What is Fleet Management?
Fleet management is the optimization of commercial vehicle fleet operations, usually with software that utilizes GPS tracking. Fleet management allows companies to maximize use of vehicles including trucks, vans, and construction equipment by streamlining routes, improving driver behavior and safety, enabling compliance with government regulations, recovering stolen vehicles, trailers or equipment, and optimizing vehicle maintenance.
You probably searched in Google “what is fleet management” because you may be new to the industry, a manager looking to expand your services, or someone conducting supply chain research for their company. Well, fleet management is the optimization of costs, risks and efficiency in fleet operations. Many organizations rely on fleet managers to control costs, maximize profitability, and mitigate risks of their fleet vehicles. Fleet managers touch many aspects of fleet operations, but fleet management can be summarized into five main fields: 1) Operational Cost-Effectiveness, 2) Vehicle Maintenance, 3) Driver/Workforce Management, 4) Vehicle Safety & Compliance and 5) Operational Efficiency.
You cannot think about improving one field without improving others. For example, you cannot think about vehicle maintenance without thinking about the total costs of maintaining a vehicle, to how a driver currently handles the vehicle and to how vehicle safety can be improved (and thus reducing the number of accidents).
Since these fields are all interrelated, that gives us the opportunity to create a single rich-data solution for tackling all areas of fleet management. With GPS fleet management software, you can address multiple issues and tasks at once.
Here are some definitive ways that GPS asset tracking and vehicle tracking really help with fleet management. You can visit our fleet management software page for more detailed information.
- Fuel Management
Fleet managers must be able to eliminate any possibility for drivers to abuse company fuel spend. Some fleet management solutions integrate a company’s fleet fuel purchases and match it with real-time vehicle locations so fleet managers can verify fuel usage.
Our FleetLocate systems also provide accurate reporting for IFTA tax rebate submissions, helping business save even more money when trailers or trucks travel from one state to another.
- Theft & Loss
GPS tracking drastically reduces the number of stolen vehicles. And for many businesses, one stolen vehicle can mean at least $25,000 in loss profits. And if you’re a fleet manager operating on an enterprise-level with 400+ assets, the possibility of losing several trailers or assets can be absolutely devastating.
Prior to adopting GPS fleet tracking software, Tutle & Tutle Trucking was losing about two to three trailers each year, with each trailer valued at $60,000. Not to mention that these lost trailers would also be carrying about $20,000 worth of content. That totals to about $240,000 worth of stolen property per year!
When it comes to maintaining your vehicles, fleet management software can enable you to set up custom maintenance alerts for regular tire or engine check ups. And since most GPS devices are powered by the vehicle engines, they’ll also be able to detect when your vehicle engines have low battery. Rather than relying on employees who may or may not report any vehicle issues, you’ll be able to proactively take care of your vehicles before they unexpectedly break down and avoid costly down-time as a result.
- Vehicle Idling
Vehicle idling is a driver behavior that costs the industry $20 billion in fuel costs each year. Fleet managers can reprimand drivers for idling, but have not been able to pinpoint when exactly drivers leave engines on unnecessarily.
Fleet management software solves this dilemma by detecting when vehicles are running but stationary. With this software, fleet managers can draw up reports to see which vehicles are idling the most so they can coach drivers to prevent their vehicle idling behaviors.
- Unsafe Driver Behavior
Unsafe driving behaviors (such as speeding, hard braking or going off-route) increase a fleet’s insurance premium, waste gas and quickly wear out vehicles. Fleet management software alerts you when your drivers are engaging in these types of behaviors. Fleet managers who notify their drivers that their driving behaviors are being tracked by GPS technology will also discourage risky driving.
Vehicle Safety & Compliance
- Decrease Accidents and Improve Fleet Safety
Large or small fleets can get hit with large vehicle damage or worker injury costs. An average worker injury claim is over $21,000 per incident. Reducing distracted driving with a solid GPS system that provides safe road routing, maintaining vehicles properly, and providing driver coaching are keys to improving fleet safety.
In recent years, the FMCSA has grown tougher on large motor vehicle carrier rules and regulations. The CSA program’s overall goal is to reduce crashes and improve safety by assessing a motor carrier’s data on 7 fields: unsafe driving, vehicle maintenance, controlled substances, driver health, crash indicator, and hazardous materials compliance.
As of December 18, 2017, drivers using paper hours of service logging were required to switch to electronic logging devices (ELDs), which are often a feature of fleet management software systems. As of December 16, 2019, drivers who had been using automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) and were grandfathered under the requirement, were also required to switch to ELDs. You can learn more about the ELD requirements here.
Fleet management software is able to increase overall safety and help fleet managers meet CSA standards through driver behavior reporting, vehicle maintenance, and hours of service logging.
Perhaps one of the most important duties, operational efficiency involves moving products or services as quickly as possible to market vendors or customers. GPS vehicle tracking definitely helps when it comes to full vehicle and asset utilization.
For trailer businesses, that means being able to know exactly which trailers are loaded or unloaded, and if they are unloaded, knowing how to get those trailers loaded is important. For small to medium businesses, that may mean knowing which vehicles can service customers at the moment they become available.