand between March and October, CouriersPlease handled an 80 per cent increase in parcel volumes nationally, requiring quick action to manage the fleet.
“Fleet managers were forced to implement manageable and cost-effective resource scaling to their fleet to continue to successfully service these massive and never-before-seen increases in volume,” Hucker says.
It’s just as important for managers to realise not all service areas are the same for a fleet, explains Hucker. Selecting the right vehicles ensures the optimal capacity based on the service area.
This means fleet managers must consider things such as selecting smaller vehicles for CBD areas where parking is more difficult, considering vehicle height clearances, stoppage frequency and overall volumes within vehicles.
Five things fleet managers need to be across
- What lies ahead: Visibility over which projects are winding up, if the business is taking a new direction and when capital budgets might tighten up are important pieces of information for fleet managers to rationalise assets.
- What’s fit for purpose: A vehicle that’s fit for purpose is safer, more reliable and costs less in the long run. Understanding the task that end users need to complete is the best way to address this.
- Fleet performance: Understanding organisational objectives, risks and focus areas to assist with measuring performance is crucial.
- Fleet reliability: Downtime is defined as a period of time when a vehicle or plant asset isn’t available for use during normal operational hours due to damage, safety issues or other faults. Equipment downtime can be a hidden cost in the business.
- Cost management: Capturing good management accounting data with plenty of detail should include a breakdown of all maintenance costs under categories such as servicing, repairs, crash repairs and tyres, to provide insights into poor-performing assets, and high-cost operators or departments.