April 12, 2023 — There are many aspects involved in managing a fleet but to keep it simple, the purpose of fleet management is to keep a company’s operating costs under control, and making sure every resource from drivers, to fuel, and the vehicles themselves are utilized effectively.
Contrary to popular belief that keeping a fleet’s costs properly managed starts at the implementation stage, it involves every effort made before the users type in their very first entry, including the procurement process. Obtaining the best quality fleet resources at the most reasonable price is, afterall, one of the key elements to maximizing a fleet’s efficiency.
While there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to coming up with a fleet procurement strategy, there are a few practices that can be integrated in any organization’s process.
Most procurement practices only require the purchasing staff to know the details of the “whats” and the “how much”, however, it’s recommended that for far-reaching and dynamic solutions such as fleet management tools, everyone involved in the project should understand at least the basics.
Encourage operations personnel such as fleet managers, dispatchers, and drivers to run down the processes they wish to improve through the system not only to allow the purchasing team to thoroughly understand the need but also to help detect any resource redundancies their group may have overlooked.
Apart from the usual concern of cost, consider asking the following questions:
As your organization’s steadfast middlemen and gatekeepers, equipping yourselves with the right knowledge and enough information is key to helping secure the best possible partner.
To avoid unnecessary spending, it is important to keep track of current resources — what works and can be retained, what can be replaced by the new system, what can be let go of, and the like.
It is also important to look at past procurement mistakes, if any, to avoid repeating them. These lessons can be in the form of poor turnover of information that led to acquiring solutions that weren’t used enough to maximize the investment or even the unclear establishment of project point persons that led to long and scrambled approval processes.
Unlike regular layman features, technical specifications are often tedious and lengthens the procurement process if purchasing staff are required or even attempt to understand each point.
One solution would be to coordinate with your organization’s technical team and request for a summary document with all the specifications laid out for the potential partners to review. If you’d like to take it a step further, request for them to arrange the requirements into the following categories to make it easier to assess the qualifications of a potential solution:
These are your deal breakers, requirements that your organization cannot do without. If any requirement under this category, even just one, is not met by a potential supplier, that signals the end of your exploratory period with them.
It’s critical for the potential supplier to meet these requirements but if they don’t, your organization can still find a way to make the solution work. In some cases, these items can also be your bargaining chips in the pricing stage.
These are your nice-to-have specifications, the opposite of deal breakers. While they don’t weigh heavily on the initial decision-making process, it’s still wise to include them on the list.
The right partner can make the procurement process easy and efficient. These are some points to consider to secure the best possible options:
While international suppliers are a more common consideration for their prestige, it’s still better to have partners operating in the same time zone – even in the same culture – as your business. This can affect the availability of customer services, pricing, and even just the general how-do-you-dos and relationship building process.
Look for potential partners that you can reach through multiple ways: social media platforms, websites, email, and mobile and landline numbers. The more the merrier because there’s nothing worse than signing a deal with a supplier that’s difficult to reach.
Considering potential suppliers who regularly attend industry-related events and are partners with multiple organizations can never hurt. These can be good indicators of how well they cultivate their business and – in turn – client relationships.
The main goal of purchasing & procurement should be to acquire the best possible solution at the best possible cost — not to be confused with “cheapest”. While many suppliers do offer incredibly low-priced options, they are often not necessarily the most ideal for your organization; there’s always a catch.
Saving money is a goal but it should not be achieved at the expense of quality and function.
At the end of the day, balancing your needs with your investment will help secure higher chances of long-term success and return.
Webcast’s NavX and TrackMe Suite offer fleet management solutions, designed to cater to your business’ needs with multiple use case options available. For more information, questions, or inquiries, visit https://trackme.com.ph/contact-us/.
For The Basics of Fleet Management for Decision Makers, check out this article: Fleet Management: What You Need To Know Before Signing Off