Any company which uses commercial vehicles in the conduct of its operations has a fleet, and the company will need some kind of strategy to manage that fleet, in order to avoid chaos and excessive expenditures on fuel costs and driving destinations.
Fleet management solutions will help you to ensure that your fleet is at maximum productivity and efficiency, while also minimizing risk and cost.
Fleet management is so important, that a great many people have been involved in researching and refining ways to improve fleet management to achieve the objectives mentioned above. Today there are a number of fleet management solutions that are excellent for controlling operational costs, managing fuel, doing vehicle maintenance, ensuring driver safety and compliance, planning routes, and a number of other worthwhile initiatives as well.
Recent developments in technology support the effort to develop better and better fleet management solutions, and today there are some really excellent software systems you can use to that effect.
The Role of Technology in Fleet Management
The entire industry today is relying more and more on automated processes, artificial intelligence, and the technology which is becoming available to all companies. In order to stay competitive with your rivals, you will probably have to make good use of all this modern technology yourself, or you risk being left behind.
One of the biggest contributions made by technology and modern software is in automating some of the most tedious manual processes and providing fleet managers with crucial data to be used for decision-making.
With more excellent data available, you’ll be able to make better decisions and save your company money in the management of your fleet. Most fleet management solutions can be divided into two categories, those being real-time solutions and those which provide passive solutions.
Real-time fleet management solutions are those which tell you exactly what’s happening in the field, right at the time it’s occurring.
These kinds of live updates can be extremely important because they provide an update on the status of your drivers in your vehicles at all times. Using real-time fleet management solutions, it’s far easier to monitor your operations and make quick decisions. Passive fleet management solutions collect valuable data just like real-time solutions do, but in some cases when you get the data it may be too late to have a meaningful reaction to it.
These types of solutions collect data through a device in the vehicle and then download them at some point later on. While the data can still be very important, it’s not current, and it will not allow you to make quick decisions regarding your fleet vehicles and drivers.
Types of Solutions
If you’re in the market for a good fleet management solution, you should be aware that there are several broad categories of solutions available to you, and if you have an understanding of these categories, it may help you narrow down your search.
Choose from these categories the best fit for your company’s needs, then you can focus on that single category, and confine your search to the best fleet management solutions within the category.
The first category of software solutions includes those systems which specialize in managing fleet fuel and speed. If you’re not aware of what your fuel costs are every month, systems within this category will provide you with all the data you need to manage that better. These kinds of software systems will help you become more fuel-efficient, and with the rising cost of fuel these days, that can be an extremely important point for your company.
Software systems in this category will provide reports on fuel consumption, fuel trends, and driving behavior which might contribute to efficient usage.
The next category of fleet management solutions are those with GPS tracking. GPS functionality has become much more sophisticated in software systems like this and has had great advancements in recent years. You will be able to find a software program that locates, tracks, and helps to manage all the vehicles of your fleet, on interactive maps which will help you to react more quickly to real-time situations.
Some of the more advanced GPS tracking systems will allow you to locate and dispatch drivers at a moment’s notice. You’ll also be able to establish Geo-fences with alerts, inform customers about the estimated time of arrival, and conduct a full review of trip histories.
Let’s keep going…
The next category of fleet management solutions are those which make use of video in their management approach. Having video available in your fleet management software can literally change everything about how you operate and protect the vehicles in your fleet. These sophisticated systems provide a cloud-connected video that will show you exactly what’s going on with your fleet out in the field.
Some of the video devices included in these systems will keep you informed by continually recording, and you can program your video to emphasize speeding incidents, collision events, and any other specific incidents you want to emphasize.
When you have a fleet management solution including video, you’ll know exactly what’s going on in your vehicles in real-time. You’ll also have solid evidence against any false claims made by others, and this will allow you to save all kinds of money in legal fees.
You’ll also have good evidence of how your drivers are performing on trips, and whether or not they might need adjustments to their driving behaviors. The video capabilities of modern fleet management solutions have quickly become such an integral part of fleet management, that they are almost a necessity now rather than a ‘nice to have’ feature.
Whichever of these three categories of fleet management solutions are most appealing to your company, you should make a point of finding the particular system which will be easiest for your employees to use, which provides the greatest accessibility, and which delivers fleet data that has actionable insights.
Regardless of which system you end up choosing, you will almost certainly be able to manage your fleet much better than you have in the past.