Coronavirus: 3 ways for fleet managers to upskill during lockdown

Thursday, June 4, 2020 - 08:34
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Regardless of what situation you currently find yourself in during this lockdown, what’s clear is that the role of the fleet manager is changing. And fast. Therefore, you might want to spend at least some of your downtime learning new skills and honing your existing ones. This will allow you to adapt to any changes in the role and wider industry, and will keep you feeling confident and mentally stimulated.

LockdownLuckily, there are a number of online tools and resources available, many of which are free to use. Here are some suggestions curated by the experts at LeasePlan UK.

Get data savvy with one of these free MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course)

A few years back, a number of discerning commentators predicted that future fleet managers would come to be defined as IT professionals rather than automotive experts. They saw the emergence of AI and Big Data analytics as foretokens of the inevitable digitalisation that lay ahead for the sector. And quite rightly so: data analysis is now a critical part of the job, as businesses look to fleet managers to identify opportunities for cost savings and greater efficiencies through telematics and other fleet software.

If you’re looking to stay ahead of the curve and expand your digital skills toolkit, you might want to consider enrolling in a MOOC. MOOCs, which stand for Massive Open Online Course, offer a completely free and accessible means of further education. There are thousands of courses to choose from, but the courses below are designed to give you a solid foundation in data analytics and security, with further study and training.

Introduction to cyber security: stay safe online (The Open University)

Learn to code for data analysis (The Open University)

Introduction to Big Data (Microsoft)

The Power of Data (Rolls Royce)

Introduction to Internet of Things (IoT) (Rolls Royce)

Sharpen your communication skills

The lockdown has meant daily life is far from business as usual, even if your fleet is still operating regularly. Like the rest of the world, fleet managers are having to adapt to remote working and many are managing fleets where there are either multiple vehicles sitting idle, or where their drivers are busier than ever.

With so much disruption to normal working patterns, open and effective communication between fleet managers and their drivers has never been more important. Good communication is an essential tool in achieving productivity and maintaining strong relationships with your team, and will often allow you to identify any potential issues before they’ve happened, saving both time and money.

For those looking for ways to proactively improve their communication skills during lockdown, we’d recommend checking out the following MOOCs:

Collaborative working in a remote team (FutureLearn)

Framing your communication and how to inspire and convince (Delft University of Technology)

Communication skills and teamwork (FullbridgeX)

Take a FORS-accredited eLearning course

If you would like to enrol in a training course that is specifically designed for fleet managers, industry-specific bodies have an abundance of webinars, online courses and training materials available. These include the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) (formed by the recent merger between ACFO and ICFM), Driving for Better Business (DfBB), the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and FORS.

Many of these e-training courses require you to be a member or to pay a one-off fee, so it’s worth discussing your options with your employer.

Don’t forget to invest in your wellbeing during lockdown

Although investing in your professional development is important, the current situation is stressful for all of us so it’s vital that you continue to look after your physical and mental wellbeing.

There are a huge number of free wellbeing courses and apps available. Headspace, for example – one of the most popular meditation apps – is currently offering free courses to everyone through a new initiative called Weathering the Storm.

For those looking to get fit, the NHS offers an app called Couch to 5k, which aims to help people get off the couch and running within 9 weeks. This is a great programme for those looking for a realistic way of improving their physical health. Free to use, each workout is guided by a voice over from the likes of Olympian Michael Johnson to BBC presenter Jo Whiley.

Also, look at your fleet providers or business partners. We have launched a new community platform called NextGen LeasePlan Community, which aims to address four core human needs: – body, mind, soul and community. Available to customers and partners, as well as members of staff, the platform balances exercise programmes and healthy eating with learning new skills, dealing with stress and finding ways to connect. There’s new content every week, plus an integrated social network.

Looking ahead

The world of mobility has been changing for a while, with innovations such as smart technology, car-as-a-service and zero emission motoring. Being flexible, dynamic and informed is therefore a key part of a fleet manager’s role so it’s important to stay ahead. Use this time to stay up to date with all the latest developments in the industry, but make sure you are selective in the information you surround yourself with. Whether it’s now or post-lockdown, companies will rely on their fleet managers to help get their employees mobile again, so now is the time to look ahead rather than reflect on the past.

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