What is a Small Business Fleet

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Introduction

Managing a small business fleet can be difficult. As a fleet manager, you have plenty of responsibilities. Asset reliability should not feature in the list of your concerns, though. 

Tracking and managing all fleet data is crucial for successful small business fleets, but with outdated systems, attaining full fleet visibility can be a significant challenge. Fleet management software enables fleet management companies to track essential aspects of their fleets.

Understanding Fleet Management

Enterprise fleet varies in size, but a fleet is generally composed of five or more vehicles. Companies with less than 50 vehicles or those that purchase only around five vehicles per year are categorized as small business fleets. There is no line drawn between what type of vehicles qualify to be called a fleet, as they can be trucks, cars, vans, or a mix of all.

Fleet management requires managers to oversee many key areas, such as:

  • Vehicle purchase
  • Maintenance
  • Asset management
  • Safety management
  • Fuel management
  • Insurance
  • Route planning and optimization
  • Vehicle disposal and resale
  • Uplifting

Challenges of Small Business Fleet Management

Small business fleets are faced with numerous challenges. Managers often find themselves juggling numerous roles, some of which have nothing to do with their fleet vehicles. In some cases, matters fleet management is handled by rookies, meaning maintaining an efficient fleet is a significant challenge.

For efficient vehicle tracking, minimal downtime, and cost control, a robust management system is vital. However, this is not as straightforward as it might sound; maintaining a functional fleet management system requires a lot of background knowledge and professionalism.

The use of outdated methods still holds back small businesses. Managing your fleet with spreadsheets and cumbersome paperwork causes communication breakdowns, unnecessary downtime, and excessive expenses that could easily have been avoided.

Controlling your bottom line remains one of the most critical aspects of fleet management. The inability to easily track and analyze fleet data makes it difficult for you to realize your fleet’s total cost of ownership (TCO). Without this figure, it can be difficult to avoid making critical errors throughout your fleet operations.

The Solution

Small business fleet managers have much to gain from using modern fleet management tools. With fleet management software, managers can maintain track of operating costs, keep fleet data within a centralized system, and automate all important processes with ease.

Optimizing and automating your fleet operations with the right software frees up valuable time, allowing you to focus on getting your bottom line rightfully. Below, we look at four helpful tips that can improve your fleet management.

#1. Automate All Fleet Processes

Using outdated analog data systems makes it difficult - sometimes impossible - for fleet managers to track their business assets. Combining spreadsheets and piling paperwork wastes a lot of time that can be used to complete other tasks. To alleviate these challenges once and for all, small business fleets can leverage fleet management software.

Fleet management software is the ultimate solution for fleet automation and streamlining data. Using all fleet data, from inspection and maintenance to fuel costs, you easily create automated processes that save you time and resources.

In addition, automating workflows and storing all fleet data in a centralized system enhances company asset health, staff productivity, and fleet efficiency. 

#2. Manage Issues Electronically

As a fleet manager, it is your responsibility to ensure drivers are completing vehicle inspections and keeping vehicles safe and DOT-compliant. Vehicle inspections form the basis of an efficient preventive maintenance program, where uncovering vehicle issues jumpstarts the repair process.

Each small business fleet has unique needs and having a configurable vehicle inspection report ensures fleet managers obtain the most relevant vehicle data. This data is, therefore, used to manage underlying issues as they develop, reducing vehicle downtime.

Fleet management software allows users to perform electronic inspections on mobile apps for efficient and accurate communication.

#3. Track Your Fleet’s TCO

The ultimate measurement of your business performance is your bottom line. When you know the total cost of ownership of your fleet, you will be able to control expenses and make decisions based on real-time data.

Determining operating costs manually leaves huge margins of error, something you cannot afford as a fleet manager. Fleet management software is that it aggregates all fleet data and calculates TCO in easily-comprehensible reports. Your fleet’s TCO is crucial in understanding your ROI and ensuring you make the best decisions for the sake of your business.

Fuel and maintenance are the most expensive variable fleet costs, but you can reduce these expenses with detailed fleet management software reports. Your TCO and ROI can be improved by implementing preventive maintenance schedules and fuel management systems.

#4. Create Maintenance Workflows

In small business fleet management, you must take a proactive stance on maintenance. For your business’s smooth operation, all your assets must be in top condition, and that can only be achieved where there is a strong maintenance program.

Fleet maintenance software helps you create robust maintenance workflows to reduce downtime and streamline processes, whether your maintenance is done in-house or carried out by a third-party.

Get on Top of Things with Azuga Fleet Management Software

A small business fleet is likely to be mismanaged, as much effort is directed towards achieving other company goals. Where outsourcing fleet management services could prove costly for a growing business, the Azuga fleet management software makes work easier.

Get every detail tracked, analyzed, and reported in real-time to improve road safety, accountability, and overall efficiency around your fleet. With better reliability and thoroughly optimized operations, you reduce expenses and increase productivity. 


Get a free demo and see how your small business fleet can benefit by using fleet management software.

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Multi-Drop Route Planning

A multi-drop route planner is a process that plans a route for a driver to make more than two deliveries in multiple locations. It uses vehicle routing software to collect and analyze thousands of data points and determine the best delivery route. This route planning software can plan, re-route, and reschedule without causing any danger to the driver, environment, or business. It considers many factors, such as the number of distribution centers, warehouses, or residential areas a driver has to visit, resource availability, and driver safety. 

How Does Multi-Drop Route Planning Work? 

The route optimization software tracks the vehicle while factoring in when deliveries need to arrive. Of course, a human being should ensure that everything has been planned out properly, but the process should be automatic. Both this person and the system should look at distances, travel time, and fuel consumption. 

Once a route is set, the route optimization software compiles data to choose the best vehicle and driver depending on the delivery. It uses data based on the route and the client’s needs. At this point, it also considers the driver’s hours and weather conditions to determine how much time is needed. These systems need to work in real-time to ensure that managers and clients can connect with up-to-date information. 

Benefits of Multi-Drop Route Planning

There are various benefits to multi-drop route planning. It maximizes productivity, keeps fuel costs low, promotes driver safety, and helps businesses stay compliant with federal driver hour regulations. Your business will save money by using its drivers effectively and not using as much fuel. 

Where to Get Multi-Drop Route Planning Software

If you’re looking for this software, you don’t need to search any further! Azuga’s route optimization software allows for multiple stops. It provides the best routes based on historical data, traffic conditions, weather conditions, and machine learning that helps it create the best routes for you in real-time. See what you can do with route planning software by trying out a demo today!

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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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