4 ways to improve utilization of fleet vehicles
Source: FleetAnswers Is your fleet utilizing its vehicles to the fullest? Vehicles that are not being used well are adding unnecessary costs to your fleet. Those vehicles, whether they are run regularly or not, have to be maintained, and they are not bringing in any income as a result of that expense. Empty trucks on the road are using fuel without purpose. These types of problems can be improved with better vehicle utilization.
Here are some tips to help you utilize your fleet vehicles as thoroughly as possible, making your fleet efficient and effective.
- Consider Backloading
A truck that is on the road without a load is a cost that is not affordable for many modern fleets, yet eventually your vehicles will need to return to the facility after delivering their load.
Backloading is a way to avoid this problem. If you can deliver a load, and then pick up a new one that is to be delivered on the way back to the main facility, you can limit those unproductive legs of the trip.
Finding those back loads can be difficult, but modern data can help. Tap into customer data to find the most likely source of a backload to keep your vehicles productive.
- Monitor Fleet Use
Fleet tracking software makes it easier than ever to monitor the actual use your vehicles are getting. If you start tracking this metric only to find that you have vehicles that only make short runs or regularly sit in the yard unused, you may need to make some changes to the number of vehicles in your fleet.
When replacement time comes for those vehicles, your fleet may be better served to assimilate their jobs into another vehicle's workload and avoid the cost of replacement.
- Avoid Specialty Vehicles
Specialty vehicles are those vehicles that perform one purpose, and are only needed on occasion. A snow plow in an area with mild winters would be an example. While it is helpful to have a snow plow when snow does come, maintaining a snow plow year-round is not necessarily a cost effective solution.
One way to utilize your vehicles well is to invest in multi-purpose vehicles instead of specialty vehicles. A pickup truck that can be used for deliveries and have a snow plow mounted on the front in the winter is a good example of this.
Monitoring fleet use can also allow you to spread the workload among your vehicles more effectively, avoiding too much wear and tear on any one vehicle. Use the data from your telematics system to plan the use of your vehicles well.
- Maximize the Capacity of Vehicles
Whenever possible, run vehicles at full capacity, rather than running multiple vehicles at a less-than-full capacity. When replacing existing vehicles, consider downsizing to a smaller size so that vehicles can run at full capacity.
Running a smaller vehicle that is full will cost less than running a large vehicle that is only half-full, simply because of the lower cost of running a small vehicle.
Utilizing the fleet effectively is one of the main goals of the modern fleet manager. With these tips, you can do a better job of using the vehicles your company has entrusted to your management.
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