Fleet Management: it’s one of the biggest buzzwords going around in the transportation industry, and one of the most important ways to improve your business performance.
But what does the term mean? How can it improve efficiency? What is this ‘fleet management software’ you’ve been hearing all about?
We’ve got all those questions (and many more) covered in the article below, so let’s get into it…
What is Fleet Management?
The term ‘fleet management’ doesn’t just refer to a single process, but rather to a group of processes that make up the coordination of a ‘fleet’ of transportation assets, usually vehicles.
Fleet Management includes the day to day processes of driver management and vehicle maintenance, such as ensuring driver safety and smooth despatch and scheduling in routine repairs. Increasingly, the fleet management umbrella has also come to include longer term projects such as ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, improving operational efficiency, and using data analysis to improve productivity.
These changes have largely come about because of the explosion of fleet management softwares in the last decade, which arm fleet managers with a range of organisational tools through which to better organise their fleet.
How Does it Work?
Whilst fleet management used to be an on-paper gig, thankfully technological advances have made it so that many management processes can be done entirely from a computer or mobile app.
Fleet Management software is often part of a larger Transport Management System, which allows transportation businesses to centralise and digitise all of their operations through a number of different features.
Some of these features may include:
- Automated Despatch
- Scheduling Software
- Maintenance schedules
- Automated Compliance
- Data, Analytics, and KPI tracking capabilities
Why is it Important?
Fleet Management is important because it ensures both the safety and efficiency of any transportation business. Fleet management works to set and meet the organisation’s goals whilst maintaining high standards of operation functionality: helping organisations avoid the increased stress, cost, and inconvenience associated with issues such as vehicle malfunctions, poor driver safety, and poor driver management. Over time, this helps to create a safer and more efficient workplace and business.
The Benefits of Fleet Management Software
Strong, cloud based fleet management software can make it easier to analyse and communicate your fleet’s strengths and weaknesses and create strategies to overcome issues that may arise.
Here’s three of the main benefits to managing your fleet through the cloud:
Almost every business out there struggles with either manual or digital clutter: when important information is spread across a range of disorganised and unintegrated files. This makes it extremely hard to review and record performance.
A Fleet Management System mitigates this issue by offering a range of integrations and useful tools like KPI dashboards to centralise the flow of information and make it easily accessible.
When all management functions are in one place, it becomes easier for managers to communicate with each other and creates a frictionless communication experience. This creates opportunities for increased collaboration across departments and for management and executives to more easily understand different aspects of the business’ performance.
Software allows for easier and more efficient data collection and management. In manual systems, data collection can easily become time consuming and messy: think cluttered and unformatted excel spreadsheets that are impossible to read. However, when using a centralised system, AI can be used to clean and interpret data into easily understandable and shareable tables and graphs: making it easier to visualise performance in key areas over time.
3 Tips to Improve Your Fleet Management
We’ve compiled a list of a few tips that will help you to meet your goals as a fleet manager by increasing communication across your organisation, and using data to prioritise activities that will really make a difference.
KPIs are King
When faced with the array of data a good fleet management software gives you access to, it’s important to know what to track. Choosing a list of important KPIs to add to your dashboard and measure over time can help to paint a clearer picture of your fleet’s overall performance.
These KPIs might include:
- Driver Safety Incidents (speeding, distracted driving, etc.)
- Average Time On-Site
- Engine Idle Time
- And many more
Create an Asset Management Plan
An Asset Management Plan (AMP) provides an overview of key performance goals and metrics that you’ll be tracking over a period of time, and is designed to be shared widely throughout your organisation. By creating an AMP, you improve communication between different stakeholders at all levels of the organisation and open up opportunities for increased collaboration in future management decisions.
Remain People Focused
In an industry that is increasingly trending towards automation, one of
the biggest mistakes that a fleet manager can make is to lose sight of the importance of driver behaviour. Once a shipment is on the road, it’s the diver who is responsible for delivering it safely and efficiently, and driver behaviour can have a large impact on your business’ bottom line.
One of the biggest money-wastes in the transportation industry is the excess fuel cost associated with driver idling and aggressive braking and acceleration. Another money-sink is the cost of vehicle repair and re-shipping merchandise after accidents or mishaps on the road. Statistics point time and time again to the importance of proper driver training to operational efficiency in the long term, as it reduces the likelihood of bleeding profit through these blunders.
Curious About Fleet Management Software?
Check out TransVirtual to explore how Fleet Management could benefit your business.