Equipment

Remain Present and Engaged While Managing a Fleet Remotely

Successful remote fleet management requires a full understanding of the fleet’s status.
By Rachael Plant
October 11, 2022
Topics
Equipment

An increase in fleet solutions on the market means it’s easier than ever for managers to get a complete view of their fleet without ever having to leave the office. However, remote fleet management doesn’t come without its challenges. Successful remote fleet management requires a full understanding of the fleet’s status through data consolidation and transparency, real-time communication and employee engagement.

Potential Pitfalls in Remote Management

While the rise in available fleet technologies has led to more managers remotely overseeing fleet assets and operators, remote management still has its challenges, including negatively impacting communication and productivity across the entire operation. Data consolidation and transparency play a major role in successfully managing a fleet remotely.

Siloed fleet data can lead to missing real-time issues in the field, delayed service and increased downtime. Fleets still using pen and paper or spreadsheets, as well as those using multiple technologies (telematics, fuel cards, business/finance/HR solutions, etc.), may be familiar with the productivity-inhibiting processes for tracking down essential pieces of data. Additionally, manually calculating key metrics such as fleet utilization and total cost of ownership (TCO) can be a huge time sink with a higher potential for error. Integrated fleet management systems are designed to maximize data transparency to keep managers apprised of all aspects relating to fleet, including asset assignments, asset usage, real-time issue alerts, scheduled maintenance and repairs and detailed service histories.

Communication and Employee Engagement are Crucial

Clear communication is the backbone of any business, and the more moving parts, the more important it is. Employees in the field, in the shop and on the road need to have a streamlined way to report vehicle and equipment issues, discuss job/contract-related details, as well as schedule and track service on their assigned assets. Basically, remote fleet management isn’t sustainable without a clear method of communication; however, when managing remotely, employees can tend to be hesitant and unsure of whom to communicate what information to and when, which can lead to employee disengagement.

Employees and contractors using fleet assets are typically the first to know when an issue arises, and the more engaged an employee is, the more likely they are to communicate those issues quickly. The best way to keep employees engaged is to show that they are listened to, that issues are addressed in a timely manner and that their input is valuable. Fleet management software and other solutions allow remote employees to communicate within specific tasks and “tag” or “mention” managers and other employees or vendors who need to be informed, including technicians, maintenance shops, parts acquisitions, finance or any other user in the system.

Master Remote Management with Integrated Software

While there are several potential pitfalls to remote fleet management, an integrated fleet management system that provides data consolidation and transparency fosters real-time communication between the field and the office and helps remote fleet managers stay present and engaged. Furthermore, it helps managers, drivers and employees in the field effectively communicate so that issues can be acted on quickly. Those quick responses help employees feel heard and more inclined to report issues as they arise.

In addition to streamlining communication and maximizing data transparency, integrated fleet management systems provide automated workflows. Digital inspections of vehicles and equipment automatically trigger issues for failed items, alerting the manager to schedule service. Fleet data is aggregated in real time, allowing for configurable reports that managers can send to stakeholders on a customized schedule. Outsourced maintenance automation allows for quick, consolidated communication with shops, and managers can set auto approvals or rejections based on dollar amount, service or other relevant criteria.

While remote fleet management has potential pitfalls, adopting an integrated fleet management system can help managers overcome the main challenges of communication and data transparency. Understanding and staying apprised of all things fleet—including assets and employees—can help managers better control cost and downtime while improving asset ROI and overall productivity remotely.

by Rachael Plant
Rachael Plant is a content marketing specialist for Fleetio, a fleet management software that helps organizations track, analyze and improve their fleet operations. For more info, visit fleetio.com.

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