If you’re managing a fleet, you’re juggling a variety of responsibilities; from fuel management to health and safety compliance, vehicle acquisition to maintenance. Fleet management software can help you manage these tasks.
In this article, we will explain what fleet management software does, detail the timeline of the fleet management software history, and describe the features that this type of application can bring to your fleet operation.
Glossary Term: What is Fleet Management Software?
A fleet management software is an application that assists in managing, coordinating, and organizing work vehicles and assets from a central information network. This gives fleet managers the ability to seamlessly manage the entire fleet operation while automating particular tasks.
With this tool, your fleet will see results in improved efficiency, ensured compliance, and reduced costs. Fleet management software records real-time data on vehicle operation, improving efficiency and enhancing employee safety. Some of the documenting data includes speeding, driving routes, work breaks, idling time, and driver profiles.
This application can scan mechanical issues, and remind you about upcoming maintenance schedules so that you’re up to date on your fleet vehicles’ operational status. This mitigates or prevents accidents and vehicle wear and tear in the future. Most fleet management software applications come with functions such as insurance tracking, vehicle acquisition, government regulation, vehicle disposal, and driver license management.
Fleet management software uses vehicle telematics to generate routes that will move your vehicles from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time, or using the least amount of fuel.
Fleet managers are able to add multiple stops or new routes on-the-go, and better plan out which drivers should take on the assignment. There are also remote security features that help find or prevent stolen assets and vehicles using GPS mapping technology. About 30% of the total cost to own a vehicle depends on how the car is driven. This means maintaining the vehicle, avoiding aggressive braking, and other preventative measures will help reduce costs. Fleet management software can track all of these data points for you.
The Evolution of Fleet Management Software
Fleet management software can be purchased through a third-party using a cloud-based application or developed in-house by an IT team. Depending on the route you choose, this can vary in cost and complexity. This type of software first appeared in the 1970s on mainframe computers before moving to personal computers in the 1980s. Over the years, it’s adapted to modern technology and is now available to use on mobile devices.
The Early Days
Initially, vehicles needed to install large, clunky hardware for a vehicle tracking system, which involved a significant amount of manual intervention and wiring. Initial providers were paired with a software that collected data in the terminals inside the cab. Once the data was collected, it was stored onto a server, so that the fleet manager could retrieve the data at a later time. Once the 2000s rolled around, you could access satellite generated data through a browser. Vehicle positions would be updated once every 30 minutes, and refreshes could take up to half a day because of the minimal broadband capacity.
As technology further advanced, two-way communication became possible. Drivers can now easily communicate with fleet managers to ensure smooth operations. Also, satellite capabilities have improved immensely, so that you can see live updates on GPS tracking. This means that dispatch can inform clients of the estimated time of arrival and driver’s status with precision.
Features of a Fleet Management Software
A fleet management system provides an array of features to make your fleet productive. From fuel management to accurate vehicle tracking, we have listed the best features that this type of software has to offer.
GPS Vehicle Tracking
You can install a GPS tracking device in each vehicle so that it can transmit its tracking data via a satellite or cellular network onto your fleet management software. Fleet operators and managers will receive real-time vehicle tracking updates, including data points such as speed, location, idle time, direction, start and stop points, etc. This information is crucial can help you maximize your team’s efficiency.
Route Monitoring and Planning
When it comes to route planning, there are many factors to consider, including a driver’s base location, vehicle capacities, time windows, lunch breaks, expected weather conditions, traffic, and stop durations. This application has the ability to provide alerts for any potential road disruptions, like accidents on the highway. This tool also helps fleet managers and drivers plan efficient routes by figuring out the most fuel-efficient and shortest routes between every stop. Clients benefit as well, as they will have accurate ETAs of their deliveries, ensuring a higher quality experience.
The fuel management feature generates fuel management reports by monitoring the fuel tank. One of the main ways fuel expenses can rack-up is through engine idling. Many drivers will have their truck idle for about six to eight hours a day for over 300 days out of the year, which increases both maintenance and fuel costs. It’s important to reduce and track your idle time to prevent excessive costs. Some states even have an anti-idling law to help protect the environment by limiting the time of idling of a vehicle.
A good fleet management software will alert you regarding routine checkups or urgent repair needs. The application uses utilization analysis to gain insight into the vehicle’s inner workings, then determines whether or not any maintenance is needed. Once vehicle maintenance is complete, fleet management software will automatically log the service, and you’ll have a detailed history regarding that particular vehicle’s maintenance. This data is crucial in analyzing wear and tear tendencies and costs, and in the long term, can help you make effective fleet decisions.