How to Determine if a Fleet Management Company Is Right for You

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Introduction

Medium to large businesses have the potential to reap massive benefits from working with reputable fleet management companies (FMCs). As a fleet owner, understanding what to expect from organized management is the first step towards enjoying optimum benefits. Each FMC is unique from the other, and understanding their offerings should guide you to choose the best one.

What are Fleet Management Companies?

Fleet management companies oversee a host of essential tasks on behalf of a commercial fleet. They handle fleet maintenance and general performance to improve business productivity, work towards fleet safety, and minimize operating costs.

Truck fleet management is a process that takes a hands-on administrative approach, enabling companies to work with fleet vehicles to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure full compliance with government regulations. Fleet management also helps with tracking mechanical diagnostics and monitoring driver behavior. Special fleet management software makes it possible for FMCs to track vehicles from a central point, but essentially, it helps to ensure proper vehicle use.

Determining the Right Fleet Management Company – Key Benefits to Guide You

A committed FMC takes company priorities seriously and takes good care of your fleet. Look for a company with the sole goal of improving the efficiency and performance of your business. Every fleet owner draws a list of priorities. Some intend to reduce their cost of ownership or fuel costs, while others want more efficient fleets or both. It is the responsibility of fleet management companies to identify the most strategic solutions for client needs.

Does Your FMC Reduce Costs?

The purchasing price of a vehicle is often seen as a good deal, but in reality, you are always paying extra for the dealer to earn some commission. But how can a fleet management company ensure you get the best deal? Existing relationships with manufacturers and dealerships ensure brokerage fees are minimized, resulting in lower vehicle purchase costs, and ultimately much lower total ownership costs.

That’s not all – a good fleet management company can save you money on fuel and fleet maintenance costs, as well as other expenses related to running your fleet. Reducing your total ownership cost allows you to direct your money to other equally important budget items.

Does Your FMC Provide Efficient Management and Support?

Handling fuel costs, upgrades, and general maintenance can take a lot of time if you manage your fleet on your own. Getting overwhelmed means the job won’t be done satisfactorily.

Delegating those duties to fleet management companies comes with huge benefits to the company. First, it frees up the person or team previously responsible for fleet management, allowing them to dedicate their energy to other areas.

Secondly, fleet management companies are afforded the platform to implement unique solutions for business. For instance, companies without proper tracking for fuel and other service fleet costs can benefit from innovative solutions only available from these companies.

How to Choose the Right Fleet Management Company

There are several aspects that businesses should look for when sourcing the ultimate fleet management company. Below, we take a comprehensive look at the qualities to consider when choosing the right partners, and the criteria to use.

The Ideal Fleet Management Company Must Be Flexible

Fleet management companies operate differently, and while some might be open to making changes in their operations to incorporate varying customer needs, others are too rigid. Clients need partners who are flexible and willing to listen to their preferences.

Flexibility could also mean the ability to respond to emergencies quickly. For example, in the event of a roadside emergency, clients need to know that their FMC has someone working to get the vehicle back on the road.

To help you identify a flexible fleet management company, ask the following questions:

  • What process do they use to deal with unexpected issues for clients?
  • What communication medium do they use to communicate with their clients regularly?
  • How do they deal with complex client requests?

The Ideal Fleet Management Company Has Expertise with Your Business Type

Truck fleet management is a broad industry, and not every FMC will be able to meet your needs. Some specialize in areas that do not match yours, and they may not be the ideal partners for your type of business. A company that primarily works with long-haul fleets won’t be a good choice for a local service business and vice versa.

Seek answers from the start. Ask the sales representative about their area of expertise and talk with them about what you do. Some of the standing principles of fleet management are consistent across industries, but understanding specific industry needs and trends gives FMCs an edge in terms of reducing operating costs.

During your first interaction with the FMC sales representative, ask the following questions to determine their understanding of your specific industry:

  • Do they have experience dealing with fleets in your industry?
  • Ask for case studies to show their experience and success in fleet management in your specific industry.
  • Request referrals or testimonials from previous clients in your industry.

The Ideal FMC Values Client Relationships

Most businesses are apprehensive about handing over control of their fleet. There is always the doubt that the FMC you approach may not quite be up to the task, and would not be able to fulfill their promises.

To that effect, establishing a strong client-FMC relationship – by checking in regularly, following through on promises, and ensuring that the client is content with how their fleet is managed – is an essential quality of a good fleet management company.

To help you determine the kind of client relationship to expect, here are important questions you must find out:

  • How they would describe their relationship with their clients.
  • What a client would tell a colleague regarding the relationship they have with them.
  • How they determine whether a client is content or unhappy with their services.

Customer service is paramount in successful fleet management, and your FMC should be willing to train your team on how to use their GPS fleet tracking platform.

Potential Pitfalls of Outsourcing Fleet Management

We discussed some of the benefits above, but it wouldn’t be fair to skip over the very real negatives of using a fleet management company. 

The main one to watch for is the lack of integration within your firm. The drivers communicate with each other in a certain way and have camaraderie. Having outsiders manage them may cause social friction, and there are some insights that won’t be picked up from the outside.

Additionally, there are considerable benefits to having someone in-house that knows how your company works. When new deals come through or there are changes happening in processes within your company, this person will be able to observe and react, rather than waiting to be updated as a fleet management company would. 

The final problem is the lack of accountability that fleet management companies have. An in-house operator feels more obligation to do a great job and will pay more attention to risk and costs. This is in sharp contrast to someone who doesn’t know your team and likely has several other fleet clients to juggle. 

Azuga – The Ultimate Solution for Fleet Management Companies

Azuga offers plenty of fleet management solutions, all of which use technology to facilitate more efficient operations. These products include fleet and asset tracking.

With Azuga GPS fleet tracking software, fleet managers can easily track their vehicles wherever they are. Also, they collect valuable data through special vehicle diagnostics that make maintenance and reporting easily manageable. The devices collect data every step of the way, including driver actions and alerts, which enhance driver efficiency and road safety.

Conclusion

Finding the right fleet management company that is flexible to your specific needs is a massive step in your business. A company that shares your business goals and invests its energy and resources to help you achieve them is what you should look for, no matter how much time you spend. Profitability is not everything without the peace of mind to deliberate on other essential aspects of a business.

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Fleet Dispatching

If you manage a fleet, you probably already understand the delicate dance that is fleet dispatching. If not, you may not realize just how crucial this process is to the success of any fleet-based business. 

What Is Fleet Dispatching?

Simply put, fleet dispatching is the process by which commercial fleet drivers are sent out into the field to make deliveries, service customers, and handle other business-related tasks. But it involves so much more than simply telling drivers, “you go there.” Good fleet dispatching may also involve considerations for traffic conditions, road hazards, driver skill sets, customer preferences, and onboard equipment. When done correctly, it’s a skillful juggling act that helps a business reach its daily goals. When poorly handled, it can be a disaster for all concerned.

What Is a Fleet Dispatcher?

A fleet dispatcher is a person in charge of scheduling and arranging dispatch for a commercial fleet. Small fleets may have a single dispatcher to manage all calls, while larger enterprise fleets may employ an entire team. 

A fleet dispatcher must clearly understand schedules and routes, job proficiencies, fuel management, fleet maintenance, and regulations related to hours of service and other fleet compliance issues. A good fleet dispatcher knows the drivers in the fleet well and can anticipate their scheduling needs and which jobs they are most suited to handle. Fleet dispatchers must be masters of communication and have elite organizational skills.

Fleet Dispatch Software from Azuga

Fleet dispatching is as much an art as a science, and it can be overwhelming at times. The best way to support the fleet dispatchers on your team is to give them tools and technology that make the job easier. Fortunately, Azuga offers the answers to all of your fleet dispatching conundrums

Our GPS Fleet Tracking software can keep track of all the vehicles in your fleet along with large equipment and other assets. Dispatchers can use this information to see which vehicles are nearby when a job pops up. What’s more, we offer top-notch route optimization tools to help guide drivers around road construction, accidents, and other hazards that might prevent them from getting to their destination on time. We can even help you schedule routine maintenance, promote road safety, and automatically deliver dispatch notifications to drivers in the field. 

Learn about all the ways Azuga Fleet can help your commercial fleet stay productive and efficient while simplifying maintenance schedules and creating a culture of safety on the road. Schedule an Azuga demo today!

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Last Mile Delivery

Last mile delivery is the step in delivery when something moves from a transportation hub to its final destination, such as a residence or a retail store. This step must be as quick and efficient as possible to ensure that customers are satisfied, and products move as much as possible. What is last mile delivery, and how can businesses perfect it? 

Steps of Last Mile Delivery

There are five steps to last mile delivery to go through to ensure it is accurate and efficient. 

  1. Enter orders into a centralized system
    You've been tracking the order all along. At this point, the customer is most likely also tracking it through a tracking number. It’s essential that you track the order to know precisely where it is if they have any questions along the way. 
  1. Orders arrive at the transportation hub. 
    Last mile delivery begins at this step. From here, the business must ensure that the order gets to the customer as quickly and efficiently as possible. 
  1. Designate delivery personnel. 
    Designate delivery personnel to deliver the parcel using a last-mile logistics solution. 
  1. Load orders onto delivery vehicles. 
    Scan each item before loading them onto the delivery vehicles. This is an important part of tracking as it updates the sender and the recipient as to the order's status. You don’t want anything to get lost along the way. 
  1. The order reaches the recipient. 
    Once the order reaches the customer, the last mile delivery process is complete. Be sure to update the tracking information to indicate the item has been delivered. 

Last Mile Delivery Challenges

Big-name companies like Amazon and Walmart are replacing last mile delivery with middle mile delivery. With middle mile delivery, the company owns the fulfillment, so the delivery process goes from the port to the fulfillment center. The problem with last mile delivery is that it is expensive: it can account for 53% of a shipment’s total costs. Supply chain inefficiencies are increasing as need grows, and so costs are only going up. It’s vital to optimize last mile delivery if you want to use it for your business. 

How to Optimize Last Mile Delivery

Technology is the answer to optimizing last mile delivery. Route planning software, for example, can minimize delivery costs and cut the time that it takes to deliver. Auto dispatching also helps to cut down on mistakes and time. Finally, gathering data and getting detailed reports can help identify problems in your operations and tell you how to improve upon your weaknesses. Fleet management software like Azuga offers all of these features and more to help optimize your last mile delivery options. 

Conclusion

Last mile delivery is still the standard way smaller businesses do their deliveries, and Azuga makes it possible to keep last mile delivery, even while competing with big retailers. Find out more about Azuga by reading our blog or visiting our website.

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Last Mile Carrier

Last mile carriers are the shipping companies that carry out last mile deliveries. Examples of last mile carriers include UPS, FedEx, USPS, and regional carriers. Last mile delivery is the step in delivery when something moves from a transportation hub to its final destination, which may be a residence or a retail store. Last mile carriers offer many benefits, which we will outline below. 

Tracking

Many last mile carriers allow customers to track their package on a map or see how many stops away it is. Other providers give customers a very specific estimated arrival time. Previously, it could only be estimated within windows of several hours, so this is an impressive and essential feat for customer service. 

Ability to Communicate with the Driver

If anything is needed when delivery drivers are on the road, it used to be impossible to get in touch with them. Now, apps allow customers to communicate directly with their drivers to update them on any changes that come up during the delivery window. 

SMS Updates

One benefit of tracking drivers is sending SMS updates if a package is ever delayed, and even update customers on when it arrives so they can plan their day accordingly. They no longer need to worry about expensive packages being lost or stolen, since they can pick them up right away. It’s ideal for keeping customers updated and satisfied. 

Delivery Ratings

Customers can rate how their deliveries went and leave feedback that delivery companies can use to improve their methods and improve customer service even further. Customers appreciate their voices being heard, and companies need to hear how their employees are doing. 

Conclusion

Last mile carriers are an integral part of the last mile delivery system. Last mile fleets must have the technology to track delivery drivers and update customers with necessary information. Azuga offers this technology and more to help streamline operations and keep everything running smoothly with the entire last mile delivery process. Find out more on our website.

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