An in-house fleet can bring added control and flexibility to your manufacturing supply chain, but it’s not always the most effective and efficient. An in-house fleet is a large investment of both resources and time. There’s a lot to manage, from the trucks and their maintenance to the staff of drivers, mechanics, and administrators. And so, many smart managers schedule a recurring event to Evaluate your in-house fleet with a “fresh set of eyes”.
The benefits of operating your own fleet must regularly be weighed against the constantly changing priorities of your business, exactly where your core competencies lie, and trucking market forces like driver staffing, volatile fuel prices, and regulatory compliance.
Ask Yourself These Questions
Manufacturers can start to evaluate your in-house fleet and assess the effectiveness of operations with the following questions.
- Do you have enough reliable drivers? The American Trucking Associations (ATA) reported a shortage of about 60,800 drivers in 2018, and that number was only expected to grow. Recruiting, hiring, training, and then retraining drivers is a task of its own with a shrinking talent pool.
- Is managing the fleet taking time away from your employees’ normal duties? Analyze output and overall productivity of the employees who are acting as an administrator for your shipping team. If there’s a lack compared to your numbers before adding the fleet, it’s probably time to weigh your options.
- Are you incurring too much cost on top of regular maintenance? According to Inc Magazine, “it costs 85 percent more to maintain a five-year-old truck than its brand new counterpart.” Unexpected breakdowns bring along the expense of roadside assistance, customer service issues due to interrupted transits, towing, and more.
- Do you have the right processes in place? Customer service problems due to communication issues and delays signal that you are missing the right processes. And coordinating effective use of the fleet for both inbound materials and outbound deliveries requires silos between purchasing, materials management, customer service, and sales to be broken down.
- Are you keeping up with regulatory changes and compliance? Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations related to fleet operations, even not-for-profit fleets are complex and require constant monitoring. Inspections of drivers and trucks resulting in out-of-service time or fines are obvious red flags. And regulatory change is driving technology investment requirements for fleets.
Evaluate Your In-house Fleet’s Effectiveness with Customodal
Take some time to chew on these questions. While an in-house fleet may have sounded like a great idea five years ago, aging trucks, a shortage of drivers, and changing expenses may have shifted your perspective. Contact our expert team of logistics professionals to further evaluate your fleet’s effectiveness. Whether the right answer is improving fleet operations or comparison to outsourcing your shipments we can help.