Top 5 Benefits of Fleet Management Systems You Should Know About
Gone are the days when fleet managers had to maintain traditional, bulky logbooks and employee records in a single computer system periodically. Today, fleet management systems have brought more transparency and improve efficiency for organizations, drivers, fleet managers, and customers satisfaction. Moreover, with custom software development, organizations can modify a system as per their fleet operation requirements.
Editor’s Note – The blog shares information on the benefits of fleet management systems. If you want to leverage these benefits and build a fleet management system from scratch, consider our custom software development services.
According to a survey published in June 2020, the global fleet management market size is expected to reach $34 billion by 2025 compared to $19.9 billion in 2020. It is no surprise that cloud-based fleet management solutions and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) are among the primary factors responsible for this growth.
Fleet Management System: A Quick Overview
A fleet management system is used to monitor procurement, allocation, and delivery of goods in an organization. It is a one-stop solution with Telematics, OBD (On-Board Devices), and automation necessary for a fleet’s needs.
For instance, we developed a Single page application (SPA) for our client FoodTruck Spaces that connects food truck owners and property owners through a single platform. With this all-in-one application, food truck owners witnessed a 30% rise in their revenues.
Fleet managers can access updates on inventory, driver management, real-time status on deliveries, fuel management, and much more. Additionally, this data can be used to train drivers and vehicle maintenance for better performance delivery.
Matt Chapman, Product Partnership Manager at Fleetio, while conducting a webinar on ‘Using Data to Improve Your Fleet Efficiency,’ revealed that 81% of decision-makers agree that they could benefit from automated and digitized processes. Moreover, 59% of them would also like to save more time in their daily activities.
For instance, Prompto, a transport company in Ireland, transformed its global fleet operations with SynX Fleet Manager. With real-time updates and fuel maintenance, the company leveraged the system’s driving style monitor to help drivers understand how vehicles were mistreated and make better routing decisions.
On the other hand, Sherwood Construction impressively leveraged data collected from a GPS tracking device against equipment theft and saved the company almost $160,000 to replace the stolen machinery. Similarly, the company used the fleet management software to meet the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) and Hours of Service (HOS) compliance requirements set by the FMCSA.
Let’s move on to understand the main functions of a fleet management system better.
Functions of a Fleet Management System
With a fair understanding of the functions, let’s proceed with the benefits of a fleet management system.
Benefits of a Fleet Management System
#1. Improved Drivers’ Performance
When drivers are on the road transporting and delivering goods, keeping a record of their performance becomes a challenge for fleet managers. In many cases, poor driving techniques reduce a fleet’s life span and even cause fatal accidents.
Telematics offers viable solutions to monitor driving patterns easily and improve drivers’ behavior. For instance, GPS tracking is an essential element of telematics. It can help managers and dispatchers track the location, speed, driving methods (harsh braking, idling, cornering), and vehicle diagnostics. With this data availability of every driver’s performance, fleet managers can plan their strategies to lower risks and reinforce durability.
Reading Buses reported a 27% decrease in harsh braking and 44% acceleration with a 2% drop in fuel consumption within nine months of using fleet management software by MiX Telematics. The company also saw a 35% increase in drivers who achieved green standards.
Similarly, geofencing is another essential feature of telematics that allows fleet managers to monitor the vehicles’ real-time location and mark a geographical territory for the drivers.
This feature was incredibly beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic. Managers drew a fence around a high-risk area or a quarantine zone to inform the drivers and delivery personnel to avoid entering it. If employees came in contact with persons from such spaces, fleet managers promptly asked them to isolate themselves and control the spread.
Another way to improve drivers’ performance is to gamify the weekly or monthly targets. For example, a dashboard on the system will display reward points for drivers based on their safety precautions, delivery times, vehicle maintenance, and more. Additionally, with a mobile app version, managers can share this information weekly with drivers so they know their targets for the upcoming weeks. Introducing an incentive for those who excel will encourage the drivers to give their best while still meeting your KPIs.
#2. Reduction in Costs
Automation is a significant feature of fleet management software. Automated reminders and email notifications enable you to have a systematic plan for vehicle maintenance, repairs, and timely fleet audits. This practice improves the lifespan of the fleet and saves redundant expenses on buying new vehicles that need replacements due to irreparable damages. It also reduces the burden on administrative staff to maintain repair schedules, minimizing the need to recruit additional personnel.
Fuel management is another significant component in reducing fuel costs. By keeping an estimate of actual fuel consumption on specific routes or distances, fleet managers can monitor the vehicles that consume more fuel or driving techniques that lead to fuel wastage. Organizations can achieve this by automating fuel management. For example, FLEETCOR – integrated into the system with an API provides e-payable options so that organizations can facilitate direct transactions with fuel service providers. Verifying the overall consumption with previous transactions will give you an understanding of wastage.
An exciting benefit of a fleet management software, FleetWave, is staff members of Hitachi Construction Company sending quotation requests to suppliers through email notifications. Additionally, the users update the details of order confirmation and delivery over the same platform. This practice has helped the company save a considerable amount of administrative hours and, thereby, control costs.
#3. Automated Reporting and Analytics
The fleet management software not only collects valuable data but also provides insights. With the help of information collected through GPS tracking systems, on-board devices like the odometer and Electronic Logbooks, the system generates reports on vehicle maintenance, driving methods, delivery time, rest breaks, and more. This information can help managers to understand the performance of the drivers and instruct them accordingly.
Integrating APIs into the system will make information sharing more efficient and affordable. For instance, FourKites is a real-time visibility platform designed for supply chains. By combining advanced AI and machine learning offers predictive ETAs and comprehensive analytics. Large fleets like Coca-Cola, Nestle, Henkel, and more use this platform for their fleets.
#4. Better Customer Satisfaction
In most cases, customers abandon a brand owing to their poor delivery service. With a fleet management system, you can use optimized routing, bring efficiency in ETAs, and achieve error-free deliveries. As fleet managers have real-time updates on the traffic and reasons for transit delays, they can simply prioritize deliveries to privileged customers.
Furthermore, drivers view the customer locations on their dashboards and optimize working hours based on the estimated time for deliveries. This practice’s dual benefits are that the fleet managers can focus on other important issues, and the drivers can work as per the delivery requirements.
#5. Intelligent Solutions with Machine Learning
AI and Machine Learning have revolutionized industries around the world, and fleet management is no exception. For example, Verizon’s introduction of dashcams and smart videos has positively impacted how fleet managers assess accidents, harsh braking, and acceleration. AI segregates such incidents from the comprehensive data collected during the time engine runs. More importantly, the system shares these updates in near real-time. This information can be viewed combined with the fleet data received from the OBDs and GPS Fleet tracking systems.
Similarly, DigiFleet by TCS works with IoT and Machine Learning algorithms integrated into the systems. These technologies perform route optimization and lane monitoring which allow the drivers to get predictive updates. The fleet management systems learn from the data collected by other vehicles and show the quickest routes by avoiding peak traffic hours and based on the climatic conditions in a particular region.
#6. Efficient Fuel Consumption
Inefficient fuel consumption has always been an issue for fleet managers because it exceeds the estimated budget. According to a survey, 10% less fuel consumption can bring about a 31% increase in profit for the fleet management business. Contrary to popular belief, fuel consumption isn’t just about the mileage (KM/L). Multiple factors come into the picture, and one can get access to holistic fuel consumption patterns with a fleet management system into play.
With the help of such a system, fleet managers can identify areas of unnecessary and excessive idling and act on cutting down unnecessary stoppages. In addition to that, it can train the drivers to operate a pattern with minimum fuel consumption and optimum fleet efficiency.
Frisch and Sons, a California-based excavation and landscaping company, was running eight vehicles, and they wanted to keep track of their drivers and fleets. That’s where they partnered with Mix Solution and utilized their GPS-based fleet management system. Within the first week, they identified long-standing vehicles were resulting in 50+ extra hours every week. Reducing these work hours helped them to save fuel costs of $300 per week.
#7. Improved Vehicle Maintenance
As a fleet manager, maintaining the fleets on a tight budget would be one of your priorities. Fleet vehicle maintenance requires comprehensive planning and execution of the highest order. However, with a fleet management system in play, you can devise preventive maintenance schedules according to vehicle size, kilometers traveled, weather conditions, etc., parameters.
In addition to that, it will also help you to track the vehicle downtime and its root cause. Based on these data points, the fleet maintenance system would devise a schedule where enough priority is given to its maintenance. Thus, an initial investment in fleet management software will eventually exceed the savings incurred due to efficient maintenance.
Frontier Technologies, a maritime-owned and operated company, used Geotab Solutions for a decade to efficiently manage and maintain its fleet. However, with technological advancements, they wanted a high-tech fleet management solution that is data-driven. That’s where Geotab provided them with a Geotab Reseller that tracked every critical vehicle information and provided analytical charts based on data. This allowed fleet managers to plan for the vehicle maintenance in a predictive manner, contributing to the overall fleet efficiency.
#8. Better Safety of Fleets
If you’re someone associated with a logistics and transportation business, you would know the importance of fleet and driver safety. It is of utmost importance to ensure & improve driver’s safety in all kinds of weather conditions. A fleet management system with a comprehensive driver monitoring system helps you effectively tackle this problem. Such systems are designed to notify and alert drivers of comment errors that can eventually help avoid any fatal accidents.
Suppose your driver is overspeeding on a hilly road with sharp turns; the system will alert drivers with visual and audio signals. The fleet managers will also get a notification regarding the same issue to connect with drivers if the problem persists. Lastly, the fleet managers will get data points about various drivers, based on which, they can analyze the driving patterns of each one of them.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) wanted to create a system to alert the truck drivers when they cross the safe driving speed limit on a freeway. The goal of TxDOT was to reduce the number of rollovers when drivers are attempting to ramp at unsafe speeds. For this purpose, they took assistance from SmartSensor HD’s unique radar beam. In addition, they created fleet maintenance software that identifies the vehicle speed and flashes an LED in case of overspeeding. The radar also alerts fleet managers who will connect with the drivers and warn them about their dangerous driving habits and notify to reduce their rate. In this manner, TxDOT ensured better safety for its fleets.
#9. Fraud Prevention
Driver fraud is one of the most frequent problems in the fleet industry, with drivers attempting to make a case of lost fuel cards. However, with the fleet management system in the equation, you could sort out this issue. The AI-powered automation software detects such fraud within a matter of minutes and notifies the fleet managers about the current vehicle condition.
Based on these data, fleet managers can identify whether the claim of fuel card loss was true or false. In this manner, the fleet managers can prevent fraud and save a lot of time and money that they would have spent otherwise.
#10. Expand Vehicle Timespan
With high-quality fleet management software, you can continuously monitor the health of your vehicle. A dashboard is available in the fleet management system to get real-time insights about the vehicle mileage, service history, engine hours, oil changes, etc. Based on this information, you can plan preventative maintenance whenever required, which will help you avoid further damage to your fleet, expand its lifespan, and save a lot of money.
Common Myths and Facts about Fleet Management Systems
We automated workflow in the freight business to reduce costs and improve customer experience
Fleet Management Software Feature Checklist
Undoubdtedly, there are many benefits to using a fleet management system. However, considering various factors before choosing a system for your organization is an important step. While GPS trackers, HOS compliances, and data analytics have become the essential characteristics of modern fleet management systems, some features define the system’s overall functioning in the long run.
Cloud-based Solutions for Better Connectivity
While engaging a fleet management system, cloud-deployment of the software is crucial and beneficial. Secure, scalable, and affordable software with global usage is achievable only with cloud technology.
Additionally, you can also set information access controls for your personnel. For instance, your asset management team can have complete access to the inventory and incoming orders. However, they may not be able to view the payments received or made by the accounts department. Ensuring information security can be made simple.
A cloud-based system can also be made available in a mobile app version for your drivers to stay updated on their upcoming tasks and daily responsibilities. Moreover, the app displays routes and location-specific information even offline to ensure safety in areas with low internet connectivity.
With cloud technology, leveraging the best-in-class services offered by cloud providers is a significant advantage. For example, Fleet Complete, a global fleet management software provider, uses AWS to provide best-in-class services for fleet owners in 15 countries. Along with a reduction in vehicle downtime, the company collects and analyzes 50 terabytes of IoT data for fleet owners and managers. What’s more, with AWS, the platform handles and scales more than 50 million requests globally and releases weekly software updates rather than monthly updates.
AWS has also introduced Connected Vehicle Solution that uses IoT technology that developers can leverage to design software systems for fleet vehicles. By applying AWS services, developers can build serverless IoT applications that establish a secure connection to the AWS cloud for interaction between vehicles. Furthermore, it can also detect location, driver safety, and trip data.
BlackBerry and AWS Join Forces to Accelerate Innovation with a New Intelligent Vehicle Data Platform. Learn how #BlackBerryIVY will allow automakers to create personalized driver and passenger experiences and improve operations of connected vehicles. https://t.co/rK5IOi1qFF pic.twitter.com/YsqX1ktJbn
— BlackBerry (@BlackBerry) January 16, 2021
Data Integration for Streamlined Communication
A fleet management system is capable of doing more than just driver and vehicle management. When multiple systems function in an organization, there is an extensive amount of data generation. By ensuring uniform and seamless exchange of information between them, you can save many administrative hours in assessing this data.
If a vehicle meets with an accident, Telematics provides information about the potential factors like driver’s speed limit, vehicle maintenance, climatic conditions, and more. This information is shared with the accounts department and human resources to process accident and insurance claims, employee compensation, and others with automated data transfer.
Data integration makes vital information available to the right personnel at the right time to avoid communication delays. Boyle Transportation, a national trucking service in the US, is engaged in delivering defense cargo and hazardous materials. With a robust fleet management system, the company cut down its vehicle downtime and saved 30 minutes of maintenance time for its technicians. The company provided a mobile app for the drivers with data to control vehicle inspection and resolve maintenance issues in real-time.
Similarly, Atlas Air is an airline delivery company that owns over 400 assets. With proper fleet management, the company replaced its previous on-premise servers with a cloud-based solution accessible through web and mobile apps globally.
Fleet management software can function as a single pane of glass for product availability, dispatch, delivery, payment, and transportation. In case an organization has a pre-existing accounting software, with API integrations, the data from this software can be effortlessly merged with the fleet management solution without scraping it entirely.
Thus, to achieve this fluidity between different teams and departments, data integration is a must-have feature of the software.
Customization for Optimized Functionality
The importance of customized functionality in an organization cannot be stressed enough. Every business requires diverse management solutions for their fleets, and they can be met with thorough research and analysis. Imagine the disorder that may occur if an off-the-shelf software is used by a construction business fleet and perishable food delivery business alike.
For instance, since perishable foods require timely deliveries, a fleet management system should come with a live-chat functionality for managers to update the drivers of the set timeframe. In absence of this feature, the drivers may not realize the urgency, thereby delaying the deliveries and incurring losses to the organization.
Any off-the-shelf software is created keeping in mind the general business requirements. Although they are more affordable than custom software, they fail to provide niche services and organizations end up having frequent inconsistencies in client performance.
With custom software development you can modify, add, or omit features that a standard fleet management system comes with. Not only will you save money in the long run but also optimize every feature included in the software.
Additionally, custom software can also take care of the HOS and ELD compliance requirements of different countries.
Managing a fleet of vehicles requires a series of roles and decisions handled by many persons in an organization. While software cannot replace human efforts, it can simplify the process by taking several time-consuming jobs off the plate. With automation and streamlined communication, your fleet drivers will have more decision-making power in their responsibilities. Managers will be constantly updated on their employees and their well-being. With fewer things to worry about, they can get more work done in less time and reach the organization’s targets faster.
We, at Simform, are always eager to team up with companies to change the world one software development project at a time. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions on fleet management systems.