Fleet management software is big business in this country, and if you have any doubt about that, you should take a glance at the most recent report on it from MarketsandMarkets, which monitors the fleet management market in this country. The industry as a whole is expected to grow from approximately $20 billion in the year 2020, to a whopping $34 billion industry by 2025.
There are a number of reasons for this spectacular growth, including the increasing level of government regulation, a greater variety of cloud-based solutions, the usage of the Internet of Things (IoT), and the increased demand for big data analytics. If you’re not quite sure what’s involved in fleet management software, it is the organization and administration necessary for coordinating and monitoring commercial vehicles. The aim of fleet management as a whole is to control the complete lifecycle of a fleet of vehicles so that they can enjoy improved efficiency, increase productivity, lower costs, reduce risks, and comply with all government regulations in existence.
There are a great many businesses that are obliged to maintain fleets of vehicles to carry out their daily commerce, including repair and service industries, oil and gas delivery, emergency services, haulers, couriers, and sales businesses. Even in cases where a given business does not own or maintain its own fleet of vehicles, chances are that it relies on some other company which does own and operate a fleet.
Elements of Fleet Management
The first element you might think of when considering fleet management software is actually fleet tracking, which generally makes use of GPS in order to monitor vehicles and workers. Telematics technology is used to gather data in real-time, so that managers can use this data to gain insights and make decisions quickly. For instance, it can help a manager decide which vehicles to dispatch, where various vehicles are situated, and what time a vehicle might be returning to its home base.
A key factor about this software is that it provides all the needed information in one place, effectively serving as a database. This database monitors everything from expenses to drivers and their behaviors, down to fuel consumption as well. Having all this data in one easily accessible location makes fleet management much easier and much more effective.
Telematics is another major component of fleet management, and these units are generally installed in black boxes that are situated inside a vehicle. This provides information on location, performance, and driver behavior. As an example, it can identify whether or not a driver has excessive idle time, is accelerating too rapidly or braking too hard, and wasting fuel by poor driving habits.
Some of the operational data which is collected through telematics are vehicle speed, fuel consumption, miles per gallon, driving style, braking intensity, and the weight of the load. Some sophisticated telematics systems can even tell a fleet manager whether or not the ignition is on or if the vehicle’s doors are ajar. All this collected data is then transmitted to the company’s servers where it can be evaluated by a manager.
Security and safety is another significant component of fleet management, and in all modern systems, this is an embedded feature rather than an add-on. With the growth of technology, cyber-security risks have grown right along with it, so it has become very important that security is acknowledged in any fleet management software. There’s also an aspect of security and safety that pertains to the driver’s operation of the vehicle.
This might involve secure identification of the driver so that no one can just jump in a truck and drive away with it. Tracking technologies such as GPS and telematics will be able to identify any dangerous driving habits, and this can provide an opportunity for fleet managers to intervene so as to avoid potential accidents. All this together will ensure that the load is kept safe and secure.
Maintenance tracking is another big part of any fleet management system because it can alert management to the need for regular maintenance to vehicles to keep them in the best operating condition. It’s always much better to take a proactive approach to maintenance than to wait and allow for breakdowns to occur because these can have a serious impact on your business.
The most sophisticated maintenance systems can produce purchase orders for parts and suppliers, and can even send invoices to customers. Important documents can be stored in the maintenance area, for instance, claims, warranties, and maintenance history. Normally, however, the information most valuable in a maintenance software system is the mileage, fuel usage, and engine hours which any vehicle incurs, so it can be scheduled for maintenance at regular intervals.
Benefits Provided by Fleet Management Software
Fleet management software can automate many of the tasks which are associated with maintaining a fleet of vehicles, for instance invoicing, quoting, and informing customers about load status. Fuel consumption can be tracked, and the driver’s behavior can be monitored so there is no excessive idle time and no waste of fuel. Some fleet management systems are equipped with workflow automation software which will provide maintenance reminders, and which will avoid unanticipated breakdowns.
Fleet management software also facilitates communications between headquarters and drivers, so that messages and orders can be conveyed in real-time. Compliance with government regulations is a big benefit provided by fleet management because in the past it was only possible for manual compliance procedures to be used. With automatic monitoring in place now, there is a foolproof way of providing all the data required by governing bodies, so that fleet operators can be shown to be in compliance.
Data in general is now much more accurate because it is detected and stored electronically, rather than maintained by drivers or operators. In the past, it was often forgotten to record important data, or that data might not have been as accurate as it should be. With the automatic recording of data now possible, all data regarding fleet management is much more accurate and reliable.