6 Smart Goals for Fleet Managers in 2024

Trying to set smart goals for your fleet? We won’t bore you with the good old SMART goals framework. You know… the idea that your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound. Those parameters are a given of goal setting. And you should definitely use them when defining goals for your organizations.

This post is not about how to set goals. Rather, it’s about what big objectives you should focus on if you want your fleet to reach peak performance.

It’s easy for fleet managers to get consumed by the day-to-day logistics of running the organization. If you want to lead a top-performing fleet, you need to focus on some big initiatives that will move the needle for the operation.

There are six smart goals for fleet managers to keep at the forefront of their strategies:  

  1. Optimize asset availability. 
  2. Analyze fleet performance.
  3. Upskill your team.
  4. Build an intentional culture.
  5. Keep costs under control. 
  6. Level up your tech strategy.

If you can nail these objectives, your fleet operation will run like a well-oiled machine.

1. Optimize asset availability.

Your fleet’s success is ultimately defined by your ability to reliably serve your community. That means your vehicles must be available when needed, in good repair, and meet the needs of the operation.

If the most critical vehicles in your operation aren’t available at least 95% of the time (some would argue that 95% isn’t enough), chances are your community feels like they can’t count on your fleet to be there when it’s supposed to.

Maintenance issues are the biggest culprit behind lack of availability. Examining your preventive maintenance program and vehicle replacement plans can uncover a lot of insights to optimize fleet availability.

2. Use data to improve fleet performance.

Availability isn’t the only metric that matters. Your operation is a wealth of data. But no matter how many metrics you’re tracking and reporting on, the data doesn’t do you any good if you’re not using it to analyze and optimize fleet performance.

There are a lot of ways you can leverage data to improve fleet performance. It starts with:

  • Defining your key performance indicators (KPIs): You don’t have to measure everything. Identify a handful of metrics that are the most important to your operations. Three key metrics to consider in addition to availability rate are technician productivity, PM compliance, and utilization rate.
  • Create a reporting dashboard: Pull the data together in a single dashboard so you have a central view of performance. This might be updated monthly, daily, or in real-time.  
  • Determine your benchmarks: Take note of your current and historical performance. Compare it to industry standards. Then, use these data points to identify your baseline performance for each KPI.
  • Set goals: This is where the SMART goals for fleet managers framework comes into play. Don’t try to focus on every metric at once. Determine where the organization is falling short and which metrics are most critical. Then set specific, time-bound, measurable goals to improve.

3. Upskill your team.

From the shop floor to the back office, every member on your team plays a critical role in the organization. And with as quickly as the industry changes, the demands of their roles are always evolving. 

Your shop manager needs new skills today that weren’t so important a decade ago. There are soft skills everyone should hone. Someone on the team needs to think like a data analyst. And you need to be a champion of change.   

Take the time to assess your team’s skills, including your own. See where the gaps are. Then get with your HR team to put together a professional development plan. 

4. Build an intentional culture.

While we’re on the topic of your team, have you taken a look at your organization’s culture recently? 

Are your employees happy? 

Do they show up on time? 

Are they productive? 

Do they take ownership over their work? 

Are they aligned with the organization’s goals? 

These are all indicators of your culture. And taking care of your culture is more important than you might think

Fostering a positive work environment will lead to higher employee engagement, satisfaction, and retention, lower recruiting costs, greater productivity, and in general, better performance all the way around. 

5. Keep your costs under control. 

One of your biggest obligations as a fleet manager is to efficiently plan and use your resources. This means building and sticking to the budget, having processes in place to track costs, and finding ways to reduce spending without sacrificing performance.

With the cost of vehicles, maintenance, parts, and insurance all outpacing overall inflation rates, it’s critical to find ways to reduce high fleet costs

Managing fleet operation costs starts with using your FMIS and telematics tools to get real-time data on vehicle performance, repairs, utilization, and driver behavior, so you can accurately track fuel, maintenance, and vehicle costs. Then you can compare these costs to industry averages and prioritize some quick wins to save your fleet money. 

6. Level up your tech strategy.

It’s challenging to keep up with the rapid evolution of vehicle technologies. But if you want to lead your fleet into the future you have to embrace new digital tools that will streamline operations and provide real-time insights. 

Start by auditing the tools you currently use. 

Pay particular attention to any tools that you’re either not using or aren’t meeting your needs—especially your FMIS. It’s the most important software for fleet leaders in government, schools, universities, emergency services, waste management, and transit. If your FMIS isn’t delivering value, it might be time to find a new one.

With your audit in hand, look to identify any gaps that technology may be able to solve. Then create a roadmap that looks out over the next few years.  

Fleet Success Resources for Smart Fleet Managers 

As you prepare to tackle these goals and steer your organization on the road to fleet success, use these valuable resources to guide the way.

  • The Fleet Success Show: A podcast dedicated to talking about the fundamentals, standards, and best practices that empower today’s fleets.
  • The Fleet Success Playbook: Candid stories to explain the keys of running a successful fleet operation. 
  • The RTA Blog: Practical tips and insights to help you operate, optimize, and analyze your fleet. 


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