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Tracking and managing all fleet data is crucial for successful small business fleets, but with outdated systems, attaining full fleet visibility can be a significant challenge.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.
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:
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The use of outdated methods still holds back small businesses.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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The vehicle miles traveled tax is known by multiple names: the mileage tax, road usage charging (RUC), distance-based user fees (DBUF), vehicle miles traveled tax (VMTT), or mileage-based user fees (MBUF). It is simply a tax based on how many miles a driver travels. It is an excellent option to replace the gas tax as a means to fund the Highway Trust Fund. This fund is how our nation pays for maintaining and building infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, and tunnels.
The gas tax is an antiquated way of funding our infrastructure and has been inadequate for over a decade. It has not kept up with inflation in the last 25 years, causing it to drop in value by over 40%. In the last quarter-century, traffic has only increased as the population has grown. The wear and tear on our infrastructure worsens, but our ability to maintain it can’t keep up.
Furthermore, electric and fuel-efficient cars pay very little, if any, gas tax. They still use the roads and contribute to their degradation, but the drivers do not help pay for their upkeep. While electric and fuel-efficient vehicles are better for the environment, it is still important that these drivers pay their fair share of taxes for the roads.
This tax is already in place in Oregon and Utah on an opt-in basis. Washington, Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, California, Delaware, and Pennsylvania have researched road usage charging programs in their states with success. Oregon’s fully functioning road usage charging program, OReGO, is the leading example of how to implement a mileage tax nationwide.
OReGO uses Azuga Insight to automatically track driver miles and collect revenue without any staff needed or driver intervention. Drivers simply install hardware into their OBD port and set up a wallet online. As they drive, Azuga Insight tracks their miles and removes funds automatically from the wallet.
Participation in OReGO is optional, but drivers have the incentive of not having to pay increased registration fees based on mpg rating. Drivers who opt-in have to meet these vehicle requirements:
OReGO has been implemented smoothly and is easy to sustain.
Roads in poor condition cause 14,000 highway fatalities annually. It’s necessary for communities everywhere to obtain the funding to repair and maintain their roads. Streets all over the country are aging rapidly, and more funding in the Highway Trust Fund would help us stay on top of maintenance before more fatalities happen.
Most drivers will pay the same as they are currently paying under the gas tax, but all drivers will be paying instead of just some. This means that electric vehicles and fuel-efficient vehicles will contribute their fair share as well. Everyone pays for what they use, so drivers who don’t drive very much won’t have to worry about paying very much.
Experts believe that implementing a vehicle miles traveled tax across the US would increase the Highway Trust Fund by $340 million. This would fund improvements to existing infrastructure, along with new infrastructure for areas that have grown in the past 25 years.
The vehicle miles traveled tax is the most likely solution to the issue of our country’s crumbling infrastructure. It may be a long time before it is implemented across the nation, but as states pick it up, it is important to know what it is and how it will affect you. To keep up with the latest updates regarding the vehicle miles traveled tax, follow Azuga Insight’s blog.
Tracking fleet data is vitally important to running a fleet in any industry. Any kind of data can be tracked, from where vehicles are, to what assets a company has on hand, to the safety of drivers and vehicles. All of this information is important for fleet managers to know to make their fleet effective and productive. What is fleet data, and how can it help fleets be more effective?
Keeping up with vehicle maintenance is one of the best ways to keep vehicles on the road for the long haul. With how much time fleets spend driving, wear and tear on a vehicle is inevitable, but fleet managers can reduce this by harnessing telematics and maintenance alerts. Telematics can tell managers when a vehicle has engine trouble or when a driver is being rough on the brakes or idling too much. Managers can also set up maintenance alerts so they do not have to try and remember when each vehicle needs routine maintenance. Preventative maintenance is crucial to a vehicle’s longevity and will help it stay on the road for years to come.
Any fleet’s top priority is safety. Drivers and vehicles are integral to a fleet business’s entire operation, and ensuring that they do their jobs safely is a huge part of a fleet manager’s job. Luckily fleet data can track driver behavior and determine if drivers are behaving safely behind the wheel. Telematics can track actions such as hard braking, rapid acceleration, distracted driving, and speeding. When drivers display any of these behaviors, they will receive an alert. If the behaviors continue, the system will alert the fleet manager, who can then choose to get in touch with the driver. Accidents can cost thousands of dollars, and days of lost time for businesses, so avoiding them is crucial for companies to succeed.
Asset tracking is terrific for preventing theft, but it is also ideal for fleet managers to keep track of what they have on hand in their warehouse. Often, assets and equipment sit unused in a warehouse, taking up space that something practical could be occupying. With asset data, fleet managers can determine what assets the fleet does not use and get rid of them, making room for something that will be more beneficial for the company. Furthermore, knowing what’s on hand prevents double-purchasing, which saves the company money as well.
Tracking fleet data is essential for keeping a fleet productive and effective. It is all part of a fleet manager’s job. Luckily, Azuga has many tools to help with tracking fleet data. Reach out to the experts at Azuga today to find out how to get started gathering data today so that you can do the best for your fleet.
Each driver is required by the law to record a driver’s duty of status every 24 hours, using the structures stipulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). A record of duty status (RODS) can also be referred to as a driver’s log. It allows drivers to record details such as date, vehicle number, totals driving hours, the total number of miles driven within 24 hours, carrier’s name, a 24-hour period starting time, address, driver’s certification/signature, and remarks.
Records can be maintained using an electronic logging device (ELD), using an FMCSA approved automatic on-board recording gadget, or even manually on a grid. Logs must be validated at all times by indicating each change in a duty status.
A RODS is mandatory as part of Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which applies to commercial vehicles (CMVs). However, a few cases of short-haul carriers are exempt from maintaining records of duty status.
Company policies may be different, but the FMCSA only expects drivers to record time and location after every stop.
Since the introduction of the ELD mandate, several motor carriers are leaning toward electronic logging devices to maintain their records of duty status automatically. Companies were given until December 16, 2019 to update automatic on-board recording devices to the latest ones, meaning there were also some exemptions to the ELD Rule.
Exemptions to RODS regulations include the following:
For drivers to qualify for the exemption, they must meet all the requirements stated by the regulations. Failure to meet even one of the requirements means all HOS rules apply.
A driver must produce ELD records when requested by a safety official, either immediately, or within the permissible time if the motor carrier operates from more than one terminal or office. A motor carrier is supposed to retain a back-up copy of all ELD records for at least six months.
Only carriers or drivers falling under the exempted categories may use other recording methods, which may include automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) to maintain driver record of duty status.
Being exempted from the ELD rule does not mean you are automatically exempted from the HOS regulations. A driver is required to submit original paper log sheets to their respective carriers within 13 days after the completion of their trips. The driver retains a copy of all RODS for the previous seven days, which must be produced on request for inspection at the time they are on duty. Drivers must also sign all hard copies of RODS.
The idea behind mandating the ELD rules was to provide accurate, consistent, and accessible methods of logging driver hours of service, and simultaneously create a safer working environment. The new measures were intended to ensure drivers took necessary breaks and rested appropriately, and to ensure they remained alert while driving. Making the switch from manual processes like logbooks to electronic hours of service tools makes it easier for businesses to keep up with the FMCSA requirements.
However, the implementation of electronic logging devices does not change the fleet manager’s responsibility to track off duty or driving hours. What it does require is that you make use of a log tracking device and software system.
The HOS rules apply to drivers operating CMVs such as school buses and semi-trucks. For a vehicle to be classified as a CMV, it must fulfil the following:
If a vehicle meets the qualifications above, it is required by the law to comply with HOS regulations and to maintain decent hours of service log.
Besides ordinary traffic violations and unsafe driving, it is common among drivers to fail to comply with HOS regulations. Hours of Service compliance counts as one of the core basics of CSA, and maintaining a low score is often a result of piling frustrations.
The ability to fix problems associated with hours of service is the most crucial way to keep safety scores in check, and helps in controlling the frequency of roadside inspections.
Below are the most common violations of Hours of Service and how you can fix them.
When entering data manually, issues like mathematical errors, poor handwriting, the omission of essential information, and many other mistakes, may arise. These are issues that can be minimized by implementing an electronic system that automatically fills in the required data when it is needed. Tired drivers can easily leave out essential data, which could be deemed a violation of the hours of service regulations.
The driver record of duty status graph shown on a log must always be up to date, showing each detail of changes. Forgetting, or simply failing to update duty status is common among drivers and leads to severe roadside inspections. It is mostly due to drivers failing on their mandate to remain vigilant by changing statuses.
It is easy to fix this recurring problem with the simple touch of a screen. All drivers have to do is to indicate the time their shifts start, and to change their status to off-duty when shifts end. Electronic logbooks are designed to detect when a vehicle is stationary or in motion, and gives accurate data at all times.
Failing to properly maintain your RODS and not maintaining logs for seven days is a violation that can lead to hefty fines. Drivers of companies running smaller vehicles may not be aware of what is required of them, but they must check with the relevant authorities. Inspectors ask for records of the previous seven days. Therefore, drivers must not misplace any record whatsoever.
Azuga works with you to deliver customized solutions for fleets and drivers. It doesn’t matter the size of your fleet, Azuga offers the right products and technology to duly maintain drivers’ records of duty status and keep you compliant with the hours of service regulations.