It’s no secret that managing a fleet can be a difficult task for businesses.  All too often, the person in charge of that job has to struggle to handle maintenance of existing units, driver scheduling, and a tangled mess of logistics to make sure that the right equipment is in the right place at the right time.

Anything less and the company loses either money, time, or both.

It’s no wonder that many fleet managers don’t have the time necessary to foster a great relationship with their corporate partners, like the companies that upfit their vehicles.

At Expertec, we’ve been setting the standard in western Canada for how to create a great working relationship with fleet managers.  Let’s take a look at how that relationship can make managing a fleet easier.

First of all, everyone involved with the job of delivering a purpose-built and upfitted vehicle needs to understand Order-to-Delivery (OTD) times.  Today, for any number of reasons, companies run much leaner on staffing and inventory, so both the fleet manager and their upfitting partner have to respect the OTD timeframe.  Obviously, some cases – like the loss of a vehicle in the fleet or other unforeseen circumstance – can make clear communications on OTD times one of the most important parts of this relationship.

Another key metric for fostering goodwill between upfitters and clients is a clear definition of the expectations.  “Quality” means different things to different people.  It’s easy to joke about government contracts going to the lowest bidder on a job, but the stipulations in those contracts are crystal clear as to the materials to be used, the amount of space needed,  the actual use of the item, and the time frame for delivery.

Often, we see this with our own clients when it comes to our Service Level Agreements, but again, communication is a critical component.  Is there a reason that aluminum, for example, should be used in lieu of steel?  Our job, as upfitters, is to ask questions like this and discover exactly what our clients need – and for them to help us in that discovery to ensure their needs are met.

In any relationship between an upfitter and a company fielding a vehicle fleet, there will always be a need to measure certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and this is one place where communication is vitally important.  All too often, KPIs are drafted by departments and people who don’t use or build the vehicle to be delivered… again, a key control point where communication of standards, delivery times, and expectations can foster a respectful, long term relationship.

In over a decade of upfitting for a wide range of industries and fleet requirements, our experience has taught us that communication with our clients about the fleets they manage allows us to work together to meet their needs – on time and within their budget.