Being a decision maker in a company brings a number of important considerations, and several variables, all of which must be controlled as best as possible to ensure peace of mind.
When an individualâ€™s areas of responsibility span several regions, branches and employees, keeping track of them all can be difficult at the best of times.
Therefore, being able to forecast and plan forward can ensure the company operates efficiently and profitably, while also minimising the risk of unplanned changes and costs. Where uncertainty exists, it can not only prove a drain on time and money, but also elevate stress levels and cause sleepless nights.
Areas of concern
Cost is the key concern in any business and is a particular focal point for fleet managers, who are under constant pressure to minimise expenditure without compromising the efficiency of the fleet.
Where unexpected costs do arise, the funds may need to be diverted from other areas of the business and have a knock-on effect. Alternatively, the money may simply be unavailable, leading to an even bigger question around how it will be obtained.
This expenditure can cover several areas, but the purchase and maintenance of vehicles is chief among them, with the need for vans that are capable of doing the job sitting alongside the need for them to be kept on the road and in good order at all times.
When vehicles may be needed in a certain location at short notice it is important that a business has a fleet strategy that allows them to react. It is also important for businesses to have a fleet that is up to the job and can not only be on site on time, but can do so day-in, day-out.
Unsurprisingly, the sheer amount of usage that commercial vehicles undergo and their miles on the road can take its toll, and so having a fully functioning fleet in a good state of repair is at the forefront of fleet managersâ€™ minds.
To keep them in the best possible order, vehicles must be regularly serviced and maintained, with repairs being carried out immediately, but this brings with it a number of conundrums for fleet managers; how long will the vehicle be off the road; how much will it cost to repair; how do I eliminate impact on customers; how long until the next van needs servicing?
Legislation compliance is another key area of consideration; as this ties directly into company reputation, it is essential that all vehicles adhere to the law at all times, which extends to livery, specialist equipment and safety features.
This can not only be expensive to add to vehicles, but also difficult to keep track of due to the changing nature of legislation and the need to educate drivers and operators about their responsibilities.
Of course, the biggest expenditure of all is associated with buying the vehicles, which can extend to tens of thousands of pounds per van; something magnified significantly when a fleet is spread across multiple sites and locations.
However, cost concerns are not limited to vehicles; they also extend to staff themselves, who each have varying requirements to enable them to carry out their job effectively.
Managing a fleet not only means ensuring the right vehicles are in the right place at the right time, but that the staff driving them are able to carry out their job with minimal disruption and can rely on the vehicles they use.
A vehicle that is in a state of disrepair, unattractive or not quite suitable for the job can cause significant disruption and dissatisfaction among staff, which has a knock-on effect on customer satisfaction and can cause further sleepless nights for fleet managers.
This was experienced by one of Northgate Vehicle Hireâ€™s customers,Â A.L. King Roofing, which switched to flexible vehicle hire and saw staff and customer perceptions and the company image change overnight.
With so many considerations and variables at play, having an all-inclusive solution can help to minimise costs, downtime, disruption and lost sleep.
At Northgate, the worry of carrying out service, maintenance and repair is eliminated, with work able to be carried out at a nationwide network of wholly owned and warranty approved workshops.
With SMR taken care of, the costs associated with vehicle ownership are reduced, and time and resources can be dedicated to other areas of the business.
Not only can this ensure that a fleet is operating as close to full utilisation as possible, but it also reduces the amount of stress and dissatisfaction among staff, who know they can rely on their vehicles and not have to contend with many of the problems associated with old vehicles.
For fleet managers, this can be a major stress release and help them to sleep better at night knowing that their vehicles are reliable and able to consistently meet customer demands.