Organizing your fleet is one of the best ways to be in control of your equipment and assets. This can be overwhelming if there are a lot of pieces of equipment and not a lot of organization currently in place.
Some of the benefits of organizing your fleet are knowing which piece belongs where. Especially if you include a department or branch in your fleet numbering system. That way, at a glance you know where the equipment should be located, and when it comes to billing, which department needs to be charged. Additionally, it can help with planned maintenance by grouping certain machines together.
One of the best ideas I’ve heard is from Les at Wilcox Farms. He says that that people remember 7 numbers at a time, in most cases. That’s why telephone numbers are seven letters. We also do better, when they are broken up, such as the hyphen in the telephone number. His plan is to use a 3 digit number to designate departments, then two letters to define the type of equipment, then 3 numbers to define the piece of equipment. For example; 200 (HENS) FL (Forklift) 001. It would look like this; 200FL001.
Another option that I’ve seen is by location or branch. For example, branch one is 10, branch two is 20, etc. then the equipment number.
While setting all this up, make sure to be friends with your administration staff, and keep in mind what works for their systems as well. If it can make everyone’s lives easier, then we have a two birds, one stone type of solution.
What we have seen, that cause occasional problems, is using the last 4 of the VIN, in some cases they have been duplicated. It doesn’t happen very often, but it does happen and it can get confusing, if it does occur.
Additionally, nicknaming equipment can lead to a lot of confusion for those people who never see the equipment.
Bottom-line, by picking a logical system, documenting what it means, and sticking to it and it will help you manage your fleet.