As COVID-19 forced global populations to stay at home, the members of the fleet industry remained on the frontlines, especially those involved in the transportation of essential goods. The situation, however, has presented a real challenge to fleet managers and business owners as they strive to adapt to the rapidly changing landscape of the industry, implementing safety regulations, and ensuring that the drivers are safe on the road.
If you’re in charge of fleet management, you want to ensure that you are equipped with the right tools to help you establish business resilience in the midst of unprecedented events. After all, you wouldn’t want to spend money on acquiring, maintaining, and repairing vehicles only to find out they aren’t any use for their intended purpose. This is why it comes as no surprise that many top-performing companies are investing in fleet management software. With these tools, they can easily track and manage valuable assets and make sure they are being optimized to the fullest, especially during uncertain times.
What’s more, these digital solutions don’t only manage and monitor the activities of fleets, but they also help users comply with strict government regulations for transportation. These include safety measures and protocols. Of course, the use of this technology isn’t limited to these. So, if you want to learn or refresh yourself with some of the basics of fleet management, this guide should be able to help you out.
The growing adoption of telematics and GPS technology in the transport industry has proven to be essential when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. With both technologies in place, fleet managers can effectively monitor the location of their drivers, as well as deliver timely updates and reminders when it comes to observing safety protocols.
Source: Verizon Connect 2021Designed by
While this suggests an overall positive picture for the future of fleet management providers, current realities about incorporating new technologies, rising operational costs, rising demand for utility vehicles, the escalation of keeping up with compliance costs, and health risks cast clouds of doubts over the horizon. Indeed, the fleet management software market has been seeing meager margins for some time, resulting in providers looking at streamlining operations to bring them back to regimes of comfortable profitability in the long run.
As with many industry sectors, such developments may be seen as the birth pangs of businesses and societies marching inexorably to the era of the internet of things, when driver and vehicle communicate in more effective ways and when vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity is but a foregone conclusion. That kind of future suggests a mind-boggling deluge of new data that would demand a new approach, perhaps from predictive analytics of today to the more widespread application of prescriptive analytics to fleet management tomorrow.
The purpose of fleet management in business is to ensure the work vehicles of companies are operating smoothly, are constantly seeking ways to improve performance, can keep operating costs at a minimum, and maintain compliance with government regulations.
Traditionally, this has been done manually and using hard copies. However, when the digital revolution began, wiser businesses found ways to optimize their fleet management operations with the help of computers.
Today, with the rise of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and mobile apps, industries have done away with many hardware requirements. Now, they just use subscription-based services. We will list some of them here later.
Fleet Management refers to the applications, tools, technologies, and practices that help businesses maintain optimal use of their work vehicles from a central platform. In its current form, fleet management entails the use of:
Also, this is a highly-specialized area of business that needs special training and education. Moreover, like many other areas out there, a good handle of digital technology is preferred by employers.
Companies who have been using Fleet Management agree that it generally allows businesses using it to:
The use of a fleet management system ensures that the operation of company vehicles aligns with company goals rather than serve as a source of headaches, which typically happens in its absence.
The improper use of business vehicles can easily add substantial losses to your business operation, not to mention the time wasted by managers to drivers looking over the issues in search of meaningful ways to address those losses.
If your business is directly involved in providing transportation to the public, it may mean the difference between continuing operations or shutting down if you have accumulated enough grave violations of compliance regulations.
Fleet management software stores a record of all the vehicles your organization has purchased or leased, their specifications, details of maintenance, service and parts histories, drivers, and related compliance documents, including licenses and tax, fleet insurance, fuel transactions, and operating expenses. It reduces all involved administrative processes and makes sense of everything to do with your fleet in terms of operating costs, the overall cost of ownership, and all things about compliance and whether you are still on the legal side of things. With the software’s capability to generate reports, alerts, and emails, things simply get better and faster for your organization, a thing that is not possible in the past.
Telematics software gives your company unprecedented real-time tracking of all your vehicles, making it more efficient and easier to dispatch the involved workforce as well. It enables you to determine precisely when vehicle and driver will get to their destination and how the vehicle is driven and handled by the driver.
Integrating the functions of both software hands any organization a degree of control unheard of in the past, a way to optimally run and manage their fleet of vehicles no matter what size.
If your business is transportation heavy, and you also have a site-wide penchant or preference for Apple devices, then Fleetsmith might be just for you.
What it does is synchronizes all fleet-related information across all your company or employee devices. Thus, everybody has the chance to be on the same page as the rest of the crew.
It also has key important features that make it a robust fleet management asset. These include automatic device enrollment, asset tag support, smart device inventory, and an auto device assignment module. All of these can help you get intelligent insights on your entire fleet. What’s more, is that this is free. However, there is a “managed” version that does all of these and more.
Moreover, it integrates well with popular systems such as Adobe Creative Suite, Zoom, Google Group, and G Suite. The Managed plan is priced at $8.25 per device per month.
Detailed Fleetsmith Review
Based in the UK with subsidiaries in the US and the EU, GPSWOX provides solutions for GPS fleet management, vehicle, and personal tracking applications, allowing its wide use in both personal households and enterprises worldwide. GPSWOX can track anything, from persons, smartphones, bicycles, to boats, trucks and any other vehicle. The tracking function is supported by a powerful system of real-time notifications, reports, and other information that the user chooses to set up during installation.
GPSWOX actively distributes and markets its products anywhere in the world, in the process of establishing partnerships with companies to set up their own GPS-based tracking business through the GPSWOX system at affordable prices. GPSWOX experts can be tasked to set up the whole package and see all the technical aspects required by customers. Training and technical support are available to those who request them.
Detailed GPSWOX Review
GPSWOX lets companies monitor the safety of vehicles and drivers, identify problem employees, dispatch drivers more efficiently, advise customers of precise delivery arrivals, use its reporting tools to gain more insight about travel history, vehicle speed, and fuel consumption.
GPSWOX allows partners to generate their unique brands to establish their names with their customers through the use of their logos, unique company names, and design choices for the software interface.
A Michelin Group company headquartered in Atlanta, GA, NexTraq is a leading innovator in telematics offering a GPS-based Fleet Management solution for organizations with vehicles ranging from 2 to more than 2,000. In its 15 years of operation, NexTraq has racked up more than 75,000 satisfied customers, 95% of whom report they would be happy to refer the platform to their contacts.
NexTraq’s vehicle tracking service will track the routes and stop drivers take in full detail. It is one of the pioneers in allowing companies to see whether drivers are resorting to harsh acceleration, overspeeding, and harsh braking.
Detailed NexTraq Review
You can set up NexTraq to acquire maintenance information, such as tire rotation, oil change schedule, or necessary repairs, extending the life cycle of your vehicles and ensuring drivers take road-worthy vehicles on the next delivery rounds.
As NexTraq is truly easy to install, you don’t need to spend on professional installers to have the software running. The system is hidden from drivers to prevent tampering.
NexTraq requires a startup fee per unit and a cancellation fee in case you decide to stop using the solution.
Available as either in both server- and cloud-based versions, multifunctional fleet management solution Wialon is capable of both mobile and stationary asset tracking. More than 950 fleet tracking service providers choose Wialon, accounting for more than 850,000 tracked assets combined. Apart from supporting more than 1,000 GPS hardware tracker devices, Wialon also provides a cartographic server. For robust integration with existing back-office systems, the system comes with an Open API feature.
Aside from tracking such devices as automobile controllers, software-based trackers on mobiles, and personal GPS trackers, Wialon can also process data from after-market sensors for weight, humidity, temperature, light, and others, cameras, tachograph and other supplementary hardware connected to GPS tracking devices.
Detailed Wialon Review
There is native multilingual support for both Wialon SaaS and server-based versions. Such powerful features give Wialon clients deep real-time insights into their assets.
Available in more than 130 national markets, Wialon also offers outstanding 24/7 technical support.
GPS-Server is a powerful but easy-to-use GPS tracking system that companies or individuals can use to find the location of vehicles, cargo, boats, and people. You can access it via the cloud using just any mobile or GPS compatible device, or you may install it right on your server. Local server installation allows you to create your own tracking business by connecting any number of devices or vehicles and developing new protocols to expand its capabilities. You can make it fully your own by attaching your company name, logo, or domain to the system.
You can set up GPS-Server to track multiple targets in real-time, monitor objects by the thousands, and present their location on maps right down to the street level in your browser of choice. GPS-Server provides direct viewing of historical tracks and notification during important events.
Detailed GPS-Server Review
GPS-Server works with hundreds of tracking devices, giving you superior flexibility and coverage. The software is regularly updated, ensuring you get the latest features to improve the tracking of business offerings.
MyRouteOnline is a web-based route-planning solution that individuals or companies can use to find the quickest route given multiple addresses and stop duration times. With allowance for multiple map locations, MyRouteOnline makes it easy to plan daily routes and deliveries online while navigating with the app. You, thus, minimize time on the road, go green, and reduce carbon footprints while saving money in the process.
If you or your company regularly deals with service tasks, pickups, and deliveries, then MyRouteOnline is just the ideal solution to fit your requirements. Typical uses of the platform include commercial delivery services, technicians, real-estate agents, garbage and recycling collectors, travelers, and campers who need efficient travel routes, and family members needing to optimize running errands.
Detailed MyRouteOnline Review
MyRouteOnline allows users to import contacts from Excel, text, and CSV, plan up to 350 addresses per run, and set a specific time for each location. You can use optimization goals like minimizing or balancing distance and time and review the results later on for any need to change stops and the like.
Teletrac Navman Director is a fleet management software that allows fleet managers to monitor vehicles in real-time. The program’s powerful visibility feature provides critical information such as route, traffic, idle cycles, geofencing, and fuel consumption. Fleet managers can easily transmit data to their dispatchers and drivers to give them the best routes to use, saving on fuel costs and time used on the road.
Teletrac Navman Director’s Driver Management tool will track and record incidents of overspeeding, harsh acceleration and braking, cornering, and stop-sign violations. The feature ensures drivers are sticking to best practices while on their own along their routes, an important consideration when ensuring compliance with internal regulations and external standards set for fleet management. An Event Viewer ensures drivers provide accurate reports, or the software could replay the recorded vehicle activities in question. Powerful capabilities like these allow fleet managers to resolve problematic driving habits: drivers either undergo training after reviews, call for such actions, or be made to quit the company.
Detailed Teletrac Navman Director Review
Another feature, Vehicle Analytics, lets drivers check their vehicles for breaks or lights, among others, to ensure the vehicles are roadworthy. There is a Director’s Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports electronic module (DVIR), to enable drivers to send status reports for their vehicle and repair updates without the need to do paperwork. This frees drivers from time-consuming processes and gives them more time to concentrate on more important aspects of their jobs.
Linxup GPS Tracking is a vehicle, asset, and equipment GPS tracking solution for businesses of any size. It helps these businesses improve their operational efficiency while ensuring vehicle and driver safety on the road. Linxup GPS Tracking’s business partners lessen response times to their customers by determining the best routes and dispatching the vehicles that are best equipped to handle the identified road and traffic conditions.
With Linxup GPS Tracking, companies learn the important things they need to know about their drivers’ habits and work with them to improve behavior on the road, decreasing instances of insurance claims.
Detailed Linxup GPS Tracking Review
Another proven way insurance claims are reduced theft protection. As Linxup GPS Tracking enables timely location reporting, fleet managers can immediately act if their vehicles are deviating from their target routes.
PeopleNet is a fleet management software offering end-to-end tracking for fleet performance monitoring, travel logging, navigation routing, safety, and insurance. The custom-designed GPS receiver, along with strong adherence to vehicle telematics, makes PeopleNet a great proposition for small- to medium-sized businesses operating several trucks.
PeopleNet ensures instantaneous access to relevant, critical data through a professionally managed network of satellites and wireless carriers. The data can be accessed through web-based applications, mobile devices, or any third-party device with access arrangement to the PeopleNet API.
Detailed PeopleNet Review
PeopleNet monitors all details that matter to your fleet operations: fuel usage, RPM, speed, or idle times, among others. There’s a Vehicle Management Comparative Dashboard that empowers fleet managers to view all reports side by side and click on a selection of parameters to achieve superior comparison insight.
With no annual maintenance fees and software updates provided regularly, PeopleNet customers remain competitive with the latest features. The platform simply combines mobility, effective communication tools, and real-time analytics that consistently earn acclaim for offering great benchmarks for informed decision-making and technology-driven fleet management.
ClearPathGPS is a comprehensive software solution designed to help businesses improve delivery times, have better control over their fleet, as well as simplify the vehicle maintenance process. Intuitive and mobile-ready, this tool is equipped with a wide variety of features, including fleet tracking, route mapping, vehicle behavior monitoring, and virtual timecard reporting. Moreover, it records vehicle operation costs and usage so that you can plan for fuel efficiency and vehicle optimization.
Another great thing about ClearPathGPS is that it gives you a real-time overview of driver productivity. With this, you will know the exact location of vehicles, monitor traffic conditions, and check if your drivers are making it to their destinations within respective ETAs. This way, you can pinpoint the causes of inefficiency and boost overall driver performance. Simply put, it allows you to boost your visibility for better business opportunities.
Detailed ClearPathGPS Review
In addition to these, since the platform comes with tracking features that run even after hours, you can be sure that drivers won’t be using your vehicles for personal trips or side jobs.
For the adoption of fleet management to be successful in your organization, there has to be a level of understanding and support of the solution from the owner to the top executives down to the employees, since all are going to be affected by the implementation of the system.
The task of leading the implementation of fleet management falls on a designated fleet manager. Ideally, the person is at least someone knowledgeable about information systems and who’s comfortable working with them. He or she should be able to connect with counterparts from the vendor of the fleet management software as well as all personnel in his/her organization directly involved in the implementation, typically some IT or communications experts, drivers, and mechanics.
Getting to the core of managing a large number of vehicles, we easily understand the reason organizations ask what is the purpose of fleet management software once they consider using one. Specifically, fleet management systems must be careful to address the following problems:
Fleet management is bigger than it seems. Sure, its use is prevalent in companies that focus on transportation. However, it has also become an important part of the fabric of public life. For example, the US government has spent around $4.2 billion on this technology to support its over 644,545 vehicles. This includes fleets of ambulances, trucks, and other types of service vehicles to keep government services working.
For many, this is not easily noticeable. However, it is an essential part of running a successful organization. Many do it without much thought into it, but top-tier professionals do. They put time into analyzing ways to optimize the management of their vehicle assets. The cream of the crop do it with top-flight software as well. One trend to remember is that the Internet of Things (IoT) in the logistics market will hit $1 billion by 2020.
Apart from that, 40% of all technology spending is going towards digital transformation. This signals a spike in software adoption.
Of course, adopting software is just a part of the solution. Adoption comes with many organizational changes. These include policies, training time, and even more people to do it properly. Also, these should be based not only on organizational culture but also on the changing dynamics of the market. You can learn more about this in our guide to digital transformation.
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