Fleet management is not an easy task. It requires skill, planning, organization, workforce, and talent. It also involves process implementation, financial costing, warehousing, operations, logistical analysis, routing, and dispatching. Thousands of commercial vehicles need daily quality checks, maintenance, fuelling, and checking of spare parts. Keeping track of all these aspects can be a tedious task. With human involvement, there is always room for error.
Fleet Management Software (FMS) is a cloud product or App that helps present all data in a transparent, precise, efficient, and intuitive manner. It helps identify and analyze trends like data gaps, fuel inefficiencies, idle times, warranty lapses, traffic and congestion, route mapping. It can also come up with solutions to increase customer satisfaction and increase company branding.
How to Select a Great Fleet Management Software?
A great Fleet Management Software can help save time and money while deep-diving into the data to give actionable insights. A Fleet Management Software (FMS) should provide GPS data, vehicle maintenance scheduling, Hours of Safety (HOS) compliance, safety, fuel consumption, location allocations, warranties, technical issues, operation information, driver credentials, past usage, and idle time charts.
Once you have this data readily available, it is possible to filter the aspects of the fleet that need immediate action and attention. Past trends signify particular emphasis on concerns with certain commercial vehicles.
Before finalizing an FMS, you should identify your business needs.
Ease of Use: Countless employees would use the software, and so, it needs to be easy to use and handle. It should not be too technical for drivers, dispatchers, and fleet managers to grasp. Operational efficiency will increase if the software is easy to use and manage to save time and energy. An easy to use software also ensures that you have to spend less money and time on training employees for newly integrated software. Samsara’s Fleet Management Software, for example, can be installed within minutes with the help of a Vehicle Gateway that is plugged into the vehicle’s OBD (On-Board Diagnostic) port.
Data Insight: The software you select should help you interpret the many bytes of data it captures. Data without context can be confusing. A user-friendly dashboard helps provide information about vehicle health, maintenance, GPS location, and fuel consumption in real-time. The dashboard should also be used to determine how many hours a driver has been driving the commercial vehicle. You can check the speed limit violations of the vehicle and use tags to monitor the driving statistics. You should also be able to check the vehicles based on geographies and locations. The Samsara Fleet Management Software also provides safety analysis and footage of all safety violations captured by the dash cams.
Integration: A good fleet management software should allow you to integrate different user systems onto one platform to ensure you can view all information. Integrating the FMS software with HR and Payroll, Routing, GPS tracking, Routing, and Invoicing helps keep track of accurate and real-time statistics. Integrated systems help give a correct and relevant outlook towards the operations of the fleet without missing out on vital and crucial information. You can get maximum visibility and efficiency with minimal human error or contact.
What are the Features of a Great Fleet Management Software?
Hours of Service (HOS) Compliance:
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has designated specific Hours of Service (HOS) rules for drivers driving commercial vehicles in the United States. The HOS is specific to limiting the number of hours for uninterrupted driving of a commercial vehicle. Once the exact Hours of Service are up, the driver must take a mandatory rest. These rules and regulations help drivers reduce road and driving fatigue and help decrease road accidents caused due to drowsiness and endless driving.
A great fleet management software should help track the HOS and give up to date and accurate records about travel times and driving schedules. It should also give you live updates about shift changes and driver credentials. The FMS helps avoid hefty fines, HOS violations, loss of driving license, or even loss of life due to negligence.
Global Positioning System (GPS) helps keep accurate track of all vehicles, electronic equipment, and materials at all times. GPS trackers help track real-time locations of the fleet. They can help drivers find alternate traffic routes in case of congestions and jams, help avoid accidents, and also determine which commercial vehicle is closest to a task or job. While many GPS trackers offer an update every 5 to 10 minutes, you should opt for a Fleet Management Software that provides live updates. Some software also allows for the set up of a geofence or predefined zone for alerts on vehicular movement.
Having live GPS tracking features helps increase the efficiency of delivery times and increase the quality of tracking and dispatch. It also helps increase consumer trust and brand recognition with on-time delivery of all parcels.
Maintenance and Diagnostics:
Regular wear and tear may go unnoticed in a large fleet of commercial vehicles. At such times, there is a remarkable increase in money and time spent on fixing maintenance issues and problems. These issues increase vehicle downtime and subsequent loss of productivity. This downtime results in loss of hours, spoiled cargo (if perishable), and unpaid drivers. A good FMS connects directly with the onboard diagnostics of the vehicle to give real-time actionable data about the battery voltage, coolant temperature, fuel consumption, and overall health of the vehicle. These features help in preventative measures to avoid hefty fines and downtime.
Safety reports and accident compilation with the dash cams help remote access to the vehicles at all times. These features help reduce lawsuits and identify the reasons for accidents and crashes. Reasons like harsh traffic conditions, weather changes, sudden braking, bad roads can affect the safety of the vehicle, and the driver, along with others on the streets. In the case of accidents, fleet managers can immediately see the evidence and use the footage to get emergency medical assistance and exonerate drivers in case of innocence.