Logistics is one of the largest industries in the world, clocking an annual estimate of $8 trillion to $12 trillion globally. In the US alone, logistics expenditure is attributed to almost 10% of the total GDP. Logistics include a lot of subdomains of transportation like shipping, rail, air, warehousing, etc. below in this article, we will cover the The Top 5 Most Popular Fleet Management Strategies.
The largest subdomain in the logistics industry is trucking. It accounts for approximately 40-45% of the total costs of logistics apart from the storage and security facilities. If you are in the trucking business, then you already know how difficult a job it is to manage a large fleet of trucks and maintain a smooth supply chain.
Over the years, technology has evolved to the stage of automation, yet the logistics industry didn’t benefit a lot until very recently. With Industrial IoT, the face of the industry is rapidly changing, and the tools available for fleet management are making things not only easier but also extremely efficient.
5 Most Popular Fleet Management Strategies
Fleet management generally requires you to spend countless hours meticulously planning the schedules, ensuring vehicle maintenance, and whatnot. To accommodate all of these processes in the most systematic order would result in improved efficiency, and here are 5 most popular strategies that will help you achieve it.
1. The Fleet
The first and foremost concern in logistics has to be the fleet itself. Your purpose best defines your need and the type of vehicles you would be needing. The fundamentals like fuel efficiency, vehicle lifespan, and the carrying capacity need to be nailed here because that’s the most physical form of efficiency you can ensure.
The times have changed, and you can no longer think about expansion while setting aside sustainability for another day. You need to make sure that the emission levels of your vehicles are below the prescribed measure as per government norms.
The introduction of Electric Vehicles has brought about a change in perception, and the growing infrastructure of EVs is quite promising. If you plan on investing in your fleet, EVs are a strong contender amidst all the different categories of vehicles you can check out.
Apart from considering the parameters for selecting the best trucks, you should also keep in mind the environment your vehicles are going to get into. A large trailer can undoubtedly ensure fewer trips, but can it travel smoothly in city limits and small towns? So answering that question holds equal importance in the decisions you make.
2. Inter-department efficacy
You might be doing your job well, but your shipment schedule can still take a hit because someone else didn’t do their job well, or someone else in the chain wasn’t even aware of the shipment. Hence comes the importance of communication between different departments.
This might not sound like a strategy and instead seem very obvious, but more often than not, poor inter-department communication becomes the reason for delayed transportation, and you can easily avoid that. Stay in constant contact with everybody involved in the chain and make sure they are prepared to handle the schedule. If not, make the necessary shifts that you deem fit.
Also, efficient collaboration with the Finance and HR department of your company will ensure an easy flow of the funds required for carrying out various functions and complying with employee rights. HR can also take care of driver training and ensure the safety of your fleet from possible accidents.
Legal complexities involved in the logistics industry are numerous, and you might run into one. However, it can be avoided by contacting your legal department and ensuring that the particular shipment for the particular route doesn’t violate any state or country laws.
3. Fleet Management Software
While the above strategies were working efficiently at the grass-root level, the upcoming strategies are to improve efficiency and leverage technology to make that happen. Fleet Management Software in today’s scenario is not an overhead advantage but sheer necessity.
No matter how much manual planning you put into your work, there is always a possibility of an unforeseen problem occurring at the wrong time. Management software can help you check the status of your vehicles, the route they are on, and the estimated time of completion. They are generally termed as dispatching software and are one of the most important pieces of technology for the trucking industry.
Not just that. With sensors fitted in your fleet, real-time monitoring of each aspect, the process is made so easy and user-friendly to use. Even if you aren’t a software expert, learning to use these tools would hardly be a matter of stress.
4. Using Data Analytics
Data Analytics is one of the most empowering tools any industry can have and not just with logistics. Having been in the business for a while, you have generated tons of data over a period.
You can use the insights you have from all the previous trips like the average time it takes on a route, the fuel usage or data about EVs. It can all be used to efficiently plan your upcoming schedules and make the most out of the resources available.
It will also help you cut down on costs and overhead charges by avoiding problems. For instance, a deteriorating mileage can point to some errors in parts of the vehicles. Timely repairs of those parts can ensure the vehicle doesn’t break down in the middle of the trip.
Asset tracking solutions can also be employed to track the status of your shipment. E-commerce platforms that allow customers to check where exactly their order has reached and provide an estimated time of arrival based on past data and statistics, leverage the same technology.
5. Be Flexible
Last but not least, always be open to changes. The world is fast evolving, and while some traditional methods might hold good today, do not get biased on your decisions. Technology is here to make things a lot better and be open to its idea.
Now, this doesn’t mean incorporating abrupt improvements but systematically shifting over a while. This way, you do not end up burdening the finances as well as the operators. You need to also regularly train your employees and seek their input as well to maintain a healthy and efficient work environment.
Industry 4.0 has brought major changes in the things to function around the world, and these strategies align very well with its fundamentals. Keeping in mind the fast pacing nature of technology, constantly upgrading and implementing the available tools and software is the best solution to all the problems you can have.