The Role of the Fleet Manager in Transportation

Bob Besso, recycling program manager of NORCAL Waste Systems
••• Bloomberg / Contributor / Getty Images

In a logistics company or a transportation company, fleet managers play a pivotal role. Fleet managers are responsible for selecting and maintaining vehicles in order to keep deliveries and distributions on schedule and within established budgets. In order to succeed, fleet managers need significant experience and skills in operations, logistics and software programs to monitor both fleets and . 

Selecting Vehicles

Fleet managers make decisions regarding the kinds of vehicles to purchase and how many are needed. Some companies buy automobiles outright, others lease vehicles to meet the company's needs. When vehicles are no longer useful for the fleet, the manager markets and resells them to retain as much of the company's investment as possible. 

Record Keeping

Fleet managers are responsible for impeccable recordkeeping. They register and license all vehicles, and keep inspections up to date. They keep records to prove that the fleet company is in compliance with all state and federal regulations. 

Maintenance

In order for transportation companies to function seamlessly and meet profit goals, vehicles must be maintained in peak operating condition. Fleet managers set up maintenance schedules to ensure each vehicle is kept in top condition in efforts to side-step unexpected repairs and minimize costs by maximizing fuel efficiency. Larger companies typically have in-house service centers with mechanics and specialists who handle maintenance. Smaller companies often outsource maintenance and repairs through contracts with outside shops.

Driver Management

are essential to a company's profitability. Poor drivers can be a problem, causing fines, lawsuits with erratic driving or tickets from speeding. Many fleet managers use GPS trackers on the entire fleet to monitor vehicle locations and . Fleet managers are often responsible for recruiting and maintaining top drivers and driver teams, so the role requires excellent people and communication skills as well.

Profit & Loss

Fleet managers are central to keeping costs down and maximizing profits. Most rely on accounting software to record and collect data. Managers look for patterns to see areas where expenses can be cut or administrative costs may be reduced. 

Education and Training

Becoming a fleet manager generally requires an associate's degree and several years' experience in the transportation industry. You'll be required to exhibit proficiency with the industry's concepts, practices, and procedures. A bachelor's degree in logistics or accounting can be especially useful as you move up within the company. 

Job Outlook

As of 2018, the average fleet manager makes $84,425. The need for fleet managers has risen a great deal in the past five years. For the next ten years, it is expected to continue to grow, so the job outlook is quite good. Many transportation companies are in need of fleet managers and compete vigorously for a narrow talent pool, so experienced fleet managers can command above-average wages. 

Fleet managers play a pivotal role in the transportation industry. From buying and selling vehicles to managing schedules and drivers, they keep transport companies moving smoothly and efficiently and manage costs to maximize profits.