It doesn’t matter if your fleet is a few delivery vans, a couple dozen trailer trucks or hundreds of cars strong - fleet management systems are made to scale. You’ll find almost every fleet management company offers solutions for small, medium and large fleets.
What really separates fleet management companies from one another are the capabilities of their solutions. Some companies, like pool service software provider PoolTrac, provide features that would only be useful in specific niches. Others, like fleet telematics giant Verizon, cater to a broader range of clients.
Regardless, there are certain features common to all fleet management companies:
Vehicle tracking systems collect data about vehicle mileage, fuel consumption, route information, delays and emergencies. Some systems feed you this information in real time, making it possible to intervene quickly. When you can see the route a vehicle is taking, the number of stops it’s making, and its average speed, it’s easy to spot areas of inefficiency.
A typical arrangement involves leasing or purchasing GPS tracking devices from a fleet management company, who installs them on each vehicle you intend to track. Using dedicated mobile and computer software, you can analyze the data and set up automated reports to keep you in the loop.
Use it to: Keep an eye on operations in real time and examine the data later for actionable insights.
Dispatch and Scheduling
Job scheduling and dispatching is a basic part of most fleet management software. Digital jobs boards lets you physically see driver schedules and upcoming customer appointments, making it much easier to allocate your resources ahead of time. If a delivery falls at risk due to a sudden vehicle failure, you can use location information from a GPS car tracker to send another driver who is close to your customer.
Use it to: Improve customer satisfaction, complete assignments quicker, and increase your business’s cash flow.
Fleet management hardware including electronic logging devices (ELDs) can monitor speed and driving habits; including harsh braking. A survey conducted by Motorola even found that having fleet vehicles equipped with GPS actually decreased travel downtime by 53% and improved employee accountability by 26%.
Safety and Maintenance
Most fleet management software and hardware gives you immediate access to your vehicles’ service history. Armed with that information, it’s easy to spot which ones are due for maintenance. If a routine inspection uncovers defects, some systems allow you to book an appointment at the repair shop and alert the driver.
Some systems are designed more specifically with driver safety in mind. DriveCam, for example, records vehicle dashboard video that serves as evidence in case of accidents or legal disputes.
Fleet management software also alerts you if anything isn't as it should be. Vehicle theft or illegal useage could cost your business time and money - keep an eye on your fleet even when you're not around for extra peace of mind.
Use it to: Keep drivers safe, reduce dangerous driving and alert you to illegal activity.
Since 2017, there has been a strict legal requirement on fleet managers to collect hours-of-service (HOS) logging data for vehicles in their fleet. Companies in breach of the so-called ‘ELD Mandate’ risk large fines and vehicle shutdown orders.
Fortunately, modern ELD-enabled fleet management solutions allow drivers to record this data with minimum fuss. You’ll eliminate compliance-related issues and save yourself a lot of stress later on down the line.
Use it to: Avoid fines by keeping more accurate driving records
▶ Now read: The ultimate guide to US vehicle tracking laws in 2019
How emission reduction targets could affect your fleet management
So far, nine American states have joined what's known as the Multi-State ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicles) Taskforce, committing to reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050. These states, and their targets, are as follows:
|The states and their emissions reduction targets|
New York State
|80% below 1990 levels by 2050|
|Connecticut||80% below 2001 levels by 2050|
|Maryland||90% below 2006 levels by 2050|
|New Jersey||80% below 2006 levels by 2050|
|Oregon||75% below 1990 levels by 2050|
|Vermont||80-95% below 1990 levels by 2050|
In 2014, the Multi-State ZEV Action Plan emphasized the impact business fleets could have if they traded fossil fuel vehicles for ZEVs like electric cars and vans. Since then, a number of the states taking part have introduced various measures and incentives to encourage their local businesses to take up cleaner, leaner and greener vehicles.
Some, for example, now provide grants to businesses that aim to fill their fleets with ZEVs, while others have worked to lower the cost of bulk-buying ZEVs at local dealerships.
Beyond this financial help, of course, having your staff drive ZEVs could come with so many benefits - from attracting more customers and talent with your eco-friendly reputation, to the far smaller maintenance and fuel costs that come with running these vehicles.
So, if you operate in one or more of the states above, it's definitely worth finding out whether any incentives might be available to you - and considering making the trade.