Fleet Management for Business
What is Fleet Management?
Fleet management involves coordinating work vehicles for maximum efficiency and compliance with government regulations.
Companies such as Uber, Amazon and FedEx that use vehicles in their supply chains make big decisions about how to deploy them. As business booms, these decisions become more complex. Important considerations include:
- Managing employee workflows and scheduling assignments
- Tracking the performance of an increasingly distributed workforce
- Ensuring vehicles and other valuable assets are available when needed
Of course, if you run a small business, fleet management is certainly accessible to you too – it’s much more affordable than you might imagine, and businesses with fewer than five vehicles can still reap big benefits. (If you’d like to learn more about whether or not fleet management is right for you – and have other burning questions answered – try jumping down to our FAQs.)
Nowadays, smart fleet management relies much more on technology than manual admin. Fleet management companies like WorkWave and Teletrac Navman offer software-based solutions for all types of fleets. Whatever your industry, fleet management is more convenient than ever.
Finding the right solution for the right price can be a time consuming process, so let our comparison service do the hard work for you. Click here to tell us a bit about your business, then fleet management providers that meet your requirements will be in touch in a matter of minutes. It’s as easy as that!
Features of Fleet Management
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:
1. Vehicle Tracking
Use it to: Keep an eye on operations in real-time, and examine the data later for actionable insights.
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.
2. Dispatch and Scheduling
Use it to: Improve customer satisfaction, complete assignments quicker, and increase your business’s cash flow.
Job scheduling and dispatching is a basic part of most fleet management software. Digital jobs boards let 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.
3. Driver Productivity
Use it to: Save on unnecessary fuel costs, reduce downtime, and keep your drivers productive.
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%.
4. Safety and Maintenance
Use it to: Keep drivers safe, reduce dangerous driving and alert you to illegal activity.
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.
5. Regulatory Compliance
Use it to: Avoid fines by keeping more accurate driving records.
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.
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.
Fleet Management Prices
It’s difficult to compare prices across vehicle tracking and fleet management solutions, as the options and basic packages vary. If you only need simple map functionality, a regular smartphone will work well without an additional device. Alternatively, a standalone GPS system can cost as little as $100. However, neither of these options will help you to manage your vehicles.
Prices for leasing full fleet management solutions can start from as little as a few dollars each month per vehicle. Purchasing a full suite of hardware and software, on the other hand, could cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
▶ Read more: A complete fleet management costs breakdown
A Typical Fleet Management System Use Case
Todd operates a fleet of five private cabs in Manhattan, New York. His drivers know the streets better than anyone, and his customers are happy with the service. Still, idling in heavy traffic wastes fuel, staff time and money that he’d love to be able to spend on growing his business.
After fitting his cars with GPS trackers, Todd gains a bird’s eye view of how his best drivers perform on valuable rush hour shifts. Studying their digital trip history logs and heat maps, he creates a strategy to help his drivers avoid jams and find the most lucrative spots in the city.
Two weeks later, Todd’s data-driven approach is paying off. His drivers are averaging an extra 7.5 rush hour trips per car, per week. The bottom line? Drivers are collecting an extra $640 in fares and tips each month. Within less than two months, his fleet management system will have more than paid for itself.
Larger fleets can also reap the rewards of fleet management tech.
Can I really afford this investment on top of my normal operating expenses?
It’s less costly than you think to get started with fleet tracking. Hardware and software costs aren’t what they were five years ago, and many of today’s entry level solutions boast impressive feature sets.
Leasing is by far the most popular, inexpensive and risk-free option for fleet management. For as little as $20-$100 a month, you can get GPS trackers with starts and stops, fuel and idle reporting software for all your vehicles. If you don’t need all of the advertised features, tiered pricing plans let you pay only for what you do need.
If you’re still hesitant, it’s worth knowing you don’t need to worry about hardware depreciation when leasing. You see, you don’t actually own the hardware – your supplier does, which means they bear responsibility for upkeep and repair. Think of it as insurance against obsolescence. Leasing also gives you the flexibility to upgrade your monthly plan to keep pace with your business’s growth.
Installation costs are the biggest unavoidable upfront expense. But it’s possible to find good deals for this, or even to do it yourself.
How do I choose the right solution for my enterprise?
A great way to begin your research is by conducting a SWOT analysis of your fleet.
Once complete, you’ll have both a better sense of your business’s strengths and weaknesses, and a clearer idea of how telematics can be of greatest use to you.
Step 1: Strengths
Where does your fleet excel? Think of all the things your fleet does well, and note them down in bullet point form.
Step 2: Weaknesses
You’ll have found, from analysing your business’s strengths, that it performs consistently well in some areas, with room for improvement in others. Turn your attention now to these aspects of your fleet. When you’re identifying these operational weaknesses, it can be helpful to invert the questions you asked yourself in Step 1.
Don’t worry if you’re not able to answer some of these questions. It may be because you lack the technology for gathering detailed enough insights about your fleet. This is itself a valuable insight, and we’ll look at opportunities for getting better information about your fleet in Step 3.
Step 3: Opportunities
With your fleet’s strengths and weaknesses in mind, next ask yourself how using telematics could enhance your business. You’ll want to acquaint yourself with common features of different fleet management systems in order to do this.
Keep your business’s goals in mind as you assess where different technologies can be of greatest use to you.
Step 4: Threats
Finally, it’s time to address any external risks that could jeopardize your fleet’s performance in the future.
With your SWOT analysis complete, you can begin to whittle your options down. Once you’ve compiled a shortlist of suppliers, it takes less than a minute to source quotes using Expert Market’s comparison tool.
Do I really need the add-ons (additional hardware installations, asset management software, trailer tracking, etc)?
It really depends on your fleet’s role within your business. For example, if you handle equipment deliveries on behalf of high-value clients, bespoke tracking software for those assets could be a sensible investment. If your long-haul truckers traverse icy roads, a robust tire management system would be essential.
And, while you’ll ideally find a single supplier who can service these needs and more, that won’t always be possible. Some suppliers will offer everything you need as standard, but certain features like Drivecam’s video events recorder, or Workwave’s real-time traffic profiles, are more niche.
In that case, look out for suppliers like Garmin who offer excellent party partnerships and integrations with third party software. However complex your fleet’s needs, you can find right solution by researching your options.
Do I really need to research before I choose a provider?
In short, yes. With the right research, a fleet management solution is a long-term investment that can deliver immediate benefits. It has the potential to massively reduce operational costs and make your business more efficient.
If left unmanaged, regulatory risks and day-to-day operational outgoings can work heavily against your bottom line. Poorly maintained vehicles can lead to completely avoidable fines or legal action.
That’s why having a fleet management strategy is vital to your company’s success. Fortunately, modern fleet management solutions are making the job easier than ever.
So now you’re convinced you need a fleet management solution, what next? Finding the right solution for the right price can be a time consuming process, so let our comparison service do the hard work for you. Click here to tell us a bit about your business, then providers that meet your requirements will be in touch in a matter of minutes. It’s as easy as that!