The role of the fleet manager has evolved tremendously over the years. With the introduction of GPS tracking software, fleet managers have become more data driven and analytical.
Traditionally, a fleet manager’s profile has been that of an ex-mechanic, someone who worked in a shop and has extensive knowledge of vehicles and their equipment, along with the people management skills acquired from experience working in a machinist culture and environment. For a traditional fleet manager, most decisions were made intuitively, based on the manager’s personal experience with both vehicles and drivers.
GPS tracking software stands to change the traditional role of fleet managers. The new applicant pool fleet businesses are considering involve candidates with knowledge and experience in data analytics and Information Technology (IT). The “people skills” associated with a conventional fleet manager has moved to the human resources department.
The new art and science of fleet management rests on filtering through data to decide which metrics to use to make business decision.
Capturing fleet data is available with a comprehensible GPS tracking solution. With the right fleet manager, more objective financial decisions can be made to save the company time and money. Custom reports enable fleet managers to analyze each vehicle’s fuel consumption, resale value, and maintenance data, in addition to the current and projected prices of fuel, to determine if replacing particular vehicles in a fleet with more fuel-efficient models could have a positive effect on the company’s bottom line. This business intelligence from a GPS tracking solution enables users to analyze, sort, filter and manipulate fleet data such as driver work hours and idle time into helpful measurements, allowing users to cut down on unnecessary vehicle use, fuel waste, and repair costs.
More importantly, as GPS tracking technology evolves and fleets continue to aggregate data, the new fleet manager needs to understand the customer and align the data with the customer’s needs. Today, customers expect to know exactly when their delivery is arriving. If they call the office for an update, fleet managers must communicate the status of the delivery in real-time.
The industry as a whole is experiencing a shift away from the traditional fleet manager towards an analytical, IT savvy fleet manager who can filter through large amounts of data and interpret the metrics to make smart businesses decisions. And sure, human resources can solve the personnel issues. But the individual making decisions about the trucks must still remember there are people inside of them.
As technology in the transportation industry evolves, so do fleet managers. By widening the pool of opportunity to candidates normally not associated with the role, fleets can maintain a competitive advantage.
*About the author- Shelley Lynch is Teletrac’s Vice President of Emerging and International Markets. She is an expert in fleet tracking requirements in the government sector.