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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 solution 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.
Electronic Logging Devices or ELDs mandates are in full swing with the hard enforcement date passed, which will hopefully eliminate Form & Manner errors completely. ELD paperless logbooks 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 sign off previous reports. Data is automatically uploaded, which means repairs 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 Hino, Volvo Trucks and Mack and pre-wire option with Freightliner
Traditional telematics used to require that fleet owners 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. Predictive 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 Hino, Volvo and Mack, fleet owners are getting a far more accurate picture of how their trucks are performing, as well as early indicators of upcoming maintenance.
This advance notice gives 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 identify trends that can be valuable when purchasing new vehicles or 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 a fleet of trucks 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.