Fleet managers are logistics specialists tasked to manage the effective operation of a company’s vehicle fleet. When employed by a freight carrier, their primary role is to ensure the fleet operates at maximum efficiency to meet pick-up and delivery schedules on time, safely, and cost-effectively. Main tasks include driver management, equipment maintenance and repairs, managing budgets, and ensuring compliance with regulations. Fleet managers are generally charged to oversee fuel consumption and fuel costs, asset utilization, route planning, and implementing programs that increase company productivity and decrease instances of waste.
A fleet manager’s role is critical to the overall success of a freight carrier business. A great fleet manager is a master of many traits. They must be multi-skilled, good problem solvers, and excellent relationship builders. Their day is long and busy, filled with new and reoccurring challenges that must be resolved cost-effectively and in a timely fashion to meet deadlines and maintain company profitability.
A fleet manager’s day is a long, busy day
Every day is different, full of tasks to complete, relationships to manage, and operations to oversee. One day may be smooth sailing with everything operating as scheduled, but that’s rare! Most days are filled with changing circumstances and industry challenges that require immediate attention. Although no two days are the same, here’s a look at what a typical day in the life of a fleet manager might look like.
7:00 AM: Start the day with a review of emails and messages
Fleet managers start their day by checking their inbox and responding to pressing messages or emails. Updates from service centers, reminders of upcoming maintenance appointments, or questions from drivers about vehicle issues may require immediate action.
8:00 AM: Monitor the fleet
Next, the fleet manager checks the status of the vehicles in the fleet, including their location and usage. This information is typically tracked using GPS or telematics systems. A fleet manager uses technology to help make decisions about routing, maintenance, and replacement.
9:00 AM: Meet with drivers
The fleet manager may meet with drivers to discuss schedules, performance concerns, and issues with their vehicles, plus offer support and guidance. This might include troubleshooting technical problems, addressing concerns about vehicle safety, or answering questions about company policies and procedures. As drivers are typically on the road and not at the yard, these discussions are often conducted via telecommunications.
10:00 AM: Review maintenance schedules
The fleet manager then reviews the maintenance schedules for the vehicles in the fleet, ensuring that all vehicles are up to date with their inspections, oil changes, and other preventative maintenance. Any vehicles due for maintenance are prioritized, and the fleet manager may schedule appointments with service centers or allocate vehicles to be taken out of service.
11:00 AM: Review budgets and expenses
The fleet manager then turns to financial responsibilities, such as reviewing budgets, monitoring expenses, and preparing reports for senior management. This might include analyzing fuel costs, maintenance expenses, and other operating costs to ensure that the fleet is operating as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
A common problem that plagues many trucking operations is lack of available funds to support operations. Fleet managers should research freight factoring – a mainstream cash flow solution to provide the cash you need when you need it. Recommend an experienced alternative lender, such as eCapital, to management. This reputable freight factoring company provides more access to more capital in more ways than competing lenders can provide.
- Freight factoring provides regular, dependable cash flow.
- provides a significant injection of working capital when needed.
- Automatic qualification for a revolving line-of-credit provides a cash reserve for emergencies.
- Visa commercial cards allows you to access your funds and control expenses 24/7.
Additional cost saving products and services include the following:
- Fuel discount programs – never pay full price for diesel again
- Free, unlimited credit checks on shippers and brokers – verify customers’ ability to pay before you haul.
Reporting operating budgets and costs, plus offering solutions to cover expenses is an example of being proactive – a great trait for a fleet manager to possess.
12:00 PM: Emergency repair management
When over-the-road breakdowns occur, it becomes a race against time and budget to complete the repair quickly and cost-effectively. These types of incidents can happen at any time – in this case, time for lunch may be cut short.
Fleet Managers must communicate with drivers, dispatchers, mechanics, customers, management, and others to solve problems and inform stakeholders. They must have good problem-solving skills and the ability to communicate effectively. They must work under very tight timelines, evaluate many alternatives, not rush to poor decisions, and make decisions on the fly. Getting the driver and rig back on the road to fulfill its delivery schedule is of the utmost importance.
1:00 PM: Oversee equipment procurement
The fleet manager may also be responsible for procuring new or used trucks and trailers for the fleet. This activity will include researching and selecting equipment, negotiating prices, and coordinating delivery. It’s an ongoing process, as working equipment is continually added to and removed from the fleet.
2:00 PM: Attend meetings and conference calls
The fleet manager may attend meetings and conference calls with colleagues, suppliers, and stakeholders in the afternoon. This may include discussing updates to company policies and procedures, coordinating maintenance and repair activities, or reviewing the fleet’s performance.
3:00 PM: Monitor compliance with regulations
Finally, the fleet manager ensures that the fleet complies with all relevant regulations, including safety and environmental regulations, licensing requirements, and insurance regulations. This might involve reviewing vehicle inspections, monitoring compliance with hours-of-service rules, and ensuring all vehicles have the required safety and environmental equipment.
4:00 PM: Wrap up the day
The fleet manager concludes the day by responding to outstanding emails and messages, updating records and schedules, and preparing for the next day. With so many responsibilities, a fleet manager’s day is never done, but the sense of accomplishment that comes from keeping a company’s operation running smoothly is well worth it.
A day in the life of a fleet manager is fast-paced and multifaceted. Fulfilling their role and responsibilities requires technical knowledge, organizational skills, and interpersonal savvy. The role is vital, from monitoring the fleet and overseeing maintenance to negotiating prices and ensuring compliance with regulations. A fleet manager makes a direct impact on the continued success of the business.
eCapital is a leading alternative lender in transportation financing. With over 25 years of experience serving the transportation industry, eCapital knows trucking. We understand the business and know the challenges that truck company owners face. Fleet managers keep operations moving, eCapital keeps cash flow regular, and access to working capital easy. Dependable funding is essential to support operations and help overcome financial emergencies when they occur. Additional support services are available to help acquire more loads and operate efficiently.
Our affiliated support services include the following:
For more information about funding solutions to support your trucking company through changeable conditions, from economic uncertainty to business growth opportunities, visit eCapital.com