Fleet management is integral to some industries, and not necessarily in a transport or logistics capacity; it can easily be utilised wherever a vehicle is needed to perform tasks or to provide a service, whether that be for a private company or public organisation.
Depending on the type of company (public or private, for example), the size of the fleet (one vehicle, 10 vehicles, or a substantial fleet of hundreds or even thousands of vehicles); the tasks to be carried out or the type of vehicles and the scope of them, your choices of fleet management come down to either doing it yourself, having an internal fleet management department or outsourcing it.
But what are the pros and cons of each choice? There is no best or worst way; it’s more a case of finding the method most suited to your fleet’s needs:
1. The DIY approach—this may not appear very common, but the reality is that most small-middle companies don’t actually employ a fleet manager per se. This does not mean there is only one person in the global workforce which is the owner, but rather that the owner is also the fleet manager; maybe not claiming the title of fleet manager for himself, but clearly having to fulfil the job description. What happens in these cases is that where resources are limited for the smaller business operation, which might mean no fleet manager, there is still technology available to help. One of the biggest issues for the boss/fleet manager is, indeed, tracking the data on fleet operations and their costs without having to invest all of their time creating spreadsheets in order to interpret the data to inform decision-making. Due to the lack of fleet performance metrics, some DIY fleet managers find themselves forced to delay decisions such as, for example, asset replacement, because they do not have visibility on the performance of them.
2. The in-house approach—having an internal department headed by a fleet manager can also be a good choice depending on the size and scope of your company. This will allow company owners to be sure there is no outside interest conflicting with the business. And, given time, fleet managers will become extremely familiar with the company; identifying gaps within your organisation and dealing with drivers and other employees. Operating within the company means the in-house fleet manager can better or more quickly understand if some fleet actions or policies will have an impact on your customers, or on other aspects of your business, than an outsider.
3. Outsourcing—despite the undeniable advantages of having somebody inside your company, outsourcing is still an excellent option in some scenarios. Outsourcing fleet management might mean your company can dedicate more time to high-value tasks as well as benefitting from the help of objective experts who are not only dedicated to a single role, but remain uninfluenced by internal factors. For some companies, the reason for choosing outsourcing is to forget about compliance: proving that you have established compliance, whether verbally or through contract, as well as risk reduction paperwork, is enough of a workload to seriously consider the outsourcing option.
Sometimes, while outsourcing could be recommended in cases where you have excessive costs that might be caused from mismanagement, or you have a demanding workload that is keeping you from progressing or even completing daily tasks, the old adage applies: in medio stat virtus. A combination of methods may actually be the best option. SynX is suited to any of these three approaches, as it can guarantee full communication between internal and external resources. Full visibility and communication is achieved through our software.
What are your personal experiences with outsourcing, internal and DIY fleet management? What do you consider to be the best option for each type of business?