When people think of fleet management, they typically associate it with asset management. However, a critical component to fleet management is people management. The reality is the majority of a fleet manager’s time often is spent dealing with personnel and interdepartmental issues. How you deal with these issues influences shop morale, user department relationships, and management’s opinion of your effectiveness as fleet manager.
Successful people management equates to successful fleet management. This translates into higher technician productivity, improved operational efficiencies, and improved customer service.
It has been said that there are six characteristics in people management employed by the best of these fleet managers.
1. Become a Role Model: Successful people management means you, yourself, must serve as an example of excellence. Become a role model by showcasing how work should be done by demonstrating confidence, a positive attitude, and employing initiative during trying circumstances.
2. Fairness. Managing a staff is very much like being the head of a family. You need to treat everyone equally and not show favoritism. One way to do so is to ensure all shop rules are applied equally.
3. Become a Good Listener. Encourage your staff to feel free to express ideas and concerns to you. Encourage constructive feedback.
4. Encourage Self-Growth. Develop programs that incentivize associates to advance their skill sets.
5. Problem Resolution. When issues emerge on the shop floor, your focus should be finding solutions, not assigning blame. If it is necessary to criticize, do so in private. The best way to resolve problems is to prevent them from happening in the first place.
6. Cultivate Customer Service. A best-in-class fleet operation has excellent interdepartmental relationships. It is important to remember that without user departments there would be no need for fleet operations. An effective fleet manager listens to user departments. You need to know your customers’ objectives. It is important to regularly survey customers to determine their needs, wants, and expectations of fleet operations.
We find that fleet companies sometimes have a more challenging time managing people especially when it comes to fuel savings. It is sometimes difficult for fleet managers to have enough time to spend with drivers to talk to them about diesel fuel prices, fuel cards and fuel management. Most fleet companies drivers start early and work late which makes communication difficult at times and fueling isn’t usually the top of the agenda. A good tip for most fleet companies as part of their driver communication and better fleet management solutions is to post things in the drivers room. There you can tell your drivers everything that is going on as far as your fleet management as well as using their fuel card at the right locations, putting in diesel fuel additives when stopping in the winter time at certain truck stops and what locations have the lowest diesel fuel prices based on the information that Sokolis Group has provided to you.