Driven for success. Essential skills for a fleet manager

However you want to dress it up, being a fleet manager is a complex and multi-layered job.  Solving problems, logistical thinking, effective communication and a sound business brain are all required. And that’s without even considering other issues, such as health and safety and HR.

Pin pointing just a few essential skills is a tricky business, but here at the RoSPA Workplace Safety blog we’re always up for a challenge. So here are our six essential skills that all fleet managers need:

  1. Being methodical

Health and safety is the key here. Driving is the most dangerous activity that most of us do, so Fleet Managers need to ensure that the working environment is as safe as possible.  The best way to do this is to ensure that all drivers receive appropriate and regular training.  Staying on top of legislation is also imperative – all vehicles need to be road legal, insured, taxed, have valid MOTs.  Where applicable, drivers also need to hold a CPC certificate.

  1. Financial management

Admittedly, this could apply to most jobs, but for fleet managers it’s of particular importance.  Making sure your drivers are fully trained in fuel efficient driving techniques is an excellent way of doing this, as are carefully scheduling journeys and optimising leasing periods. Telematics are a great help on this front but there’s no substitute for human knowledge! Being an expert at keeping costs down can be a massive difference to the business!

  1. Adaptability

The world is moving forwards faster than ever. There’s seemingly a new piece of software on the market every day, and It’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. Telematics and software programmes are fantastic for alerting managers of real time issues and incidents. The key is to pick out the relevant technology, and using it in a cost effective, safe and efficient way.

  1. Getting the right drivers

This isn’t easy. A lot of driving jobs involve long hours and relatively low pay – in most cases there’s not much a fleet manager can do about that. The best option is to help ensure driver conditions are as good as possible. Organise journeys, try to manage drives in a way that means drivers can stay close to home, deal with driver problems efficiently and try to create a positive working environment.  All of this will help driver morale stay high.

  1. Attention to details

Information is king and knowing your strengths and weaknesses as an organisation is vital for success. Having a strong understanding of information about your business or sector can really help give you a competitive advantage and help you identify problem issues.

Analytical thinking is essential in cutting through the noise and identifying the important facts and figures.

  1. Leadership

Last, and clearly not least, is leadership. We could discuss all day what makes a good leader, you could fill an entire library with books on the subject!  When it comes to fleet management, demonstrating that you are adept at all of the above skills provides a great demonstration of your leadership ability.

The best fleet managers are willing to muck in and do the jobs that their drivers do. They also build relationships with their drivers, other members of staff, and service providers who maintain your vehicles. All of this contributes to a united business that is moving towards a clear goal of success.

RoSPA aims to be the global leader in driver and fleet safety and is currently working with large organisations in over 30 countries. RoSPA trainers deliver bespoke training, tailored to the specific needs of the organisation or country. Find out more by visiting the Fleet Safety section of our website or call us on +44 (0)121 248 2233.

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