The 8 Biggest Challenges Fleet Managers Face | WasteHero Newsroom

The 8 Biggest Challenges Fleet Managers Face

Trucks, containers, drivers, customers, back-office operations… As a fleet manager, there’s quite a lot to consider in daily operations.


Waste and recycling fleet management is the process of making sure these all coordinate together in a way that is efficient and effective. This endeavor can be troublesome and there are some key problems that fleet managers must tackle. 


Creative and innovative problem-solving is needed in order to manage these conflicting priorities. Effective fleet management needs continuous attention and maintenance as well as the ability to adapt to the current market and the challenges it faces.


#1 Driver safety 

Ensuring the safety of drivers is a top priority for fleet managers. Approximately, 40% of vehicle accidents are work-related and the indirect costs associated with workplace accidents can create a significant leakage into a company’s finances. By implementing safety-capable solutions the drivers are encouraged to reiterate safety policies amongst their employees. 


A survey of fleet managers found that a quarter of all UK commercial drivers are breaching guidelines around rest and fatigue and only two-thirds of fleet managers have systems in place to ensure they take required breaks. Without needed rest, the drivers are more prone to have accidents.


Sustainable safety culture should encourage safer driving, vehicle inspection, equipment maintenance and efficient data collection. These practices can help create a safer environment for drivers. Fleet managers can also try and identify high-risk, unsafe drivers and effectively handle the accidents when they do occur.


#2 Route Planning & Optimization

Identifying the optimal route can be a difficult task for fleet managers. There are many considerations to be done while planning routes in terms of resources, time, conditions of the operators as well as technology used.


In traditional waste management, routes are calculated based on a static and scheduled system. Manual planning is risky and inefficient. Time-saving or cost tracking is not a possibility if the system is not optimized. Errors will be easily created and response time will slow down operations. 


Adapting to digitalization is required in order to create customized, dynamic routes based on the appropriate restraints. Dynamic routing is a new modern approach used for used planning that can be evaluated according to which routes are most efficient and cost-effective. 


#3 Unnecessary costs

There are a plethora of indirect and direct costs involved in waste collection. Fuel costs are volatile and fluctuate on a daily basis which can have a considerable impact on the company’s financial bottom line and create uncertainty. Another issue is that 9 out of 10 bins are collected either too early or too late leading to inefficient pickups resulting in wasted money and resources. 


Mileage is one area where fleet managers typically have limited information. With the interconnectivity of today’s business environment, advantages can be taken from technology to eliminate the need for unnecessary physical travel. GPS and other analytic solutions not only reduce unnecessary mileage by providing improved routing but also discourage excess usage of the vehicle.


#4 Wasted fuel

Accounting for up to 30% of total expenses, the costs tied to fuel consumption are highly significant for the fleet managers. The fuel used per tonne for waste collection depends on a variety of factors such as the truck used, distance to the pickup point, collection area, as well as the driver. A larger number of stops and starts can increase fuel consumption.


By tracking mileage, the cost per mile can be calculated and the cost of drivers can be identified. Fuel theft is another issue fleet managers deal with. The solution could be to set up virtual demarcations around pickup locations with alerts sent out to fleet operators every time the vehicle enters or leaves the demarcated area. 


Thus, fleet operators will now know exactly when the vehicle is off-site and track down drivers that are ‘moonlighting’ or using the vehicle for unauthorized purposes.


#5 CO2 Emissions & Sustainability 

With greater awareness around climate change comes an influx of sustainability goals, all aimed at securing a greener future. Tight environmental and sustainability policies can pose a challenge for fleet managers who now should consider the environmental impact of their practices. This can mean that managers have to account for and meet a variety of mandates. 


#6 Unsatisfied customers

If containers are not emptied on time, they will overflow and waste will rot and acquire an unpleasant smell. Moreover, there is a higher chance for pests to start spreading, potentially carrying infectious diseases and being harmful to public health.


Also, there is an increase in the demand for sustainable solutions, therefore customers will be expecting a more eco-friendly way of sorting out the trash from the fleet managers. By making waste management more adaptable and modern, fleet managers can ensure timely collections and meet the changing consumer needs and keep them satisfied.

#7 Driver shortages

Driver shortages have been among the top concerns of fleet managers in the past decade. As the demands for freight transport increase and the number of new driver applicants continues to stagnate, experts predict the shortage of delivery drivers may approach 250,000 by 2022. 


Fleet management software can help monitor the needed times for pickups, and make more realistic estimations of the demand of labour needed for waste collections.


#8 Driver productivity

Fleet productivity measures employee work output – by creating a productivity score it is possible to objectively measure performance so you can identify successes and pinpoint where improvement is exactly needed. Improving productivity is necessary for providing optimal service to customers, which is now important more than ever. 


It was found that fleet managers were spending more than three hours a week on average following up on drivers’ tachograph mistakes, making up for 21 working days in a year.

Tracking fleet productivity is a top concern for many businesses, especially when labour is one of their most significant costs. 


Of course, fleet managers must work through these challenges and work out the best possible solutions with the time and resources that they have. The savviest of fleet and asset managers utilise computerised systems to improve efficiency and gain insights into their operations. Advanced analytics systems can be used to gain insight from data and provide appropriate solutions 


By using a platform that incorporates a smart route engine and monitors the fill-level of containers allows you to integrate dynamic collection routes. This can save on driving time, distance, time spent on collections and fuel consumption. Fleet management tools can also allow you to keep track of driver information such as license expiration date and vehicle documentation.


Would you like to hear more about how you can digitize your fleet management system? Contact a WasteHero today! 


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