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Nine Ways to Make Truck Fleet Management Smarter

By Kevin Aries February 1, 2021

There are plenty of fleet management solutions out there but how many are actually suitable for fleets running heavy-duty trucks? The reality is not many, so make sure when you’re looking for a truck fleet management system  that it meets the unique needs of your trucking fleet.

The good news is that truck fleet management is now easier thanks to advancements in technology. We’re seeing improvements in a number of areas that benefit fleet owners managing heavy-duty trucks. Here are nine ways truck fleet management software can help you to run a more profitable and productive fleet, especially with top-ranked solutions, like those available through Verizon Connect.

1. Paperless compliance

HOS logbooks and DVIRs to improve reporting, maximize uptime and reduce admin costs

Many drivers struggle to keep up with the paperwork, something indicated by DOT data that shows Form & Manner errors (incorrect or incomplete HOS logbooks) top the list when it comes to non-compliance.

The roll out of Electronic Logging Devices as required by the ELD mandate is now  complete with the AOBRD transition period over. ELD paperless log books can be set to automatically collect driving data, allowing drivers to maximize driving time by recording in single-minute units, not the traditional 15-minute increments. Roadside inspections are often quicker and more efficient too.

DVIRs can now be completed electronically using only a smartphone to capture necessary information and photo evidence, and to sign off previous reports. Data is automatically uploaded, which means vehicle maintenance  can be scheduled and new parts ordered sooner.

2. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Drivers can use iOS or Android smartphones and tablets

The BYOD revolution is significantly lowering IT costs for fleets as drivers can use their own iOS (iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch) or Android device. Benefits include lowered hardware costs, minimized training requirements, zero software licensing costs and improved user adoption.

GPS vehicle tracking solutions offer a growing range of mobile apps to cover compliance, navigation, driver behavior, vehicle inspections and work order management. The applications can be installed easily and in many cases don’t require any hardware to be fitted to the vehicle.

It’s an easy way to simplify the number of solutions and devices your mobile employees need to deal with. Keep it all together in a single handheld device and improve the on-the-job experience.

3. Built-in telematics with trucks

Built-in with Ford, Mack, and Volvo and pre-wire options with Freightliner.

Traditional telematics used to require fleet managers  to schedule each truck to be fitted with aftermarket GPS tracking hardware before they could be managed. It meant unwanted downtime, extra administration and additional costs.

Built-in telematics is changing all that by delivering new trucks direct to the buyer with all the necessary hardware installed - you simply need to activate your account online and you have instant truck fleet management.

The built-in option is available now with a growing number of truck manufacturers including Hino, Volvo Trucks and Mack.

The pre-wire option for Freightliner trucks means it’s compatible with our GPS vehicle tracking solution and the hardware installation is straightforward.

4. Truck-specific routes based on load and truck size

Commercial truck drivers need more than just off-the-shelf navigation - they need navigation software that understands the stress of safely maneuvering an 80,000-pound machine from one destination to the next.

GPS vehicle tracking, used by more than 150,000 professional drivers throughout North America (and growing globally), offers a number of significant advantages to keep driver stress to a minimum and get them to their next waypoint with maximum efficiency and safety.

  • Truck-specific routing: Avoid roads with weight limits or low bridges. Comply with HAZMAT restrictions.
  • POI database: More than 10 million POIs (and growing) to highlight safe places for drivers to pull off the road including rest stops and safe overnight parking areas.
  • Real-world views: Realistic maps that simulate the next turn helping to prepare drivers for what’s coming next and react safely.
  • Trade routes: Some trucking companies use trade routes, which are generally not shown on regular consumer maps/navigation systems.
  • Road updates: Get up-to-the-minute notification of any road closures or detours. Verified feedback also helps drivers to respond better to route changes.
  • Custom messages: Location-aware custom messages can be added to alert the driver with information as they need it.
  • Correct-side approach: Minimize hazardous turns by making sure destinations are always on the correct side of the road.

Don’t risk the safety of your drivers with anything less than the best truck navigation your fleet can afford - it’s one of the most effective safety measures you can take.

5. Private yard mapping for turn-by-turn directions right to the loading dock

Most navigation software will get you to the street address but for commercial truck drivers that’s not always enough. Sites allows private roads, shopping centers and shipping yards to be mapped and included as part of the turn-by-turn directions given to drivers. Include helpful information such as gate codes, recommended entry and exit or potential hazards.

With the last mile being the most costly and often the most dangerous, comprehensive driver navigation that gets the truck to its final stopping point is a valuable asset for any commercial fleet.

6. Preventive maintenance to maximize uptime

Advanced telematics is providing fleet maintenance managers with a wealth of new diagnostic data on the mechanical health and performance of their trucks.

Combined with the exclusive OEM data provided from mid-size and heavy truck manufacturers such as Volvo and Mack, fleet owners are getting a far more accurate picture of how their work trucks are performing, as well as early indicators of upcoming maintenance.

This advance notice gives fleet service centers time to order necessary parts, schedule the work and correct any minor issues before they become a problem.

The extra vehicle health data is also helping companies analyze their fleets to help planning for vehicle lifecycles  or when developing best practice guidelines.

7. Trailer tracking to monitor location, movement and door-open events

Robust, battery-powered GPS tracking hardware can be attached to trailers to monitor real-time location, movement and even when the doors are opened.

24/7/365 trailer monitoring improves security and the GPS coordinates allow you to direct drivers to a specific trailer if it needs moving.

A GPS vehicle tracking application allows you to see where all your trailers are located on the map, search for them by tag and see them in relation to other assets.

Rules and geofences can be setup so in the event of trailer activity you can be automatically notified, such as when a trailer leaves a yard.

8. ETA notifications to work efficiently with shippers/receivers

Accurate ETAs allow you to make reliable appointments with shippers and receivers to avoid bottlenecks and improve through-put. Back-office and dispatch teams get a clear view of what trucks are arriving where, and when.

Trucking fleets can share this ETA information with their clients to help them coordinate deliveries and pick-ups. Quicker turnaround keeps drivers productive which is important because if the wheels aren’t turning, you’re not earning.

9. Geofence alerts for automatic proof of delivery and faster turnaround

A geofence is like a virtual perimeter that surrounds a specific location. Using GPS tracking, it allows you to detect when a vehicle, employee or mobile asset enters or exits the area, and has a lot of exciting applications.

One way geofences can be used is to automatically confirm a delivery; when a GPS-tracked truck exits the delivery location the job is electronically tagged as completed. This event can be used to trigger other actions such as billing or dispatch of the next job.

Because it all happens automatically, it cuts down on the paperwork and pencil whipping that can often slow down the arrival and departure of your trucks.

We make fleet management easy

Managing fleet vehicles  often presents its own unique challenges. Fortunately, we’re up for all of them and continue to develop solutions customized to the specific needs of trucking fleets. We take it a step further by looking after the needs of truck drivers as well by providing easy ways to make their job easier, less stressful and safer.

Talk to us about your requirements and we’ll get you on the road to smarter truck fleet management.

Kevin Aries

Kevin Aries leads Global Product Success for Verizon Connect, helping build software solutions that optimize the way people, vehicles and things move through the world.

Tags: Cost control, Customer Service, Dispatching & Scheduling, Field management, Payroll, Productivity & Efficiency, Routing, Safety, Team Management, Vehicle Maintenance

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