Operating a successful fleet management program is like juggling; it requires keeping a lot of balls in the air. You have to keep an eye out for your company’s best interests while observing a myriad of regulations and policies. Without an organized and consistent structure, you can quickly find yourself out of your depth.

Washington State Department of Enterprise Services (DES) provides risk management, contracting and other services for state agencies. Their list of fleet management best practices offers valuable guidelines for maintaining a professional and effective system.

Establish strategic and business protocols for managing your vehicles is fleet management best practices, all the way from acquisition through operation to disposal. Your plan should also include a solid method of funding purchases of replacement vehicles.

Use sound financial practices:

The cost of owning and operating a fleet involves far more than just the purchase prices. Maintenance and repair costs, depreciation and overhead are only a few of the elements that comprise the full picture. Accurate accounting that captures all costs and expenditures is essential to your company’s financial health.

Create a comprehensive database:

With thorough financial records being an absolute necessity, you can’t afford to fly by the seat of your pants. Develop an information system to track all pertinent data that can also provide timely, user-friendly reporting.

Set standard vehicle replacement schedules:

Proper replacement of vehicles is not only a financial issue. Substandard vehicles compromise the safety of your employees and others. A proper life-cycle analysis will help you determine the criteria for appropriate replacement schedules.

Have proper understanding of all pertinent regulatory laws and industry standards:

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. You can’t afford to be found in violation of any federal, state or local regulations governing fleet management. Joining industry organizations and reading reputable periodicals are good ways to stay current while expanding your professional network.

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