There are several things to consider when operating a fleet of vehicles. For instance, there’s the possibility of accidents, vehicle breakdowns, unexpected issues during inspections, and, of course, the chance of vehicles getting lost or stolen. The good news is that there are ways to manage these risks.

Fleet risk management practices can help you address these concerns, potentially avoid hefty fines, and most importantly, keep your drivers safe. This article will explain what fleet risk management is and why it’s important for any fleet, big or small. We’ll also explore how a CMMS or EAM can contribute to managing risk across your entire fleet.

What is Fleet Risk Management?

Fleet risk management is a way to keep your fleet operations safe and running smoothly. This involves putting safety measures in place for your drivers and vehicles. The main goals are to help drivers stay safe on the road, make sure everything follows the rules, and protect your company’s vehicles and equipment.

But that’s not all – fleet risk management also involves thinking ahead for unexpected situations. This could include things like accidents, inspections that don’t go well, or misuse of company property. By planning for these possibilities, you can help minimize any problems that might come up.

Why Do You Need Fleet Risk Management?

Ideally, every delivery would arrive safely and on time. But the reality is, things don’t always go perfectly on the road. That’s where fleet risk management comes in. It’s a helpful process that helps businesses by:

  • Saving money on repairs and potential fines.
  • Protecting vehicles and cargo from damage or loss.
  • Keeping the fleet compliant with all regulations.
  • Maintaining a positive public image and building trust with customers.
  • Reducing the risk of legal issues for the business.

Advantages of Fleet Risk Management

For companies that practice fleet risk management, there are several advantages to consider:

  1. Improved Employee Safety

    A top priority is keeping everyone on the road safe. Fleet risk management helps ensure your drivers and other staff operate in a safe environment and reduces the risk of accidents that could harm them or others.

  2. Staying Compliant

    Fleet Risk Management helps ensure your fleet meets all relevant safety regulations set by federal, state, and local authorities. This reduces the risk of fines and legal issues for non-compliance.

  3. Cost Savings

    Fleet risk management can help your business avoid significant financial losses associated with potential risks. This includes reducing insurance costs, accident liability expenses, litigation fees, and potential fines.

  4. Maintaining a Positive Brand Image

    A company known for prioritizing safety reflects well on its brand reputation. Fleet risk management helps demonstrate your commitment to being a responsible and reliable business.

Elements of Managing Fleet Risks

A well-rounded plan for managing risk in your fleet typically involves a few important things:

  1. Regulatory Compliance

    Staying on top of transportation laws helps drivers stay safe and keeps risk low. Fleet managers need to be aware of things like the ELD mandate, HOS rules, and other regulations set by government agencies.

  2. Risk-Related Data

    Real-time and past data on risk is a valuable part of a fleet risk management plan. This means collecting and analyzing things like vehicle details (models, maintenance reports, inspections, repairs), driver information (licenses, medical records, training), any violations, and accidents. Remember to keep sensitive data confidential.

  3. Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance

    Making sure vehicles are in good shape is key for safety and getting a long life out of them. This means regular maintenance like servicing, repairs, and replacing parts when needed. Drivers should also complete electronic vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) as required, and detailed maintenance records should be kept for each vehicle.

  4. Telematics

    Managing a fleet of vehicles can be a complex task. Luckily, modern technology offers several tools to help. Telematics, for example, allows you to equip your vehicles with features that can improve driver safety. These features, like dashcams and speed monitors, can help identify and address situations where risky driving might endanger people.

  5. Driver Training and Coaching

    The most important factor in reducing risk is the driver. Providing thorough training to new drivers on safe driving practices and risk management is essential. Regularly evaluate their performance and offer additional training when needed to address any areas for improvement.

  6. Vehicle Insurance

    Having the right insurance coverage is important for managing risk. Consider getting fleet risk insurance that covers things like property damage, loss, repairs, vehicle replacement, and even driver medical expenses in case of an accident.

  7. Incident Management

    Set up procedures for dealing with incidents, including accidents, thefts, and other issues. This should cover how to prevent them, identify them early, and respond effectively. Think about how you might communicate with the public if needed.

  8. Building a Safe Environment

    Create a company culture that puts safety first when it comes to your fleet. This means making sure drivers and vehicles are following safety rules. There should be consequences for not following the rules, but also programs to help drivers learn and improve. Regular communication about safety is important, along with clear guidelines and ways to hold everyone accountable. Fleet risk reports should be reviewed by the Board of Directors regularly.

How Can Fleet Management Software Reduce Risk

  1. Monitoring Driver Behavior Carefully

    As a fleet manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that your drivers are strictly following safety rules at all times. Take responsibility for the safety of your employees and ensure that discipline is stringently maintained. Do not overlook unsafe actions and monitor the behavior of all drivers to keep the employees safe and the fleet running smoothly. You can use mobile-based fleet management software to collect driver behavior data and score the drivers based on their driving habits and actions such as speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard braking so fleets can eliminate safety risks.

    If there is an accident, review the driver’s behavior at the time of the incident. Don’t just collect it —pay attention to it, review it and take necessary action.

  2. Tracking Asset Locations

    Asset tracking software simplifies location monitoring, allowing fleet managers to identify route deviations and potential fuel theft. By visualizing vehicle location alongside fuel transaction data on a map, managers can pinpoint discrepancies and optimize fleet usage through real-time data and accurate trip records.

  3. Aiding in Proper Planning and Scheduling

    Even if one vehicle in the fleet isn’t in motion, your business will suffer. This is why it is critical to properly plan and schedule the maintenance tasks to eliminate the risk of a vehicle breakdown, which has the potential to affect the driver’s safety too. It also makes sure that your fleets have vehicles and equipment ready when needed.

    Fleet maintenance software helps in automating maintenance and renewal schedules. You can create maintenance workflows for every single vehicle and set reminders for various service tasks.

  4. Making Detailed Inspection Possible

    Inspections go a long way in reducing risks. Make thorough pre and post-trip driver operator inspections a critical part of scheduled maintenance. When you make sure that all the vehicles pass inspections, it will increase the uptime, improve on-road safety as well and eliminate the risk of complex compliance issues.

    Inspections help in identifying any issue or problem in the nascent stage, thus allowing fleets to schedule maintenance using preventive maintenance software without interrupting the utilization of the vehicle, and avoiding downtime. This helps in maximizing resources and scheduling mechanics and parts to be available when the assets are brought into the shop.

  5. Providing Comprehensive Asset Details

    You can operate a fleet successfully when you have every bit of information about the company assets at your disposal, but it’s a mammoth task to keep track of every vehicle’s specifications and details. Moreover, it is also time-consuming. Assigning a vehicle identification number (VIN) in CMMS can help in providing information that is crucial to the usage and maintenance of a vehicle throughout its entire lifecycle. You can make smarter fleet decisions when the detailed vehicle data is accurate and accessible.

    If you are looking for advanced fleet management features, our products are designed to address the unique challenges of fleet maintenance apart from managing the auto-generation of work orders for vehicles and equipment that are due for maintenance. Contact us at NEXGEN for more details regarding CMMS implementation.