Auto fleet management involves a process of tracking vehicles by using a GPS system that is capable of gathering many different kinds of information, and all this information can then be used to improve the performance of your fleet as well as your drivers. It can also help reduce costs, particularly by saving on gas, and it can cut down on unsafe driving practices and speeding.
Auto fleet management can also discover optimal routes which your drivers should be taking, so as to avoid waste by taking roundabout routes that don’t go directly to the destination. Overall, it tends to also increase productivity and it helps to keep your drivers and vehicles much safer. In order to get the most out of your auto fleet management system, you should pay close attention to the few principles described below, which will help optimize fleet performance and bring the most value to your company.
Choose the Right Auto Fleet Management System
In order to make sure you’ve chosen the right fleet management system, you should check to see that the features offered by each individual package match up well with your business needs. For instance, many tracking systems allow for integration with fuel cards, navigation options, communication capabilities, ongoing customer support, and dashboards which feature a number of important metrics.
Ultra capable fleet management systems also include mobile access, a number of alerts, intuitive usage, and outstanding customer service. It would be a bad practice to choose your GPS tracking system based solely on pricing, because you may not need the most expensive package, and you may need more than the features offered by the least expensive package.
You’re much better off to find a fleet management system that offers all the features needed by your business, and which will provide you with a good return on your investment. When you’re shopping for a system, look for one which provides information on vehicle and driver data, make sure it can support the number of vehicles you have in your fleet, and make sure that it’s within your price range.
Appropriate Tracking Capabilities
If you only intend to monitor vehicle location with an auto fleet management system, then you don’t really need a sophisticated tool like this. However, if you have a need to also know and understand driver behaviors, scheduled maintenance times, and possibly delivery times or arrival times, then you’ll get more from a fleet management system.
It will be very helpful for you to receive an alert whenever a vehicle is scheduled for maintenance, because that will help save money on repairs which might be necessary if no maintenance were to be done, and you’ll probably also prevent a lot of downtimes. A good tracking system will alert you when it’s time to change the oil or the tires, and will also notify you when it’s due for inspection. Some sophisticated systems also can be programmed to notify you of many other potential problems with your vehicles.
This level of automation can help you prolong the active life of your vehicles, so you get a lot more service out of them. Driver behavior is another important area which you will be able to monitor with a good auto fleet management system. You’ll know whenever your drivers are engaging in unsafe practices on the road because you’ll have information on quick starts, speeding, severe cornering, hard braking, and a number of other driving practices that might endanger the safety of your vehicle and your driver. You can use this information to educate your drivers and to help make them more conscientious, which will then help prolong your vehicle life, and cut down on costs from bad driving habits.
Manage Idling Policies
One of the driver behaviors which has a major impact on fuel cost and vehicle performance is excessive time spent idling. There’s no doubt that a little bit of idling time is appropriate each time a vehicle goes out, but by using your auto fleet management system, you’ll be able to detect whenever there is excessive idling time being spent, and you’ll be able to save a significant amount of money on fuel costs and on maintenance costs.
A recent study determined that lowering the amount of idling time spent by even one vehicle in a fleet amounted to somewhere between $5,000 and $12,000 per year while saving an additional $2,000 a year in the cost of maintenance. When you multiply that figure times the number of vehicles in your fleet, you can see that it adds up very quickly and that it can save you an enormous amount of money in the space of one year.
Most states have laws regarding idling time, but it would probably be significantly to your benefit to develop your own policies around this practice, usually to make them a bit stricter than what state regulations call for. You will be able to detect and enforce these policies by using your auto fleet management system because it will provide you with all the information you need about how much idling is occurring.
One way you could do this is to set up specific alerts that tell you when any vehicle has spent more than a given number of minutes idling. It will also point out which drivers engage in idling time most frequently so that you can re-educate these particular drivers to get them to be more conscientious about wasting fuel and wasting time.
There’s no question that obtaining a good auto fleet management system will be able to save your company thousands of dollars every year, while also helping make better drivers out of your team, and improving vehicle safety along the way. Start by choosing the right auto fleet management system to suit your business needs, and then begin tracking all those metrics which are considered most important to your business. The information provided to you by your fleet tracking system will undoubtedly help your company in a number of ways, and you can choose the particular area you want to focus on when using your tracking system.