Fleet Management Systems
Fleet Management For Businesses
Depending on the size of the company in question, that can comprise of anything from a just few delivery vans to trucks, railway vehicles, ships and even aircraft.
The larger a company grows, the larger and more complex its fleet becomes, and therefore the need for efficient fleet management is essential in order to achieve success.
Bergen forecast that the number of active Fleet Management systems will grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 12.6% from 2.1 million units in 2010 to 3.8 million by 2015.
This is thought to be, in part, due to regulatory requirement such as HOS (hours of service) and CSA (Canadian Standards Association) revisions which will affect all drivers and will need efficient management by Fleet Managers to ensure adequate compliance.
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How Does Fleet Management Work?
Again, this depends entirely on the company in question. However, there are a number of basic areas that all companies should take into account:
In order to assure that everything is running as intended, vehicles should be tracked, most commonly by GPS. This allows a company to know where its vehicles are, and how best to react in the event of delays or emergencies.
In addition, a vehicle can be tracked to keep count of mileage and fuel consumption; an important factor in calculating expenditure within the company's operation.
A tracked vehicle can also be measured for its efficiency. This allows fleet managers to detect how many stops or breaks a vehicle is taking, how fast it is traveling, and whether the driver is taking to most efficient route. This data can all be used to refine and improve the logistics process.Learn more: Device Comparison
Tracking vehicles in this manner can also prove a major advantage when it comes to security.
Through GPS tracking, vehicles can be found when stolen or lost, which also decreases the chances of cargo going missing. This not only helps to cut costs, but can help ensure the safety of the driver or crew.
In addition to tracking, fleet managers can opt to install remote disabling systems, which allow them to shut down a vehicle's systems from a central location, making it considerably more difficult to steal.
There is also the more direct approach to security that can sometimes become necessary. In the more volatile areas of the world, guards are required to ensure a cargo and crew is kept safe.
Maintenance and Replacements
Outside of tracking, fleet managers are responsible for ensuring that all vehicles remain safe and roadworthy. Eventually, all vehicles will reach the end of their life-cycle, and will either require replacing or renovating.
While it can be financially trying to replace an aging vehicle, companies must consider that an older vehicle will, in the long run, cost more to maintain, and so it comes down to fleet management to balance this equation and find a solution that is the most financially viable.
Learn more: How Does Fleet Management Work?
How Are These Systems Organized?
With such a wide range of responsibilities, it is important for a company to have reliable fleet management software. There are many options available on the market, and each offers to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency.
Such software allows for data to be easily imported from both internal and external sources, such as finance divisions and government run motor agencies.
It also assists in tracking basic vehicle needs, such as tax and insurance deadlines, as well as the status of the drivers' qualifications, ensuring that all remain compliant.
What are the Benefits of Fleet Management Systems?
The more your business depends upon transport and logistics, the greater the benefits derived from implementing a fleet management system. But all businesses that utilize vehicles in any way can reap great rewards.These include:
- Lower fuel, vehicle maintenance and insurance costs
- Reduced carbon footprint
- No or fewer speeding tickets
- Less paperwork and paperwork processing
- Better planning
- Improved customer service
- Better cost control
- Increased productivity
- Improved employee performance
- Vital business information impossible to gather in other ways
In greater detail the benefits of using a fleet management system are:
Dispatch and Scheduling
Fleet management allows you to schedule deliveries and pick ups more accurately. You can redirect resources by being able to see where any vehicle is located at any time, so you can alert the driver that is closest to your customer.
Routes are therefore optimized and any last minute changes can be easily implemented. This will not only improve customer satisfaction, but the speed of delivery will also increase the speed of the cash flow to your business.
Track Your Vehicles
By using GPS tracking, fleet management systems provide you with the ability to track a particular vehicle or driver. They also allow you to track groups of vehicles. Driver routes are clearly mapped out to avoid unnecessary detours and dispatchers can alter the routes if there are any problems such as road works or traffic accidents.
Fleet management can indicate whether a driver is running late or on time. It reduces the amount of time that is wasted at customer locations and stops employees from taking unnecessary detours or long breaks. Not only can driver location be monitored, but so can speed and driving habits; for example, if they push too hard on the brakes.
A recent survey conducted by Motorola found that having fleet vehicles equipped with GPS actually decreased travel downtime by 53% and improved employee accountability by 26%.
Safety and Maintenance
Another benefit of fleet management is improved safety. Vehicles are carefully maintained and serviced regularly. If they show signs of age, they can then be replaced.
You will have immediate access to the service history of the vehicle and can instantly tell when maintenance was last carried out. If something goes wrong with a vehicle, some fleet management systems can link to the closest repair shop and check for the availability of parts.
Instructions can also be sent directly to the repair shop from the system itself. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, alerts can be sent to the driver if any vehicle defects are picked up by the system, whether they are on the vehicle body or under the hood.
Fleet management can streamline your vehicle licensing by automatically managing license plate and tag renewals and delivering them directly to your drivers.
Fleet management assists drivers in keeping accurate driving records, thus reducing compliance related issues.Read more: Benefits of joining NAFA
Prices and Costs Of Different Systems - Buying Vs Renting
It's surprisingly difficult to compare prices across different vehicle tracking and fleet management options.
For example if all you need are basic maps your iPhone can deliver these to you with out any additional device. Standalone GPS systems can cost as little as $100. However, these will only tell you where to go and won't help you properly manage multiple vehicles.
Pricing for proper fleet management solutions can cost anywhere from a few dollars a month per vehicle if rented or leased to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars if bought outright.For more see:
GPS Vehicle Tracking & Fleet Management
GPS vehicle trackers are used by firms to make their fleet more fuel efficient and productive whatever its size. These improvements can result in significant savings, with most firms who install trackers seeing a drop in fuel costs of between 15 & 25%.Learn more: GPS Tracking.
Fleet Management Providers & Companies
The following is a list of some of the most important fleet management, logistics and vehicle tracking companies in the United States:
One of America's largest fleet management firms is Fleetmatics. The company can boast 10 years experience in the industry, and currently have more than half a million subscribers and customers around the world.
Read more: Fleetmatics
AMS (Asset Monitoring Solutions)
Asset Monitoring Solutions (AMS) started in the United Kingdom and have expanded into the United States. The vehicle tracking systems are unique and they have provide their own web interface created in house.
They offer a wide variety of fleet management plans and solutions to suit companies and fleets of all sizes and budgets.
Read more: AMS Fleet Management
Read more: Oracle
QualcommQualcomm's Gobi modems offer an industry leading, innovative tracking solution for businesses looking to collect data on the company fleet. The systems they offer are hosted in the cloud and can cover everything from a vehicle's location to on-board entertainment systems.
Read more: Qualcomm
Quartix have 13 years experience in the vehicle tracking industry, and their real-time system is one of the best on the market.
There system is based online, which means the data and information they record can be accessed from any location on all types of internet enabled devices.
Read more: Quartix
Donlen Corporation are a fleet management firm that specialize in utilizing both online and GPS technologies to successfully take charge of an entire fleet.
Everything from vehicle acquisition to accident tracking, and from funding to fuel costs can be taken care of by the convenient, simple to use management systems created by Donlen.
Read more: Donlen Corporation
Linxup offer an easy and affordable fleet management system that can be used for both commercial and personal use. Their devices use GPS technology and give minute by minute updates of each vehicle's location when it is in powered up.
Linxup's vehicle tracking devices have many more great features including alerts for speeding, tampering and unauthorized use.
Read more: Linxup
Enterprise is a brand familiar to most consumers. The company is mostly known for its successful rental car business but have expanded into other areas in recent years, including fleet management.
Enterprise offer a wide range of services to help businesses manage their fleets. This includes, fuel cards, maintenance services and of course vehicle tracking and analysis tools.
Read more: Enterprise
Motorola is another brand primarily known for its work in other sectors, but the fleet management arm of the business is excellent and offers a lot of value to a business.
With Motorola's tracking devices businesses can communicate with their drivers wherever they are in the country and at anytime. They also offer integrated maintenance plans and record keeping.
Read more: Motorola
Rand McNally is a specialist fleet management provider. The company produces tracking devices and systems for trucks includung the TND 760, RVs with the RVND and even outdoor handheld devices, perfect for biking, hiking or geocaching.
Rand McNally have a lot of different devices and plans to choose from, which makes them a good company for businesses of all sizes and types to consider.
Read more: Rand McNally
In 2012 Red Prairie merged with JDA, but vehicle tracking products are still available under the company's original name. The company specializes in fleet management software, rather than the hardware.
Read more: RedPrairie
Scania put a lot of focus on small details, which when added together can shave lots of money off the cost of operating a business fleet. The company is constantly upgrading its range and develops many new products each year.
Read more: Scania
WORKsmart by TomTom is an efficient and easy to use system. It's highly customizable so can be used by a fleet of just two vehicles or one with more than 5,000.
WORKsmart is already used by more than 30,000 businesses and it is estimated that each of these companies has seen a return on its investment in 6-9 months.
Read more: TomTom
Other Suppliers:Compare companies
Is Fleet Management Really Necessary?
While it is obvious that a large company fielding many vehicles will need a system of management for its day to day operations, it may not be so clear as to why a smaller one would need such an expenditure.
Even a fleet as small as two of three vehicles requires an audit trail, as this is needed to ensure both the drivers and vehicles are compliant with modern legislation.
A company's vehicles may even fall into the category of a 'grey fleet', whereby the vehicles used do not belong to the company, but are in fact under ownership of the employee.
An example of this may be a take out restaurant, in which drivers deliver the goods in their own vehicles, and are reimbursed for the gas at a later date.
Even this situation, though, requires fleet management, as the company has a responsibility towards the driver, which, in turn gives them a responsibility for the vehicle.
Overall, it can be seen that fleet management is a vital part of any company's agenda, providing that they operate any form of vehicle.
There is a vast amount of legislation and numerous financial factors involved in running a fleet that, if left poorly managed, can work heavily against a company's expenditures, and can even lead to fines or legal action that could often otherwise be avoided.
For this reason, it is important that fleets are carefully considered in any management strategy, and that professional software is invested in.
Costs for all fleet management systems can be found at Expert Market.