Fleet management is the process of gathering and managing fleet vehicle and driver information. It’s essential for every organization running commercial vehicles.
Why is fleet management important? When owners or fleet managers fail to adopt practices that track and optimize their vehicle and driver activity, their business is at a huge risk.
A fleet without proper management is likely to experience low productivity, security issues, unaccountable drivers, and tons of time and money wasted. But with the right management practices in place, your fleet can be a literal well-oiled machine that helps you make money, rather than bleed it.
Whether your fleet consists of vans, service trucks, cars, or specialty vehicles, fleet management combats the top issues that commercial fleet managers face.
Top Benefits of Fleet Management Systems
Truly effective fleet management is nearly impossible without the help of technology. Specialized software helps battle an array of potential issues with running a fleet, which can be boiled down to four overarching benefits:
1. Increased accountability
It can be difficult to maintain a high level of accountability with staff when they work out of the office or on the road. As a business owner, you need to put a lot of trust in your team to get work done properly, use their time efficiently, and have respect for the vehicles and equipment they’re using.
Relying on staff to self-report their activities — or needing to call and text them throughout the day — is setting them and yourself up for failure. There’s plenty that can go wrong with this kind of manual reporting. Drivers may not keep accurate, timely records, or they may intentionally fudge their numbers to cover up bad behavior. Serious issues can be missed when you lack automated systems, such as illuminated check engine lights and DTC codes.
The best way to keep drivers accountable is through a smart fleet management system. Often, just the presence of fleet management software improves driver accountability. Drivers who are aware of the vehicle monitoring system are more likely to drive carefully and make fewer unnecessary stops. When you set clear, unbiased expectations with your drivers, they’ll consistently perform.
Fleet management software uses geofencing and live-tracking technology, allowing you to see where company vehicles are in real-time. For example, you can see where and how long a vehicle has been parked, when they’re on the move, and when a company vehicle is being taken out of the city or state.
This technology can also tell you how safely each person drives. Data on risky habits like rapid acceleration and harsh braking can be collected, flagged, and corrected.
When it comes to driver location and behavior, the more you know, the more you can hold your team accountable!
2. Increased productivity
We already know fleet management software monitors driver location and behavior, which improves driver accountability. But that same functionality can do wonders for your productivity, too.
Fleet management software gives you instant insights into the number of jobs a driver goes to, how safely they were performed, and if there were any issues or delays. This type of information allows you to strategically plan future jobs.
Fleet management technology also identifies your star performers. Knowing which drivers consistently perform the best — and ensuring they’re the ones assigned on upcoming jobs — increases productivity and improves customer experience.
When you know who your top performers are, you can also acknowledge, encourage, and reward them. Incentivising top performers by offering gift cards or awards can make employees feel valued and motivated — ultimately leading to a higher level of job satisfaction, better retention, and increased productivity.
On the flip side, fleet management systems can highlight the drivers who are underperforming. You can identify and monitor these drivers, offer re-training, or even consider rehiring.
Finally, being able to see the exact location of each vehicle improves job management and dispatching productivity. When you have a new job that needs a driver assigned right away, having a digital map that shows the location of every vehicle in real-time makes your job lightning-fast and effective. You can connect the closest vehicle to the job and minimize potential delays — a win for you and the customer.
3. Greater profitability
There’s a fine line between a profitable small business — particularly a home services business — and one that loses money, or just breaks even.
Your vehicles are likely some of the most valuable assets your business has, but they’re also one of the biggest expenses. The more you can optimize their use, the more profitable your business can be!
Gathering and analyzing data is essential to identifying where your fleet’s succeeding and where there’s opportunity for improvement. Using fleet management systems, which record ample trip data automatically — such as drivers, distance traveled, jobs completed, fuel costs, and more — you can measure KPIs and make better, more-informed decisions.
By using the helpful reports that fleet management software provides, you can track and anticipate costs, expenses, efficiencies, and opportunities for improvement. Here are some example reports and data that fleet management systems provide:
- Vehicle health reports: Monitor your fleet’s mechanical condition, as well as battery status and any recalls.
- Vehicle utilization reports: Analyze vehicle usage patterns and find ways to save money. Gain essential driving stats (distance and time) and show you idling time and fuel efficiency for each vehicle.
- Driver reports: Get helpful insights about your drivers’ productivity and behaviors, including average and historical data on time spent driving, as well as their individual safety records and any dangerous driving habits.
- Administrative reports: Keep track of general information, such as vehicle and device status, as well as access to your complete trip history.
With this information available at your fingertips, daily fleet operations can be fine-tuned to strategically maximize your profits.
4. Improved budgeting & planning
Beyond tracking daily operations, the information collected through fleet management systems can be extremely valuable when you’re putting together an annual budget and planning for the future.
Should you invest in adding more vehicles to your fleet? Should you replace aging trucks, or just repair the ones you have? These are the types of questions you can answer confidently with data from fleet management.
To make strategic decisions about your company’s upcoming year, you can reference detailed records on company expenses, driver productivity, driver behavior, vehicle statistics, and fuel requirements
For example, if you have three trucks and your vehicle usage reports say that for the past three months, they were typically busy six days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., your capacity may be holding you back. It might be time to invest in another vehicle!
Alternatively, if your reports show that most of your trips between jobs are over 45 minutes, it might mean that your customers are very spread out. In that case, you could plan to assign vehicles to specific neighborhoods or consider opening another office location. Think of how much efficiency you’ll gain!
With fleet management software, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re making decisions based on ample, high-quality information.
Get started with a strong fleet management system
Whether you’re looking to improve driver accountability, increase productivity, become more profitable, or ensure better planning, fleet management technology will be the most valuable tool in your belt.
Force by Mojio is a preferred solution of small business owners. We offer smart, simple, and affordable GPS tracking and reporting, designed specifically for small business fleets.
Learn more about what our fleet management systems can do for your business and get a free trial.