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Fleet Management: Everything You Need to Know About Organizing Your Vehicles

The administration of vehicles is highly versatile, spanning from procurement to handling damage claims and ensuring compliance with legal regulations. Even with just a few vehicles in the inventory, the workload can quickly become substantial. Digital solutions offer support in this regard, relieving fleet managers and providing a better overview. In this article, you will learn what fleet management entails and which tasks are part of vehicle administration. Additionally, we will provide you with tips on how to successfully implement fleet digitalization

What is fleet management?

The term fleet management refers to the administration and organization of a company’s vehicle inventory. Fleet managers are responsible for efficiently and cost-effectively managing the fleet. Their responsibilities include procuring vehicles, optimizing their usage, coordinating maintenance and repair work, handling insurance matters, and ensuring compliance with legal regulations.

Through effective fleet planning and management, fleet managers contribute to the success of the company by ensuring the smooth operation of the fleet and meeting the requirements of various departments.

How do I digitize fleet management?

Even if your fleet consists of only a few vehicles, automating tasks and processes brings numerous benefits. The use of digital technologies and software solutions minimizes manual and paper-based tasks within the fleet, enhances transparency, and boosts efficiency. The digitalization of the fleet should ideally be carried out in stages. Here are the key steps to digitize your company’s fleet:

  1. Needs Analysis: Begin by taking an inventory of your current workflows and tasks. Identify those that involve a significant amount of paperwork and time. Consider which tasks can be digitized to improve efficiency and transparency. Also, determine the functionalities required from the software. Do you need a module for procuring new vehicles, organizing fleet operations, or ensuring compliance with owner liability obligations?
  2. Selection of Suitable Fleet Management Software: Research software solutions that align with your requirements. Compare their features, pricing, user-friendliness, and customer support. Choose the software solution that best fits your needs and meets your requirements.
  3. Implementation of Fleet Management Software: Once you’ve found a suitable fleet management software, implement it within your organization. Ensure that the software can be seamlessly integrated into your existing IT systems.
  4. Data Migration: Transfer your existing fleet data, including vehicle information, maintenance histories, driver data, etc., to the new software. Ensure that the data is accurately and completely migrated to facilitate a smooth transition. Data uploads should be possible through methods like Excel imports or FIN queries.
  5. Analysis and Reporting: Utilize the data to conduct analyses and generate meaningful reports. This will provide valuable insights into fleet operations and enable you to identify potential cost drivers. Subsequently, you can make informed decisions to enhance efficiency and reduce fleet costs.

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What are the disadvantages of Excel compared to fleet management software?

When it comes to vehicle organization , Excel is a widely used tool, but it quickly reaches its limitations. This is because, for efficient fleet management, the tool lacks adequate features and automation capabilities to digitally handle complex routine tasks.

  • Limited Functionality: Excel offers a restricted range of functions and capabilities compared to a specialized fleet management software. Fleet management software is tailored to fleet-specific requirements and, as a result, provides essential functionalities such as a digital vehicle record, automatic calculations, appointment reminders, and reporting.
  • Lack of Automation: Fleet management software automates many recurring tasks, such as reminders for upcoming appointments, report generation, or data updates. In contrast, Excel requires manual input and calculations, which are time-consuming and prone to errors.
  • Restricted Data Security: Excel offers limited options for data security and protection against unauthorized access. Sensitive vehicle and driver data stored in Excel spreadsheets may be vulnerable to errors, loss, or unauthorized access. Fleet management software, on the other hand, provides advanced security measures like password protection, access rights, and encrypted databases.
  • Lack of Integration: As a standalone program, Excel is quite limited in terms of integration with other systems or tools used in fleet management, such as telematics systems, fuel card solutions, or accounting software. Fleet management solutions, however, enable seamless integration with various systems, facilitating data exchange and process automation.
  • Internal Collaboration: When multiple individuals work simultaneously on an Excel spreadsheet, real-time updating of vehicle data can be challenging. This can lead to conflicts and version control issues. Fleet management software, on the other hand, allows multiple users to collaborate on a central database simultaneously, increasing efficiency and transparency.

How does fleet management software support me?

Fleet management software provides invaluable support to fleet managers in their daily tasks, especially when vehicle organization often takes place alongside other responsibilities. Thanks to this software, all tasks related to vehicle fleets, which would otherwise be handled manually, can be performed digitally.

A digital solution allows for the centralized management of all vehicle and driver data in one place. Information such as vehicle type, license plates, maintenance history, or driver qualifications can be easily recorded and maintained. Documents such as vehicle papers, insurance records, accident reports, and maintenance logs are also digitally stored and linked to the respective vehicles. This saves valuable time in fleet management and ensures that all relevant data and documents are neatly organized. Fleet managers can access these documents anytime and from anywhere, without the need to search through physical archives and file folders.

In fleet management, there are numerous dates and deadlines to keep track of to ensure smooth operations. Fleet management software sends reminders for important tasks and dates, such as scheduled maintenance, vehicle inspections, or driver training. With this feature, fleet managers can ensure that no deadlines are missed, even when they are occupied with other tasks.

Furthermore, fleet management software assists in monitoring fuel consumption and costs. By integrating fuel receipts and consumption data, fleet managers can analyze fuel consumption and identify potential cost-saving opportunities. This aids in cost control, even with limited time resources.

Through informative reports, key metrics such as costs, vehicle utilization, and maintenance statistics are closely examined and evaluated. Fleet managers gain a comprehensive overview of fleet performance, allowing them to make informed decisions based on the reports.

The issue of owner liability is also crucial in fleet management, regardless of the number of vehicles a company owns. Compliance with associated ownership obligations, such as driver’s license checks and driver training (UVV-Fahrerunterweisung), is simplified by a digital solution. Fleet management software not only reduces administrative burdens but also enhances safety within the fleet.

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What tasks does a fleet manager have?

The responsibilities of a fleet manager are highly diverse and complex, ranging from procuring new company vehicles to handling damage claims and ensuring compliance with ownership obligations. These duties encompass more than just vehicle management; they involve ensuring the mobility of all employees. The key areas of responsibility for a fleet manager include:

  • Vehicle Procurement: This involves acquiring suitable vehicles for the fleet, negotiating with suppliers, and considering cost and operational requirements. It also includes choosing the procurement method: is leasing suitable for new vehicles, or should they be purchased? Additionally, analyzing whether electric vehicles are suitable for fleet operations and how they can be effectively integrated is part of a fleet manager’s duties.
  • Deadline Monitoring: Fleet managers must keep a close eye on important dates and deadlines, such as vehicle inspection (HU) and emission inspection (AU) dates, as well as driver license checks. Timely planning and reminders for these dates are crucial to minimize disruptions to business operations and ensure safety.
  • Maintenance and Repair Management: It is the responsibility of the fleet manager to organize vehicle maintenance and repairs, ensuring they are carried out on time and professionally. This involves collaborating with repair shops, monitoring maintenance schedules, and overseeing service quality.
  • Damage Management: In the event of an accident, swift and seamless claims processing is essential. This helps prevent unnecessary costs and keeps employees mobile.
  • Documentation and Reporting: Proper documentation is essential in fleet management. This includes capturing and managing vehicle documents, accident reports, maintenance records, and other relevant documents. Moreover, regular reports on the fleet’s condition, cost summaries, and other relevant metrics should be generated. This enables the identification of cost drivers and the planning of optimization measures.
  • Ownership Obligations: In addition to regular driver license checks, drivers must also be trained in safe vehicle operation. These tasks are central to ownership obligations in fleet management and should not be taken lightly. Failure to comply may result in significant penalties.

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What dates and deadlines need to be kept in mind for fleet management?

As mentioned earlier, fleet managers should keep track of various dates and deadlines in vehicle management to ensure that the vehicles are in proper condition and comply with legal requirements. The most important dates include:

  1. Vehicle Inspection (HU – Hauptuntersuchung): According to the regulations of the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations (StVZO), vehicles must undergo regular vehicle inspections. The exact timing of the inspection depends on the vehicle type, date of initial registration, and vehicle class.
  2. Emission Inspection (AU – Abgasuntersuchung): Emission inspections are legally required to check the emissions values of the vehicle, ensuring compliance with environmental standards. AU inspections must be conducted at regular intervals.
  3. Safety Inspection (UVV-Prüfung): Regular safety inspections of vehicles, in accordance with accident prevention regulations (UVV), aim to prevent accidents and ensure the safety of drivers and other road users. UVV inspections cover various components of the vehicle, including brakes, lighting systems, tires, steering, seatbelts, warning signals, and other safety-related parts.
  4. Driver Safety Training (UVV-Fahrerunterweisungen): Fleet managers are legally obligated to provide annual safety training to all drivers, instructing them on safe vehicle operation and how to respond in case of accidents, as stipulated by accident prevention regulations.
  5. Driver License Checks (Führerscheinkontrollen): Regular driver license checks are also legally mandatory for fleet managers. This ensures that all drivers possess a valid driver’s license and are authorized to operate the vehicle. The frequency of these checks may vary based on company policies, but it is recommended to conduct them semi-annually.

What role does sustainability play in fleet management?

Sustainability plays a significant role in the management of vehicle fleets and is increasingly gaining importance for reducing environmental impact, cost savings, compliance with legal requirements, and enhancing a company’s image.

Sustainable fleet management involves implementing measures to reduce fuel consumption and environmentally harmful emissions while promoting more eco-friendly propulsion methods and mobility concepts. By deploying energy-efficient vehicles and implementing measures to enhance vehicle utilization, companies can simultaneously reduce their operational costs. Furthermore, a more sustainable fleet enhances the company’s image and contributes to being perceived as a responsible actor. Many customers and employees value companies that act with consideration for the climate and the environment.

Corporate Carsharing

The introduction of corporate car sharing in the fleet allows for more efficient vehicle utilization. Instead of assigning a separate vehicle to each employee, the vehicles are made available for shared use by all employees and can be booked as needed. This minimizes empty trips and idle times while increasing utilization rates. Simultaneously, the number of vehicles can be reduced, resulting in valuable resource savings. Additionally, electric vehicles can be easily integrated into a car-sharing concept, further minimizing environmental impact.

Electromobility

By deploying low-emission or emission-free vehicles, companies can reduce their carbon footprint, thus contributing to climate protection and promoting sustainable mobility. Additionally, electric vehicles typically have lower operating costs compared to combustion engines, and they require less maintenance due to fewer wear-prone components. However, it’s important to consider infrastructural requirements, such as the availability of charging stations, to ensure a successful transition to electric mobility within the fleet.

To assess whether electric vehicles are suitable for the company’s fleet, car subscriptions offer a viable alternative. Electric vehicles can be rented for a short period and thoroughly tested. After the subscription period, they can be easily returned or exchanged for another vehicle.

Testing electric vehicles?

With a car subscription, you can test whether an electric vehicle is suitable for your fleet without any obligation. There are no hidden costs, and you can start the subscription with a minimum duration of just one month.

What should one consider when choosing fleet management software?

What should one consider when choosing fleet management software?

When choosing fleet management software, it is important to ensure that it encompasses all the required features and is modular in design. This allows for the addition and removal of functions as needed, aligning with the specific requirements and desired level of performance.

How can I reduce costs in the fleet?

The fleet is one of the largest cost centers within a company. Managing it economically is therefore all the more crucial. By analyzing costs and consumption, one can identify cost drivers hidden within the fleet. Subsequently, appropriate optimization measures can be planned and implemented. In addition, vehicles should undergo regular maintenance, and tire pressure should be checked. Corporate car sharing, which involves sharing vehicles within the fleet, can also contribute to reducing operating costs.

 

 

How do I become a fleet manager?

The DEKRA Academy, in cooperation with the  Federal Association of Corporate Mobility (Bundesverband Betriebliche Mobilität e. V.)  and FIRMENAUTO , offers the qualification program for ‘Certified Fleet Manager (DEKRA) (m/f/d).’ The program’s content is continually updated and refreshed to align with the latest requirements in fleet management. Additionally, TÜV Rheinland provides a training program for fleet managers, focusing on practical knowledge in procurement, legal matters, liability, as well as cost and risk management.

What is a company car?

A company car is a vehicle provided by an employer to an employee for business purposes. Typically, the employer offers the company car as part of the employee’s compensation package. Depending on the company’s policy, private use of the company car may also be allowed. In such cases, the resulting monetary benefit must be subject to taxation versteuert.

The Essentials of Fleet Management

The term fleet management refers to the administration, control, and monitoring of vehicle fleets.

In addition to vehicle procurement, a fleet manager's responsibilities also include handling damage incidents, ensuring compliance with owner liability obligations, conducting regular maintenance and repairs, as well as monitoring costs.

A fleet management software allows for the automation of routine tasks, thereby relieving fleet managers and saving both time and costs within the fleet.

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