7 Key Principles of Fleet Management in Africa

The principles of fleet management are guidelines that help you optimize the use and operations of your vehicles as they ply the roads of Africa to facilitate pick-up and delivery.

It’s no longer news that logistics and transportation play vital roles in the African economy and supply chain landscape. This makes fleet management as critical as they come.

While considering the impotence or vital nature of fleet management on the continent, it is only normal to wonder about the guidelines or principles that can help you optimize it.

So, what are these principles? We will explore seven of them in this article.


1. Cost Analysis and Savings 

Fleets can be quite expensive to operate and maintain, from everyday fuel or gas needed to power the vehicles to periodic repairs and servicing.

Therefore, fleet managers must constantly conduct robust cost analyses and find potential savings areas or points throughout the process.

Cost-saving options could be done through route optimization or sourcing cheaper spare parts while maintaining the same or better quality.

Fleet management is the most expensive aspect of the logistics cost. Therefore, any potential saving option could go a long way toward impacting the entire logistics operation.


2. Visibility or Tracking

Fleets could carry goods with total value ranging from a couple of bucks to millions. It all depends on the business or nature of the product.

However, tracking and visibility are important whether the supply chain is transporting cheap goods or much more valuable items. And you can achieve this using GPS or telematics.

When tracking and visibility are enabled, they can impact the overall supply chain visibility and help the management with a holistic view of the entire operation.

Considering the security risk on the continent, having visibility gives you an idea of where your goods are at every point in time.


3. Driver Training/Management

Drivers may singlehandedly be the most significant aspect of your transportation process. Managing them effectively will be a top contender among the fleet management principles in Africa explored here.

You will not believe the difference it can make when they are skilled and well-trained.

For starters, they use the vehicles better. They are more attuned to the customers and their expectations. You can also depend on them to deliver at the right time with the right goods.

However, it is important to treat them well and fulfil promises to them; otherwise, they can and, in my experience, will definitely ground your entire operation.

For my resources on driver management, read my article on how to improve driver performance.


4. Compliance and Documentation

To operate your fleet across the continent, documentation and compliance requirements must be carried out.

Now, these may vary from country to country. They may also vary between vehicle types. But wherever you find yourself doing business, ensuring your fleets comply with local laws and have the necessary documentation to match is important.

When your fleets are compliant, it reduces the risk of disruption from the authorities. It also eliminates the rise in expenses due to potential fines.


5. Insurance

Considering the risks logistics businesses face in the continent, such as poor infrastructure, low level of security in many countries, and political instability. Insurance can do your fleet management business a lot of good.

Insurance protects your fleets and goods from damages or other risks, such as theft while in transit. But you don’t want just any other insurance. It is important to get comprehensive insurance.

That way, you are sure your business is in good hands despite any misfortune. Like so many businesses, you may think. “I don’t need insurance. My business doesn’t have enough money for it”.

Well, even the best drivers often get into an accident or get their trucks stolen from them. What would your business do when that happens?


6. Route Optimization

Routes matter. By taking the right route, you can cut down the cost of your transportation and logistics to a great extent. The fuel savings alone could transform the transportation process.

Considering the bad state of the roads and security issues, there may never be a better time for the solution.

Hiring drivers familiar with the landscape and knowing different routes would be beneficial. However, there is a better bet.

The deployment of tech solutions known as route optimization software can help drivers find alternative routes or roads to ensure delivery is on time and customers are satisfied.

Read more about the idea in our article: Route Management software and why it matters.


7. Inventory Management

It can be easy to forget that fleet management deals with many parts coming and going. This makes many fleet managers overlook the inventory aspect of the process.

A good fleet system will store inventories to help the maintenance staff get the basics. It beats having to purchase each at every point. It could be tyres, batteries, bolts, nuts, etc.

When overlooked, it often leads to theft of replaced parts, which can be very expensive. In some cases, they are not so bad and just need servicing.

When they go missing, that is quite a lot of capital down the drain. And insurance doesn’t cover it.

𝐁𝐨𝐭𝐭𝐨𝐦 𝐋𝐢𝐧𝐞: The principles of fleet management highlighted here can be universal, but they have helped and can help many logistics businesses in Africa better manage their fleet. It could be mini vehicles, trucks, buses, and so on.