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May 10, 2021

A Fleet Manager’s Guide for Navigating COVID Response

A Fleet Manager’s Guide for Navigating COVID Response

There are few things in this generation that have had a more considerable global impact on business operations than COVID-19. At every level of infrastructure, organizations in most industries have had to reinvent how they operate in a post-pandemic world.

Not subject to exclusion, fleet managers are now constantly evaluating their operations to ensure they comply with current local regulations and restrictions. The added challenge of remote working teams and reduced staffing has also added to the day-to-day complexity of keeping teams safe, productive, and accountable. 

As a manager of a fleet operating in today’s rapidly evolving landscape, how do you begin to prioritize all of the needed changes for your drivers, vehicles, policies, and operations? Below, we have provided a fleet manager’s guide that addresses effective ways to navigate your COVID response successfully. 

Assess and Implement New Driver Safety Standards

The first step on your list, and every other business for that matter, should be staff and public safety when it comes to COVID response. For fleet managers, however, there are a few different areas to address driver safety.

Social Distancing

As a preventative measure that most businesses have already started to implement, social distancing protocols should be a primary consideration for all in-office staff members and fleet drivers. To assist with this effort, many fleet managers are finding success by allowing their drivers to use vehicles as their home office, restricting access to publicly shared workspaces, and limiting movement only from a driver’s home to the job site. 

Vehicle Sanitation

At all times, drivers should have clear instructions on how they are to maintain their vehicles when on and off the job site. This should include regular sanitation of frequently touched surfaces, including steering wheels, seats, dashboards, door handles, radios, and armrests. Where regulated, drivers should also be equipped with face masks, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer, and other sanitation supplies designed to prevent the spread of infection. 

Driver Safety and Awareness

Outside of COVID-specific safety standards, fleet managers need to know how the pandemic has impacted driver behavior, from open highway speeding to road congestion from increased delivery and service traffic. This can create significant safety issues if fleet driver behavior is not closely monitored and enforced. Solutions like Derive VQ Efficiency allow fleet managers to deploy speed limiters, significantly improving vehicle safety and reducing risky driving behaviors. Contact tracing is also achieved because this software technology pairs the driver’s phone with the fleet vehicle keeping virtual logs of all drivers and their interaction with your fleet.

Establishing proactive safety measures across your fleet not only keeps your teams safe but can also have long-term positive financial impacts. Click To Tweet

Plan for Unexpected Demand Spikes

Navigating COVID Response

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, global supply chain and transportation services have seen unprecedented demand. For many fleets, these unexpected demand spikes directly impact the industries they represent and can lead to long-term vehicle sustainability concerns.

As a fleet manager, an effective way to stay prepared for future known and unknown demand spikes is by taking a proactive stance when it comes to vehicle maintenance and sustainability. A great way to do this is by investing in a vehicle calibration and management solution like Derive VQ Efficiency that takes the guesswork out of vehicle efficiency, reducing fuel consumption, lowering carbon emissions, and lowering maintenance costs.

Using a vehicle calibration solution gives fleet managers complete control and visibility over their vehicles’ idle times, speed caps, safety precautions, eco parameters, and more. This flexibility not only gives fleet managers the visibility they need over the economic performance of their vehicles as demand spikes happen, but it also allows them to get better control of their fuel consumption and spending. And because all of this information lives on a unified platform, producing performance reports and data analysis insights is a seamless experience. 

Closely Manage Economic Impacts

Of course, while overall safety continues to be a significant consideration for fleet managers as they navigate their COVID response, the economic impact of the pandemic is another critical area of concern. Closely monitoring the expenses of your fleet is paramount when supporting the financial needs of the business.

As most fleet managers already know, spending on fuel and vehicle maintenance can quickly impact long-term budgets and requires extra diligence as fleet operating costs continue to rise with new spikes in demand. Fleet management solutions go a long way in helping managers diagnose trends in fuel consumption and the metrics impacting it, such as long idle times, speeding, unoptimized vehicle routes, and unauthorized or higher-than-normal personal travel times. 

Invest in Telematics Solutions

COVID-19 has made visibility of vehicle assets and overall driver accountability challenging to manage. As many businesses become more reliant on remote working arrangements, many fleets need to be managed completely offsite. They have new systems and processes for managing dispatch protocols, route planning, vehicle maintenance scheduling, and overall communication workflows. 

Telematics has proven to be an essential investment for today’s fleet managers when managing their remote workforce. As a reliable solution for maintaining the visibility of vehicle assets in the field, telematics uses a collection of GPS and advanced tracking technologies to allow fleet managers to coordinate the needs of the business while dynamically remaining socially distanced.

Telematics-driven management solutions also give more flexibility to fleet managers who are regularly looking for better ways to optimize the performance of their fleets. When integrated with vehicle calibration and safety enforcement software, telematics fleet managers make better decisions when optimizing their routes, implementing and enforcing safety standards and best practices, and reducing their pre-mile costs. These initiatives are designed to create more sustainability within the fleet as they navigate new challenges associated with the global pandemic. 

Key Takeaways

As a fleet manager in charge of driving sustainability and performance in today’s rapidly evolving landscape, it is vital to plan for both the short- and long-haul as the world begins to get back to its new normal. However, it’s important to remember that while COVID-19 is hoped to be just a temporary disruption to everyday operations, it has completely reshaped how industries need to balance their viability needs.

By prioritizing driver safety, planning for unexpected demand spikes, closely managing economic impacts, and maintaining vehicle assets’ visibility and performance, fleet managers can take control over their productivity and profitability levels as they navigate COVID-19 successfully.

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