Fleet Management Tips for Summer
The summer months are a disruptive time that creates increasing challenges for fleet managers. Conducting standard operations becomes more complex with the increased activity on the roads as many cars are filled with holiday-going families and the increased heat. As a result, summer is a time when fleet management is vital to maintain your fleet’s productivity.
The Main Elements of Fleet Management
Fleet management is essential for running a commercial fleet. Whether it’s transport, haulage or other operations, fleet managers must ensure that their daily activities run efficiently and smoothly. Fleet management aims to provide this assurance by presenting a complete image of company operations and vital data that can be analysed for improvements.
There are many elements that need to be monitored with beneficial fleet management techniques to create efficient results. These elements will often be unique to that specific fleet’s activities, but several main factors are common to all commercial fleets:
- Monitoring vehicle maintenance
- Maintaining an efficient team
- Employing a fuel monitoring system
These three are at the core of excellent fleet management and are vital to continuing daily operations as a competitive commercial fleet. Fortunately, many methods and techniques can achieve positive results and ensure that your fleet runs all summer and beyond smoothly.
Seasonal Vehicle Maintenance
Maintaining your vehicles is vital to operating a commercial fleet. This persistent challenge is enhanced when conducting your deliveries in increased warm weather. The increased heat will stress your HGVs; their wheels, brakes, and engines will all struggle to operate unless they are cared for. During the summer season, we recommend that you add extra checks to your maintenance schedule to prevent any unexpected breakdowns.
During hot summers, tire pressure increases dramatically. Therefore, the vehicle’s tire pressure should be checked regularly to maintain optimum levels. Under or over-inflated tires will create a high risk of a disaster whilst driving. In addition, the heat retained in the roads will also increase the tires’ wear, causing the tread depth to decrease dramatically.
Long journeys under a hot sun can also increase the chance of your engines overheating while in operation, an event that would not only be disastrous to your drivers’ road safety but also ruin your delivery. Therefore, every vehicle’s internal cooling system should be flushed and refilled annually to ensure the cooling system will be as effective for your engine as it will be for your driver.
Extreme heat is a problem for all vehicle batteries. Truck batteries contain many chemicals that can be affected under constant heat. Potential damages can be overcharging, chemical evaporation and corrosion on the conducting grids. By letting this heat-induced corrosion build, the battery will have reduced voltage and eventually prevent the engine from starting.
Brakes can be affected by sudden changes in weather, such as hot summers. Brake checks should be a part of a fleet’s regular maintenance all year round, but during these periods of extreme weather, they should be inspected more thoroughly. Wear on brakes is visible as cracking or discolouration and can be tested with a slow brake test onsite.
Fleet managers can ensure that their vital vehicles never let them down by employing condition monitoring and augmenting their existing preventative maintenance to accommodate the additional challenges of summer.
Summer Fleet Optimisation
The most significant element to monitor when optimising your fleet operations is how your drivers use your vehicles. Telemetrics are an excellent tool and a useful part of online fleet management as they can collect vital data from various sources to produce a clear image of your fleet operations. This comprehensive view is an essential tool for fleet management techniques and will significantly assist with your optimisation efforts, but there are specific actions that can be taken to improve productivity during summer.
Minimising engine idling is an important start. The increased heat your vehicle’s engines are exposed to will only worsen if your drivers leave their engines idling. Additionally, engine idling significantly increases fuel consumption and creates increased engine emissions. By monitoring your drivers’ locations during jobs with a GPS Telemetrics unit, fleet managers can be alerted to this wasteful practice and take action.
Planning your routes for efficiency will significantly assist your drivers in conducting efficient operations. With increased summer holiday traffic on the roads, there is a greater chance of accidents or incidents that will create significant delays or close roads entirely, thereby significantly increasing your drivers’ travel times and potentially breaking estimated arrival times. Efficient GPS route planning will enable your drivers to choose the best route for their delivery and maintain their deadlines. Additionally, you can increase your driver’s care by providing an emergency pack for their cabs. By providing essential items such as water, a tire gauge, a flashlight and a first aid kit, you can ensure the safety of your drivers whilst they conduct their daily work.
Another way commercial fleets can improve fuel efficiency is by investing in fuel monitoring and management systems that enable managers to create their personnel fuel stations at their base of operations. In addition, onsite fuel storage and dispensing provides a significant number of advantages as you can regulate the fuel purchased and how it’s used and buy fuel at beneficial wholesale prices.
At Fueltek, we understand fleet managers’ challenges during the summer months. That is why we specialise in providing effective fuel management systems that will remove several of those issues and assist in maintaining your daily operations cost-effectively and efficiently.