Fleet Management is the umbrella term that refers to all processes involved in the smooth functioning of a fleet of commercial vehicles. The operations involved are monitoring fleet activities, asset management, route planning, and driving data insights. Fleet management software helps companies ensure compliance, improve efficiency and reduce costs. A right fleet management software is crucial to balance tightening capacity with increasing demand. The suitable system will also help deal with other challenges like driver shortages, fluctuating fuel prices, and changing industry regulations.
Let us look through five important aspects to consider in a fleet management system.
- GPS Vehicle Tracking and Compliance
One of the most important aspects of a fleet management system is GPS tracking that helps access the real-time location and movement of all the fleet assets – driver, vehicles, equipment, and more. Integrating a GPS tracker with a professional telematics solution can improve accuracy. The data helps
- locate the vehicles, assets, and workforce,
- record the start time of a job/haul,
- rest-stop locations, and
- break times, and more.
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This data helps businesses to calculate an estimated time of arrival. Fleet managers/owners can get sensors that detect fuel levels, open doors, and more to improve savings. Compliance is a crucial parameter in fleet management. It is vital to document vehicle inspections, mechanical issues, statistics on individual drivers, insurance records, and other trackable fleet asset data to reduce risk and enhance safety.
2. Driver Management – Next comes the another aspect of driver management that includes monitoring and measuring essential driving parameters like acceleration, harsh braking, speeding, and over idling. This data helps improve driver efficiency and productivity, decrease chances of accidents, lower fuel consumption and improve vehicle performance. Maintenance costs and downtimes also tend to reduce. In the driver management module, health and safety are a priority. Driver policies with sufficient breaks and driving guidelines help minimize accidents and foster safe driving.
3. Fuel Management and Maintenance – As fuel consumption contributes significantly to the overall cost, it is crucial to have an efficient fuel management system in place apart from other things to save some bucks. For a small business, it can be hard to have the financial ability to invest in a fully-fledged fuel management system. However, a small business can look into the various fuel cards for small business as most of these will come with their own tracking abilities. Additionally, a fuel management module helps track fuel consumption, leakage, and theft. It helps detect issues in fuel drainage caused by:
- Vehicle inefficiencies like improper tire pressure or general wear-and-tear
- Bad driver behavior such as speeding, idling, or hard braking
- Poorly planned driver routes which unnecessarily lengthen the driving time
- Fuel fraud from employees or third-party credit card ‘skimmers’
Fleet managers are required to ensure routine maintenance for each vehicle. They can use data collected from the trackers to create a regular upkeep schedule, leading to enhanced productivity.
4. Route Planning and Monitoring – Another crucial module is route optimization. This particular module helps to figure out the quickest and most cost-optimized path between source and destination. The optimal route is calculated based on past performance for the logged trips. Effective route planning helps in several things like minimizing trip time, adhering to delivery schedules, and optimizing driver schedules. It leads to a better customer experience. Route planning and monitoring provide information to anticipate future events, supporting fleet management decisions.
5. Inventory Management – This is an important feature to consider in a fleet management system. Inventory can be accounted for and maintained promptly. Keeping stock organized helps provide visibility for more effective ordering, particularly for high-volume items used during routine maintenance. It helps identify slow-moving and obsolete parts that take up limited shelf space and unnecessarily raise inventory costs. It can be any inventory from parts needed for fleet maintenance. In advanced modules, inventory can be automatically re-ordered once stock on certain items reaches a low level.
These are the most crucial aspects one should look for while choosing a fleet management system. While advanced features are available for each parameter, it is advisable to plan according to one’s needs. The basic aspects need to be in place for operating an efficient fleet.