Fleet management means ensuring your assets are operating efficiently, getting the most done with the fewest resources.
But does this mean micro-managing drivers?
Micro-manage or Hands-off?
As a fleet manager, your job is to plan, organize and control the functions of your business. There are a variety of management frameworks depending on the industry you occupy. For example, Howard Shultz the man behind everyone’s favorite coffee shop (or least favorite depending on who you talk to) Starbucks, has made famous the Servant Leadership framework. In this case the company’s sole purpose, and by extension, the purpose of their employees is to serve others – to make other people’s needs a priority. Since every touch point is so important in the experience of a Starbucks customer, Servant Leadership is very hands-on and integral to their success. Fleet managers would have difficulty with this approach, as their operations span greater distances with a large number of people actively working on different projects.
Fleet Management by Exception
The core idea behind Management by Exception is a focus on, you guessed it, exceptions. These are the conditions that deviate from the norm in a significant way, either positively or negatively. Management by Exception is a good strategy for fleet managers because it is relatively hands-off, which helps with employee empowerment while retaining the capability to make adjustments when necessary. To illustrate this, imagine one of your drivers is traveling down a freeway where the speed limit is 110 kph. You probably wouldn’t want to be notified if the driver goes above or below that limit by 5 kph. However, you would probably be interested if they suddenly started driving 20 kph OVER the speed limit. This is Management by Exception. You would only be made aware in cases of a change in performance that you would deem as significant.
Let Titan GPS Work for You
The process begins by establishing norms or benchmarks based on historical data (e.g. excessive idling) or regulations (e.g. speed limits). Once these benchmarks have been determined, you’ll need to decide the thresholds that will dictate when notification and reporting criteria are met. These thresholds are up to you, based on criteria you deem most important regarding safety and operational efficiency. Once set, your job is done until a violation occurs and the Titan GPS system notifies and informs you via text, email, or reporting.
On notification of an exception, fleet managers should take steps to effectively communicate with their employee on policy and procedure expectations. If a negative pattern develops, a different approach or more stringent remedial measures can be taken to correct the behaviour.
Using this form of management means that no news is good news. Rewarding employees who trigger few or zero exception events promote a healthy and positive work environment while the correction of poorly performing drivers can also have positive organization-wide ripple effects. So what tools does Titan GPS offer to execute a successful Management by Exception framework?
This is your bread and butter if you want to manage by exception. Custom alerts are set using criteria decided by you. These criteria can be based on events such as asset, location, time, day, speed or activity.
Just a few good examples to manage by exception:
- Aggressive Driving: This can mean excessive acceleration/deceleration, RPM threshold, or over-speed events. When a driver goes over the acceptable threshold, you can be notified instantly via text or email, or later reporting and analytics.
- Excessive Idling: When one of your vehicles or pieces of equipment is left idling for an excessive period you can be notified instantly via text or email, or later in extensive reporting features.
- Operating Hours: This alert means you can monitor after-hours vehicle operation. It may indicate the use of company assets for personal activity, moonlighting or even theft. For example, if you receive a notification that the vehicle is in operation at 1 am in the morning on a Saturday. This is most likely an indication the vehicle is not being used for work-related activities.
Earlier we mentioned reporting features; the Titan GPS platform has many different types of reports at your disposal. The Fleet Leaderboard and Driver Score Cards are just two examples that are exceptional for the execution of a successful Management by Exception framework.
The Fleet Leaderboard provides a high-level view of an entire fleets driving behaviour, allowing you to easily spot exceptions. It tracks events such as excessive idling and aggressive driving events, along with distance traveled and active engine hours. It is important to note data such as distance traveled because it has an influence on the frequency of exceptions. If Driver A travels 100 miles a week and surpasses a threshold 5 times, it is much different than a driver who travels 2,000 miles a week and commits the same amount of threshold infractions.
Driver Score Cards
Driver Score Cards are a comprehensive report card that provides drivers a score out of 100 for performance factors that you set and include idling, speeding, and aggressive driving. Scorecards can also be set to include positive thresholds for incentive bonuses to reward drivers who perform safely and efficiently. Driver Score Cards are an excellent management by exception tool to track the long-term performance of individual drivers.
No matter the size of your business or fleet, fleet management is a demanding job. Micromanagement, although effective in some other industries, is not ideal for fleet management. The freedom to operate within a set of reasonable boundaries empowers employees so that they can perform optimally. Management by Exception with Titan GPS can help you achieve that and ultimately boost your bottom-line.
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