Making effective decisions is vital in any business. Every business comes with a set of challenges related to this particular aspect, and the same goes for fleets. Having a sound decision-making process means solving problems by examining different solutions and deciding on the way to go, though very often the way is not necessarily smooth and there are often pitfalls. With this post we would like to explore the main ones faced by those of you holding management-executive positions in fleets—what then are the key challenges when it comes to the fleet decision-making processes?
#1 – Information overload. Having a lot of information is often viewed as beneficial, but if that information is not collated properly or only available via a multitude of methods, processing it all can become overwhelming. You should be accustomed to accessing the kind of user-friendly data that is key to your decision-making options, or you might feel misguided and confused.
#2 – Not having enough information. Of course extremes are never good: not having enough information to support your decision is not good either; and you should definitely be up to speed with all the relevant information in order to come up with the best solution for any issue.
#3 – Misidentifying the problem. In many cases, the issues surrounding your decision will be obvious. However, there will be times when the decision is complex and you aren’t sure where the main issue lies, as the actual cause may be elusive. Being able to conduct thorough research, receive useful data and speak with internal experts could be ways to mitigate this situation.
#4 – Overconfidence in the outcome. We are not by any way devaluing the importance of positive thinking, but rather that you should identify realistic, viable, achievable options rather than ones that are overly optimistic and unrealistic.
#5 – Impulsiveness. Stress, time constraints or any other circumstance such as the pressure to decide upon a course of action can compromise the desired results if decisions are taken too quickly. You might inadvertently skip important data or forget about the impact of some action or other on the team.
#6 – Opinions and objectivity. It is natural to involve other people in the decision-making process, but you need to avoid falling for something similar to the halo effect (preconceived ideas and prejudices based solely upon appearances). Try and be coolly objective in your decision-making—compliance, safety and the business should be the priority—that’s something you can only achieve with objective data.
#7 – Not a one-off. If you make a decision, you will have to follow-up on it to understand if it has really been the correct one; it could be a way to improve your decision-making process and set a useful precedent if you have to take a similar step in the future.
Having an objective source of fleet data, as provided by any of our fleet management systems, can really help in overcoming the kind of challenges that all those who manage vehicles experience at some point—do let us know if you want to learn more.