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The Importance of Fleet Data Management

“25 quintillion” might sound like a totally made-up figure, but it’s actually the number of bytes of digital data generated by internet users every day. Sure, most of it is probably cat memes, but we didn’t say it was useful data. In fact, online surfers are so good at hoarding information that scientists are starting to wonder where we’re going to store it all.

Collecting vast amounts of data is one thing, but managing it is a totally different ballgame. If your business is still using paper documents and manual data entry methods in 2019, you've probably found yourself in a similar predicament – especially if part of your business involves tracking a fleet of vehicles.

Luckily, proper fleet data management tools can make your life a lot easier. With the right mindset and a great vehicle tracking system on your side, fleet data management is a breeze.

Here are three reasons why fleet data management matters in 2019.

Reasons to Care About Fleet Data Management

Fleet data management can save you money on fuel

Fleet data management can help you save money on fuel

Routine Maintenance

“Boss, I forgot to tell you my truck is 3,000 miles past due for maintenance. I meant to tell you last week.”

Sound familiar? Unscheduled maintenance usually results in disruptions to your business. It’s bad news for your bottom line, and totally avoidable with a shift towards predictive maintenance.

What You Need to Do

To reduce unscheduled maintenance, you need to record and respond to the condition of your vehicles. Responsibility for this lies with two parties:

  1. Drivers, to carry out routine inspections and relay the information back to fleet HQ
  2. Fleet HQ, to schedule smart repairs and minimize service disruptions

Key to all of this is clear communication between drivers and dispatchers.

How Can Fleet Data Management Systems Help?

Vehicle tracking systems reduce costly communication errors by automating this aspect of fleet data management. For example, Zonar’s patented Electronic Vehicle Inspection Reporting (EVIR) system replaces paper logbooks with a tablet that lets drivers take photos of key vehicle inspection areas. Once this is done, the results are beamed back to fleet HQ in real time. Dispatchers interpret the data and schedule repairs in a central calendar. Finally, the system sends drivers electronic reminders when their vehicles are up for servicing.

This method of fleet data management has several benefits:

  1. It increases the speed and accuracy of routine vehicle inspections
  2. It reduces the frequency and severity of business service disruptions
  3. It lessens the administrative burden on your drivers
  4. It reduces the risk of being fined by the FMCSA for unroadworthy vehicles
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Fuel Costs

“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes, and rising fuel prices.” - A wise fleet manager

Fuel is an enormous expense for any fleet. But if you dread looking at drivers’ gas receipts, you’re missing out on hidden insights that could bring those costs down. Your fuel expenditure data is the key to unlocking money-saving measures that will help you fight rising fuel prices.

What You Need to Do

To reduce fuel expenditure, you need a grasp on where and how money is being spent on fuel across your business. This requires:

  1. Drivers to record their fuel purchases
  2. Fleet HQ to implement a fuel purchase policy, informed by this data

Once again, clear communication between drivers and dispatchers is important.

How Can Fleet Data Management Systems Help?

Using route mapping software can cut your fuel costs by reducing the distance your drivers cover. Verizon Connect, for example, brings several useful features to the table:

  1. Live Vehicle Tracking - displays vehicle location and calculates the shortest, most fuel-effective routes
  2. Route Replay - brings up historical journey data to reveal specific events – such as speeding and idling – that contribute to fuel wastage
  3. Live Traffic Reporting - monitors real-time road conditions to help drivers and dispatchers avoid jams and hazards

▶ Now read: Verizon Connect 2019 Review

Cybersecurity

A pest control firm whose sensitive client list got leaked. A taxi fleet whose accounts were hacked. An interstate motor carrier whose confidential employee salaries were laid bare for the world to see.

Stories like these may not reach the national news, but they happen every day. A staggering 43 percent of cyber attacks target small businesses. Of those affected, more than half go out of business within six months.

The intent is bad, but the outcome doesn’t have to be. Protecting your fleet’s confidential information starts with having a sound data security strategy in place.

What You Need to Do

This one’s on you. Time and time again, we’ve seen companies big and small fall prey to hackers because the management didn’t invest enough in data security.

Here are the steps you can take to secure your fleet against attack:

  1. Get backing from senior drivers and dispatchers to create a trickle-down culture of data security
  2. Publish official policies detailing best practice for handling different kinds of data
  3. Follow up with company-wide training to educate every employee about your new, world-class data security practices
  4. Appoint and train ‘data security experts’ to embody best practice and act as visible points of contact for each arm of your business
  5. Pay attention when high profile firms, like Sony, get hacked - you can learn from their highly public mistakes. Compare your policies and processes with theirs to make sure you aren’t taking your own data security too lightly

How Can Fleet Data Management Systems Help?

Fleet management software operates using cloud-based servers. The company running the servers (it’s usually your software supplier, but sometimes it’s outsourced to a data storage specialist like Amazon) will assume full responsibility for the integrity of that server. This means it’s in their business interests to make your data as secure as possible.

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Next Steps

2018 will be remembered as a year of tech company transgressions concerning their users’ personal data. 2019 might go down as the year people do something about it.

Fleet data management doesn’t dominate the headlines like the mismanagement of our social media feeds, but it’s just as important. With cyber attacks on the rise, there’s never been a more pressing time for businesses to invest in protecting their sensitive data.

If the way your business handles its fleet’s data poses any of the problems covered above, it’s time to explore solutions. A great place to start is our roundup of the top fleet management systems in 2019. When you’re ready, we’ll help you secure quick quotes from top suppliers.