What Is Fleet Management?
Fleet management, just as the name suggests, is simply the management process of a company’s fleet. While the term 'fleet' usually refers to ships, it can also be associated with a collection of aircraft or vehicles such as company cars, vans, trucks, or motorcycles.
Fleet management solutions depend not only on the nature of the fleet but on the company’s needs to coordinate transport-related activities. These can include vehicle financing, vehicle maintenance, driver management, fuel management and vehicle tracking and diagnostics, among many other functions.
Fleet management companies provide services that focus on improving efficiency, increasing productivity, reducing vehicle investment costs and risk of theft, changing driver behaviour and reducing associated transportation costs. If your company has a large fleet of vehicles, ships or aircraft and seeks for a way to manage it efficiently, fleet management services are definitely something to consider.
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Read in This Guide
How Does a Fleet Management System Work?
The fleet management system is an intelligent technology that enables the gathering of information and reports on fleet characteristics. Fleet management helps you with the optimization of the use of the fleet, the support of the supply chain, and automation of the company’s fleet management process.
Most fleet management systems are using satellite services and GPS tracking systems which can provide immediate real-time data. Fleet management starts with installing a monitoring device in the ship or the vehicle, which can be a car, a truck, or a motorcycle.
The module connects itself via the GPRS system and transforms gathered data with the use of GSM network to specialized computer monitoring systems with fleet management software.
As a result, the company receives processed information that can be used for fleet management solutions and managing of company resources.
Fleet Management Software
Vehicle tracking, mechanical diagnostics, ensuring of fleet safety, monitoring driver behaviour, and lifecycle management would not be possible without fleet management software. The software collects, stores, and reports the information.
Fleet management software allows to maintain scheduling and tracking, reports, alerts, optimization of fleet processes, mobile applications, dispatch management, driver management routing, tire management, tool tracking, accident tracking, inventory management, mileage tracking, fuel management, and more.
There are different ways how to access fleet management software. This depends on the company offering fleet management software, and on the needs of your company. Many companies offer web-interface, which does not require any installation and this interface is accessible with only an internet connection and a browser.
It is also possible to have fleet management software that needs to be installed, which offers more features than web based software. This choice is more popular among companies with bigger fleet and bigger budgets.
Although most fleet management systems can be accessed mainly with the use of computer software programs, a fleet management system may be tracked with the use of a mobile phone.
Depending on the supplier, it is possible to access the fleet management system with an Android or iOS system, with the use of a special mobile application. This fleet solution gives the employer the possibility to monitor the vehicles from the road only with the use of the Internet connection.
However, mobile applications might not have all the features that others have, therefore it is a good idea to be informed about all the possibilities. Mobile applications can serve as an addition to web-based or installed software used by your company.
Keep in mind that not all software offers the same features, therefore it is required to consider and be clear on the company's needs and the financial possibilities of the company. Not all features are needed for every company, therefore it is important to know what features will be needed.
How Can You Use Fleet Management?
Fleet management can be used for different kinds of businesses and types of vehicles.
Vehicle tracking is one of the most popular and basic fleet management functions nowadays because it allows managers to have a broad overview of the location and performance of their vehicles.
Installed vehicle tracking systems provide information for the position of the vehicle in real-time or based on stored data. Advanced vehicle tracking systems collect data also for speed, fuel consumption, the number of stops and much more.
The combination of the received data results in analysis on drivers behaviour through detailed driver profiles including the average speed, the frequency of breaks or the number of routes performed on time.
Fleet management systems cover the ability to generate reports in relation to the driver identification data, for example depicting business and private trips. This will help you control and regulate your employee’s performance and thereby minimize the number of wasted mileage and fuel.
Some vehicle tracking systems can connect to the onboard computer of the vehicle and collect data such as fuel consumption and mileage, which can be used for mechanical diagnostics. Furthermore, a fleet management system makes it possible to monitor the technical aspects of the vehicles, such as tracking the maintenance tasks and reminding the user for periodic technical inspections.
Benefits of Vehicle Fleet Management
- Collecting information on speed, fuel consumption, the number of stops
- Reporting on driver’s behaviour
- Minimizing the number of wasted mileage and fuel
- Monitoring technical aspect of the vehicles
Cargo fleet management tasks may include tracking the location of cargo over land, rail and sea, ensuring cargo security and theft prevention, and even managing temperature sensors and other functionalities that support the efficient transportation of light cargo and heavy equipment.
Shipping Fleet Management
Fleet management refers also to the management of ships in relation to ship tracking, crewing, maintenance, safety, and pollution prevention. Мanagement of shipping fleet is often outsourced to external companies.
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.
A good fleet management system is indeed able to forecast how long fleet is going to operate, based on data from the previous run. So, it is possible to negotiate the best possible lease, and maybe even cut down the budget for leasing.
How Much Do Fleet Management Services & Software Cost?
Prices on fleet management systems vary greatly depending on the size of the fleet and the complexity of the system you are searching for. In the case of smaller companies with fewer vehicles to manage, an advanced fleet management system might be a waste of resources.
A typical fleet management unit will cost £25-30 per month to rent on a minimum 1-year contract. Besides, you will be charged around £60-70 for the installation.
However, regardless of whether the company is large or small, there is no need to spend more than necessary on a fleet management system. The cost of a fleet management system is also dependent on the functions, such as mobile monitoring, SMS notifications, among others.
Fleet management software has several functions that can benefit your company.
Location tracking is the basic function of every vehicle 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 the fleet’s location.
Vehicle tracking software gives you access to all the information relayed by the tracking devices. This allows you to 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 UK fleet management software operates with historical information on the position of a vehicle or an asset, the tracking is known as passive. On the 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 UK 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 make it easier for dispatchers, some GPS trackers can automatically locate the vehicles nearest to any address.
Besides planning of routes and travel times, some programmes provide real-time traffic updates. This information is used by dispatchers to warn drivers about unexpected traffic conditions such as toll roads or small streets unsuitable for large vehicles and redirect them when needed.
Efficient route management will increase a driver’s safety and vehicle’s security, will save fuel costs and optimise 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 fuel consumption can save money and increase productivity.
Fuel management allows to
- 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 vehicle fleet management software will lead to a 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.
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 parameters outside the planned route. Therefore, through vehicle 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 fuel consumption and may lead to speed fines. In the worst case, unreasonable speeds can threaten the vehicle’s and driver’s safety. Therefore, speed management is a very useful feature of fleet management software.
Advantages of Fleet Management
Controlling speed, routes and fuel consumption of your fleet and increasing road safety can optimise your fleet’s performance and maintenance.
Advantages of Fleet Management
- Improving Diagnostics
- Facilitating Preventive Maintenance
- Contributing to Environmental Performance
- Improving Safety
- Refining Reporting and Analysis
- Improving Financial Management
Advanced vehicle 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 on various occasions such as if the engine light comes on including the diagnostic codes that will help you identify the problem.
Facilitating Preventive Maintenance
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, labour, 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.
Contributing to Environmental Performance
You can have the ability to track the carbon emissions of your vehicle and to optimise 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. 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. Moreover, fleet management can help theft prevention, which reduces losses and increases safety.
Refining Reporting and Analysis
Having all the collected data about your fleet stored and organised in graphs and charts will ease vehicle tracking and will save time for administration 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 are stored and can be read at any time you can access the vehicle 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.
Improving Financial Management
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 a large fleet of vehicles or assets such as car rental, taxi or courier service companies.
Are You Considering Investing in Fleet Management?
Are you interested in investing in fleet management? If you think that your company can benefit from investing in a fleet management system you should do a prior research to find the best match for your company type and needs.
To find the right fleet management system that will match your specific requirements, fill in the form and you will be provided with 4 quotes free of charge from the leading UK suppliers.