For fleets of any size, finding faster and better ways to do things can be tricky. It’s not easy to fine tune the management of a business when the majority of the workforce is in the field, dealing with what’s often an unpredictable environment. Smart fleet management takes an experienced team and technology that does the work there’s no time or manpower for.
Many businesses are turning to fleet management software as the technology to help them increase performance and productivity. Here are some of the top ways these systems help businesses work smarter:
1. Stay On Schedule
Fleet management software often includes fleet tracking, which involves satellite-based communication between a GPS receiver and the software. Fleet tracking solutions provide real-time vehicle locations, engine status, and accelerometer information. The most comprehensive fleet tracking solutions are included in video telematics systems, which combine video data, computer vision technology, and vehicle data to deliver insights that traditional telematics alone cannot. When fleets pair video with data on vehicle speeds, mileage, trip histories, and even road conditions, they get much-needed context and rich layers of information on what’s happening on the road.
By leveraging real-time data on vehicles, roads, and the environment, it’s easy for fleets to make quick changes that help drivers and deliveries stay on schedule. Consistently seeing traffic delays on a certain highway? Try a new route that may be a longer distance but will take the driver less time. Did a vehicle unexpectedly break down? Deploy another driver who is closer to the customer and send instant help to the disabled vehicle. Fleets can “control the clock” better than ever before with fleet management solutions.
2. Improve Service & Reputation
Using the vehicle tracking information within fleet management software, businesses can provide customers with fast (and accurate) responses about real-time driver status and location, as well as service confirmation. Plus, if a fleet is using vehicle cameras, it can provide footage to further confirm deliveries. This operational effectiveness will strengthen fleets’ relationship and reputation with customers. From another perspective, if a driver claims an incident occurred, managers can look at the trip history and see which vehicles were at that location during the time of the incident.
Having visibility into service, deliveries, and other day-to-day operations also serves to protect fleets from false claims of damage or missing goods. Avoiding “bad press” is another way fleet management software can help improve company reputations and overall productivity.
3. Cut Costs
Fleets can be losing money in areas they aren’t even aware of. Fleet management software reveals those blind spots because it continually gathers and analyzes data on vehicles and driver behaviors. For example, fleet systems note when hard braking or speeding becomes a pattern, which burns excessive fuel. With proper management of these behaviors, companies can significantly reduce fuel and maintenence costs. This information can be used to help keep vehicles in the best condition possible and limit downtime, ensuring everything is operating in tip-top shape.
4. Measure Success Over Time
How can fleets determine if they are improving productivity and actually performing at optimal levels? The key is having data to compare operations then to now—and even compare to industry standards. Fleet management software has a ticker tape of data flowing from the vehicle into the system, where it’s cataloged and analyzed. Fleet managers can view dashboard summaries of vehicle operations, driver performance, risks, and much more. If dash cams are deployed, fleets have video to support the data and provide more detailed context. This information aggregates over time—the longer, the better—and fleets can then compare month-over-month and year-over-year performance. The findings can help guide decisions on how to build the best driver safety programs and customer service practices…not to mention, beat all the competitors.
5. Centralize Information
It’s all too common for businesses to have information stored in different systems, which makes it difficult to get the full story. For fleets to work at their most efficient levels, they must get a handle on this information. The best fleet management software is an all-in-one solution or integrates with your other solutions easily through API’s, acting as a hub for all fleet data— vehicle locations, driving behaviors, fuel reports, trip history, and video. What’s happening in the field is automatically and instantly packaged up and sent from vehicle hardware to the fleet software, instead of being manually recorded and reported by drivers. Fleet managers have access to the data they need to do their jobs, and it’s all in one place.
6. Identify Problems Faster
With centralized information, fleets are primed to identify problems when—or before—they arise. If a driver repeatedly makes risky moves, if an engine shows corrosion, or if the fleet has a pattern of delivery delays, managers will be able to address it before it becomes a recurring issue. The insights from fleet management software make it much easier to see and solve problems.
7. Improve Safety
Driver behavior and performance influences fleet productivity more than almost any other factor. Fleet management software can be used to help train drivers and develop effective fleet safety initiatives Systems can log data such as speeding, hard braking, traffic violations, collisions and near-misses, and more. When this data is paired with video, fleets have a powerful tool that can truly shape behavior to help prevent collisions, damage, vehicle wear and tear—and even save lives. Fleet management solutions can be used to invest in employees and building a strong safety culture.
With the right team and the best fleet management software, businesses have the tools and the data they need to operate a smarter and more productive fleet.