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What is fleet asset management?

Introduction

Late deliveries, maintenance downtime due to endless paperwork, underutilised assets, not knowing the correct delivery address, these are just some of the daily realities fleet managers have to cope with when assets are not properly managed.

It’s easy enough to manage a fleet when you only have a few vehicles. But things get more complicated as grow your asset inventory.

So how can you efficiently manage assets across your fleet? How can you maximize utilization and get more out of assets like trucks, trailers, and equipment?

A well-thought-out fleet asset management plan can help you get more mileage out of your fleet assets and increase productivity. It allows you to build a more sustainable and efficient business by maximizing your assets’ capability to generate profits.

In this article, we’ll explain what is fleet asset management is, its benefits and best practices for small business fleet operators. and how it can streamline your operations.

What is Fleet Asset Management?

Every company aims to maximise earnings while also reducing costs.

Tracking the utilization of your assets is an important part of fleet management. The reason is simple: Underutilized assets ultimately cost your company money.

Fleet asset management involves overseeing and managing every aspect of a fleet’s vehicles and equipment, ensuring they are efficiently utilized, well-maintained and  equally provide a positive return on investment. It covers each stage of an asset’s lifecycle, from procurement and deployment to maintenance and eventual disposal.

How does fleet asset management differ from general fleet management?

Think of fleet asset management as the vigilant caretaker of all your essential assets, whereas fleet management acts as the skilled specialist navigating the particular hurdles and day to day challenges associated with your vehicles and equipment.

Fleet asset management takes a holistic view, looking at and caring for everything from vehicles to equipment and even office supplies. It ensures everything is in the right place, performing optimally, and contributing to your overall success.

On the flip side, fleet management focuses on the unique challenges of your vehicles and machinery. It ensures your fleet operates smoothly, tackling issues like maintenance, fuel efficiency, and driver behaviour.

Together, they form an unbeatable partnership for managing your fleet, with each aspect complementing the other.

The role of an Asset Manager in Fleet Management

A fleet asset manager oversees all aspects of a company’s vehicles. This could be a dedicated position within a large company, or fall on the shoulders of the owner in a smaller company.

Fleet managers are responsible for keeping vehicles on the road at all times by regularly assessing and maintaining the assets. Preventing accidents from occurring and keeping budgets under check.

To do this they need to understand not only the bigger picture, but also the minor details of how the company operates daily. An easy and effective way to achieve this is to have an up-to-date fleet and asset management system.

Adopting the right asset management software can propel your operations to new heights, enhancing efficiency, safety, and profitability.

Using a fleet asset management software helps you:

  • Monitor all fleet assets.
  • Manage assets seamlessly from multiple locations.
  • Plan against operational, legal, and financial risks.
  • Organize fleet asset portfolio.
  • Improve time management.
  • Track fleet performance to establish more efficient operations.
  • Measure and monitor fleet asset life cycle costs.

Benefits of Asset Management for Fleet Managers

By dedicating time and resources to asset management, you not only reduce unexpected expenses, but also prolong the life of your fleet. Here are just a few of the benefits of proper fleet asset management.

1. Lower overhead expenses

With a reliable fleet and asset management system, vehicles, equipment and maintenance procedures are viewed and managed from one central ‘hub’. This assists fleet asset managers to identify and reduce unnecessary expenditures. This includes optimized fuel usage, strategic vehicle maintenance to prevent costly repairs, and ensuring that assets are utilized efficiently to avoid overinvestment in underused resources.

2. Lower risk and Higher Operational Efficiency:

By providing real-time data and analytics on fleet performance, asset management systems enable more informed decision-making, by giving you better visibility and control over your fleet vehicle’s condition and location.

The tools allow you to accomplish more tasks since you can avoid chasing others about the status of your assets, which can lead to optimized routes, reduced idle times, and better allocation of vehicles, thereby enhancing overall operational efficiency.

3. Enhanced revenue & Customer Satisfaction

Improved reliability and efficiency of fleet operations can lead to better service delivery, shorter delivery times, and higher customer satisfaction levels. Ensuring that you can always make good on your commitments will enhance not only the company’s reputation but also the company’s revenue.

4. Simplified asset maintenance and downtime management

Managing your assets doesn’t have to be time-consuming and resource-heavy.

For instance, using a Fleet Management solution that allows you to capture and monitor your fleet asset’s service history, condition, engine hours, and miles traveled (among others)t can significantly reduce vehicle downtime and extend the life of the fleet.

This information can help you establish effective proactive maintenance programs and routines to ensure your fleet of vehicles gets the necessary service without disrupting your schedules and operations.

5. Better asset utilization

A reliable fleet asset tracking tool can show the location of your commercial vehicles at all times, whether they’re in the yard, en route, or in detention. This makes it easy to go over asset usage, balance workloads to avoid underusing (or overusing) your fleet vehicles, equipment, and tools, and seamlessly redirect assets to job sites.

6. Better asset protection and theft reduction:

GPS deters vehicle theft and equipment loss by tracking asset locations in real time. GPS  can also monitor and catch unusual movement, allowing you to quickly prevent these incidents or increase your chances of recovering your assets.

Features like GPS tracking, geofencing, and driver behaviour monitoring can mitigate risks and enhance security measures.

The Components of Fleet Asset Management

Fleet asset management comprises several key components, each vital for the efficient and effective management of a fleet’s vehicles and equipment. Here’s an overview of the main components:

Asset Tracking:

The foundation of fleet asset management, asset tracking involves the use of GPS technology and telematics devices to monitor the location, movement, and status of each vehicle in real-time.

Maintenance Management:

This component focuses on scheduling, tracking, and managing vehicle maintenance activities to ensure vehicles are operating efficiently and to reduce the risk of breakdowns. It includes preventive maintenance, repairs, and inspections.

Fuel Management:

Effective fuel management is crucial for controlling costs and improving efficiency. This includes monitoring fuel consumption, identifying fuel theft or wastage, and implementing strategies to reduce fuel usage.

Compliance Management:

Ensuring that the fleet and its operations comply with local, national, and international regulations, including emissions standards, safety regulations, and driver hours.

Cost Management:

A critical component aimed at tracking and managing all costs associated with fleet operations, including fuel, maintenance, insurance, and depreciation, to improve financial performance.

Vehicle Lifecycle Management:

This involves managing each vehicle from acquisition to disposal, including procurement, deployment, operation, and resale or decommissioning, with the goal of maximizing value and minimizing costs throughout the vehicle’s lifecycle.

Safety and Security Management:

Includes measures to ensure the safety of drivers and security of vehicles and cargo. This can involve driver training programs, vehicle safety features, and security technologies like GPS tracking and geofencing.

Features of an effective fleet and asset management system

When looking for and evaluating a suitable Asset Management System for your fleet, consider these feature:

1. Asset Management and Scheduling

When selecting an asset management system look for a system that empowers you to control every aspect of any asset within your organization, from its initial purchase through disposal, as well as a system that enables you to easily assign assets to operators and commercial drivers.

In particular ensure that the information available for each unit includes:

  • Accounting
  • Performance History
  • Repair history
  • Unit allocations
  • Location assignments
  • Operating information
  • Maintenance schedules
  • Downtime
  • Fuel and oil usage
  • Warranties
  • Technical specifications
  • Historical usage

The fleet asset management system must also give you scheduling insights and utilization reporting so you can optimize your fleet operations and asset usage.

2. Inventory Management

Look for a system with inventory management, which gives you he ability to manage every controllable aspect of your fleet’s inventory.  A system that enhances organization-wide parts management across workshops, warehouses, and storerooms

3. Work order Management.

Look for a solution with a simplified work order management flow that allow you manage the entire spectrum of asset maintenance, including the management of shop operations and vendor relationships.

It should include detailed maintenance schedules, job standards, service requests, and campaigns, as well as warranty tracking and management of external repairs.

4. Centralised hub

A fleet and asset management system must have a centralized hub where your team can track assets, view task statuses, and see assignment histories in one place.

5. Document management

Choose a fleet asset management system that allows you to quickly and easy upload accident reports, warranty documentation, photos and other relevant files.

The system should also enable you or your staff to quickly access, store, organize, and extract the required documentation on fleet assets for supervising operations.

6. Cost monitoring

Monitoring the total cost of owning your assets is another must-have feature. The system must track all your fleet’s expenses, from parking violations to oil changes, so you can tell how much your company is spending on maintenance, fuel, incidents, registration and taxes, and other expenses.

Tips and Best Practices for setting 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.

Here’s a simple six-step guide to optimal asset performance:

  • First, clearly define your goals for your fleet and make sure they’re specific, measurable, achievable and time-bound. This sets the foundation for your plan. For example, if your target for the upcoming quarter is cost reduction, your asset management KPIs should include several cost metrics, such as cost-per-stop, engine idle time, etc.
  • Next, take a good look at your current fleet and analyse your risks. Start by auditing your existing assets and updating your inventory. This gives you a clear picture of your assets’ current condition, remaining lifespan, and value.‍
  • It’s crucial to track your vehicles, equipment, machinery etc. and make a detailed inventory of all of them using GPS and telematics to monitor them in real-time.‍
  • Plan regular fleet maintenance to keep your vehicles in good shape and avoid unexpected breakdowns with preventative maintenance. Train your drivers on safety and fuel-efficient driving, and make sure they follow traffic rules.‍
  • Control your operational costs by monitoring fuel usage, maintenance, and fleet costs such as speeding tickets and insurance expenses.‍
  • Monitor and review. Be prepared for emergencies with contingency plans. Review and update your fleet asset management plan regularly to adapt to changes and improve it over time to fit the current state of your fleet. You can use your data to make better decisions, such as when to invest in new vehicles, amend or update fleet asset maintenance policies, and when to allocate funds for upgrades.

The Role of Asset Management Software

Choosing the right asset management software is crucial for fleet operations. Look for solutions that focus on vehicle asset condition and performance, offering tangible benefits such as:

  • Faster return on investment
  • Measurable improvements in operational efficiency
  • Reduced costs and administrative burdens
  • Enhanced compliance and risk management
  • Comprehensive lifecycle management, from acquisition to disposal
  • Detailed insights into utilization, maintenance, and compliance

In Summary

Because data is at the heart of any fleet asset management system, having up-to-date information on all aspects of your business in one place, makes your day much less complicated.

Investing in smarter fleet management software equips your business with the tools and insights needed to adapt to evolving asset management needs. By leveraging data-driven decision-making, you can achieve greater efficiency, lower costs, improved uptime, and increased satisfaction for both employees and customers.

Using Netstar, you will see the benefits of fleet management combined with transport management. Accessing all the information you need at the touch of a button, our software enables you to make smarter decisions to boost your company’s bottom line.

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