Fleet managers all over the country operate in an awkward position. On the face of things, you are at the top of your current tree, and there is nowhere else to go, save for moving to another company with a better wage packet.
There are, however, plenty of opportunities for fleet managers to impress the leadership team, and put yourself in the spotlight.
Read on to find out more, and if your career in fleet management is stalling, I hope you can make use of some of the following tips.
Many fleet managers believe their job is under constant threat from up and coming colleagues. While this is true to an extent, it’s important to play the game the right way.
If you fail to delegate, you will make yourself indispensable, which is not a good thing. Sure, you’re going to keep your job, but when it comes to moving to another position, you won’t get a look in if you are needed elsewhere.
Have faith in your team, delegate tasks to them, and your company will reap the rewards. And that’s precisely when the leadership team starts taking notice of your skill sets.
As a fleet manager, you will touch on a vast range of areas that are vital for your business. You are an essential part of logistics, for example, as well as health and safety.
For example, you might take a course in logistics, which will open avenues in that department. There is the opportunity to take DOT compliance programs, which will give you the toolkit you need to become an expert in drug and alcohol testing for your business.
Many fleet managers toil away in utter obscurity – but it doesn’t have to be this way. With a little dedication and training, you can become an essential part of your business with more talents than saving money or arranging delivery drops.
As a fleet manager, you will be in a unique position to spot efficient ways of working. Downsizing your fleet size without damaging service standards will save your company a lot of money if you do it right. And all those savings will improve the bottom line, make the company more profitable, and your stock will rise with almost immediate effect.
The simple truth is that the vast majority of companies with fleets use more vehicles than they should, and it’s an area that can bring enormous savings. Your leadership will recognize the great lengths you have gone to, and you will become an asset to the company, rather than someone who just turns up to work every day.
The talent that can save money while keeping up high levels of service is rare – and good businesses will do all they can to keep it. Whether that’s in the form of a higher wage or promotion to a different position, either way – you win.
Always prioritize the customer
In fleet management, the standard theory is to focus your efforts on internal customers – your drivers, for example. And, if your senior managers are demanding it, who are you to think otherwise?
However, savvy fleet managers think a little differently. Of course, you have to please senior management, but putting more time into including external customers into the mix can pay high dividends.
You could hold regular meetings with a select band of external clients, to find out what they are thinking about your service. Bring in your drivers as part of the discussion, of course, but, ultimately, you will get a better overview of your current service offering.
And, when it comes to appeasing your leadership team, giving them a double whammy of happier truck drivers and more satisfied customers will have them noticing your work in no time.
Stop fearing risk
As you can ascertain from some of the subject matter we have been looking at, a lot of these ideas mean that you have to take risks.
Far too many fleet managers are happy to avoid rocking the boat, and the result is a timid management structure that doesn’t like making tough decisions. But what if you were brave enough to embrace risk?
Sure, there will be occasions when you get things wrong. But with a strategic outlook and a lot of planning, you should be able to stop your failures from having too much impact. It’s also important to realize that change doesn’t occur without a little risk. If you want to stand out, you have to embrace that risk and start making decisions.
It’s especially important for fleet managers as technology is moving along at such a rapid pace these days. The trucks of the 1970s and 1980s are different beasts to those of today. And with new, cheaper, and better technology available in the industry on an almost annual basis, there is no place for slow decision making or avoidance.
It’s not like you have to go ‘all in’ on this new technology, either. Selective testing is the perfect protection against much of the risk, and it will give you a chance to test and benchmark its performance. Ultimately, if the new trucks or systems save you a lot of money, you will reap the rewards from your leadership team.
Of course, if your leadership team is stale and frightened of innovative management styles, you may feel your chance of progression has run its course. But there is still a world of opportunity out there, where your techniques will be welcome.
Get out there and start networking, with suppliers, customers, and peers in similar industries. Fleet management is a good industry to be in when it comes to networking – there are plenty of events held all over the country, and there is a certain level of camaraderie that you will experience.
You will learn new techniques and practices, as well as discover opportunities for career advancement with other companies.
As you can see, your fleet management career doesn’t have to have a glass ceiling. Stand out from the crowd, and make it clear to your employers that you have a lot more to offer.
This post has been contributed by Ryan Gatt, it may contain affiliate links.