What Makes a Great Fleet Manager?
This week our guest blog comes from Track Your Truck, a leading GPS solutions provider for the trucking industry, on the characteristics that make up a great fleet manager.
You’ve got a fleet of trucks or other assets to manage, and you recognize that safety, security, efficiency and on-time performance are all important to your operations. How do you find the right person (or people) to make that happen?
Fleet management is all about keeping things moving and knowing where your assets are at all times. A great fleet manager is a person who thrives on keeping up with information and knows what to do with it.
Here are some traits to look for when seeking or hiring a person to drive your fleet management.
Someone who can balance demands
As you know, there are dozens of priorities facing a fleet manager. Drivers need information on routes and schedules. Maintenance needs to know when they must perform upkeep. Customers want to know when deliveries are going to arrive. All these demands require prioritization and the ability to determine what the most important tasks are at any moment. Some of these abilities come from experience. Others come from personal outlook and development, where calm, cool and collected decision-making comes into play.
A person with a good grasp of time
A fleet manager needs to be able to use metrics to make real-time practical decisions, because customers don’t care how or why you got their delivery done on time, they just want to know that it arrived when it was scheduled, or before that if possible. That means a prospective fleet manager must be able to “read the tea leaves” if your company uses fleet tracking or other technology to plan transportation.
Goal and team-oriented
A great fleet manager needs to have objectives in mind that are often determined by customer expectations. From that foundation, it is also important to communicate those expectations, and what is needed to meet them, to the entire team. That requires a staff orientation to build the respect and trust necessary for the fleet manager to give orders and gain feedback for constant improvement.
Embraces change and communicates well
A great fleet manager must always be prepared to make quick decisions. That often means finding ways to “make it work” despite challenges in schedule, traffic, operating conditions and the competitive marketplace. Your fleet manager should be an enthusiastic person who views every new challenge as an opportunity to learn and to teach.
Honest, thrifty and committed
To make decisions at all times that benefit the company, a great fleet manager is a person who can be honest with themselves and others, who can acknowledge mistakes without getting defensive, and who seeks a leadership role because of their commitment to the company and your timely operations.
Hard-working, yet with a sense of perspective
Being a fleet manager can entail intense days, sometimes long hours, and indescribable challenges. What makes a great fleet manager is someone who can handle the hard work and keep it all in perspective, even with a sense of humor.
All these traits of a great fleet manager add up to personal productivity and accountability. Your next fleet manager can be a great one if you look at your needs through the eyes of those you are considering to hire for the job. Ask them how they approach fleet management and keep an eye out for indicators of the traits listed above. They will serve you well.
About the author:
Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS vehicle tracking systems and software for small and midsized companies.