The daily management of a fleet of vehicles can be challenging at the best of times, regardless of the size of the fleet. The task of a driver safety professional includes reducing operating costs, minimizing liability, and increasing safety and efficiency on a regular basis.
Whether you’re new to fleet management or looking to improve an outdated fleet, you don’t need to feel overwhelmed. There are ways to help you organize your fleet as a project manager.
What is a Project Manager?
Project managers are responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the completion of a specific project for a company while ensuring the tasks are on time, within the allotted budget, and within the range or scope of each project. Essentially, they are responsible for leading the team and organizing the work.
These managers are also responsible for each of the different management processes throughout the project’s life cycle. This includes resource management, risk management, and task management. In addition, they supervise the planning, execution, monitoring, and closure of the project.
The company generally defines the project goals and objectives. The project manager will need to apply management practices to initiate a plan that establishes the tasks and resources necessary to meet the company’s requirements.
To balance project requirements and schedules, project managers often use project management software to execute their plans. This online software can help keep projects on track and workers productive.
Many fleet managers rely on vehicle telematics to help support their day-to-day operations in most, if not all, of their vehicles. This fleet management software helps driver safety professionals gain up-to-date information about their operations while improving driver satisfaction. It also helps to decrease the usage of fuel through accurate reporting with the aid of predictive analytics.
Management Tips for Fleets
There are many best practices that can make for managing highly effective driver safety professionals. Applying these best practices makes a difference in the company’s bottom line and improves the overall safety of your company’s workers.
1. Monitor fleets using telematics
To ensure the safety of each driver, driver safety professionals need to know exactly where each vehicle is at any given time. However, tracking vehicle location can be challenging, whether a fleet includes five vehicles or 500.
Driver safety professionals often rely on telematics technology and GPS tracking systems to know exactly where their vehicles are and increase visibility into their vehicle safety and fleet operations.
2. Identify the value of the project
Fleet managers often have project management responsibilities beyond monitoring drivers and vehicles. For these projects, the first step includes creating a plan which justifies the need for the project and the probability guide which can prove it can be executed within a reasonable time and cost to the company.
Typically, this project management stage finishes with a project meeting where team members are brought together to discuss each project’s goals, schedule, and necessary resources to succeed.
3. Create the project plan
The project plan will be the guide for the remainder of the project. It contains each section associated with the delivery of the project, including costs, timeline, resources, and risks.
During this stage, the project scope, which is the work required to complete the project, is defined using a work breakdown structure. The structure breaks the project down into specific activities, making it easier for managers to develop schedules and assign tasks to their team members.
Project managers should lay out their project plan using a chart that shows the strategy and direction of the entire project. This provides a detailed description of the work until the project has reached its finishing point.
4. Execute the project
The next project management stage is the execution of the project, which is when the tasks and targets outlined in the plan are working to produce the end result, according to the company’s approval.
During the project, the project manager may need to change the resources to keep the team working efficiently. The execution will assist them in identifying and reducing risks, successfully dealing with problems, and implementing any of the needed changes to keep the project moving forward.
5. Monitor and control the project
The next project management stage is monitoring and controlling the project. This takes place during the delivery of the project and involves monitoring the progress and the performance of the project to ensure it stays on track with the schedule and within the allotted budget. This also means that quality control procedures will be applied to safely guarantee the quality of work.
The most significant issues in most projects are typically related to time, cost, and scope. These are commonly referred to as the ‘triple constraint.’
The triple constraint is an integral part of a project, so managers must pay special attention to the schedule, the budget, and the work breakdown structure during the planning stage. One of the key goals of this stage is to build stable controls for the project to ensure those three factors remain on track.
6. Deliver the final product
The final project management stage is the closure of the project. This is when the final deliverables are presented to the company. At this point, the project manager and the team can conduct an in-depth examination to evaluate what was understood and gained from the project.
Upon completing the project itself, the closure stage may include handing over control to a different management team. If this is the case, the project manager’s job is to ensure the change over happens as smoothly as possible.
The Triple Constraint
As many would attest to, the triple constraint is a critical part of any project. It is essential to remember each of the three points is constantly influencing each of the other constraints. For example, if completion time is pushed back, an adjustment in either scope or cost will have to be made. It is the role of the project manager to monitor these constraints.
Part of the job of a project manager is the ability to estimate the time required to complete the project. This must be done during the initiation and planning stages of the project life cycle to develop a proper schedule outlining the length of all activities. Once the execution stage begins, the project must be regularly monitored to make changes to the schedule.
Scope refers to all of the work needed to complete the project. This must be recognized during the planning stage by using the work breakdown structure. If the scope is not clear early within the project, it may increase during the execution stage due to any unplanned activities. This is commonly known as scope creep and may cause some projects to fail. The scope management process will help keep this constraint on track.
As expected, there are many costs associated with any project. Project managers are responsible for estimating, budgeting, and controlling each of the projects’ costs to complete the project within the approved budget. All of these expectations fall under a process known as cost management.
There are many benefits of fleet tracking that any project manager can use. Telematics takes care of multiple facets of any fleet, especially while managing larger fleets. When companies develop a clear fleet management plan, it helps reduce unexpected delays or costs. Developing a plan which includes the benefits of telematics will assist in the success of any management team.