A fleet management solution (FMS), either a stand-alone software application or a cloud solution, allows controlling and improving fleet-related activities within a single platform. Fleet management solutions help managers optimize their most vital operation duties, organize supply chain and equipment inventory, and automate fleet management processes from end to end.
However, as of 2022, picking up a fleet management system may be challenging as there’s quite a number of viable options in the market. In this article, we’re going to find out what integral features to look for when evaluating modern fleet management software.
In fact, the functionality of a fleet management platform largely depends on a fleet’s specifics but also on a company’s needs to coordinate its transport-related activities. These tasks may include vehicle financing, vehicle maintenance, driver management, fuel management, vehicle control (vehicle tracking and diagnostics), and many other activities.
Key modules of a fleet management system (and what they do)
First, let's keep in mind that a modern fleet management solution is an amalgam of in-vehicle hardware (such as driver cameras or electronic logging devices) and software, and fleet management maintenance won’t come cheap. No wonder you may be thinking about whether you really need to invest in a fleet management system in the first place.
Our answer is a resounding “yes,” but we’ll talk about benefits later on. However, before choosing a solution, make sure the solution you’re trying out has all it takes to cover the main needs of your fleet.
Tracking and route management
Using GPS technology, a fleet management solution allows fleet managers to see where vehicles are at any time, efficiently plan routes and minimize vehicle downtime.
Depending on how you process this data, vehicle tracking can be active or passive. Passive tracking is the data collected using an installed device in a truck, such as the location history of a vehicle. In its turn, real-time fleet location data allows active tracking, even in video format. In other words, FMS provides fleet operators with accurate information on what happens to trucks between loading and unloading.
With such insights at hand, fleet operators can make quick decisions that improve efficiency and safety on a 24/7 basis. Route management is essential for companies willing to organize effective communication between drivers and fleet operators. For instance, some GPS trackers can automatically determine the location of vehicles closest to any address which facilitates the work of fleet operators.
In addition to planning routes and travel times, some fleet management platforms provide real-time traffic updates. Fleet dispatchers use these insights to alert drivers of unexpected traffic conditions, such as toll roads, and redirect them if necessary. All in all, efficient route management measures help improve driver and vehicle safety, save fuel costs, and optimize drivers' schedules, resulting in a better customer experience thanks to on-time deliveries.
Nowadays, fuel costs are the most expensive operating expense for fleet owners. The American Transportation Research Institute report indicates that as much as 24% of overall fleet expenses qualify as related to fuel consumption. Therefore, proper fuel management techniques can save money for fleet owners. With a robust FMS, fleet managers can:
- control information on fuel consumption, refueling locations, and much more;
- monitor and report fuel consumption by vehicle;
- plan refueling locations;
- be aware of suspicious fuel consumption that may indicate fraud or theft.
Overall, the fuel management function will result in less spending on fuel paired with an optimized driving experience. Fuel management measures are especially beneficial for large fleets employing long-haul drivers as fuel costs increase due to the frequency or length of trips.
Are you interested in more insights on the topic? Check out our article on controlling fuel management costs.
Road driving and speed control
Tracking your driver's behavior can help you estimate the effectiveness of your planned routes and be proactive. For instance, operators can send alerts when drivers exceed a certain planned parameter on their way. Fleet operators get notifications on, say, alarming driving behavior such as speedy acceleration, harsh braking, or high RPM. Speed control affects fuel consumption, so when planning routes, fleet managers should consider speed limits when planning routes and time schedules.
Plus, such metrics stimulate driver training, and it gets easier to implement a safety policy within your fleet. After all, driving at excessive speed increases fuel consumption and results in paying more traffic fines. In the worst case, unreasonable speed can jeopardize the safety of both drivers and vehicles.
Driving behavior has a huge impact on driving in terms of fuel cost, maintenance, and road safety. Therefore, implementing a driving policy within your company will help you reduce fuel costs and possible accidents with associated costs. Fleet managers can monitor and control driver behavior effectively by collecting driver performance data such as speed, routes, and brakes.
Security and safety
Fleet management software assists drivers with any safety issues on the road. It’s simple yet vital. Sure thing, even modern monitoring systems can’t provide full-fledged diagnostics. However, you can detect malfunctions in the electrics or the fuel systems. For instance, you get notifications when running out of fuel or when there’s a difference in tire pressure. Such preemptive control measures translate into safety, improved bottom line, and better customer service.
Choosing custom over out-of-the-box
Naturally, each fleet is different in size and business model, so there's no one-size-fits-all solution, whether it's custom or boxed. Anyway, here at Akveo, we root for custom solutions and here’s a bunch of “why’s”. While packaged solutions cost less, there’s no doubt that solutions developed according to a business’ specific requirements perform best. That is to say, custom fleet management platforms provide managers with complete control over their fleets. Such solutions help to improve day-to-day business operations, introduce safety measures and keep an eye on drivers and trucks.
However, it would be fair to say that custom software works best for large companies, while boxed solutions are sufficient for small fleets. One way or another, in regard to the growing competition in the T&L industry, managing a fleet is a time-consuming business if you don't use the latest technology. Our experience allows us to develop reliable fleet management solutions for big and small fleets.
As custom-made software enthusiasts, we can develop a fleet management solution that aligns with your exact business needs and requirements. Compatible with all mainstream Internet browsers, our custom-built fleet management solutions are web/mobile-friendly and accessible from personal computers, smartphones, or tablets.
A robust fleet management system reveals multiple actionable data insights on both drivers and assets (if you’re interested in knowing more about 5 critical metrics every fleet manager needs to track, check out this article). The goal is to compare current data with data collected in the past to evaluate improvements and inefficiencies. Based on a proper analysis, fleet owners can implement a detailed optimization strategy and make the fleet more efficient. Measuring fleet management KPIs can also help evaluate the performance of a newly implemented system or process, which can help companies make better decisions about the return on such investments.
Considering all above, we can conclude that a company investing in a transport management system benefits from:
- Cost reduction. Effective cost management is essential for fleets of all sizes regarding the growing industry competition. Fleet management solutions help streamline operational expenses and budget. In fact, by comparing vital financial metrics, it gets easier to adjust your spending and related processes;
- Improved customer service and flexibility. Streamlined logistics and reporting management processes result in better customer experience and an increased level of flexibility when it comes to updating delivery plans;
- Safety. If the sensors indicate the likelihood of an imminent breakdown, the FMS will warn the engineer, so upon the arrival, it will be possible to carry out timely repairs.
- Easy installation and use. Most fleet management platforms are user-friendly and require no specific knowledge from anyone using it.
Fleet Management Software Comparison Table
As said earlier, with the variety of platforms in the market, it may take some time to choose the right solution. Here at Akveo, our team wanted to make the process a bit easier. Download the Fleet Management Software Comparison Table, which includes a curated list of available software and their specifications.
Disclaimer: the PDF file you’re about to download hasn’t been made to favor one particular solution over another but rather weight up their pros and cons.
To Sum Up
The need to adhere to regulations, growing competition, and adoption of cloud computing drive the growth of fleet management software. According to ResearchAndMarkets report, the fleet management market is estimated to reach $33.1 Bn by 2025 globally, growing at a 12% CAGR.
Regarding the benefits of FMS, it’s advisable to keep the following features in mind when evaluating a solution. Anyways, the adoption of a fleet management system might be one of the most influential business decisions for gaining the upper hand over competitors. Within the T&L industry, businesses that invest in recent technology get a high ROI out of their investment, and it won’t take ages to see the results.
Once up and running, a robust and reliable fleet management platform drastically optimizes fleet efficiency. With the right data at hand, fleet operators have a clear picture of what’s going on inside their fleets. These solutions help companies in drawing the most efficient schemes based on various specifications such as the number of stops, route and transportation costs, customers’ suggestions, and much more.
P.S If you've chosen to develop your own fuel management software internally, you need a reliable front-end dashboard. The fleet management template by Akveo provides a nice design for systems of any complexity, so you won’t have to create the UI from scratch. Plus, our development team can help you set up the dashboard to ensure a smooth user experience.
P.P.S The pictures used in this article belong to their respective owners as indicated.
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