What Is Vehicle Fleet Management?

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Introduction 

If you operate commercial vehicles daily, you need to manage your fleet effectively. Vehicle fleet management can be quite challenging. Fleet managers are expected to manage key areas of fleet operations such as vehicle acquisition, regulatory compliance, vehicle maintenance, and fuel management. Luckily, we’ve compiled five tips to help you navigate the process of managing a fleet of any size. 

What Is Vehicle Fleet Management 

Vehicle fleet management is the process of overseeing all fleet maintenance and fleet operations to help increase the business’s efficiency and minimize risks. Any business that uses commercial vehicles daily should employ some form of fleet management.

Fleet managers are hired to be in charge of all facets of fleet activities. This includes: 

  • managing drivers
  • vehicle maintenance
  • negotiating with suppliers
  • route planning
  • asset utilization
  • managing fuel costs
  • overseeing fuel consumption
  • decreasing waste
  • boosting company productivity 

In addition, fleet managers and operators use vehicle fleet management software to help run their operations more efficiently and remain compliant with the ELD mandate. 

Tips on Vehicle Fleet Management 

Vehicle fleet management isn’t easy. There’s a lot of pressure on fleet managers to improve the performance of drivers and their fleet. Although it may sound difficult, following these tips and incorporating fleet telematics tools will help fleet managers excel in their role. 

1. Ensure Driver Safety with Vehicle Tracking Systems 

Reducing the number of accidents will help with the costs of hefty repairs and insurance bills. It can be challenging for fleet managers to keep drivers safe since they are hundreds of miles away from their drivers. 

Fleet managers should utilize vehicle tracking systems and dash cams that provide real-time visibility and incorporate this data into driver training. With vehicle tracking systems, fleet managers can monitor when sharp turns occur, when hard braking happens, view acceleration rates and vehicle speeds in certain areas. This helps you train your drivers to improve poor driving habits and pinpoint areas of concern. As a result of better driving behavior, your fleet will experience lower fuel costs, fewer accidents, and increased longevity due to less wear and tear. 

2. Create Great Workplace Conditions to Retain Drivers 

Driver shortages are becoming an increasing issue in the trucking industry. One survey found that about 57 percent of truck drivers leave their carriers after only six months on the job. You can create a better work environment by earning the trust of your drivers, building a strong mentorship program, actively seeking feedback, and investing in better equipment. 

Ensuring your drivers are happy helps to improve their performance as well. Create an open environment, where fleet managers regularly meet with drivers to discuss performance, share expectations, and voice any concerns. Also, design a more customized mentorship program that suits each driver’s needs. Fleet managers can pair experienced truckers with newer employees to improve drivers’ ability to deal with daily challenges. 

3. Reduce Operating Costs 

Expenses can easily rack-up if you aren’t vigilant and meticulous about spending. Control your budget by keeping track of all vehicle fleet management expenses. Look for potential savings in all departments including fuel, staff, maintenance, vehicle, and other necessary costs. Identify alternative ways to cut down on costs, such as monitoring and encouraging better driving habits from your drivers. Avoiding speeding, excessive idling, and hard braking, as well as removing unnecessary bulk from the trunk of a vehicle can significantly reduce fuel costs. 

Also, consider the operational cost of your vehicles. You may need to switch to alternative fuel types, such as compressed natural gas, or downgrade to more economical models to lower expenses. Even fleet maintenance plays a role in costs. Ensuring that all vehicles have properly inflated tires will lower fuel costs. Keeping tires inflated to the appropriate pressure can improve gas mileage for vehicles by an estimated average of 0.6 percent and up to 3 percent. Under-inflated tires can hurt gas mileage by about 0.2 percent every one psi drop

4. Only Record Relevant Information 

Recording data helps you monitor and measure the performance of your fleet. However, recording everything can lead to an overwhelming amount of data. Information is a helpful tool for managing a safe fleet operation, improving efficiency, ensuring greater accountability, setting objectives, and benchmarking against past performance. The problem is that more information requires greater administration time and resources to manage it. Save time and human labor by only collecting information that is essential to make informed decisions regarding your fleet management’s core functions. This data can be found in the following categories: 

  • Fuel: The fuel transactions; includes fuel type, cost, date, and quantity. 
  • Utilization: The distance that vehicles have traveled; the odometer readings, dates, and times. 
  • Maintenance: The services completed; labor, costs, parts, and services scheduled. 
  • Procurement: The lease or purchase contract details of every vehicle. 
  • Compliance: Compliance documentation, requirements, and dates of compliance events. 
  • Accidents: The driver, liability to the company, cost, and damage. 

The best way to handle fleet data is with a telematics program that provides custom reporting on the above data points. This allows you to tailor the information you receive to only those reports that really make a difference for your unique fleet.

5. Make Vehicle Maintenance Management Accessible and Easy

Drivers tend to neglect or forget about vehicle maintenance. It’s important to make scheduling, reporting, and conducting inspections as convenient as possible. File folders, handwritten notes, and whiteboards are easily neglected. Setting up a cloud-based telematics software with automated service reminders and mobile accessibility will help make scheduling vehicle maintenance easy. 

It’s important to prioritize preventative maintenance. This includes tasks such as vehicle inspections, oil changes, and tire rotation. Proper maintenance routines will significantly reduce untimely repairs and breakdowns. Having a successful fleet maintenance program ensures customer satisfaction, reduced downtime, and improved productivity. 

Conclusion 

Proper vehicle fleet management practices are an essential piece of operating a commercial fleet business. If you’re looking for ways to cut costs, improve productivity, and boost your company’s bottom line, begin by implementing smart technology such as Azuga Fleet. Azuga will help save you hundreds of dollars each year and simplify the process of managing a fleet. 

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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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