This is a special guest post.
Purchasing vehicles for your fleet is often a tough decision. It’s a huge investment and often requires significant capital outlay. In larger firms, fleet vehicle purchasing often has to be approved by senior management, and that requires extensive background checks and reports.
What can help fleet managers make the best decisions when it comes to buying fleet vehicles?
Elements of a good fleet buying decision include:
- Accurate vehicle performance data for fair and true comparisons, as well as management reporting
- Decision data that can be collected quickly and easily
- Vehicle data that is available to anyone within the company regardless of how long they’ve worked for the firm
- Data that covers the full and total cost of vehicle ownership (TCO)
- Data is truly representative resulting in unbiased decisions
Buying on emotion?
A big mistake a lot of fleet managers (and plenty of other car buyers) make when buying a vehicle is they buy for emotional reasons. Of course, no one ever admits to buying based on emotion but it happens – a lot!
Car makers know this and market their vehicles to appeal to your emotions. Whether it’s appealing to your patriotic sense of duty, your need for safety or a childhood dream, car advertising is not about facts and figures. It’s about the fluffy stuff and while that might give you the warm fuzzies, it’s not a good basis for buying fleet vehicles.
Keep your vehicle buying decision rational – and save!
So how can you avoid the mistake of buying for emotional reasons and make sure that your purchases are squarely based on what’s best for the fleet, and the overall profitability of the company?
Ultimately it’s about having reliable information to base your decision on – or when preparing a business case report if you don’t make the actual purchase.
Collecting accurate vehicle data starts early, in fact the sooner you can start gathering information on your current fleet, the more accurate your decisions will be, and the more tailored to how your company specifically uses their fleet vehicles.
Then only fair and accurate method is using GPS vehicle tracking to monitor and report on your current vehicles. GPS fleet tracking can be used to assess a lot of different vehicle metrics, not just the number of miles they cover. But for it to be useful it needs to be deployed as part of an overall fleet management system.
Using Telogis Fleet and GPS tracking devices, fleets are able to monitor vehicle metrics such as:
- Fuel economy (actual vs. expected)
- Maintenance downtime
- Idle time
- Fuel costs
- Cost per mile
- Productivity percentage
When you first set up Telogis Fleet, you can tag all your vehicles with specific tags, allowing you to track different types of vehicles. For example, you could compare dual-wheel axles with single wheels. Are they considerably more expensive to operate? What about Japanese vehicles compared with European? Toyota versus Hyundai? Utilities versus vans? There’s no limit to the number of vehicle tags you can create and attach to a vehicle or group of vehicles, which you can then report on at a later time for accurate comparisons.
The advantage of measuring a range of vehicle cost metrics is that you look at the total cost per mile. While some vehicles may use less fuel, if they breakdown more often or have higher maintenance costs, they can end up being more expensive overall.
Making better fleet buying decisions
While you could use the manufacturer’s specifications and expected vehicle running costs, they aren’t familiar with the rigors of your business and the conditions you operate under.
Really, the only fair and accurate method of measuring the vehicle’s performance is to monitor it using GPS fleet tracking. That way you can not only discover potential savings by switching to more economical vehicles but when it comes to replace an aging fleet, you’ll be able to make smarter decisions on what vehicles will give you better value for money.