Fleet manager responsibilities and roles (with skills)
Updated 30 September 2022
Many companies have their own fleet of commercial vehicles. Fleet managers manage the vehicles and drivers of these fleets to ensure that they run optimally and perform their business functions in a cost-effective way. Having a better understanding of the responsibilities of a fleet manager can help you decide if it's a career that you want to pursue. In this article, we explain what a fleet manager is, what their key responsibilities are and the requirements to become a fleet manager.
What is a fleet manager?
A fleet manager is responsible for managing a company's fleet of commercial vehicles and drivers. They're logistics specialists in the transportation industry who oversee fleet maintenance, procurement and replacing of vehicles, driver hire and vehicle and driver utilisation. Fleet managers are also responsible for other human resources, administrative and finance-related tasks relating to the company's vehicles and drivers.
Key fleet manager responsibilities
Fleet manager responsibilities may vary as they usually work in a wide range of industries and at firms of all sizes. Typically, a fleet manager is in charge of a company's fleet of commercial vehicles and drivers. They're responsible for the full lifecycle of each vehicle of the fleet, the drivers of the fleet and providing feedback to management so that the fleet can meet the goals of the company. The most important fleet manager responsibilities include:
Recording all fleet information
A crucial responsibility of a fleet manager is to record and maintain correct data about everything related to the fleet. This may include a detailed history of vehicle maintenance, driver schedules, vehicle logs, accidents, drivers' driving patterns and fuel expenses. Fleet managers ensure that this information is well-kept and accessible for easy use. For example, a fleet manager may be responsible for keeping track of when a vehicle was last in an accident and who the driver of the vehicle was at the time.
Procuring vehicles for the fleet
Another key responsibility of a fleet manager is to procure vehicles for the fleet when they retire vehicles or when the fleet needs to expand to meet new requirements. Fleet managers are responsible for carrying out financial analyses to decide whether to rent new vehicles or purchase new vehicles for the fleet. After they decide whether to rent or purchase new vehicles, they deal with the suppliers and try to obtain the best deal possible.
Scheduling maintenance for vehicles
Fleet managers are responsible for the maintenance of all fleet vehicles. They ensure that all vehicles are in excellent working order so that they can perform their required functions. The proper servicing of vehicles helps to minimise the cost associated with running the fleet. Fleet managers keep a record of when each vehicle requires service and schedule this into the workings of the fleet.
Managing vehicle and driver registrations and licenses
Fleet managers manage the registration and licencing of all vehicles and all drivers in the fleet. The fleet manager ensures that all newly procured vehicles have up-to-date licences and registration. They also keep records of all vehicles licence renewal dates and ensure that they renew the vehicle licences accordingly. Fleet managers also make sure that all the drivers in the fleet meet local regulations and have valid and active licences.
Minimising fleet-related costs to maximise profits
Minimising fleet-related costs is an important responsibility of a fleet manager. They track, analyse, assess and review all expenditures related to the fleet such as petrol, vehicle maintenance and driver expenses. Using this information, they identify ways in which the fleet may be able to reduce costs to allow the business to maximise profits. For example, one way they can do this is by optimising driver routes to reduce petrol costs.
Recruiting drivers for the fleet
Drivers may leave the fleet from time to time, or the fleet may expand to meet the demands of the business. It's the responsibility of the fleet manager to ensure that they recruit new drivers for the fleet. The fleet manager reviews the qualifications and skills of applicants for the role, interviews them and determines which are best suited for the fleet.
Utilising GPS systems to monitor and track vehicles and drivers
Fleet managers make use of GPS systems to monitor and track vehicles and drivers in the fleet. They may use these devices in the case of theft to help find and track the vehicle. The devices can also gather GPS data to monitor the driving patterns of the drivers. The fleet manages can analyse the data and provide route optimisations to drivers. The devices can also provide information about the drivers' technique, such as if the driver is speeding or making excessive movements that could damage the vehicle.
Additional fleet manager responsibilities
Additional roles and responsibilities of a fleet manager can include the following:
assign vehicles to drivers
manage accident reports
comply with local laws and regulations
identify ways to improve fuel efficiency
create and manage fleet policies
establish standard procedures for potential scenarios or problems
analyse fleet data and suggest recommendations for improvement
deal with urgent or emergency repairs as required
setup efficient transport schedules and routes
report to management about fleet budgets, schedules, maintenance and general progress
monitor drivers to ensure they're following best driving practices
respond to complaints from the public about drivers
train new drivers
negotiate with suppliers for vehicles and parts
resolve internal disputes between fleet members
ensure regular inspection of vehicles
minimise downtime of fleet vehicles
ensure a high level of customer service
reward drivers for excellent service
discipline and terminate drivers if required
provide continual communication with drivers
identify and mitigate bottlenecks in fleet operations
plan, set and track fleet targets
Education, training and experience requirements for fleet managers
To become a fleet manager you require a degree in a relevant field, including logistics, automotive technology, supply chain management, business administration or another relevant field. Some positions may require you to have a postgraduate degree such as an MBA or a master's degree in supply chain management. Prior accounting knowledge may also help you develop a firm foundation for the role. Some roles may require you to have a commercial driving licence or another relevant vehicle licence.
When applying to be a fleet manager, prior experience working in or with a fleet can be beneficial. Some positions may require a minimum number of years of related experience in the transport industry. Ideally, a minimum of five years helps to improve the likelihood of a successful application for the role of a fleet manager.
Valuable qualities and skills for fleet managers
Fleet managers may require a variety of qualities and skills, including softer skills, technical skills and industry experience that enable them to oversee the transportation fleet of a business. Some valuable qualities and skills for fleet managers include:
effective communication and strong interpersonal skills
financial and accounting literacy
strong computer literacy
familiarity with transportation scheduling and management software
well organised and able to keep records
familiarity with basic vehicle mechanics
a good understanding of the relevant laws and regulations regarding vehicle and driver fleets
ability to embrace and implement technology
passionate about safety and ability to implement safe working measures
strong leadership characteristics
ability to make critical business decisions
ability to converse with and present to management
basic math and data analysis skills
able to innovate
good problem solving, decision-making and critical thinking skills
keen attention to detail
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