When we imagine a fleet service, we assume trucks, busses, even ships – the first image is never the people working behind the scene who keep the wheels spinning. The business of fleet management requires a diverse group of individuals, all working in harmony. A single error by one person can cause a domino effect of problems.
The captain of this complicated ship is called the fleet manager. In this innovation-driven world, a fleet manager is also a software that manages the business’s fleet telematics. But the person behind the screen, making all the decisions is the operations manager or the supervisor.
Fleet software reduces the efforts of the manager and works as an able assistant. These applications ensure there is a minimal margin for error, and the operations run smoothly and timely.
The manager’s job is to juggle multiple roles that ensure the company remains afloat. Let’s understand what these roles entail:
Roles Of The Fleet Manager
We can think of the fleet manager as the central processing unit of the computer that is fleet operations. Appointed by the company heads, the managers work based on a shift-system. Some more extensive fleet services also have more than one fleet manager assigned to a region or an area of operation.
All individuals like drivers, ground workforce, dispatchers, and consumer support fall under the fleet manager’s watchful eye. This immense responsibility makes their job an essential part of the system.
We can break down the role of the fleet manager into the same limbs as follows:
The fleet manager remains in constant contact with the driver, assigns their routes, and ensures they are up to speed with the deadlines. Any concerns the driver may have must be raised to the fleet manager directly. Even the ELD data of the driver is checked by the manager to assure safety.
The Ground Staff
The manager allocates the working time of the ground staff based on the truck’s position and the size of the shipments. In the case of a shuttle or pickup-service, the fleet manager keeps a check on the baggage handlers and arrival executives.
Companies that use fleet management software have a centralized dashboard that shows the position of all the vehicles. They also feed real-time information such as fuel consumption, engine performance, and HOS compliance. The manager’s job is to control all these machines and software skillfully.
Apart from all these hats that the manager dawns, the manager is further responsible for dealing with the consumer’s needs. These can be in the form of sharing tracking information, registering complaints, or addressing last-mile logistical issues.
Attributes Of A Perfect Manager
Once we lay down the manager’s roles, it becomes apparent that this is not an easy job. The person working behind this role needs to possess qualities that make them a perfect representation of the business.
There are primarily six qualities that can define the ideal manager:
1. Impeccable Communication
Effective communication is the hallmark of any managerial job. The fleet manager must communicate with more than one person and do them all simultaneously. Communicating with employees of the company needs people skills and the ability to derive the maximum productively from the crew.
Communicating with clients needs patience, subject knowledge, and courteousness. Without skillful communication, the job could prove to be daunting.
2. Understanding Of Tools And Software
The working knowledge of the machines and the software used are prerequisites to the role. They must understand the working of fleet management software and other components like the ELD, what is GPS and what are tracking devices, dashboard monitors, etc.
They must not be distant from the vehicles of the fleet. No matter what the machine, Be it a truck, busses, or taxis, the task will take longer without an interest.
3. Ability To Juggle Tasks
From the above breakdown of their roles, we can understand that the manager must multitask. Keeping a tab on all the moving parts is the primary job of the manager. The person must be able to keep up with the mental strain and the job’s physical toll. They cannot afford to get flustered when more than one deadline is in hand.
4. An Inclination For Planing
Planning in the fleet business is often associated with route planning; however, there is more to it. Route planning is possible with the help of advanced software. What makes the difference is the ability to organize the workforce and set realistic deadlines. The ability to prioritize problems and use strategically relevant paths is essential.
5. Subject Knowledge
Solely honing the knowledge of the business is not enough. The manager must keep up-to-date with changing trends to help the company stay ahead of the curve. Information on new software, technological innovations, and changes in the laws and regulation play a massive role in encouraging constant progress.
6. Keen Sense Of Time Management
The last quality that defines a good supervisor is managing the time of their work and those around them. Fleet services are an industry defined by deadlines and punctuality. While keeping a tab on multiple paraments, it is easy to lose track of time. The ability to switch between tasks is meaningless if not done within the desired window of opportunity.
Being able to earn the trust of the staff and the consumers is only possible with all the above skills. While all technical skills can be learned and mastered over time, there are few innate skills. Some companies offer training programs that update managers on technology every year.
Keeping a check on the manager’s mental and physical health in such a high-stress job lies in the hands of the organization. Using technology to ease the pressure of work is a perfect way to bring out the manager’s best work.
In the words of Steve Jobs: “You cannot mandate productivity, you must provide the tools to let people become their best.” And there is no lack of tools in the modern world that can hold a person back from performing diligent work.