In a nutshell, fleet management software digitizes, automates and streamlines fleet management tasks. In order to achieve this, this software often boasts a dazzling myriad of features, all designed to help fleet managers to boost productivity, enhance security, cut costs, or simply get things done quicker.
But what are these features, what can they do, and how might they benefit your business? Read on for our rundown of the key features that fleet management software has to offer…
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The different fleet management software features
Fleet management software can come with an incredible array of useful features, each designed to help you boost productivity and efficiency while cutting unnecessary costs.
We’re going to explore the following features in-depth:
- GPS vehicle tracking
- Fuel consumption reporting
- Driver performance monitoring
- Diagnostics and maintenance
- Incident reporting
- Paperless invoicing
- Integration with other software
- Regulatory compliance
- Mobile access
Click the links above to jump to the features you’re interested in, or simply read on for a detailed overview…
GPS vehicle tracking
It can be said that GPS tracking is the most important fleet management software feature, enabling you to keep tabs on all of your vehicles at all times.
How does it work? Well, a fleet management software provider will supply you with GPS tracking devices to be fitted across your fleet – one in each vehicle. The tracker will send real-time location updates remotely to you (if it’s an active vehicle tracking system), or will store up location data for you to review later (if it’s a passive system).
Some fleet management companies also provide trackers designed for other assets such as trailers or machinery, so you can keep them on your radar, too.
Active vehicle tracking in particular shines when it comes to cases of theft. If one of your trucks is stolen, you can pinpoint its location in a cinch and send police cars wailing after it.
Plenty of fleet management systems also come with a geofencing feature, which enables you to draw a virtual border around your fleet’s authorized routes. If a vehicle crosses that border without permission, you’ll receive an alert and can jump into action.
Tracking also has huge benefits when it comes to dispatching jobs – especially if you run a taxi cab or courier service. When a new job comes in, you can check which drivers are nearby and available, and dispatch whoever will get there the quickest. Your customers will thank you!
Fuel consumption reporting
The majority of fleet management software systems monitor your fleet’s fuel usage, reporting on the amount of fuel your fleet is drinking, as well as data when a car fuels up – from where they’ve stopped to how much fuel they’re buying.
Many systems will also report on driving behaviours that waste fuel – such as speeding and idling – empowering you to change your drivers’ wasteful habits.
Plus, fleet management systems can calculate the most fuel-efficient route for each job, saving you time and extra fuel expenses.
The benefits of such features are pretty clear cut. Having all this insight at your fingertips will help you slash the amount your business spends on fuel, and run a more efficient fleet. What’s not to like?
Driver performance monitoring
We’ve touched on this already – fleet management systems can report on your drivers’ performance and behaviour – but this does have more implications than just cutting fuel consumption.
Fleet management software can also report on dangerous driving behaviours that put your driver at risk of injury, your vehicle at risk of damage and your company at risk of a lawsuit. These behaviours include:
- Harsh acceleration
- Sudden braking
- Driving too slowly
Understanding how your drivers, well, drive is essential if you want to prevent accidents. With this info to hand, you can communicate your concerns with your unsafe drivers, and even send them on training courses to improve their performance.
Some fleet management systems incentivize drivers to perform well by sorting them into a leaderboard – safest, best driver at the top – so you can praise and reward your top drivers. Nothing like a little healthy competition to motivate improvement!
Diagnostics and maintenance
Many fleet management software systems can give you an overview of the health of your fleet, remotely sharing diagnostics data and alerting you when there’s a problem with one of your vehicles. This gives you the chance to get issues fixed quickly, before they grow into costly, break down-causing malfunctions.
Some fleet management systems let you set out maintenance appointments and deadlines in a calendar – and will even automatically fill it, based on when your vehicles were last looked at – so you can easily keep track.
It’s unavoidable – out on the road, incidents are bound to happen. While it can’t take the damage and cost caused by an accident away, fleet management software can ease the headache it causes you.
After an event, you can check back to see driver and vehicle data – such as speed, driving activities and location – to get a clearer idea of how the incident happened.
Some systems will also enable you to consolidate all the info you’ll need in one place so you can refer to it easily. Such information can include witness reports, driver statements, drug or alcohol test results, photographs, and repair costs.
As many a business owner can attest, shuffling through piles of invoices can be a nightmare. Thankfully, plenty of fleet management software options enable you to raise digital invoices, without a piece of paper or a pen in sight.
You can get invoices to clients faster by creating them in just a few clicks, using job data that’s already stored in the system. You’ll also be able to view past invoices all in one place, and enable online payment so your client can get that invoice paid, stat!
Running a business fleet comes with a tonne of compliance tick boxes, and you simply have to tick them. Fortunately, fleet management software can help you do just that.
The ELD mandate
Otherwise known as the ELD Final Rule, this government regulation states that operators of certain commercial vehicles must install automatic on-board recording devices (AOBRD), with automated electronic logging device (ELD) tech, in their vehicles.
Many fleet management software providers can supply you with these, while their software can help you monitor the data they record.
Primarily, the ELD mandate is in place so that your drivers’ hours of service (HOS) are accurately recorded. Why? Because your drivers’ HOS are restricted by law, and you must comply with these restrictions. After all, a fatigued driver is a dangerous one.
If your vehicles travel interstate, you’ll need to comply with the IFTA (International Tax Agreement). This requires commercial carriers to pay fuel taxes proportionately, according to the number of miles driven in each state. In practice, this means that businesses must comply with the fuel tax reporting guidelines of each state they travel in.
With GPS tracking and odometer data, fleet management systems can help you to track the number of miles your employees drive in each state, making your reporting process a lot simpler – not to mention paperless. Even better, some fleet management systems offer automated IFTA reporting.
Integration with other software
Fleet management software can’t do absolutely everything on its own – so plenty of systems enable you to integrate other, third party SaaS (software as a service) apps with it, to add functionalities that extend beyond your fleet.
Some fleet management software will come with optional integrations already set up, allowing you to pick and choose from a list of apps. Others have an open API that allows for more freedom and customisation, letting you integrate whatever third party programs you want.
Applications that are most commonly integrated with fleet management software include:
- Accounting programs
- More robust reporting and analytics software
- Fleet card management services
- Field service software
Gone are the days of being tethered to your desktop. Now, nearly every fleet management system either includes corresponding Android and iOS apps, or is platform-agnostic, which means it can run on any device with a web browser – phones, tablets, and all.
Not only does this enable you to check your software’s vital analysis and reporting from anywhere, it also means you can share real-time communications, assignments, routing, and more with your drivers while they’re out and about – so long as they have an internet connection.
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The best fleet management software providers
According to our research, the best fleet management software providers are:
- Teletrac Navman
- Verizon Connect
- AMS (Asset Monitoring Solutions)
Here’s how their ratings stack up:
|Fleet management software provider||Star rating|
|AMS (Asset Monitoring Solutions)|
▶ Read more: For detailed reviews of these providers (and others besides), visit our comprehensive list of the best vehicle tracking software companies in the US.
Fleet management software can come with all sorts of invaluable capabilities. Hopefully, this list has helped you to understand the different features available, and decide which ones you’ll want to look out for when choosing fleet management software.
With so many fleet management software solutions available, a helping hand never goes amiss. At Expert Market, we can help you find the best system for you – simply tell us about your business fleet using the form at the top of this page, and you’ll receive personalized quotes from trusted fleet management providers. This process is free and fast – give it a try!