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Implementing a Fleet Asset Management System: A Step-by-Step Guide

Introduction

Managing a fleet of vehicles is no easy task, and even if your fleet consists of only a few vehicles operating in small geographic region, you can benefit from a fleet asset management plan.

If you’ve been trying to keep track of vehicles, drivers, shipments, and administrative tasks in separate spreadsheets, you may feel like it’s information overload.

In our previous article looked at what fleet asset management is, its benefits and best practices for small business fleet operators, as well as provided a few steps to get you started on your Fleet asset Management journey.

In this article we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to successfully implement a fleet management plan, with practical considerations, no matter the size of your fleet.

 

What Is Asset Lifecycle Management?

Before you start planning, it is important to understand the concept of and asset lifecycle.

Asset lifecycle management is a strategic and analytical approach used to determine each stage of an asset’s life cycle to maximise operational efficiency and generate a greater overall return on investment.

Without a general understanding of the asset lifecycle, your business could face multiple challenges, such as ageing delivery vehicles, high maintenance costs, and decreasing asset values.

The asset lifecycle can be broken down into four stages:

  • Planning
  • Procurement/Acquisition
  • Operation and Maintenance
  • Disposal/Archive

Through extensive planning and utilising asset lifecycle management best practices, in combination with your fleet asset management system, asset managers can better understand how a business’s most critical assets perform and how to keep them contributing to the bottom line.

 

How to set up an asset management plan?

So how do you how do you to set up an asset management plan for your fleet, and where to you begin?

To better manage your assets, you first have to create an asset management plan. Crafting a carefully devised plan for managing your fleet assets can boost productivity and extend the lifespan of your resources.

Step 1: Set clear fleet management goals and objectives.

Every fleet management strategy starts by clearly defining the goals you aim to achieve. These objectives may include trimming fuel expenses, refining driver behaviour, optimising asset utilisation, or minimising downtime.

Here are four tips to help organizations set up achievable goals and objectives:

  • Establish concrete objectives – Goals provide direction whereas objectives provide clarity on how to reach those goals. Objectives must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART), for your goal might be to reduce fuel cost by 10% for the next financial year, but your objective is to train your drivers not to engage in harsh breaking and excessive acceleration/.
  • Define success metrics – This involves determining what metrics need to be tracked in order to evaluate progress against established objectives. For example, maintenance cost per mile can be used as indicators of operational costs effectiveness and sustainability respectively.
  • Set realistic expectations – It’s important not to set expectations too high; instead focus on gradually improving performance by setting incremental targets that are achievable within reasonable timelines.
  • Engage stakeholders – Involving all stakeholders, such as drivers and maintenance managers from the start helps ensure everyone is aligned towards achieving common business objectives.

Step 2: Analysis

It may seem like an obvious step, but it is the most important one: analyse all vehicles and or assets in your fleet. Without details about your fleet, it will be challenging to create an effective management plan.  To get started, you will need to gather and analyse data about the following:

  • Fuel Economy: Depending on road conditions, what is being transported, how the vehicle is being driven and by whom, each vehicle will have different metrics regarding fuel consumption, and cost per km.
  • Maintenance Logs: Take time to review your maintenance logs, it will assist you understanding your immediate and future needs of your fleet, with respect to creating and implementing maintenance plans. At the same time also do a comparative analysis on how your fleet compares to other vehicles in the market.
  • Driver Performance: Drivers are a major part of fleet asset management. Their safety records, licenses, certifications, any infractions they’ve incurred. training, and driving history are important to track.

Step 3. Assess your fleet requirements:

Once you have completed your analysis, have your goals and objectives in place it is important align your fleet asset management plan with not only new business objectives by identifying specific needs for upcoming projects, but also existing business needs.

For instance, if your business is expanding into more urban projects, evaluate if your current fleet meets the demands of city environments or if adjustments are needed.

Consider vehicle types, capacities, capabilities, frequency of use, and fuel consumption rates to guide your decisions on fleet expansion, replacement, or downsizing.

You should also consider creating a threshold to tell you when the vehicle has reached the limits of its capabilities. You want to estimate the correct fleet size and match the business demands and needs.

Step 4. Select your fleet management technology!

‍Perhaps the key component of any Fleet asset management strategy is an effective Fleet asset management system. Without effective computerized maintenance management software systems (CMMS), that use technology such as GPS, telematics and the Internet of Things (IoT) to monitor your fleet in real-time it is nearly impossible to develop a strategy for managing assets. By utilizing Fleet asset management system and software, an organization can save both time and money in a variety of different ways:

  • Labor costs can be reduced as staff efficiency is maximized.
  • Delays in asset downtime are minimized, as replacement parts and inventory are available ahead of scheduled maintenance work orders.
  • Work order feedback loops are available to create a more granular view of the history of specific assets, allowing for both analysis of similar assets and more accurate maintenance records.

Step 5:  Implementation

It is critical to plan your implementation.  Develop a detailed implementation plan that includes timelines, budget, personnel involved, and milestones. Ensure clear communication of the plan to all stakeholders to align expectations and responsibilities.

Optimally configuring the system to your specific needs requires that you work with the software provider to configure the fleet management system according to your operational needs. During this phase it is the best time to customize dashboards, reports, and alerts to match your specific requirements.

Once configured and implement it is important to provide comprehensive training for your team on how to use the new system effectively. Tailor training sessions to different user roles within your organization.

All that is left is to Go Live!  Monitor the system closely during the initial period to address any issues promptly.

Stage 6: Operation, Maintenance and Monitoring

It is important to continuously monitor fleet performance, and track metrics such as fuel consumption, vehicle uptime, and driver behaviour.

Regularly monitor the system’s performance, gather feedback from users, and evaluate against your initial objectives. Consider implementing a continuous improvement process to adapt to changing needs and be prepared to make adjustments to the system configuration and user training as needed to ensure maximum benefit.

Use this data provided by your Fleet asset management system to refine your strategy, making necessary adjustments along the way. Regularly review this information to make informed decisions and improve your strategy.

Last but not least be prepared for emergencies with contingency plans.

 

Conclusion

By following these steps and addressing potential challenges with best practices, organizations can ensure a smooth and effective implementation of a fleet asset management system that meets their operational needs and objectives.

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