By RAM Tracking on 28 Mar 2019
Almost every business in Canada and elsewhere depends on vehicles to do business, and those vehicles must be managed. And larger enterprises face a superset of the fleet management challenges every business that uses vehicles must address. Herewith, a look at enterprise fleet management, how it is both similar to and different from fleet management at smaller companies, and how to get it right.
Traditional fleet management is focused on combining, consolidating, and optimizing several critical functions related to vehicles and their operations. Those functions range from vehicle tracking and remote diagnostics to financing, insurance, maintenance, and management of driver behavior, health, and safety. And those vehicles include commercial cars, vans, trucks, purpose-built specialty vehicles, and private vehicles used for work-related tasks. For some enterprises, they can even include planes, helicopters, ships, and rail cars.
The above summary applies to fleet management generally. However, enterprise fleet management presents several additional challenges.
Multi-Location Challenges. A critical challenge unique to enterprise fleet management is the need to scale across multiple locations. This can require your business to deal with multiple sets of regulatory compliance requirements, cost ranges, contractual obligations and options, available services, and pricing practices. Your business must also consolidate and make consistent the management of every fleet management deployment and team at every business location. The need to scale fleet management across national borders can even require your business to deal with multiple sets of vehicle types and models.
Information Management Challenges. Another challenge unique to enterprise fleet management is effective information access and management. Every vehicle and every driver is a near-constant source of data. Much of that data must be tracked and made actionable for successful enterprise fleet management. The larger, more dispersed, or more diverse the fleet, the more critical and more difficult it is to gather, rationalize, prioritize, and leverage all that data. On the other hand, enterprise fleet management can suffer from too much data. You need the right technologies and processes to strike and maintain a balance between knowing too little and knowing too much.
“Find it and fix it” challenges. Success with enterprise fleet management requires consolidated, integrated management of the entire corporate fleet, no matter where that fleet may be. An equally critical challenge is the ability to “zoom in” on small, isolated problems and fix them quickly, before their disruption of local enterprise fleet management operations can grow or spread. In addition, every vehicle, driver, and related asset must be known and trackable at all times, to ensure full utilization of every asset and control their unauthorized use. This is directly related to the information access and management challenge. Your ability to find and fix isolated problems quickly depends on your ability to gather, triage, and act upon multiple types and sources of information.
Software scalability and integration challenges. Your enterprise already relies on multiple software platforms for critical business tasks, specifically where financial management is concerned. Since enterprise fleet management directly affects both budgets and operations, any and all software used for that purpose must integrate well with your business’ chosen software platforms. Your enterprise fleet management software must also easily scale where and as needed, and evolve in response to changing business requirements. These features will help your business achieve and maintain consistency across your entire enterprise fleet management deployment.
Staffing challenges. Identifying, recruiting, hiring, supporting, and paying for the “best and brightest” fleet managers is a challenge to every type and size of business. Enterprise fleet management magnifies and multiplies that challenge as it spans multiple geographies, talent pools, cultures, and local HR management teams.
Leadership engagement challenges. If executive leadership at your business treats enterprise fleet management as a challenge to be managed locally and ignored, they must be persuaded otherwise. Successful enterprise fleet management can sometimes require focused, repeated communication efforts to get senior management to give the subject the attention it needs and deserves. That communication should focus on business benefits, such as cost savings achieved via supplier contract consolidation, or efficiency increases generated by greater process consistency.
The challenges above are in addition to those that also face smaller businesses pursuing successful fleet management. The additional challenges and business criticality of enterprise fleet management mean your enterprise has needs beyond the basics as well. Those basics include these elements. (See “What Is Fleet Management[MD1] ” for details on these.)
In addition, successful enterprise fleet management has at least two other critical success factors. One is a detailed, well-thought-out, fully vetted, written plan for the implementation and management of enterprise fleet management. Another is executive buy-in from the highest possible levels. In some cases, that plan is a prerequisite for seeking that buy-in. However you get it, support from leadership can go a long way toward accelerating execution of your plan, and overcoming obstacles, foreseen and otherwise.
Enterprise fleet management is not your company’s primary line of business. But successful enterprise fleet management can be a powerful enabler and catalyst of success for your business. And getting enterprise fleet management wrong can be costly to your enterprise’s finances, operations, and reputation. So it deserves and requires significant and sustained commitment, on par with other resources your enterprise deems critical.
Fortunately, your enterprise need not build, manage, and support its own global team of enterprise fleet management experts. Help is readily and affordably available, and scalable to meet your needs.
Want to know how RAM Tracking helps more than 9,000 customers manage more than 70,000 GPS vehicle tracking systems accurately and economically? Contact us today.