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July 24, 2019
Despite sweeping regulatory changes across the fleet industry in the last few years, the majority of field service organizations are still hard at work addressing the time-honored challenges of retaining drivers, maximizing their time and productivity and meeting customer service targets. As a business owner, knowing the ins and outs of every facet of your operation is how you make your hours more productive and your dollars work harder for you.
The prevalence of SaaS transportation software has risen due to the ELD mandate going into effect—and since the full measure of the mandate will come into effect in December 2019, many businesses are in the midst of finding a solution that will be the best use of their resources and will translate into reduced overall costs and ROI.
With many drivers on the road, various customers to notify and detailed electronic logs to keep, managing every moving part of a fleet from fuel consumption to vehicle maintenance leaves ample opportunity for problems to develop. The right SaaS fleet tracking software can help reduce the chance of operational issues that can slow down productivity arising. We’re taking a look at the key benefits of SaaS products from a business owner’s perspective to better understand SaaS fleet management solutions, their key associated benefits and how to make the best decision for the future of your business.
What is SaaS?
Software as a Service marks a shift from traditional software applications that a user pays for up front, installs on their own computer hardware and is infrequently updated, to new delivery and payment methods. SaaS applications are paid for on a monthly or annual basis and delivered over the internet from securely hosted servers and databases to the end user’s internet browser. This allows SaaS applications to be continually updated and improves both data security and access for users. Customers are no longer tied to their desk and physical computer, but can access important business data wherever they are through a mixture of desktop and mobile apps.
What is a SaaS fleet management solution?
A SaaS fleet management solution allows fleet owners and fleet managers with the correct GPS tracking devices installed in their fleet of vehicles to collect driver performance data and vehicle location information into cloud based computer servers, and use these large amounts of information to make data-driven decisions that can help boost fleet efficiency and productivity.
What are the limitations of alternative transportation software solutions?
The modern field service business model calls for a SaaS fleet management system that is responsive, intuitive, and user-friendly enough that your drivers and administrators will be able to navigate tools without error to ensure client service does not suffer as a result. In many cases, while customizable to the unique needs of your business, alternative sources or cobbled-together technologies will not provide the technical support of a company that specializes in fleet management software.
For many fleet owners, a “do-it-yourself” business mentality makes the idea of handling fleet management technology in-house more appealing from a cost savings perspective. However, the reality of cobbling together your own custom tools is that the opportunity for overlap and the probability of gaps in your system are high. Depending on your own software and hardware, lack of support from a specialized team can cause havoc on businesses that depend largely on efficiency and productivity on a daily basis. Additionally, creating your own system for your current fleet can limit your opportunity to scale and increase your fleet when you decide it’s the right time to expand operations.
What are the benefits of a SaaS fleet management solution?
The top reason for choosing to invest in a SaaS fleet management solution is cost. Compared to purchasing your own computer hardware, scheduling regular maintenance, running your own data center and troubleshooting problems as they occur without any support, the investment in a supported solution is worth the money for many fleet owners. Outsourcing software services to a company that specializes in fleet management removes the need to take on costly upfront and recurring investments in data infrastructure.
For one portable restroom and trailer company, the largest benefit of a SaaS system is understanding where drivers are at all times. Additionally, decisions can be made in near real time, routes can be updated and valuable time saved quickly and efficiently. “We get a lot of service calls throughout the day, so I can see where the drivers are exactly to see who's closest to get to that service,” dispatcher Jessica Auger at The Throne Depot says. “With the live mapping features, I’m able to see where all the drivers are at all times.”
- Convenience: SaaS fleet management providers support a wide range of tracking devices, making it easier to use existing hardware or utilize built in tech from partner OEM vehicle manufacturers. Not having to install hardware directly into every single vehicle or piece of heavy equipment saves a lot of time and energy when trying to get an entire fleet onboarded in a short window of time.
- Customer service: As a business owner, you can’t be in more than one place at a time, and your hours are limited when it comes to making sure your clients are receiving the proper care and attention. When managing your fleet, any time that is spent putting out logistics fires and managing mundane tasks that could be automated or, better yet, avoided entirely is a great asset to growing your future business.
- Driver safety & compliance: Driver management is simplified when the right data is on hand to back you up. Reliable data, such as integrated video footage of harsh driving events makes it easy to address driver behavior or compliance issues before they grow into larger problems for your business.
- Time saved: Total visibility of vehicles and drivers through a single platform allows owners to decrease time spent on administrative paperwork and can reveal redundancies or simple changes that can be made to improve efficiency. Additionally, gleaning greater production out of your existing workforce is more desirable than increasing the number of drivers on payroll.
- Fleet performance - decreased Costs, increased profitability: Services that provide reliable data allow owners to make informed, data-driven decisions about their business. This can result in cost savings by improving fuel management, promoting better route planning for drivers or improving fleet maintenance management and scheduling.
The first step to improving operational efficiency is taking stock of what assets you have in the field and how each is being used. Better fleet visibility also allows you to improve asset utilization, allowing you to get more done with fewer resources.
When it comes to SaaS fleet management, each solution requires research and an in-depth understanding of how a fleet tracking system works and which solution is right for your business.