What is Fleet Management Software?
Fleet Management Software is a main component of every vehicle tracking system that can gather, store, process, monitor, report on and export data about а fleet. The collected data enables fleet managers to accomplish various tasks and processes related to a fleet’s location, performance, maintenance, financial matters and much more. Fleet management software is very common when managing fleet of vehicles such as cars, vans, trucks, motorcycles, but it is used also for a fleet of ships and aircrafts, which requires big investment and is usually leased through a leasing company. Besides the varieties of fleet to be managed, fleet management software can also be helpful for managing transportation processes of cargo.
How Does It Work?
Data collection of fleet management software is possible through a tracking device or hardware which is to be positioned in the monitored fleet. The type of the device differs largely depending on the type of fleet you want to monitor and its specifications. There certainly is not only one type of hardware for every model of car, van or truck, but the device is quite often hardwired into the vehicle from the manufacturer. It is often hidden under the hood or behind the dashboard of the vehicle. In case your vehicles are not manufactured with a tracking device, you should be able to find a port where to plug the device. The port is usually accessible under the dashboard just above the pedals. Hardware installation should not take you long time, but in case of difficulties you can refer to your vehicle tracking software provider to assist you.
Fleet management software operates with data collected usually through external sources. GPS technologies or mobile networks such as GSM/GPRS are main sources of information for monitoring the fleet as GPS systems provide real-time data, while mobile networks collect and store information which is to be accessed later. A vehicle tracking system usually comes with GPS technology, as it allows the fleet managers to monitor every vehicle and driver 24 hours per day.
Fleet management software can be downloaded on a computer, mobile phone, laptop or tablet from where you can manage your fleet.
Web-based software is available for use on your computer as long as you have a browser and an Internet connection. This type of fleet management software usually does not require further computer installation and it is common that it is rented out by a software provider. It is very cost efficient, because the software provider is taking care of the IT support, therefore investment in an IT team is not needed.
While web-based fleet management software is beneficial for your company’s financial resources, it offers less functionalities then installed software. Like other types of software, you can buy a license and install fleet management software to your computer or laptop. This software requires bigger investment and is suitable for companies with bigger fleet that have an IT team or are willing to pay for one to develop the software for their own needs.
In times when mobility is highly appreciated fleet management software providers are offering varieties of functionalities and applications suitable for mobile installation on mobile phones and tablets. However, there usually are limitations in the functionalities of the software accessed through the mobile device browser or through an app. Mobile software helps fleet managers keep track on their fleet at any time and any place.
Location tracking is the basic function of every fleet management software incorporated in a fleet management system. When installed in a tracking device the software enables tracking systems to operate with data about fleet’s location. Vehicle tracking software gives you access to all the information relayed by the tracking devices. This allows you see where vehicles are, adjust to traffic conditions and receive updates and alerts about any issues concerning your fleet of vehicles.
Depending on the data transmission functionalities, vehicle tracking can be active or passive. When the fleet management software operates with historical information on the position of a vehicle or an asset, the tracking is known as passive. On contrary, real-time data for the fleet’s location allows active tracking.
In addition to location tracking services most fleet management programs have the feature to plan routes in real time. This is possible through GPS trackers implemented in the monitored fleet. Some fleet management software providers offer the possibility for navigation and two-way messaging, some of which require additional software installations. These features are of high importance for taxi companies and other organisations where communication between drivers and dispatchers is needed. GPS technologies enable dispatchers to know the exact location of each vehicle at any time, so they can plan routes efficiently and navigate the closest vehicle to any job site. To ease dispatchers even more some GPS trackers can automatically locate the vehicles nearest to any address.
Beside planning of routes and travel times some programmes provide real-time traffic updates. This information is used by dispatchers to warn drivers for unexpected traffic conditions such as toll roads or small streets unsuitable for large vehicles and to redirect them when needed.
Efficient route management will increase driver’s safety and vehicle’s security, will save fuel costs and optimize drivers time schedule, which will increase customer service quality through accurate on-time deliveries.
Fuel costs are the single most expensive operational expense for fleet owners. Therefore, controlling the fuel consumption can save money and increase productivity. Thanks to fleet management systems, managers can:
- monitor fuel information, fuel loss and consumption, refuelling locations and much more
- monitor and report fuel expense by vehicle
- plan refuelling locations
- identify suspicious fuel consumption that might indicate fraud or theft
Overall, the fuel management feature of your fleet management software will lead to decrease in fuel costs and optimization of the driving process. Fuel management is especially profitable for large fleets and long distance drivers where fuel costs add up due to the frequency or the length of taken journeys.
Driving behaviour has a huge impact on vehicle management in relation to fuel costs, vehicle maintenance and road safety. Therefore, implementing driver policies in your company will help you cut fuel expenses and reduce accidents and associated risks and costs. By collecting data about driver’s performance such as speed, routes, timing and pauses, hard breaking, fleet management software enables managers to monitor and control the driver's behaviour.
Tracking your driver’s behaviour can help you monitor the performance of planned routes and the stops and pauses your drivers make. Managers can set an alert when drivers exceed certain parameter outside the planned route. Therefore, through fleet management software, managers can save a lot of money by eliminating the unnecessary services which do not directly benefit the business.
Speed management is undoubtedly related to route and fuel management. When dispatchers are planning routes, speed limits are definitely something to consider in order to make route calculations and time schedule. Furthermore, fuel consumption is corresponding to the distance travelled and the speed. Driving at inappropriate speeds can increase the fuel consumption and may lead to speed fines. In the worst case inconsiderable speed threatens vehicle’s and driver’s safety. Therefore, speed management is a very useful feature of fleet management software.
Fleet’s Maintenance And Diagnostics
Controlling speed, routes and fuel consumption of your fleet and increasing road safety will optimize your fleet’s performance and maintenance.
Advanced fleet management software can collect data about your vehicles such as tire pressure and engine temperature that will help for vehicle diagnostics. Engine diagnostics can ensure the longevity and safety of the vehicles.
Advanced diagnostics is possible through fleet management systems where a diagnostic reporting device is installed in the vehicle in addition to the tracking device. You can get alerted in various occasions such as if the engine light comes on including the diagnostic codes that will help you identify the problem.
Preventive maintenance will extend the life of your equipment. Fleet management software’s preventative maintenance program can help you manage all the information about maintenance issues such as service schedules, cost, labor, parts used etc. You may receive notifications about registrations, licenses and upcoming maintenance such as next oil change, brake job, tire rotation depending on the miles travelled.
You can have the ability to track the carbon emissions of you vehicles and to optimize the sustainable fuel consumption of your fleet. Considering the carbon emissions is important for your business when it has been estimated that a reduction in global emissions of at least 50 per cent on 1990 levels is needed by 2050 according to the Intergovernmental panel on climate change reports.
Road safety is extremely important. Fleet management software collects data about driving behaviour, traffic violations, fleet’s maintenance and much more. Managers can access report on employees accidents and costs involved. This feature helps managers to monitor drivers and vehicles behaviour and to prevent accidents through more efficient planning and strict control.
Some software programmes offer the possibility for alerts and notifications in case of unpredicted situations such as unplanned routes. Advanced fleet management software has the functionality to control remotely the vehicles such as blocking the engine and the doors in case of emergency.
Reporting And Analysis
Having all the collected data about your fleet stored and organized in graphs and charts will ease vehicle tracking and will save time for administrational tasks. Periodical fleet management reports and graphs on vehicle performance and maintenance can help managers find trends that may have been overlooked in the past. Reports can include any information needed regarding fleet, costs, drivers, resource allocation and more. Data from reports and graphs is stored and can be read at any time you can access the fleet management software. Fleet managers may set limits to the access of the reports and analysis since the information is of importance to the overall fleet management strategy.
Fleet management software may have the feature to help you manage your fleet expenses including costs from fuel, services and maintenance, insurance costs and all the financial matters of each vehicle from purchase to sale. This functionality is especially worth for companies that operate with large fleet of vehicles or assets such as car rental, taxi or courier service companies.
If you are in doubt about your company’s need of fleet management software, here is a summary of some of the benefits you can get with it.
- Receive detailed information about fleet and assets at any time and place.
- Track the location of your fleet in real time.
- Get real time traffic information and optimize drivers time schedule.
- Dispatch and plan routes efficiently.
- Improve communication through software features such as two-way messaging systems.
- Manage all costs associated with your fleet and assets such as fuel, depreciation, accidents, delay costs, insurance etc.
- Monitor fuel information as loss and consumption, fuel costs per mile, per vehicle, per driver, overall fuel costs etc.
- Plan refuelling locations.
- Monitor and control driving behaviour.
- Control your fleet remotely to prevent from thefts.
- Increase safety through accidents prevention with monitoring driving behaviour, vehicle performance, traffic conditions etc.
- Keep track on employees accidents and the related costs.
- Manage registrations and inspections per fleet and per asset.
- Update the equipment components stock and optimize part inventory levels.
- Reduce unused inventory.
- Manage key performance indicators.
- Access vehicles repair histories and schedule service and maintenance.
- Get information about the engine condition and diagnostics.
- Track the carbon emissions of your fleet to meet the environmental regulations.
- Access stored information in the form of reports and graphs about your fleet, assets, employees, resources, results.
- Create custom reports.
- Export data to PDF and other formats.
- Make safety analysis based on stored data.
- Get notified when unexpected occasions occur such as a vehicle leaving the planned route, an engine light turns on, a vehicle moving without authorization, an alarm is triggered or in other undesired events.
- Save time through efficient task management.
- Cut costs and optimize the productivity.
- Cut expenses through better planning based on collected data and set goals.
- Increase customer service quality through accurate on-time deliveries.
The list of feature can be longer depending on your company’s needs and the budget for fleet management system you have.
How much Does Fleet Management Software Cost?
Prices on fleet management software vary depending on the size of the fleet and the complexity of the system you are searching for. In general higher level of functionality and larger number of fleet requires bigger financial investment. Therefore, it is crucial to determine your company’s needs.
When having a small fleet of vehicles or fleet management is not an essential part of your business you may access a web-based fleet management software or install it as an application. This will be less expensive and you will have access to basic information as vehicle’s speed, location and direction. If you need to manage the fleet of a car rental, taxi or another company where vehicles are main resource, you are probably willing to invest more in a fleet management system which will allow you an access to some or more of the mentioned above features. Managing a fleet of ships and aircrafts is much more complex and it requires huge investment. That is why it is common fleet management systems to be leased through a leasing company
You can either buy or lease a fleet management software. Typically vehicle tracking suppliers will provide with a complete vehicle tracking system including tracking devices and software. However, you can rent only the software if you already have bought tracking devices. Renting fleet management software can be cost efficient for companies that do not have big budget for fleet management systems or they want to try them before buying. If your company is of a need of an advanced fleet management system you can either buy or lease to an external supplier. Leasing is quite popular since it comes with full service and maintenance, so you do not need to invest in an IT team. No matter which type of fleet your company has – vehicle, aircraft or ship, if it is leased through a leasing company, then fleet management can be helpful when you have to renegotiate the lease.
If you need fleet management software for your business, complete a quote request form for free today and our sales staff will help you to find the best fleet management solution. We will as soon as possible contact you with our qualified suppliers.