Monday, December 17, 2012

Fleet Management Tips for a Growing Business

In general terms, fleet management is the process of maximizing the return on investment companies make in their equipment. In practical terms, this means getting as much production as possible from the equipment, at the lowest per hour cost, over the longest period of time, while obtaining the highest sales value at end of life. In order to do this, an owner has to monitor and manage the company assets through modern business techniques and technology.

The first step in proper fleet management is to obtain the vehicles in the most cost conscious way. Contract hire is one way to make vehicle acquisitions.

Contract hire is a type of vehicle lease. This type of lease allows you to hire a vehicle on a long-term basis with payments made for every month of use. The amounts that you are charged will be based on the amount of driving you do using the vehicle, which is measured using the mileage and value of the vehicle. In addition to mileage and the van's value, other factors that will influence your rental fee include the length of the rental period and the resultant depreciation at the end of use. Contract hire is one of the most popular ways business pays for its equipment.

Vehicle tracking: Just as it sounds, vehicle tracking is the process of knowing where a piece of equipment is at a specific time and date, or where it has been over a period of time. Functionally this means answering questions as diverse as “are they where they can be the most productive?” and “where did they go today?”

Theft mitigation: Closely related to traditional vehicle tracking, theft mitigation allows a construction company to know if a piece of equipment is being stolen. Data gathered for theft mitigation includes when a piece of equipment is started outside of normal working hours, when a piece of equipment is moved (with or without engine start), when the equipment is being transported and where the equipment is at any time.
Productivity: Managing productivity means being able to understand when and how much a piece of equipment is running, idling, working, moving, etc. This information should be specific to the tasks the piece of equipment is performing as well the project on which it is working. For example, a backhoe might be working but not moving about the job. The system needs to account for this.
Maintenance: Knowing how much a piece of equipment has been running, idling and working allows a construction company to know an equipment’s hour meter reading very accurately and in real-time. In addition, sensors on the equipment can identify when and measure how long or how far a piece of equipment is being run in reverse, how many lifts or dumps have been made and a host of other activities. This knowledge makes it possible to accurately employ a very effective preventive maintenance program.
Operator behavior:  While you can’t directly measure operator behavior, you can infer it from other data collected while the operator is using a monitored piece of equipment. Knowing when a piece of equipment is started in the morning, how much time the equipment runs during the day how much time the equipment idles during the day, how much time the equipment moves during the day and how much it worked can be interpreted to get a reasonable view as to operator behavior. This is particularly powerful when management has the ability to look back over months of data and identify trends.

Increased efficiencies and increased profits are the main goals of modern fleet management. The majority of these increases can be obtained through the implementation of new fleet management methods or the enhancement of existing fleet management processes. 

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