The Agile Fleet

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Overwhelmed by the Thought of Launching an FMIS?

Posted by The Agile Fleet on June 13, 2022

If you are overwhelmed at the thought of launching a fleet management information system (FMIS), don’t be. Implementing a new FMIS is easier than ever due to the nature of the web-based technology and the refined implementation processes offered by fleet technology vendors.

All FMIS vendors are not alike. Select a vendor that you are comfortable with — one that can describe their approach in a way that you clearly understand. A good vendor will help you understand — and better yet, they’ll help you communicate the upcoming changes to your fleet staff and fleet drivers before the system is put in place. A vendor should not have a one-solution-fits-all approach to your implementation processes.

If you’ve never had any fleet technology before, certainly the approach would be far different than if you are simply upgrading to a better system. And, if you are making changes such as centralizing your fleet management activities after years of being decentralized, your implementation would need to be handled differently still. Regardless of your starting point, get in synch with your FMIS vendor. Your comfort level with your vendor and their staff should be an important part of the vendor selection process.

Once you’ve selected an FMIS, do not feel like you will launch this system all at once and gain all the benefits on Day One. It is wise to take the “crawl, then walk, then run” approach. What do we mean by that? We’ve broken it down into three simple components.

Phase 1: Getting Started

Believe it or not, getting the technology in place is the easy part. It no longer takes months or years to get a system in place if you have a good vendor to work with. In fact, Cedarville University told us: “It took us no time at all to get started and we saw immediate advantages. We now use one system instead of three.” So, now that it’s in place, what’s next?

It’s never too early to start talking about the upcoming benefits to your staff and drivers. Start communicating with stakeholders and let them know what’s in it for them. Remember, there are many benefits to automating fleet processes. The key is communicating the benefits that will turn skeptics into believers. For drivers, be sure to frame the idea of sharing vehicles as a positive. Some of the benefits of sharing vehicles, include access to more types and newer vehicles, easy online reservations, around-the-clock access to vehicles, and more.

With the new system now in place, and drivers directly interacting with the system, start communicating rules and policies that will help to lower costs and risks for your fleet. Good fleet policy is the most critical factor that will ensure the success of your fleet technology initiative. Don’t try to establish all your policies at once, you should continue the process in Phases 2 and 3. Consider creating a committee made up of stakeholders and others so that everyone has a say and they buy-in to what your rules and policies will be.

Start collecting fleet metrics. Even one metric is a good start. If you are not sure what metrics you can collect at this phase, call us. We can help.

Get at least one time-saving function in place, perhaps a preventative maintenance program, for a segment of your fleet. Once you start using the system effectively you can prove the concept and move on to the next time or money-saving function and prove the concept again.

Phase 2: Tackle the “Low-Hanging Fruit”

In Phase 2, you’ll want to continue collecting data to get a handle on what your fleet data is telling you. Do you have too many vehicles, or not enough? Do you have the right types of vehicles? Which vehicles can be earmarked for disposal? Our fleet experts can help interpret your data for free. Just call us.

Also, take the time to survey drivers. Find out what is going well, and what may not be and make appropriate changes. Initiate monthly odometer collection and reporting.

Look at any permanently assigned vehicles in your fleet. Are they being used to their fullest potential, or can they be reassigned to the shared fleet?

Phase 3: Optimize

Once things are running like a fine-tuned machine, it’s time to start optimizing.

Create your five-year plan for vehicle replacement. Identify policies that are working and others that may be needed. If you need to implement other technology such as GPS, now’s a good time to introduce something new.

Launch more motor pool sites or mini pools to get the vehicles closer to your customers. Quantify your achievements and communicate and celebrate your successes.

Fleet Utilization and Motor Pool: A Comprehensive Guide

Topics: Fleet Policy, Motor Pool Technology, Utilization, FMIS

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