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What is fleet management?

By Simon Austin September 8, 2020

Everything you need to know

At times, ensuring that a business’s fleet operations are running safely and efficiently can be a big challenge. That’s where fleet management can often help, by serving to improve process and productivity whilst also promoting the safety of vehicles and drivers.

Furthermore, fleet management can benefit businesses of any size run a more efficient fleet, increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction.

Before going into depth about the various technologies involved, let’s first start by understanding exactly what fleet management is.

Fleet management in a nutshell

Fleet management is the process of managing and organising commercial vehicles. The most basic function of this is vehicle tracking, which works thanks to telematics. This allows a fleet manager to track the location, behaviour and condition of their vehicles. Fleets can then be organised accordingly to help improve safety and help mitigate risks. In some industries, fleet management also takes the form of asset tracking, for managing equipment such as cranes, bulldozers, trailers and specialist tools.

The overall goal of fleet management is to increase efficiency and productivity, while improving the safety of drivers and vehicles. This can be achieved by using a combination of vehicle tracking, fuel consumption reporting, driver monitoring and vehicle maintenance management.

How does the process work?

Fleet tracking software is at the heart of the process. This is based on a GPS system that works through either GPRS, satellite, radio or a combination of all three. Satellite communications tend to be the most expensive data transmission method, but it’s the most effective choice for tracking vehicles in remote locations where the cellular signal is weak. Satellite is also critical for tracking vehicles that travel into terrains in which the geography limits the capabilities of a GPRS signal.

Let’s now take a more detailed look at some of the specific functions of a fleet management system and how it works:

  • Vehicle tracking: Internet-based tracking devices allow the fleet manager to view the exact position of every vehicle in the fleet. In the event of a mishap, they can send help and restore services as quickly as possible, potentially reducing delays for customers.
  • Vehicle status notifications: Receive updates on the status of a vehicle. These include notifications regarding speeding, non-arrivals, lengthy stops and unauthorised vehicle access.
  • Points of interest: Search for and identify useful locations near where you make regular customer visits—the closest petrol station, for example. Analysing these routes can help you improve efficiency and the service you offer customers.
  • Communication with the driver: Send instructions, orders and messages about specific routes or new destinations directly to the driver. The driver can respond to messages and confirm instructions.
  • Assess driving behaviours: To understand potential problem areas, managers can study data on fuel consumption, speed, braking and engine use. This data can then be used to educate and coach drivers appropriately.
  • Driver statistics: Track various employee statistics for the entire workforce. These include the number of hours worked and time spent on travel, which help to manage productive time and preserve worker safety, with the appropriate hours of work and rest.
  • Route planning: With near real-time traffic information, fleet managers can develop and adjust route plans to help bypass traffic jams and avoid late arrivals

The key benefits 

Fleet management technology can benefit businesses and enhance their fleet operations in a number of key areas.

1. Helps promote a safer working environment 

Fleet management has the potential to create a safe environment for workers. By monitoring driver behaviour, fleet managers can find areas of concern and implement training and education initiatives accordingly. Meanwhile, monitoring vehicle conditions helps you to maintain the vehicles in the fleet so that they remain safe to use. These positive factors can have the knock-on effect of helping to enhance the day-to-day experience for a workforce, increase their satisfaction, work effort and efficiency.

2. Helps reduce fuel consumption and fleet maintenance costs

Fleet management technology gives managers the chance to spot issues with fleet performance early and identify cost savings. Track mileage and other company vehicle performance indicators on your dashboard, making it easy to identify maintenance and fuel needs. This can help to significantly increase the lifespan of fleet vehicles and decrease downtime.

3. Improves reporting 

Analyse your fleet’s performance over time. See important trends for each team, department or across the entire fleet. Our customisable dashboards make it easy to review your progress towards KPIs or budgets, with near real-time fleet analytics provided by our fleet tracking system. Among other factors, these analytics include distance travelled, total idling time, stops duration, vehicle activity (hours worked) and harsh driving.

4. Increases customer satisfaction

Customers can benefit from fleet management solutions too. Bookings and appointment reminders are simplified and notifications are sent to help provide the best possible customer service experience. Customers can track their ordered goods or services and receive more accurate status updates and ETAs.

Hear what our customers have to say today

Simon Austin

Simon is the Marketing Manager for UK & Ireland, Verizon Connect. With over 12 years marketing experience in the IT software and business analytics industry, Simon believes passionately in the power of data and how it can help business realise their full potential.

Tags: Cost control, Customer service, Data & analytics, Dispatching & scheduling, Payroll, Productivity & efficiency, Safety, Team management

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