A fleet manager will face many challenges due to various fleet operations. There are several kinds of vocational fleets operating in different industries. Each of them presents the fleet manager with their own set of trials and tribulations. This is especially true for fleet managers overseeing the operations of a construction fleet.
You see, the way in which a construction fleet is used is more complex than your average commercial fleet. They are a step beyond the typical box truck specifications. The construction vehicles often carry a lot of equipment. Most of the construction equipment they haul is quite expensive. This means that the construction fleet vehicles have to be particularly safe. They need to present the operators with multiple options for storing and transporting this construction equipment.
There are a lot of things that come under the job description of a fleet manager in charge of a construction operation fleet. The options they have to manage are seemingly endless—diesel-powered trucks, gasoline-powered trucks, medium-duty chassis and pickup trucks. They are also responsible for determining how and where the construction fleet vehicles will be used. They have to match the vehicles to the drivers so that they can meet the needs of their customers properly.
Challenges for Construction Fleet Managers
There are several challenges when it comes to managing fleets in general. Because they have a higher number of determinants to figure out, the job for fleet managers in the construction industry is tougher than their counterparts in other industries.
Take for instance an area where there is more and more construction happening. There are several large construction companies operating in the area. They face problems when it comes to the infrastructure because until they get their job done, the existing infrastructure will be inadequate. They will face challenges when it comes to keeping the costs as low as possible without compromising on quality of work. Saying that managing upfit costs is difficult is an understatement.
Finding the Right Vehicles is Hard
Another problem arises after a construction job is secured. Finding a construction fleet vehicle immediately is next to impossible.
It is very hard for fleet managers to find the right kind of truck for the needs of the job. It is still possible to find one with specifications that are nearly perfect but it takes a lot of time and effort. The market is a very fickle place when it comes to fulfilling the needs of a construction fleet. Sometimes, the specifications are not going to match the typical fleet vehicles. All the special factors that come into play mean that the fleet manager has to put in more effort to find the perfect fit.
Creditworthiness of a Construction Company
The creditworthiness of a company also has to be considered. Some construction companies find it very hard to secure a good line of credit fast enough. This means that the fleet managers for the company are not just responsible for managing the fleet itself but are also looking into managing other assets like ‘yellow iron’. This makes it one of the biggest challenges for a construction fleet.
As if it was not already hard enough for construction fleet managers to do their job, the changing regulations make it harder. While the change in regulations is affecting the fleet managers across all industries, the professionals in the construction industry are in deeper waters.
Fleet vehicles that weigh over 10,000lbs GVWR, have to follow a new mandate given by the Department of Transportation in the United States. They will all have to install electronic logging devices (ELDs). While it is aimed at making the fleet more efficient, it carries more responsibility on the part of the fleet manager. A lot of fleets comprise on several kinds of vehicles. Each of them has different providers for telematics. The new electronic devices were already going to significantly increase the expenses. The different kinds of vehicles and their varying telematics will mean that the complexities in administrating them will also increase.
Facing the Challenges
In order to be successful in the construction industry, fleet managers have to find a balance. They will have to figure out the right combination of features in construction fleet vehicles to best serve the different purposes.
Fleet managers have to acquire vehicles for the construction fleet that match certain requirements of the construction business. They should only spend the amount of money on a vehicle that will ensure the proper fulfillment of the specific requirements. Any more money spent on additional capabilities will be useless. All they need from these fleet vehicles is reliability and durability. They do not want to have much downtime for a truck. The expense of getting it back in working condition are too high. That and the soft costs of downtime make things worse.
This is why an innate understanding of fleet operations is crucial. A fleet manager must know how the different trucks in the fleet are used. They need to understand what a particular truck can carry or tow along. They need to make sure the employees use these trucks efficiently. Like different vehicles, drivers have diverse capabilities. They need to pair drivers with the types of vehicles based on the requirements of the task they’re undertaking. Communication lines need to be open between the employees and the fleet managers to make this possible.
A fleet manager who knows the construction crew will be far better at delegating the construction fleet vehicle to the right driver. They will know what kind of truck is required to haul specific equipment to the site. The crew’s needs along with the needs for the job will also be catered through proper and continuous communication.
These may seem like very simple solutions, but you will be surprised to know that only a few managers take these into consideration. Networking and relationship building are two ways through which you can address construction fleet challenges.