If you manage a small or large fleet then you would know how difficult and time consuming it can be to ensure all operations are running smoothly. This article will help give you insight as to how fleet management software operates and the many benefits you can expect from implementing it within your system.
Let’s get straight into it by looking into what fleet management is and why it’s important for certain businesses.
What is fleet management?
Fleet management is a method used by your business to manage your fleet and asset data from when vehicles are acquired and disposed of.
Fleet management allows you to reduce costs, enhance your business’ operational efficiency and implement compliance within your whole fleet.
Managing a large pool of vehicles can be extremely challenging, along with external influencers such as increasing costs, legislation and car market unpredictability. Having a useful fleet management software can help take the stress off fleet managers and coordinate fleet management activities without complication.
The importance of fleet management
Fleets can be extremely difficult to manage which is why having a fleet management process is important to ensuring all vehicles and drivers are accounted for, costs are reduced and driver productivity is boosted.
The types of fleets that require management include:
- Public transport
- Emergency services
Fleet management can be executed inside the business, typically as appointed by the fleet manager or in some cases, carried out by an external provider.
Having a robust fleet management system can help with solving issues regarding transportation, such as extended delays, lost or missing parcels, inaccurate delivery times etc. This solution is important for businesses wanting to improve driver performance, increase profits and revolutionise the customer experience.
How do I choose a fleet management system?
In order to choose a fleet management system for your business you need to consider all your options and do some research before reaching a decision.
You should focus on researching the features a fleet management software offers and whether they accommodate your requirements.
If a software is significantly cheaper than others it’s possible there are features missing. In most cases it’s better to invest your money wisely rather than opting for the cheapest option. Any issues that can arise from not having visibility of your fleet or a lack of customer support could lead to issues that prove more costly than the software considered more ‘expensive’.
Another thing you should be looking for are customer reviews to give you insight of product quality and customer support. This should steer you in the right direction towards a software that does exactly what they set out to do.
What is fleet management software?
Fleet management software is a tool used by fleet managers to access important data pertaining to their fleet’s performance and customer service.
Fleet management software works to reduce downtime, keep up with vehicle maintenance and boost driver efficiency.
Implementing this type of technology within your system helps manage the following:
- Fuel consumption
- Repairs and maintenance
- Compliance and regulations
How much does fleet management software cost?
The cost of a fleet management software depends on a multitude of factors. These includes:
- Type of vehicles
- Capabilities of the software
- Type of software
- Type of business
The average cost for a fleet management software starts from around $35 a month per vehicle or $3500-$6500 for a fleet of 10 vehicles per year.
Some operations use the pay-per vehicle model while others are pay-per user. Depending on the type of software, some might let you select the option that accommodates your business.
The difference between the two is if the software or hardware purchased is connected to the vehicle being tracked or the driver.
What influences fleet management software costs?
- Types of vehicles
- Types of businesses
- Type of software solutions
Challenges faced by fleet managers
When managing an entire fleet it can be extremely difficult to manage drivers, schedules, costs and ensuring the delivery process runs smoothly.
You also want to make sure you’re meeting customer expectations so that the business maintains their reputation and customer retention.
Benefits of fleet management software
Improved vehicle maintenance
Fleet maintenance and the longevity of vehicles within your fleet can often be an expensive area that severely impacts your operation’s finances.
That’s why having a fleet management software can help provide a preventive maintenance schedule that helps you manage fleet costs and avoid lengthy downtime.
There are several data points to consider when it comes to preventative maintenance. These include:
- Kms travelled
- Fuel consumption
- Engine hours
A reliable fleet management software enables fleet managers to monitor vehicle downtime as a result of emergency repairs, tows, breakdowns and so on. This is particularly useful for identifying future problem areas and keeping your fleet operating.
Fleet management software offers detailed reports for fleet managers so they can turn this data into useful information. There’s more to it than just being aware of your vehicle’s location.
Sharing these detailed reports with your drivers helps them better understand where improvements need to be made to boost performance.
Improved driver safety
The safety of your drivers should be paramount as they are the driving force behind getting products to customers.
One of the major benefits of having a quality fleet management system is the ability to track the behaviour of your drivers. That way you can identify who is dangerously driving on the road and consuming the most amount of fuel.
Additional training of drivers improves their safety on the road and allows you to reduce fuel costs, saving your business money.
Fleet managers can benefit from using GPS tracking to monitor their fleet’s live location and ensure they’re on the right track.
Seeing exactly where your vehicles are, how many jobs they’ve completed and ETAs gives you a better comprehension of what’s occurring out on the road. This not only makes a dispatcher’s job easier but also improves the experience of customers.
No more calling around to see where your drivers are. You can access all this information in one place.
Improved customer satisfaction
Meeting customer expectations can be an extremely difficult task in today’s climate. That’s why businesses can benefit from a fleet management system as streamlining the delivery process means faster delivery times and live updates.
With a fleet management system, customers can receive updates on the status of their order and whether delays or additional have been encountered.
Improved ETA accuracy via GPS tracking information keeps customers happy and a part of their process, increasing the possibility for repeat use of your services.
Enhanced route planning
Having a fleet tracking system enables businesses to plan their days, routes and distribution of their fleet productively.
Route optimisation is a tool that builds the most efficient routes by taking into consideration driver availability, traffic and weather conditions and the distance of locations.
A fleet management software like Locate2u can also let you add in last minute routes for maximum productivity.
How do you monitor a fleet of vehicles?
The best way to monitor your fleet of vehicles is by using a reliable GPS tracking system. A fleet management software like Locate2u offers a range of GPS devices that allows you to track your drivers throughout the day.
With GPS tracking you can see the productivity of your fleet and the behaviour of your drivers so you can identify where most of your expenses are coming from and who needs additional training.
You can even share a live tracking link with customers via smartphone. This improves customer experience as they know exactly where their order is and when it will be delivered.
What does a fleet manager do?
- Fleet tracking
- Driver retention
- Reduce costs
- Vehicle acquisition
- Driver safety
How to reduce fleet costs
Use less vehicles
Using less vehicles might sound a little bit crazy but assigning the same amount of drivers over a reduced fleet can have financial benefits.
Obviously you shouldn’t eliminate too many vehicles that your drivers aren’t able to keep up with the workload.
GPS fleet tracking gives you access to information regarding the use of your vehicles, driver fuel consumption, geographical locations and driver safety.
Depending on the type of GPS tracking system, you can receive alerts in the event of concerning actions like vehicle theft, dangerous driving etc.
That way you can monitor the performance of your fleet and identify any issues should they pop up for quick resolution.
A way to reduce fleet costs is by ensuring your drivers are on the most efficient routes. Faster deliveries means there is more time to add in last minute bookings, boosting the productivity of your business.
Investing in a route optimisation solution will help reduce the time your drivers spend on the road. Route optimisation takes into account driver availability, the number of stops, traffic and weather conditions and the distance between locations.
By assigning your drivers to the most time-effective routes, you can end up saving money on fuel costs and reduce the need for vehicle maintenance.
Upgrade your parts
Repairs can be extremely costly and impact your business’ revenue. Swapping out older parts for new ones can help make your fleet more efficient.
The cost of replacing a part comes with high-tech and more effective vehicle operation that can significantly minimise unnecessary repair costs.
Fuel is one of the biggest expenses within a fleet. Despite it being an inevitable part of vehicles meeting their destinations, fuel consumption can be reduced along with their costs.
Vehicle upgrades can help, as well as training your drivers to make more fuel efficient decisions on the road. This training should involve discouraging drivers from harshly braking, speeding and excessively idling in traffic.
Types of fleets
No matter the type or size of your fleet, managing the safety of your vehicles’ journey is a common need they all share.
Delivery fleets can transfer local deliveries for parcel shipping companies or other operations. Most commonly, goods are sent to a distribution centre via trucking fleet vehicle and then moved to a delivery vehicle for the final leg of the delivery process.
Commercial fleets are typically composed of different types of vehicles in large quantities. Such fleets accommodate varying types of shipping such as local delivery and cross-country shipping.
Commercial fleets often require a number of people to manage these operations to ensure every delivery runs smoothly and customer satisfaction is being achieved.
Transport fleets can consist of rental cars, rental moving vehicles (e.g trucks) and taxis. Sometimes customers are the ones to drive these vehicles. Take for instance a customer driving a moving truck to transport items to their new residence.
Because customers are often the passengers or drivers, managers of transport fleets must take additional care to maintain their safety.
Trucking fleets can deliver high volumes of goods due to their large trailer-drawing tractors. A trucking fleet consists of either dozens of vehicles or just a few.
Given the massive scale of trucks and their long-haul journeys, strict safety and compliance rules are required.
Fleet management best practices
- Focus on customer service
- Vehicle compliance
- Managing vehicle life cycles
- Managing finances
Types of fleet management
Fleet vehicle management can be fulfilled by a third-party fleet management business or within an organisation.
Fleet management businesses issues a variety of services like:
- Supply chain management
- Vehicle acquisition
- Leasing of vehicles
- Compliance and safety programs
- Fuel management
What skills do you need to be a fleet manager?
In order to be a successful fleet manager, you need to have the ability to juggle and prioritise the most important tasks. You must be able to meet the demands of not only customers but suppliers, drivers and management which can be extremely stressful and tiresome.
As a fleet manager you must be able to manage your time well in order to keep operations running smoothly and efficiently. You’re not only working to keep operations in check but to maintain driver needs and corporate satisfaction.
Managing your time effectively is what will take you from being a good fleet manager to a great fleet manager.
Setting goals is a great way to achieve objectives for your business, which is why a goal-oriented fleet manager is essential for taking your business to the next level.
Great fleet managers employ relevant KPIs (key performance indicators) to maintain standards of vehicle downtime, productivity, management of operating costs and fleet utilisation.
Having a hunger to achieve certain results can push the business in a positive direction and boost operational efficiency and even reduce operational costs.
Both written and verbal communication skills are essential to being a great fleet manager. This includes being able to write and present information to senior management that gets straight to the point but still contains the important details.
Conceptualising an idea and having the ability to properly communicate is what will make a fleet manager respected by senior management. Not to mention communicating clearly and thoroughly to avoid confusion.
To be a fleet manager you need to be able to coach and lead your fleet team, as well as drivers and other levels of management. Inspiring your team and having a passion to achieve success are just a few of the key ingredients that make a great fleet manager.
Good listening skills
Fleet managers must have a good ear for their drivers, suppliers and management. Being a good listener entails being open to differing perspectives, learning from others and past mistakes and being open to new ideas.
This is perhaps an underrated and underutilised skill that can make all the difference when managing a fleet.
Ability to make decisions
Fleet managers are often put on the spot and forced to make fast decisions under pressure. Whether a decision is big or small, they contribute to the overall operation and success of the business.
To be a fleet manager you must be confident in your knowledge and choices to solve any problems that might impact your fleet.
What makes a good fleet management system?
The purpose of fleet management is to improve operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. This system should have the ability to create reports that can be customised and modified to accommodate the user’s requirements.
A reliable fleet management system offers GPS tracking so you can monitor driver behaviour and see who is contributing the most to fuel consumption and wear and tear to company vehicles. As a result, increasing the lifespan of fleet vehicles and safety of your drivers and assets.
Best fleet management software solution
Finding the best fleet management software doesn’t have to be a difficult task. Locate2u is a reliable all-in-on fleet management software available for businesses wanting to improve their overall efficiency and delivery management.
Locate2u is the solution you need to manage your fleet and give your customers and drivers the experience they deserve.
About the author
Founder and CEO at Zoom2u & Locate2u (ASX:Z2U). Steve has significant software development and entrepreneurial experience. Operating in the delivery space for more than 15-years, he actively contributes to the development of the industry. He has a strong focus on job management and job despatch systems.