Managing the Financial Side of Commercial Fleets

The 10 'Dumbest Mistakes' Fleet Managers Make

November 2010, by Staff

View a pdf of this article as it appeared in the magazine

It seems each day is a never-ending series of fires to put out for today's fleet manager. This can lead to mistakes; some glaring, others less so, but all of which create more work. There are small mistakes: You spelled the driver's name wrong in an e-mail. Then there are big mistakes.
Here are 10 of the most glaring mistakes a harried fleet manager can make, and advice on how to avoid them.   

1. Giving Too Much Detail

Every department-level manager must create and distribute reports - to immediate supervisors, his boss, then her boss, and so on up the line. These reports include details on expenses, tracking performance versus plan and forecast, cost variance versus the previous year, etc. They're weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. 

Every fleet manager wants upper management to know what, and how well, they're doing. However, sometimes this leads to providing just too much information, which usually leads to one of two problems:

  1. The more you provide, the more it can be picked through for errors or results you may not want to emphasize.
  2. The manager doesn't have time to go through it all and doesn't get the message at all.

The further up the management chain of management, the less detail is required. Focus on two things: trends and graphics. A senior vice president should be able to take a quick look at a report and learn what it is he or she wants to know. Unless specifically requested, keep numbers to a minimum and keep verbiage short and to the point. Also, whenever something bad is communicated, provide an action plan to reverse it.   

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