Private fleets are one of the most important pieces of the American transportation puzzle. They are the largest sector of the domestic trucking market, worth approximately $320 billion (Logistics Management). Private fleets transport a nearly endless variety of products, from roofing supplies to groceries to chairs, but they have one thing in common – they are owned by a company whose primary business is not transportation. Private fleets work to move their company’s products from point A to point B. Generally speaking, businesses manage a private fleet for three reasons: improved customer service, control of capacity and completion of company goals.
Customer service is crucial to private fleets. Their companies engage with the public in a capacity that goes outside transportation – Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, and Kellogg all have private fleets that transport their goods around the country. Private fleet drivers are generally more experienced and better compensated than general transportation drivers because they are an extension of a larger brand. In fact, many companies cite improved customer service as the top benefit of a private fleet (Inbound Logistics).
Since they are part of a larger company, private fleets can also be used to meet specific company goals. Private fleets operate on different financial models, based on the needs of the company (National Private Fleet Council). They can also be used to help close gaps in the business, including increasing revenue and reducing churn. Mostly importantly, a company with a private fleet has complete control over capacity. They are able to precisely calculate how much product they are able to transport because they manage transportation in-house.
Lastly, private fleets differ for the importance they place on culture. Private fleet drivers are usually made to feel like part of the company for which they work, and stay with one carrier for longer than the nationwide average (Trucking Info). (With company branding prominent on their vehicles, they essentially drive billboards down the highway.
Because private fleets are critical to their company’s operations, maintenance of the fleet should be a company’s top priority. Telematics software that is designed for private fleets, including electronic logging devices, can help managers spot inefficiencies and turn their fleets into a well-tuned machine. It can be the difference between clearing the company’s goals for the year and starting from scratch on January 1.