The Role of the Fleet Manager in Transportation
In a logistics company or a transportation company, fleet managers play a pivotal role. The fleet managers are responsible for selecting and maintaining vehicles in order to keep deliveries and distributions on schedule and within its established budget. In order to succeed, fleet managers need significant experience and skills in operations, logistics and using software programs to monitor both fleets and drivers.
The fleet managers make decisions about what kind of vehicles to purchase and how many. Some companies buy automobiles outright, others will lease vehicles to meet the company's needs. When the vehicle is no longer useful for the fleet, the manager will then market and resell it to get back as much as the company's investment as possible.
Fleet managers are responsible for impeccable records. They both register and license all vehicles and keep inspections up to date. They keep records to prove that the fleet company is in compliance with all state and federal regulations.
In order for transportation companies to work properly and make the necessary profits, vehicles need to be maintained in peak operating conditions. Fleet managers set up schedules to ensure each vehicle is kept in top condition. Larger companies will have their own in-house service centers with mechanics and specialists to handle maintenance. Smaller companies will have to outsource maintenance and repairs to outside shops. Strict schedules make sure that the optimum amount of vehicles are working at all times to meet customer needs.
It also helps minimize costs by maximizing fuel efficiency and minimizing unexpected repairs.
Fleet managers need excellent people and communication skills to do their jobs well. Reliable drivers are essential to keep a company profitable. Poor drivers can be a problem, causing fines, lawsuits with erratic driving or tickets from speeding. Many fleet managers use GPS trackers on the entire fleet to monitor where the vehicles are and drivers' habits.
Profit & Loss
Fleet managers are also important in keeping costs down and maximizing profits. Most rely on accounting software to record and collect data. Managers will look for patterns to see areas where they can cut expenses and reduce administrative costs.
Education and Training
To become a fleet manager, you will likely need an associate's degree and several years experience in the transportation industry. You will need to be familiar and proficient with the industry's concepts, practices, and procedures. A bachelor's degree in logistics or accounting can be especially useful as you move up within the company.
As of 2016, the average fleet manager makes $80,000. In the past five years, the need for fleet managers has risen a great deal. For the next ten years, it is expected to continue to grow, so the job outlook is quite good. Many transportation companies are in need of fleet managers and compete vigorously for a narrow talent pool, so many experienced fleet managers can command above-average wages.
Fleet managers are a pivotal part of the transportation industry. From buying and selling vehicles to managing schedules and drivers, they keep the companies moving smoothly and accurately and manage costs to maximize profits.