The world has become smaller over the past years, well not literally but figuratively because the accessibility has greatly improved. Over time the need and demands for goods has also increased tenfold which means that logistics management has become imperative for different organizations.
Rather organizations now operate with a sole purpose of providing logistics management as a service and ensuring that goods are delivered on the prescribed deadline. Firms have invested into fleets of vehicles which require maintenance and tracking, along with the management of the personnel that drive it.
With such intensive investment, the firms cannot afford any mismanagement of their valuable assets and therein comes the role of a fleet manager.
The fleet manager is the shepherd of the gigantic vehicles and the personnel which is recruited to drive it. They are required to strike a balance between the budget allocated to them and the costs that keep arising due to mishaps which are unavoidable.
The growth in the different industries has meant that the demand for fleet managers has quadrupled but many wrongly believe that a successful manager could also become a successful fleet manager-on paper it seems plausible, however, in reality, the life of a fleet manager is much more demanding, and with greater time constraints.
Although there is no single trait which would make a fleet manager successful, there is a handful which if mastered could make one successful.
1. Be the Juggler:
There is always something to be done and considered by the fleet manager and they must learn to juggle and multitask.
The tracking report, the vehicle maintenance, the driver’s grievances, the order from the management are some of the issues that need to be addressed all at the same time with not one task that could be set aside.
2. Master the Time:
Time is of the essence for a fleet manager and a good one simply knows how to utilize their time effectively without getting bogged down in the everyday running of the day.
Consignments that don’t reach on time may as well not have reached their destination thus time management plays a very important role in a successful fleet manager.
3. Be like a Chameleon:
Well, not literally but they must possess the ability to adapt to the situation quickly thereby saving resources. They understand the business trends would not stay the same forever and they too must learn to step forward with the change or perish like their dinosaur friends.
4. Never Leave School:
The good ones do well in school learn the skills they tried to teach them and then stop at it. The successful ones are the ones that never cease to be a student and possess the ability to learn, unlearn and relearn skills and habits to thrive and be successful at their job.
5. Communication Skills:
The really good fleet manager knows how to communicate with anyone and everyone in an effective manner. They are often the mediators between the higher management and the operating staff and in order to be successful, they must possess the ability to clearly communicate between the two.
There is often a lack of understanding between the ground staff and the board rooms, therefore, the fleet manager must bridge that gap in order to aid understanding.
6. Command Leadership:
Fleet managers command loyalty through their leadership style. There are times when the whole team will have to brace tough times and that are when they must lead by example rather than rely on fear alone.
They must put in the same hours of work if not more to inspire their team and ensure their cooperation.
7. Be Business Savvy:
Simply managing the fleet is the minimum requirement of a fleet manager, but they also play a great role in the understanding of numbers and giving recommendations to the board room as to what they believe needs to be incorporated in the strategy of the company.
They also understand the business plans set out by the firm and the purpose behind its implementation.
8. They are Diplomatic:
Fleet managers have to bear the brunt of many issues but that’s where they must exercise their diplomatic skills and defuse the situation.
There are many opportunities to allow anger to spill over as everyone has an opinion yet a successful fleet manager is able to shrug it off and wait for the results to speak for themselves.
9. They Listen:
Communication skills have been mentioned yet listening skills are an imperative skill that needs a separate mention. The obvious is to listen to the upper authorities but the real trial lies in listening to the drives and the maintenance staff which are rough by nature.
Active listening is the real root of all success as the listener strives to understand the speaker clearly without any hidden agenda.
10. Have Decision Making Ability:
The successful fleet managers are able to make decisions when the need arises. They are able to resolve problems by stepping in and using all available data are able to make a decision.
These decisions are the key to saving resources and what distinguishes a successful fleet manager from a mediocre one.
11. Mingle with the People:
The transportation business is thought of as robotic with the vehicles be the real sources of the business. However, the people are the real essence of the logistics business and if fleets managers will is able to successfully interact with people then they would be ultimately successful.
12. Get the Party Started:
Since logistics is a people’s business it requires a touch of humour to operate it. They bring the party to the dockside or the warehouse when they feel morale is down and the timing of the calculated humor is the real feat to accomplish.
13. Maintain a Professional Attitude:
These fleet managers will be given all the reason to leave their professional grab behind engage in any provocation but they maintain their professionalism with a cool mind.
14. Up-to-date with Trends:
They know what the new trends are and where the market is headed towards in the near future. They stay afloat with time to ensure their own survival and by an extension of the firm they work for.
15. Show Contentment:
There really isn’t any difficulty in understanding that the managers who are content and enjoy their work would also be the better at it. Their level of personal satisfaction is directly correlated with their success levels.
16. Be Analytic:
They see past what’s been hidden and are able to analyze the situation to get to the best possible conclusion. There are many out there who would wish to hoodwink them for their personal interest. The analytical skills come in handy when they allow all the frills to melt away.
17. Shows Empathy:
The successful fleet mangers understand the possible mishaps that occur in a person’s life and the difficulty of the drivers who stay away from their families to fulfill their duties. Therefore, they show empathy where needed and are able to generate respect from the coworkers.
18. Open to New Ideas:
The successful managers are generally are more open to new ideas regardless of who suggests them. They understand that the way forward is to keep a open mind to allow greater generation of ideas.
19. Is Tech Savvy:
In this age of technology they are aware of how to manipulate technology for their better use and improve performance. They understand its uses and are also able to utilize it effectively.
20. Team Player:
They know the logistics business is a team player’s game and they invest their energy into being team players with all their heart and refuse to try and run a one man show.
21. Invest in Networking:
The industry although growing is often small and intense therefore its important to network some relations within which may come in handy in the near future.
22. Great Collaborators:
The successful fleet managers believe in synergies and collaborate to bridge the gap between the any lacks of resources with that of the collaborators.
23. Change Initiators:
Not only do successful managers welcome change but also initiate change for the firm. They conduct research and analyze all factors for the need of change and if there is then they become the initiators.
24. Negotiate Well:
Negotiation skills come in handy in every sphere of the work and the successful managers are able to utilize them to their advantage.
25. Provide mentorship:
The successful managers provide guidance and mentorship to the less experienced team members which in turn pay off by the whole operation running smoothly.
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