Fleet management is the organization and running of a company's logistics division, otherwise known as their fleet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Learn more: How Does Fleet Management Work?
Past and Present
Fleet Management systems were first developed in the 1980s as on-board computers located in commercial vehicles and linked to available ground based and satellite networks.
Functions allow the system to deliver the satellite location, data logging and communications reports directly to any back office environment for analysis.
With current mobile networks delivering unrivaled online connectivity, the haulage company is provided with total management capabilities of their transportation schedule, vehicles, drivers and roaming workforce, allowing for the optimum functionality, efficiency and productivity of their fleet.
The American commercial vehicle fleet currently stands at 12.9 million class 3-8 trucks on the road. Despite experiencing a temporary slow down in installations due to the economic downturn, business intelligence research providers, Berg Insight, predict that the Fleet Management market will experience a period of growth which should offer security to the sector for years to come.
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.
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.
What Can a Fleet Management System Offer?
Drivers and vehicles are the core components of any business that has to transport things. Their effective management is essential to ensure reduced expenditure where possible, fleet efficiently and meet compliance with all state and federal legislation.
The infrastructure is costly to put in place, and to purchase, equip and maintain a fleet will account for a large percentage of the budget.
The operational costs of a non-managed fleet can be 10-15% higher than those of a business with Fleet Managed systems installed.
The depreciation of a vehicle, cost of fuel and tires, obtaining licenses and permits and paying for accidents, maintenance and fines will all put a strain on the budget; fleet management administration is laborious and time consuming when it has to be done manually and it takes a lot of form filling to keep each vehicle on the road.
Many haulage businesses know too well the frustration of keeping vehicles and drivers idle while a truck is in the workshop for repair or a driver is waiting for the correct permit to deliver a load.
The installation of a Fleet Management system will allow them to make informed decisions about the scheduling of their drivers, vehicles and deliveries, ensuring the maximum productivity and rate of return.
There is a raft of solutions delivered by a Fleet Management system including:
The ability to deliver real time locations of every truck in the fleet; this can be used to ensure proof of delivery, hours behind the wheel and the compliance with working time legislation.
It also provides the ability to follow the route taken by the driver checking for fuel consumption, mileage and speed, and allowing for assessment.
A system will log every journey taken by the truck, providing a snail trail of exactly where it has been; this can be used to evaluate the driving style of the operator, giving an overview of his movements, highlighting any anomalies and pinpointing any driving patterns which may affect productivity.
Fleet Management solutions will also provide data to help with compliance of current environmental guidelines; by identifying and providing real time information on speed, idling times and CO2 emissions, the system delivers the opportunity to protect the driver's safety by minimizing risk and allows for the reduction in the rate of pollution.
Based on the numerous parameters logged by the system, a comprehensive series of reports will be produced; these will include data on driving times, private mileage and assignment times.
Generally available through flexible formats, the manager can view a PDF of travel times or merge time-sheet data with compatible software of the businesses salary package and the system's CSV file, significantly reducing the time of in-house administration.
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 $99. 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.
The only way to get an accurate estimate based on your needs is to fill in this form and speak to one of our experts.
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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%.
Keep reading to learn more about GPS Vehicle Tracking & Fleet Management systems.
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:
Fleetmatics provide one of the most popular fleet management systems in the US, with close to 20,000 firms using their software.
The system uses GPS technology to track a vehicle's location, speed and direction, relaying the information back to a central data point so you have an up to date picture of what is happening across your entire fleet at any one time.
The Fleetmatics system updates the information every sixty seconds and will also provide you with historical data on each vehicle by way of reports. That way you know when each vehicle began and ended its journey and what percentage of time was spent idling.
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
Oracle's fleet management system was developed in response to the market's requirements for one transportation system that successfully managed fleet resources.
It can be successfully integrated with other Oracle software such as their CRM system or their financial reporting system. Alternatively, it can be set up to integrate with other applications that your business might use.
Read more: Oracle - Fleet Management & Software Systems
Qualcomm Enterprise Services specialize in providing fleet management services to the commercial transportation industry, offering hardware and software solutions and application services through their user friendly mobile technology.
Fleet managers will find the Qualcomm platform of strategies will enable ongoing fleet efficiency, productivity and sustainability of service.
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 Real-Time Tracking
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.
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 have many more great features including alerts for speeding, tampering and unauthorized use.
Read more: Linxup - GPS Fleet Management System
Enterprise began as an car rental business but have used their experience to expand into other areas of the automotive industry including fleet management.
They are one of the largest fleet management firms in the US with 58 offices across the country, each with full service teams and over 200,000 vehicles.
Their products are designed for companies with medium sized fleets of between 12 and 125 vehicles. Their fleet management systems are designed to help businesses reduce their costs and improve efficiency.
Read more: Enterprise Fleet Management
Specializing in the provision of cutting edge RFID (radio frequency identification) solutions to all areas of the commercial transportation sector, Motorola have become renowned for the effectivity and functionality of their fleet management solutions.
Since their foundation in 1856, Rand McNally have specialized in navigation, maps and route planning for the commercial and trucking transportation sector.
Their solutions include GPS devices, the IntelliRoute fleet routing software, an online travel data website and a premier geography based service designed for use in the education sector.
The IntelliRoute TND system has been developed for use within the industry based on the experiences of professional truck drivers' analysis of hundreds of hours of on road testing.
Recently merged with JDA Software, Red Prairie, based in Alpharetta GA, are now uniquely positioned in the sector to offer durable, sustainable, integrated solutions that fully address the challenges presented to the corporate world in the current consumer driven marketplace.
Read more: RedPrairie Fleet Management
Scania offer three different service packages in their fleet management service. These include a Monitoring Report, an Analysis Package and a Control Package (with Geofencing).
Skypatrol GPS Tracking Solutions are renowned as leading manufacturers and suppliers of high quality vehicle monitoring and tracking systems.
All of the Skypatrol family of fleet tracking systems combine the current cellular and GPS technology to deliver real time monitoring and location finding functions.
Satellites will transmit the collated data directly to the vehicle based Skypatrol unit where it will then be passed to the central operations center via the national wireless network.
Based in Southern California, Teletrac have been operating across the USA and beyond for almost 25 years.
Right at the top of the technology ladder, Teletrac provide a comprehensive cloud based SaaS platform focusing on GPS asset location, diagnostics, business intelligence, scorecarding, fuel efficiency and much more, via a powerful web based interface.
This includes Teletrac's Fleet Director, which is the most advanced interactive fleet automation software on the market.
It comes with an array of built in safety capabilities and is extremely user friendly, making it the premier software choice across modern America.
TomTom WORKsmart Fleet Management System is an all in one fleet tracking solution. Each vehicle in your fleet has one of a choice of vehicle tracking devices installed, which reports a variety of data back to WEBFLEET, a remotely hosted web application for which you have your own company portal and unique log in details.
WEBFLEET allows you to manage your entire fleet, print off reports and communicate with your fleet whilst they are on the road.
With TomTom WORKsmart, you have complete visibility and control, as well as the right information to make the right decisions at the right time.
Read more: TomTom WORKsmart Fleet Management System
Among their comprehensive range of innovative solutions, the GeoManager Fleet Management system uses real time data to allow business fleet managers the ability to make intelligent, informed operational decisions through a raft of innovative functions.
Read more: Trimble Fleet Management & GeoManager
Zonar systems provide advanced electronic fleet management solutions to the private and public sector.
As the inventor of the Electronic Vehicle Inspection Report (EVIR) system, Zonar have a wealth of experience in developing comprehensive solutions to today's operational problems.
Zonar systems offer a range of fleet management solutions aimed at facilitating various business objectives. These include: Ground Traffic Control, V3 and more.
Read more: Zonar Systems - GPS Fleet Management
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