Being a manager of a fleet operation is no easy task. You’re responsible for heavy-duty operations and your employees being all over the place. Despite emerging new methods to manage fleet operations, such as telematics solutions and on-demand maintenance services, the problems continue.
The following are some of the biggest challenges that today’s fleet managers face:
Increased Operating Costs: Fuel is what drives a fleet, and increasing fuel costs make all the other operating costs more expensive, too. Labor rates, cost of oil, and the increasing fuel cost all impact additional operating expenses such as tire replacements and general maintenance.
Increased Repair Costs: With fleet drivers ignoring the signs to take their vehicles to be maintained, a simple oil change could turn into an engine failure. Not to mention, if a car is damaged in an accident, the cost of collision repair has increased as advancements in-car technologies have continued. Modern vehicle systems are increasingly integrated, so damage to one component can impact multiple vehicle systems. The cost to replace these more sophisticated parts, and the skilled technicians required to do the work are all higher.
Truck Availability: Production dates can often be delayed, which creates unpredictability with lead times. This means the vehicles you expect and require just aren’t available. It’s truly “hurry up and wait” since fleet managers are all ready to go, but don’t have the inventory.
Misuse of Company Assets: It can be challenging to manage every aspect of your fleet effectively, even if your hardware and asset management is buttoned-up. Your people resources can be an equal challenge. Drivers could be taking longer than scheduled breaks tor driving recklessly to make up for the wasted time. Operators could be using the vehicle outside of work hours, increasing vehicle wear and the potential risk and liability that comes with that misuse..
Lack of Individual Attention: ManyFleet managers work in large companies that are often growing and handling upwards of thousands of assets. Because of this, operators can often feel more like workhorses instead of valuable company assets. It can be a challenge to implement systems to ensure drivers feel well-managed and appreciated.
Driver Safety: NHTSA reported an increase in large truck accidents from 2017 to 2018, despite a decrease in many other categories. The increase is tied to drivers working longer hours and the associated lack of sleep. Without implementing software tracking solutions to monitor a driver’s safety or hours, there’s no way to determine when they need to have rest. Lack of rest means they’re a hazard to themselves, their vehicles, and other drivers.
Additional Fleet Management Transaction Fees: Several companies are using separate services to aid in fleet management. These include motor vehicle records, registrations, tolls, etc. The cost of using these ancillary programs create additional transaction fees, and integrating the data to an effective fleet management solution can be daunting.
These are just a few of the challenges that fleet managers face today, and if you manage a fleet, these may be all-to-familiar. You’re not alone. Thankfully, there are solutions out there for each one of these challenges. From telematics software to maintenance management programs to mobile repair services, the answer to each one of these challenges is available to help you keep your fleet in top condition, and turn your challenges into accomplishments.
As the person responsible for the success of your business, making decisions for your dealership can be a daunting task. Even those who are at the top of their field can still get nervous when it comes to making decisions. You may feel like you don’t have enough data to make a solid decision, and that can add to the pressure to make a call. When the stakes are high, there’s risk involved with every possible choice. All of these are valid reasons to feel anxious about committing to something. That’s why we pulled together some ways you can conquer your fear during the decision-making process. Check them out below:
1) Review Past Successes
It’s crucial that as you are prepping for a big decision that you reflect on past achievements you were able to accomplish for your dealership. Too often, we focus on the areas where things went wrong rather than focus on the areas where things went right. What were the steps you took to achieve those goals? And when there were failures, what did you learn and how did you move the business forward beyond that setback? Once you start to believe in what the dealership is capable of, nothing will stop you!
2) Don’t Forget To Breathe
Too often, when we’re focused on making an important decision for any business, we forget to breathe. There may be local competition or market forces that are putting on the pressure for you to act fast. Very few wise decisions were ever made on impulse. You may need to step away from the process for a few minutes, hours, or even a few days, depending on how big the decision is. This reflection will allow you to regain focus and have a renewed sense of clarity before you finalize your decision.
3) Recognize Potential Risks
As you approach your decision, you’ll be able to recognize any potential risks. Depending on the situation, the riskier option may be the better choice if it reaps bigger rewards. Big bets can lead to great success, but it’s important to have backup plans in place. It’s essential for each member of your team, across all impacted areas of the business, to understand the risks and know how to respond. There are really only 3 possible outcomes to prepare for: wild success, expected success, or lack of success. If you build plans against each of those outcomes in advance, there will be no time lost in trying to decide how to proceed when the results come in.
4) Realize There Are No Wrong Decisions
Anytime you’ve made a decision for the betterment of the dealership, it’s always been what you have felt was right in that exact moment with those circumstances. Even if some past decisions led to mistakes, you and your team learned from them and evolved. There’s no use to lamenting over what happened or what could have happened. When you decide your dealership is ready to evolve once again, realize there’s no such thing as a wrong decision, you’ll be much more confident in making the next one.
A dealership can be a big team across several different departments. Communication is critical during this time to make each team member feel like they play an important role in the decision-making process. Your employees need to feel valued, and soliciting input and information from them will also show honesty and integrity on your part. People like to feel like they are part of something and are valuable assets, not just there to do the work. The final decision is yours, but the process of sharing the challenge with others can give you perspective. You’ll gain more supporters encouraging you in your choices for the dealership by doing this as opposed to doing everything solo. After all, there’s no “I” in Team.
Conflict happens everywhere, whether we like it or not. It can be a simple disagreement, an absence of something essential, or a significant problem. But what’s a bigger problem than the actual conflict is if you don’t do anything about in hopes that it will “work itself out.” This is absolutely the wrong thing to do.
So, how can you not eliminate, but successfully manage conflict at your dealership? The following are 5 ways you can effectively do that:
1) Don’t Point Fingers – Find the Cause
When conflict arises, it’s in our human nature to want to point the fingers to anyone but ourselves. Sure, there may have been a mistake that a single person did that caused the conflict. However, focusing on what could have been the root cause of the conflict will help your overall team in preventing mistakes from happening in the future.
2) Understand That Everyone Is Human
You know the phrase, “I’m only human, after all,”? Well, this applies for a way that you can approach managing conflict at your dealership. Be sympathetic towards the situation as we all make mistakes, and work together with your team to understand why it happened. This will create strong problem-solving skills and will strengthen your team as a whole.
3) Document It
Write down the root of the conflict and the triggers that caused it to happen. Make sure everyone knows their individual and department responsibilities, as these will differ depending on the groups involved. Documenting the entirety of the conflict will help avoid it from presenting itself in your dealership ever again. It can also serve as a reference point to any potential future lessons or reminders you may need to give team members.
4) Stay Goal-Oriented
A dealership is a team effort, not a single person running it all. This is why it’s essential when conflict happens, you remain focused on the goals. Discussing conflict in the workplace is never an enjoyable topic of conversation for anyone. However, if you present and remind about the goals of your dealership, the parties might be more apt to discuss the conflict and how best to work through it to achieve those goals.
5) Lead By Example
Only after you’ve discussed the conflict with the entire team, will you be able to show the change that can follow after a conflict. Lead by example to show how your dealership can handle conflict with ease and confidence. Once your team sees that conflict doesn’t mean the end of the world, they’ll be empowered and enabled with the techniques to successfully manage any future conflict.
There’s an inspirational quote that goes, “every setback is a set up to an even greater comeback.” Follow these 5 ways on how to manage conflict at your dealership, and you’ll have a great comeback.