The Ultimate Fleet Asset Management Guide: Challenges, Benefits, and Planning

Feature image for the article

Maximised profitability and reduced costs are two extremes most fleet managers and owners wish to string when streamlining fleet operations. However, underutilised assets, manual paperwork, inefficient monitoring, and other challenges make it difficult for them to get more out of their trucks, trailers, and machinery. This is why they need to consider investing in fleet asset management.

What is fleet asset management? 

Fleet asset management essentially helps companies track asset utilisation and ensure the vehicles and equipment are efficiently utilised and well-maintained — driving the fleet operations toward positive ROI. It provides fleet managers and owners with a holistic view of the vehicles and equipment, ensuring they perform optimally across the asset lifecycle. 

Different types of fleet assets 

Organisations across industries like manufacturing, logistics, construction, eCommerce, retail, and others make use of fleet vehicles like trucks, construction vehicles, buses, vans, cranes, excavators, generators, forklifts, refrigerated trailers, flatbed trailers, or any industry-specific machinery. These can be categorised into — 

  • Vans 
  • Pickup Trucks 
  • Utility Trucks 
  • Box trucks 
  • Buses 
  • Emergency Vehicles 
  • Tractor Trailers 
  • Speciality Vehicles 

Note: We highly recommend fleet owners recognise the business goals, budget, and requirements when considering procuring fleet vehicles mentioned above.  

Understanding the fleet asset lifecycle

An effective and efficient fleet asset management strategy revolves around the following fleet asset management lifecycle — 

Image showing the fleet asset lifecycle

  1. Planning refers to defining the tasks for which assets are needed and how their usage leads to realising the organisational goals.
  2. Acquisition refers to the aspect of acquiring fleet assets by negotiating contracts with multiple vendors.
  3. Operation refers to fleet asset utilisation.
  4. Maintenance refers to timely and regular fleet asset maintenance to keep the assets in working condition.
  5. Decommission refers to the final stage where the fleet assets are properly disposed of, marking the end of their service to an organisation.

Key fleet asset management challenges 

Here are some of the most important fleet asset management challenges one should consider when developing a strategy —

Image showing the common fleet asset management challenges

1. Inefficient asset tracking

Fleet management’s biggest challenge is inefficient asset tracking. Fleet managers must keep track of the asset’s location, condition, and maintenance records for its efficient usage. This is where asset tracking and fleet video telematics solutions comes to the rescue, helping managers have an idea of assets’ location and usage optimisation to generate maximum value. 

2. Maintenance scheduling and planning

The larger the fleet, the more complicated their maintenance. Identifying an optimum maintenance cycle involves intelligent planning as you want the assets to be serviced without causing downtime in fleet operations. To ensure this, you need a solution that tracks/monitors assets’ usage and schedules their preventive maintenance. 

3. Maintenance expense management

Image showing fleet asset management statistics

Source: G2

To reduce fleet operations costs, managers need to keep track of maintenance expenses. This is achievable through cost tracking, preventive maintenance, cost forecasting, and impeccable cost reporting. This allows fleet managers to plan and budget for effective maintenance expense management. 

4. Record maintenance

As a fleet grows in size, fleet owners find it challenging to keep up with the costs of storing and maintaining accurate records for effective fleet management. A manager needs automated data entry with secure access controls and data encryption to overcome this fleet asset management challenge. 

5. Regulatory compliance

Image showing fleet asset management statistics

Source: G2

As fleet operation regulations change, managers find themselves tackling the challenge of running a compliant fleet. They need to ensure regulation tracking, compliance reporting, digital signatures development, audit trails, and more. One of the best ways is to develop compliance alert systems so managers can realise and document compliance violations. 

6. Inaccurate risk management

Fleet management requires ongoing risk management to identify potential risks to an organisation’s assets. Challenges like equipment failure or natural disasters can be overcome through risk assessment, risk mitigation, risk tracking, and risk reporting exercises. 

7. Lack of training and skill development

To maximise asset utilisation, fleet managers will have to train the workforce on a regular basis. Besides, they will have to take the help of asset lifecycle management, asset performance management, asset utilisation tracking, and asset disposal management to maximise asset value.  

Top benefits of developing a fleet asset management strategy 

Here are the key benefits of developing a fleet asset management strategy for your company —

Image showing the top benefits of fleet asset management

1. Simplifies asset maintenance

Asset management can be time-consuming and resource-heavy. For instance, fleet managers will have to monitor fleet asset’s service history, engine hours, conditions, miles, and other performance attributes. With a fleet asset management program established, one can easily maintain fleet service routines without causing much downtime.

For example, Waste Management Inc. recently implemented preventive maintenance and predictive analytics in order to reduce vehicle downtime and extend fleet vehicle lifespan. Its fleet asset management strategy has simplified vehicle maintenance and improved reliability while significantly reducing vehicle downtime.  

2. Improved asset visibility

Couple fleet asset management with vehicle tracking and you will have real-time data and updates for improved staff accountability. The information can help track and determine if the vehicles are being used after work hours.

Advanced fleet asset management programs can even check for unauthorised stops or routes. As a result, over 40 percent of fleet and logistics managers reported a decrease in driver safety incidents through vehicle video surveillance systems. 

3. Lowers overhead costs

Fleet managers and owners want to reduce overhead costs to boost profitability, and fleet management aids them by automating the associated business processes. This results in staff reduction, which further helps decrease fleet asset management-related operational expenses while increasing fleet efficiency and productivity.

4. Maximise asset utilisation 

With tracking modules of fleet management systems, fleet managers can easily locate their vehicles and machinery and check for usage. It helps balance the workloads and avoid overuse/underuse of the assets. Thus, fleet owners and managers can ensure seamless redirection of the assets, maximise their utilisation, and extend assets’ lifespan. 

5. Improved productivity and scalability

Productivity takes a major hit when fleet managers chase others to accrue fleet usage-related information. Fleet management, especially tracking solutions, are able to promptly provide information about fleet asset activity, the status of vehicles, and flag unproductive assets. 

After all, almost 89 percent of fleet professionals claim to have experienced the ease of use and adaptability with fleet tracking solutions. Not just that, fleet asset management solutions make scalability easier as you no longer have to track paper trails. Simply use the asset’s historical data to make efficient scalability-related decision-making. 

6. Stronger asset protection

Tracking the fleet activities using GPS tracking allows fleet managers to strengthen asset protection measures. This deters fleet vehicle theft and loss since fleet managers receive the real-time location of vehicles, which further allows unusual movement detection. Fleet management with such technologies makes it easier to mitigate such incidents.

7. Ensures regulatory compliance

Fleet managers and owners have to adhere to regulations like Hours Of Service (HOS) to ensure fleet drivers’ safety. For example, the Indian HOS regulations recommend a maximum of 8 hours of driving for truck drivers, followed by at least 8 hours of break.

Moreover, Indian fleet drivers are not allowed to drive for more than 60 hours in a week. Furthermore, fleet asset management ensures a legally compliant fleet company that tracks fleet asset safety, audit trails, maintenance, and operational disruptions.

8. Lowers risk of decision making

A data-driven fleet asset management significantly lowers risks associated with decision-making and data analysis. Fleet management systems help quickly accrue up-to-date information and make informed and accurate decisions.

It also makes the entire fleet operation process much more transparent to facilitate effective cost-benefit analysis. However, only 23 percent of fleet owners employ big data analytics for decision-making. This makes it a perfect opportunity to edge past your competitors.  

Key factors of a fleet asset management plan

What factors should you consider when creating a fleet asset management plan? These five factors should always be a part of your plan — 

1. Goals and KPIs 

The fleet asset management plan must consider your business goals and learn how the existing KPIs impact your business. For example, if you want to focus on making the fleet operations cost effective, you will have to consider KPIs like fuel wasted, idle time, route optimization, driver behaviour, and more. 

2. Risk assessments

Fleet managers and owners should promptly identify the potential risks for the fleet assets. Once shortlisted, these must be visualised using a risk assessment matrix. Using this tactic will help fleet managers set priorities for optimum risk evaluation and mitigation.  Here’s a template you can follow —

Image showing a risk assessment template

Here’s an example of risk assessment for fleet operations —

Image showing fleet risk assessment matrix

3. Budget 

Since most companies have a limited budget for fleet operations, it is crucial to optimise budget reallocation. We highly recommend you create a budget that caters to maintenance, repairs, fuel, insurance, permits, and replacements. 

4. Monitoring 

Once you execute an asset management plan, your entire focus should switch to monitoring its impact on the business. We highly recommend integrating fleet management software with your existing infrastructure and capturing critical fleet operations-related data. 

5. Analysis 

Lastly, fleet managers and owners would have to accrue the data and analyse it to generate actionable insights. As the captured data is reviewed, they will discover key insights which will further enable data-driven decision-making.  

Steps to develop a fleet asset management plan 

Here are the steps required to develop an effective fleet asset management plan —

Image showing steps to develop a fleet asset management plan

  1. When developing a fleet asset management plan, you need to establish clear objectives aligning with the company’s goals. We suggest you implement the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) model to develop a solid foundation. 
  2. Next, conduct an extensive fleet asset audit considering attributes like asset ownership, location, condition, average lifespan, and investment. This will help identify potential business risks and ensure proactive response to operational threats. Furthermore, it allows fleet managers to assess asset performance and overall utilisation. 
  3. Next, you will have to strategies fleet risk management and develop preventive maintenance programs, which will also involve extensive training and skill development across the workforce. The idea is to develop a culture of continuous improvement that caters to regular regulatory compliance, review, and adaptation. 

Get started with fleet asset management

Now that you are well-acquainted with fleet asset management, it’s time you take the next steps to execute a reliable fleet asset management plan. The best way to take this initiative forward is by partnering up with companies that provide fleet management and monitoring solutions.

However, we highly recommend you work with companies that provide you with complete fleet asset management solution (hardware and software), i.e., a comprehensive asset management and support.

These companies will bring down the cost of running fleet assets and streamline fleet operations. This way, you can rest assured that your fleet will stay current on the latest technologies and fleet management practices. 

Leave a Reply