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A Buyer’s Guide to Finding the Best Fleet Management Software

Buyer's guide

Fleet Management Software is a digital system used to track, manage, and maintain company vehicles. It is utilised by fleet managers to maximise vehicle tracking and driver management tasks. Helping to improve route optimisation, reduce fuel costs, and understand driver behaviour. With the use of telematics and GPS trackers, a fleet system also ensures regular fleet maintenance. Meaning vehicles are more likely to pass MOTs, services, and safety inspections. As well as reducing unplanned breakdowns through preventive maintenance actions.

What Is Fleet Management Software?

Fleet Management Software is a computerised tool designed to digitise all fleet management tasks. Essentially, it allows fleet managers to store all vehicle and driver data in one central system. Enabling businesses to achieve optimal performance and efficiency from their fleet. With tools and data at their disposal, fleet managers can make better informed decisions. Whether they’re managing a small fleet of company cars and vans or a large fleet of HGVs and trucks. A fleet management system allows managers to:

  • Track vehicles and drivers in real-time
  • Analyse and improve driver behaviour
  • Reduced vehicle downtime through preventative fleet maintenance
  • Minimise maintenance, servicing, and MOT costs
  • Reduced vehicle running costs such as fuel
  • Improve the safety of vehicles and drivers

With Fleet Management Software, all fleet processes are centred around data collection. Whether that be the real-time location of vehicles or planned maintenance schedules. All data is then stored in a centralised dashboard, which is accessible to all. Either via a computer or a dedicated mobile app. Essentially pushing the estimated fleet management market worth to $34 billion.

A fleet management system is equipped with advanced tools to automate data collection. This is achieved by utilising telematics such as GPS, in-vehicle sensors, and machine diagnostics. Enabling businesses to collect essential information about each vehicle and driver. A data-led approach enables businesses to improve several areas of fleet management, including:

Vehicle Tracking

Whether car, van, bus, or boat, vehicles are the most important asset in any fleet operation. Using digital fleet management tools, businesses can track all vehicles in one place. Data can be collected in real-time with telematics and IoT devices such as GPS trackers and mobiles. This enables fleet managers to make better decisions when it comes to:

  • Tyre management
  • Fuel management
  • Vehicle maintenance and servicing
  • Safety inspections and compliance

Fleet telematics and GPS trackers also allow managers to track vehicles in real-time. This helps to understand various driver behaviour traits that could be harmful to costs. Such as excessive idling, inefficient route optimisation, and harsh braking.

Driver Management

Effective management of drivers can save fleet companies thousands of pounds each year. Particularly when it comes to reducing fuel costs, speeding fines, and maintenance costs. Fleet Management Software enables managers to track and store various driver data. Including safety checks, license checks, and risk assessments. Other driver data includes idling, erratic driving, speeding, and route planning.

By collecting this data, fleet managers can analyse and generate driver performance reports. Allowing them to eradicate risky driver habits and encourage safer driving through feedback and coaching. This reduces any risk of vehicle accidents that can be costly to business operations.

With driver management in place, businesses can:

  • Track and manage driver schedules, availability, and performance
  • Generate reports on operators and drivers
  • Track and store fines such as parking and speeding tickets
  • Use telematics to identify drivers using multi-driver vehicles

Fleet Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential for keeping vehicles in good working condition. It makes them safe for drivers and increases reliability, keeping them on the road for longer. Fleet Management Software allows businesses to implement effective maintenance schedules. Particularly preventive fleet maintenance, which helps avoid repairs before they happen.

Using telematics, a fleet management system can generate reports that improve vehicle maintenance. These reports include data about:

  • Vehicle activity
  • Mileage and usage
  • Diagnostics
  • Harsh events
  • Engine health

Without a proactive approach to fleet maintenance vehicles risk failing MOTs and services. As well as falling victim to unplanned downtime and costly repairs. Ensuring fleet maintenance is carried out is essential for avoiding delays that may hamper operations. As well as avoiding high breakdown and repair costs. An estimated £727 is lost per day per vehicle in the UK because of maintenance downtime.

Fuel Management

One main overhead of a fleet operation is fuel, contributing to 30% of a typical fleet’s total costs. A fleet management system allows businesses to use data and promote a more eco-friendly environment. Tools are used to monitor excessive fuel burn and needless idling. As well as pinpoint routes that generate excessive fuel costs. Whilst also highlighting vehicles that are consuming more fuel than others.

By tracking driver behaviour and fuel spending, fleet managers can reduce fuel costs by 68%. An effective fuel management tool can send out instant alerts and notifications, too. This lets managers see how much fuel is being used and when a company fuel card has been used. Businesses can also collect receipts and mileage data to cross-check false fuel usage claims.

Using Fleet Telematics and GPS

Telematics provide data gathered by GPS trackers, in-vehicle sensors, and engine diagnostics. The use of GPS and telematics is essential to help monitor vehicles and drivers in real-time. Before this, most fleet operations would rely on the word their drivers. Including their location and if a vehicle has arrived at its destination on time. With telematics, fleet managers can:

  • Track and locate vehicles in real-time
  • Optimise routes for deliveries
  • Understand if a vehicle is idle for an excessive amount of time
  • Track unauthorised movement and derailing from a planned route
  • Highlight GEO fences and receive alerts if a vehicle has breached that area
  • Understand driver behaviour to apply safety measures

Why Fleet Management Is Important

Fleet management incorporates multiple vehicle and driver management processes. These enable fleet managers to take complete control of a business’s entire fleet operations. The objective of fleet management is to maximise productivity while reducing costs. That applies to businesses managing a fleet of commercial vehicles with spreadsheets. As well as transport managers tracking vehicles with an automated computerised system.

Managing any sized fleet of vehicles required multiple tasks. These span from asset acquisition and vehicle maintenance to driver safety and route optimisation. To ensure optimal fleet management, businesses need to focus on key processes. Doing this manually with spreadsheets and whiteboards can be overwhelming. Instead, the best way to optimise fleet management tasks is by using a digital tool.

How Do Fleet Managers Benefit From a Fleet Management System?

Fleet Management Software enables businesses to elevate and maximise their fleet operations. A key factor for making this possible is ensuring the right personnel are in charge. Once a fleet manager is at the helm, they’ll need to be provided with the right tools. Helping them to understand and improve on vehicle and driver processes.

When deciding on a fleet management tool, it’s important to know there are many types of systems. Some are better suited to larger organisations with multiple cars, vans, and trucks. Whereas some are tailored to small businesses with just a pool of five vehicles.

Fleet Management Software can be a useful tool for both experienced and new vehicle managers. Particularly because of the benefits that cloud-based tools provide for reducing costs and collecting data. As well as having the ability to automate otherwise manual tasks. Without a digitised fleet management system, manual processes can be time-consuming:

  • Manually communicating from the office to workers on the road takes on average 1 hour 41 mins per day
  • Identifying and despatching the best driver for a job takes 1 hour 41 mins per day on average
  • Manually carrying out vehicle checks takes 1 hour 36 mins on average per day
  • Checking driver licences takes 1 hour 29 minutes on average per day

What Are the Typical Challenges of Managing a Fleet?

Fleet Management Software helps to reduce challenges associated with managing a fleet. It is designed to help track, maintain, analyse, and manage vehicle and driver data in one place. With the purpose to prolong vehicle life cycles, reduce risks, and enhance productivity. But, without the use of a computerised tool, fleet operations can suffer.

Managing a pool of five to ten vehicles is not a difficult task for an experienced fleet manager. But, when that fleet consists of hundreds or thousands of vehicles, it can quickly become overwhelming. As well as not knowing if the investment of acquiring vehicles is paying off.

There are also uncontrollable external influences that can affect the way a fleet operation works. Including fluctuating fuel prices, an uncertain market, and changes to transport legalisation. As well as external factors, challenges facing fleet operations lie closer to home. Typical challenges that a fleet manager faces include:

Tracking Vehicles and Drivers in Real-Time

Fleet telematics provide the ability to have complete visibility of a fleet in real-time. This is essential for businesses looking to maximise productivity. But, without these tools, visibility becomes blurry. Fleet managers have to rely on the word of drivers and customers to collect data.

Monitoring Driver Behaviour

From speeding fines to fuel usage, driver behaviour can directly impact the costs of a fleet operation. Drivers increase fuel expenditure when idling, by harsh braking, and harsh acceleration. As well as diverting away from pre-planned routes. These are factors that can’t directly be measured on a spreadsheet. Meaning costs are unknown until payments are due.

Typical costs of a fleet operation

Staying Compliant with Transport Regulations

In preparation for audits and insurance claims, a paper trail for each vehicle is required. This requires documents such as safety checks, service reports, and maintenance records. With regulations changing, businesses also need to keep on top of legal requirements. A law that came into practice in 2017 was the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate. This requires commercial vehicle operators to record Hours of Service (HOS) electronically.

Preparing for Future Fleet Management Trends

On top of maintenance plans and legal compliance, businesses need to be mindful of industry trends. This includes planning for the use of autonomous vehicles (AVs) and electric vehicles (EV).

Key Features Needed to Meet Vehicle, Driver, and Maintenance Goals

Fleet management tools can be designed to suit the specific need of any business. But, multiple fleet management features can be found in most digital systems.

Route Planning

Route planning is an essential part of driver management. It is used to determine the shortest and most fuel-efficient route. Effective route planning can be used to plan a round-trip, such as a courier service’s delivery route. Its purpose is to help save on fuel costs and minimise vehicle wear and tear. It does this by reducing the number of miles a driver needs to travel.

There are many factors that determine a strategy for choosing the most efficient route, including:

  • Vehicle capacity
  • Road traffic
  • Drop points
  • Delivery windows

Once the most efficient route has been planned, it can then be dispatched to a driver. If the driver attempts to alter this proposed route, managers have the power to override their decision. Ensuring they stick to the set route.

Fleet telematics can be used with most fleet management tools

Load Optimisation

An efficient route plan is only created once other factors have been considered, such as load optimisation. By collecting data such as weight, volume, and dimensions, businesses can create a vehicle loading plan. This also helps to improve time management by knowing the exact load time of cargo.

An example of an operation that relies heavily on load optimisation is a courier service. The cargo stored in a vehicle will need to be stacked in order of the planned route. An item being delivered first will need to be stacked in the most accessible way, and so on.

TCO and Spend Tracking

Fleet Management Software allows businesses to know the exact expenditure of fleet their operations. It lets managers see the depreciation value of each vehicle. As well as help to evaluate the difference in cost between owning and leasing fleet assets. This can help determine the costs of owning a vehicle compared to leasing one.

As well as this, businesses can also track costs such as:

  • Parking violations and fines
  • Vehicle servicing and MOTs
  • Fuel costs and the use of fuel cards
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Road tax and insurance fees

With fleet management software Royal Mail reduced vehicle downtime by 26%

Service, Maintenance, and MOT Alerts

Making sure vehicles are properly serviced is crucial for developing an effective maintenance schedule. Having a maintenance system in place can dramatically reduce vehicle downtime. It can be so effective, that in 2017, Royal Mail improved the downtime of their 50,000 vehicle fleet by 26%. Businesses can also collect service and maintenance data and store it in a centralised system. This allows managers to see when a vehicle’s insurance policy or warranty is about to expire.

Businesses can also collect service and maintenance data of all vehicles and store it in a centralised system. This enables stakeholders to see and be automatically notified when a vehicle’s insurance policy or warranty is about to expire.

Types of Fleet Management Software Buyers

A fleet management system can be implemented into various types of industries and sectors. Including local delivery services, public services, private shipping, and public transport. These, and many more, can all benefit from the effective management of vehicles and drivers.

Recognising the type of buyer is an important step to finding the right fleet management tool. Allowing businesses to find a tool that best fits their industry. As well as highlighting the features needed to match core requirements and achieve maintenance goals.

Below are four examples of Fleet Management Software buyers. You’ll notice that each buyer has a different set of goals for their fleet operations and require a solution that offers the right features to match their requirements.

Logistics, Third-party Logistic (3PL) Firms, and Courier Services

Fleet management tools for a logistics organisation can be beneficial in several ways, including:

  • The ability to track deliveries in real-time from warehouse to destination
  • Providing the most efficient and time-saving way to load cargo into vehicles
  • Mapping out routes to determine the most cost-efficient journey
  • Minimising operating expenses

Being an instrumental link in a client’s supply chain, 3PL firms require multiple features. This applies to operating within industries such as retail and e-commerce. Where businesses are responsible for not only receiving goods but shipping them to customers.

Public and Emergency Services

Managing government fleet operations requires a system packed full of various capabilities. Ideally, they’ll want to look for features that help to:

  1. Track Vehicle Maintenance

    Particularly useful for bus and train services being able to track maintenance and service data. Leading to less downtime and helping to create a regular repair schedule.
  2. Track Real-Time Locations

    Not only can they use GPS and track the location of a vehicle but so can the public. Using mobile apps, users can see precise schedule times and be made aware of any delays.
  3. Use GEO-Fence Restrictions

    GEO-fence restrictions allow buses to stay on route and waste disposal vehicles to stick to districts. This lets operations run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Whilst also improving time management.
  4. Plan the Most Efficient Route

    This applies significantly to law enforcement and emergency services vehicles. Particularly as each vehicle will want to avoid factors such as traffic. Knowing the route with the least amount of traffic and congestion. Enabling ambulances and police vehicles to arrive at their destination on time.
  5. Optimise a Vehicle’s Load

    By collecting the right data, you’ll be able to know how much cargo each vehicle can accommodate. In terms of police vehicles, load optimisation allows essential equipment such as speed guns, Tasers, first aid kits, and fire extinguishers to be efficiently allocated.

Construction and Industrial Fleet Operations

Fleet managers operating in large-scale construction organisations will require a tool to improve and ease their workflow. A fleet management system can help to:

  1. Track Vehicles and Drivers Across Multiple Sites

    Ensure the right vehicle, driver, or operator is at the right site at the right time. This minimises idle time and improves the workflow of operations.
  2. Avoid Downtime With Regular Maintenance

    Having scheduled maintenance plans allows fleet managers to better understand each vehicle. Such as for an on-site crane or digger. Managers know how long a vehicle is unavailable. As well as being able to understand the lifespan of a vehicle and its parts. Such as when the hydraulics need replacing or repairing on a backhoe loader.
  3. Track Deliveries Between Sites

    By using GPS and route planning features, you can track delivery vehicles in real-time. A delivery may be scheduled to move tools and equipment from one site to another. The manager of the site will want to track the delivery and make sure it arrives as scheduled.
  4. Stay on Top of Health and Safety Regulations

    With a fleet management tool, businesses can collect data regarding service checks and maintenance. This allows managers to make sure each vehicle adheres to health and safety regulations.

Food and Beverage Delivery Services

Effective fleet management is essential for maintaining customer satisfaction and reducing costs. These targets can be achieved in several ways for a food and beverage operation:

  1. Giving Scheduled Delivery Slots By the Hour

    With a scheduling system, businesses can ensure deliveries arrive within the given time slot. This applies to large organisations that have a strict hourly schedule, such as supermarkets. As well as local pizza stores that promise delivery within thirty minutes.
  2. Planning the Quickest Routes

    In terms of the food industry, providing the quickest delivery possible is a priority. This is to make sure that food is kept at an optimal level for consumption. Using GPS trackers, managers can map out the best route for a driver. As well as identify any idle time during delivery and correct it for the next delivery. Idle time can be damaging to a fleet’s bottom line. Reducing it by just 25% can save $1,425 per vehicle each year.
  3. Load Optimisation

    In terms of a supermarket, the first delivery on a route will need to be the most accessible. A fleet management tool provides data that allows staff to store cargo most efficiently. This also ensures the entire cargo of the delivery route can be stored in the vehicle. Otherwise, the driver may have to make an unscheduled trip back to the warehouse. Resulting in increased fuel costs and delays.

How to Find and Compare the Best Fleet Management Software

Coupled together with tools for vehicle maintenance and fuel management, Fleet Management Software provides a number of key features for all types of organisations. But, as well as identifying the right fleet management solution for the type of buyer you are, picking a solution with the right features is just as essential.

Not only do you need to recognise the features needed to close the gaps in your current processes, but you also need to highlight the core requirements that you expect from your chosen product.

An effective way to do this is to create two groups; essential features and non-essential features.

  1. Essential Features

    These consist of core requirements that are needed to help reach your management and maintenance goals
  2. Non-Essential Features

    These are features that would be nice to have and that may improve your fleet operations in the future

Top Tip: Try to keep your essential features to a minimum. By having fewer core requirements, it allows you to shortlist more vendors and products in a bid to finding the best fit.

Having an understanding of essential features and non-essential allows for a more focused approach when it comes to shortlisting and evaluating your fleet management software options.

As you begin your search, you’ll notice that Fleet Management Software vendors offer tools with different variations of features. For example, some products may focus entirely on real-time vehicle tracking through fleet telematics, whereas others may focus more on correcting driver behaviour.

Although all features are designed with improving fleet operations in mind, it’s important to know the features that are better suited to your own goals. Once you’ve highlighted these features, it’s time to choose the right tool.

But, before doing so, there are certain factors that you need to consider.

Can This Tool Track and Monitor Fleet Assets As Well As Vehicles and Drivers?

As well as providing features to manage vehicles and drivers, you may also need to monitor your other fleet assets. These can include trailers, boats, machinery, and heavy equipment. You can also collect data on fleet accessories such as dashcams and CB radios. With these capabilities, you’ll be able to create maintenance schedules for all of your fleet equipment as well as log services and track expenses.

Does the Software Require You to Purchase Additional Hardware?

Although the features of a fleet management tool match your operational needs, they may also require additional hardware. For example, specific vehicle and GPS trackers can collect data such as average speeds and idle times to plan the most efficient route. GPS tags can also monitor vehicles in real-time and provide fleet managers with an exact location and scheduled delivery times. Another example is a dashcam; these are installed to help with insurance claims and to be used as evidence in case of an accident.

Is the System Scalable and Future-Proof for Autonomous Vehicles (AVs)?

In the coming years, fleet managers may be expected to swap their mechanical fleet for Autonomous Vehicles (AVs). This can be beneficial in areas such as lowering fuel consumption, increasing productivity, and experiencing fewer accidents. But AVs can also provide challenges, such as higher insurance premiums and maintenance costs.

Another problem that vendors may face with AVs is the amount of data storage needed. They will collect a lot more data such as locations, soundings, routes, and systems. As a reference to this, Google’s self-driving cars will collect nearly 1GB of data every second. This amount of data collection could prove tough for some vendors to store. In this case, it’s important to know a vendor’s costs and limits on data storage.

Is the Vendor Experienced and Knowledgeable in Fleet Management?

Understanding a vendor’s experience and customer history is a good indication of how reliable their product is. You can also see what training and support they offer, either in the form of hands-on or video demonstrations. Another way to identify a vendor’s expertise is to ask about knowledge of fleet compliance certificates, such as:

  • DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) and FORS (Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme)
  • If they operate within UK and EU laws for cross-Europe travel
  • Experience in HGV operating licenses and the Van Excellence scheme

Can You Access a Free Trial or Demo Before Purchasing?

A great way to know if a system best suits your business is to ask for a demo or sign-up to a free trial. You’re then able to gauge certain aspects of the tool and ask questions, such as:

  1. Is It Easy to Use?

    By demoing the software, you are able to identify if it has a clean and functional user interface and if the workflow process is easy to understand and operate. You can then test and try all that the tool has to offer and begin to understand how compatible it will be with you and your team.
  2. Does It Feel Familiar?

    Having a sense of familiarity is very under-rated when choosing the right tool. For example, if you have always input fleet data into spreadsheets, a tool with a familiar spreadsheet-type layout may seem more functional and appealing.
  3. Does It Offer the Features I Need?

    At first glance, you may think a tool has the right features and capabilities to help run your fleet operations. But it’s worth checking that these features offer exactly what you require in terms of data collected and workflow.
  4. How Easy Is It to Access?

    This doesn’t just refer to the accessibility of the tool on mobile devices and desktops, but also to your workforce. You may need employees to access vehicle maintenance data or GEO-fence information, so make sure the tool offers both staff access and restrictions to your fleet’s data.

Helpful Tips & Guides From Our Fleet Management Software Blog

How to Reduce Fleet Fuel Costs With Effective Vehicle and Driver Management

20th May 2020

Fuel costs can take a huge chunk out of your fleet costs. So, here're 6 proven methods to help reduce your fuel costs & vehicle consumption.

Best Fleet Maintenance Practices for Maximising Vehicle Uptime

16th Sep 2021

Learn how to build the best fleet maintenance plan that will help to improve vehicle uptime with the use of telematics, Fleet Management Software, and preventative maintenance tools.

4 Uses of Fleet Telematics to Improve Vehicle Maintenance and Management

20th May 2020

Discover 4 ways that a fleet telematics system can help to enhance and revolutionise the management and maintenance of your fleet vehicles.

Why GPS Trackers Are the Key to Efficient Fleet Management

11th Nov 2019

Efficient fleet management is essential for transportation & distribution companies, and GPS fleet tracking tools could be the solution.

5 Proven Ways to Maximise Your HGV Fleet Uptime

24th Jun 2020

These 5 methods mean you’ll be able to take the necessary measures to maximise your HGV fleet uptime & avoid harmful vehicle downtime.

What Is DVSA Fleet Compliance and How to Earn It

24th Jun 2020

Being a compliant DVSA vehicle operator is essential for fleet operators. But what is it? And how can DVSA earned recognition be achieved?

Top Challenges Facing New Fleet Managers and How to Solve Them

30th Jul 2020

Being responsible for a fleet of business vehicles can pose many challenges for a new fleet manager. But that's where fleet management software can help.

Faq’s

Fleet Management FAQs

Q A

What Is the Best Fleet Management Software?

Finding the best Fleet Management Software depends entirely on what you require from a tool that aims to improve the efficiency of your vehicle and driver management. It’s also important to keep in mind that what may be the best fleet management system for one fleet manager, may not be the best solution for your own fleet processes. Factors to consider when choosing the best fleet management solution for your business include:

  • The vehicles in your fleet (cars, HGVs, buses, trucks, etc.)

  • The size of your fleet

  • What type of vehicle maintenance, service, and MOTs you require

  • What fleet telematics you require

  • The number of drivers you employee

  • What fleet data you collect

Q A

What Are the Benefits of Fleet Management?

Fleet management software is an effective solution to help keep your fleet of vehicles and drivers well-managed, with the option for future growth and sustainability. There are many benefits to deploying a fleet management system to help enhance fleet processes, ranging from effective vehicle maintenance to improving driver behaviour. Key benefits include:

  • Gain real-time visibility of vehicles and drivers

  • Manage service, maintenance, and labour costs

  • Improve fuel efficiency and spending

  • Monitor and improve driver behaviour

  • Automate routes and implement GEO-fencing

  • Prolong the life cycle of fleet assets

  • Increase customer satisfaction levels

  • Improve the safety of drivers

Q A

How Can Fleet Management Software Improve Vehicle and Fleet Maintenance?

Fleet maintenance in the form of regular servicing and proactive maintenance strategies is crucial for keeping vehicles on the road for as long as possible. Without it, businesses face multiple risks in their fleet operations including failed MOTs and services, costly unplanned downtime of mission-critical assets, and failure to ensure the safety of drivers.

The capabilities of a fleet management solution enable transport managers to effectively improve their fleet maintenance tasks. Essential tools for achieving this include:

  • Automated vehicle data collection through fleet telematics

  • Preventive maintenance strategies

  • MOT and service scheduling

  • Driver behaviour tracking to prevent wear and tear

Q A

What Does a Fleet Manager Do?

Also referred to as transport manager or vehicle manager, the role of a fleet manager is crucial to making sure a business’s fleet processes run smoothly. A well-managed fleet is the priority task of a fleet manager, resulting in reduced running costs, improve safety and compliance, and higher customer satisfaction rates. And, with the use of fleet management software, their role becomes more precise and effective. A fleet manager’s key responsibilities include:

  • Setting driver schedules

  • Ensuring compliance and safety

  • Scheduling vehicle maintenance

  • Ensuring vehicle insurance, service, and MOTs are kept up-to-date

  • Route planning

  • Collecting key data including driver documentation

  • Producing cost reports and audits

  • Vehicle acquisition and disposal

Q A

I’m a Small Business Owner With a Small Vehicle Fleet of Cars and Vans – Is Fleet Management Software Right for Me?

Managing and maintaining the operations of a small fleet of cars and vans is just one of many jobs for a small business owner. With little-to-none fleet management experience, the running and upkeep of your small vehicle fleet can easily be forgotten when focusing on other areas in your business. But, that doesn’t make fleet management any less important.

Managing vehicles and drivers is a huge responsibility for any business, big or small. It allows you to focus on the health and safety of your fleet employees and be compliant with the latest vehicle regulations. While also being a good potential source of income, too.

Swapping out Spreadsheets for Fleet Management Software

Using outdated methods to manage your small business fleets, such as spreadsheets or pen-and-paper, can be challenging. By using these, not only do you lack the visible data for each vehicle and driver, but you’ll also find it difficult to understand your fleet’s total cost of ownership. As well as failing to construct an effective preventive maintenance schedule that helps reduce vehicle downtime.

But, by implementing a fleet management software tool, you’re able to keep on top of all your fleet operations and costs. The right tool allows you to collect all necessary vehicle and driver data in one centralised system. It also lets you track spending in real-time, such as fuel costs and maintenance fees. And, by enabling the right tool to automate your fleet processes, you’re able to focus on your other responsibilities in the business.

As a small business owner, not only do you strive to keep operating costs to a minimum, but you’ll also want to keep your expenditure down, too. With this in mind, you may be unsure about purchasing a fleet management solution. But, there are many solutions available that are directed at businesses with a small budget. For example, software vendor packages can be specifically designed for companies that require fewer data storage and have only a handful of fleet vehicles. That’s not to mention their affordable pricing models too, such as usage-based and monthly subscriptions.

Q A

What Are the Capabilities of a Fleet Tracking System When Used to Track Vehicles and Drivers?

Having a tracking system in place, alongside a fleet management software tool, is an efficient way to collect accurate data and improve your overall fleet operations. Whether you choose to implement GPS trackers, OBD devices, or other forms of tracking, the vehicle and driver data that you are able to collect can be extremely valuable.

When executed properly, a fleet tracking system is full of benefits for all types of businesses and solutions. For example, by using a GPS tracking system for commercial operations, you’re able to provide customers with a driver’s real-time location and the exact arrival time of their order. Not only does this increase customer satisfaction levels, but it also gives you peace of mind by having a definitive and detailed proof of service.

Tracking Vehicle Usage

Beyond commercial purposes, fleet tracking systems can also provide essential real-time data regarding a vehicle’s usage and condition. You can see when a vehicle is being used, how often it is in operation, and by which driver or operator. With all of this data collected in a centralised system, you’re able to identify which vehicles are operating at maximum efficiency. As well as having access to maintenance reports that can alert you to when a vehicle needs repairing or replacing.

Tracking Driver Behaviour

Fleet tracking systems aren’t only defined in highlighting the location and condition of vehicle fleets. They are also used for tracking and understanding driver behaviour. By knowing when your fleet operators are sitting idle, if they’re wasting fuel, or if they’re incurring traffic offences and fines can be crucial for reducing the costs of your fleet operations. Not only this, but you’re also able to build a library of triplogs and routes that each driver has taken to help improve future route planning.

Q A

Can a Fleet Management Tool Help Build a Preventive Maintenance Schedule to Reduce Vehicle Downtime?

Unplanned downtime and costly repairs are damaging for both your fleet operations and the company’s bottom line. But, by implementing a preventive maintenance schedule, these issues can be avoided and even improved upon. Especially when paired with the right fleet management software tool.

Although preventive maintenance schedules can be built using spreadsheets, they can be insufficient and disorganised. This results in vehicles missing routine maintenance and service inspections. Leading to downtime, huge repair costs and pricey vehicle replacements. These same problems appear when initiating a reactive maintenance approach to rectify vehicle breakdown.

But, with a fleet management tool and preventive maintenance schedule, fleet operations become easier to manage. There are many benefits to implementing this type of maintenance solution, including:

Reducing Vehicle Repair Costs

Although vehicle maintenance and services appear expensive, they’re going to help you in the long-term. By maintaining your fleet, you can ensure the future health and prolonged usability of each vehicle. As opposed to reacting to a breakdown and spending on repairs that haven’t been forecasted.

Reducing Fleet Fuel Costs

Not only will your repairs budget appear healthier, but so will your fleet’s fuel usage. By keeping vehicles properly maintained and optimal, their fuel efficiency will increase. This is possible by ensuring services are carried out such as regular oil changes and changing air filters.

Improving Vehicle Uptime

Unplanned downtime is damaging to your business in a number ways, including a delay in fleet operations. By making sure your vehicles are routinely serviced and maintained, unexpected breakdowns and downtime is reduced. This allows fleet operations to continue as usual and less time for vehicles to be sitting in the workshop.

Setting Maintenance Reminders Based on Factors

Something that isn’t possible with a spreadsheet is the ability to set maintenance and service reminders. The right tool and maintenance plan will work together to trigger maintenance activities such as inspections, replacements, cleaning and testing. These are triggered when vehicles meet a set criteria based on mileage, fuel used, engine hours, and time.

Q A

Can My Fleet Operations Be Tracked and Managed on a Mobile Device?

A mobile fleet management tool gives fleet managers the ability to access data on the move. As well as monitor their fleet in real-time and instantly react to work orders. As you’re not always in front of a computer, a cloud-based or web-based mobile fleet management tool is ideal.

With a mobile solution, you can access all vehicle and driver data via a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Effectively giving you the ability to analyse information and make an informative decision straight from your pocket.

As with most software solutions, there are many benefits to implementing a web-based solution. And a mobile fleet management tool is no different. Benefits include:

Increased Time Management

A majority of delays in fleet operations occur when waiting to receive paperwork or updates to a work order status. But, with a mobile fleet management system, these costly delays are eliminated. Granting access to your cloud-based system allows mechanics, drivers, and operators to instantly submit paperwork. As well as update work orders straight away. They’re also able to attach any other necessary documentation, notes, or media such as images and videos.

Reacting Quickly to Problems and Incidents

You’re able to receive an alert to any problem in your fleet operations as it happens. Allowing you to react and solve the issue before it escalates. This includes being notified when a vehicle is due for service and when a driver is sitting idle. As well as when a planned route is being altered without permission.

Instantly Viewing Historical Data

Whether for reports or analytics, you can access all historical vehicle and driver data on your mobile. This can include fuel logs, service history, maintenance reports, and driver behaviour.

Keeping Your Team in Sync

By granting access to your team, each user can view and update data straight to the system. This allows field workers to instantly edit work orders and log detailed notes regarding their operations. It’s also possible to restrict access to your team by only allowing certain users to access certain areas. As well as locking specific data as read-only.

Web-based management solutions can also work alongside any fleet telematics that you may have installed throughout your operations. For instance, you can access a vehicle’s GPS tracker and receive real-time updates straight to your mobile.

Q A

Is Fleet Management Software the Right Choice to Manage My Commercial Vehicles?

Although similar in terms of operations, there are differences that set apart fleet vehicles and commercial vehicles. Knowing the difference between the two, especially if you’re new to a fleet management role, is crucial. Particularly when it comes to choosing a fleet management software with the right features and functionalities.

What’s the Difference Between Fleet Vehicles and Commercial Vehicles?

Firstly, the term fleet applies to any group of vehicles owned by a business or organisation. Whether that be a fleet of vans, trucks, school buses, ships or planes. It’s important to know that commercial vehicles can also be part of a fleet of vehicles owned by a business. But, a commercial vehicle is set apart by its primary function.

The main function of a commercial vehicle is to transport a variety of materials, cargo, heavy-equipment and groups of passengers. For example, owners of an airport shuttle company or construction site would select a commercial vehicle for their fleet operations.

Whereas, a non-commercial vehicle is primarily designed to transport people while operating in a business format. For example, this could be a fleet of cars and vans that are not privately owned.

The Benefits of Fleet Management Software for Commercial Vehicles

Typical features of fleet management software can be beneficial for the management of all types of fleets, including commercial vehicles. But, if you’re looking to manage commercial vehicles only, there are a few features that you’ll want to prioritise. Such as:

  • Load Optimisation

    By collecting data, you’ll be able to know the capacity and amount of materials that a vehicle can safely transport. This is incredibly handy for commercial vehicles operating in the construction or postal industries.

  • Maintenance and Repair Schedules

    As with other fleet vehicles, the upkeep and scheduling of maintenance are important to avoid costly downtime. This is important for the use of commercial vehicles reliant on the delivery of goods in a specific time frame.

  • Safety Standards

    You need to keep in line with regulations regarding the amount of cargo being carried. As well as having the right safety equipment on board, such as fire extinguishers and medical kits. You also have to make sure other fleet accessories pass inspection. These include accessories such as trailers, cranes and wagons.

Other beneficial functions for commercial vehicles include:

  • Fuel management

  • Driver behaviour

  • Route tracking for deliveries

  • GEO-fencing

Q A

What Data Can a Fleet Management System Provide Regarding Driver Behaviour?

While most fleet managers will prioritise the efficiency and maintenance of their vehicles, it’s important not to overlook driver behaviour.

By implementing a fleet management tool with driver management functionality, you’ll notice an increase in productivity and safety of vehicles. To start collecting the right driver behaviour data, you’ll want to prioritise features that can produce data on the following:

A Driver’s Real-time GPS and Telematic Data

With the use of fleet telematics and IoT devices, you can view your driver’s location in real-time. With access to this data, you can see if drivers are swaying from their specifically planned routes. If this is the case, you can use fleet management software to set GEO-fences. This way, if a driver goes outside the set GEO-fence boundary, you’ll be alerted to it.

If a Driver Is Adhering to Safety and Regulatory Compliance

A fleet management tool enables you to build maintenance schedules for each of your vehicles. This allows you to set up an alert system to notify you when vehicles have missed services and failed MOTs. Safety not only applies to a driver’s vehicle, but also to the driver themselves. With fleet telematics, you’ll be alerted when a driver is penalised for speeding or if they collect a parking fine.

The Fuel-Usage of Each Driver

A great way to keep track of fuel usage is to assign each one with their own fuel card. This way, you are able to see which drivers are spending the most on fuel. In comparison to the route they’re taking and their specific driving habits. Excessive fuel usage could be because of unnecessary driver acceleration or even unchecked vehicle maintenance such as low-pressure tyres. Once you’ve collected and analysed this data, you are then able to correct it and enhance operations.

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