Keeping your drivers and vehicles safe, productive and on the road is crucial to achieving your business’s sales goals and maintaining profitability. But there’s more to fleet management than just keeping your vehicles running. Your drivers’ comfort and happiness are crucially important both to their productivity and wellbeing, as is fleet cleaning to help you portray a professional image to clients and members of the public alike.
So, what can you do to keep your fleet in the best possible shape? Here are our top fleet management tips to help.
Implement a preventative maintenance programme
Most fleet managers will have heard the adage ‘prevention is better than the cure’, and that’s exactly what a programme of scheduled preventative maintenance really taps into. Rather than waiting for something to go wrong before implementing a fix, preventative maintenance involves a series of regularly scheduled health check-ups to identify and fix small problems before they become more serious and expensive issues that impact the efficiency and profitability of your business.
You should create a routine preventative maintenance checklist that meets your particular needs. That should include checks like:
- Engine oil and filter changes
- Transmission fluid
- Cooling system
- Belts and hoses
- Windscreen wiper system
- Tyres, wheels and trims
- Exterior and interior lights
- Exhaust system
Keep your fleet nice and clean
Having a clean, well-maintained fleet speaks volumes about your business, instilling confidence in customers, your drivers and the general public alike. Clean vehicles also lead to improved fuel efficiency. Dirt causes a surprising amount of drag on a vehicle which leads to a reduction in fuel economy of up to three miles a gallon and that certainly adds up over longer distances. A clean vehicle is also much easier for other road users to see on the open road, reducing the risk of an accident and minimising the likelihood of vehicle inspections that can cause lengthy delays.
Choose the correct spec vehicle for the job
An important part of keeping your fleet in tip-top condition is always choosing the right vehicle for the job. Before every journey, make sure you carefully consider its usage, from the mileage it will cover, operating conditions and the type and weight of the loads it will carry. Under spec’ing a vehicle that’s not necessarily up to the job could increase maintenance costs and reduce driver comfort and wellbeing. On the other hand, using an over spec’d vehicle will increase the associated costs.
Communicate fleet maintenance policies with drivers
No one has a better idea of how a vehicle is performing or whether there are any potential issues than the driver. Making sure all drivers are aware of their responsibilities to report any issues immediately and checking they know what to do if a vehicle needs a repair or is involved in an accident will improve your ability to manage the fleet effectively.
Fit all-season tyres
The concept of fitting different tyres depending on the weather has never really caught on in the UK, mainly because the costs and downtime it creates outweigh the benefits in our typically mild winters. However, with severe winter weather becoming more frequent, it does make sense to put some protection in place.
Rather than incurring the costs and downtime of changing to winter tyres, fitting all-season tyres that can be used all year round will provide reliable performance in the winter and summer months. Although all-season tyres cost a few more pounds upfront, they will improve safety and reduce downtime.
Incentivise drivers for good behaviour
A simple fleet management tip to keep your vehicles looking and performing at their best is to incentivise drivers for good behaviour, both in terms of the condition of the vehicles and their driving. Encouraging safer, eco-friendly and cost-effective driving through the use of telematics and offering prizes for the best-kept cabs can help to promote a sense of pride and improve the way drivers look after their vehicles. Encouraging positive driving habits will also improve driver safety, reduce fuel costs and decrease the likelihood of an accident.
Meet your environmental regulations when fleet cleaning
Legislation from the UK Environment Agency applies to businesses that wash vehicles or anyone who washes vehicles as part of a business activity. That includes vehicles you clean yourself on site or that are cleaned for you by a third-party. If you fail to abide by the fleet cleaning legislation, you’ll be breaking the law, spoiling the environment and potentially on the receiving end of a hefty fine.
Consider third-party fleet cleaning services
In the search for the most effective use of your fleet management budget, you should consider the use of an outsourced fleet cleaning service. It can reduce the significant overhead costs associated with in-house fleet cleaning such as training, equipment, driver downtime and detergents. If you are planning to outsource your fleet cleaning, make sure you choose a firm that understands and meets the wastewater regulations.
Make fleet management a team affair
As a fleet manager, you are responsible for creating a clean, well-maintained, professional fleet, but that doesn’t stop you involving your team every step of the way. With a little training, your drivers will be able to monitor basic vehicle safety elements and become the first line of defence against unexpected breakdowns and repairs. Combine that with a team of in-house or outsourced technicians that perform regular detailed inspections and preventative maintenance and you will be able to keep your vehicles on the road and looking their best.
Your waterless fleet cleaning partner
At Dropless, we make it easy to keep your fleet in the best possible condition with our waterless vehicle cleaning service. Our mobile fleet cleaning service will give your fleet an impeccable clean while saving the planet up to 300 litres of water per wash! Get in touch to find out more.