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.
What is a fleet management system?
A fleet management system is a software program that allows fleet managers to track, monitor, and manage vehicles and drivers. The system is made possible through the installation of a GPS tracking device in each fleet vehicle that’s paired with an online management platform. Fleet managers can then access the device’s information from their smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop.
The GPS tracker collects real-time data on vehicle location, vehicle health, and driver behavior. Through the digital platform, fleet managers can see the exact location of their vehicles, send location links to customers, and set virtual boundaries for your drivers to stay within. This improves dispatching, keeps drivers accountable, and improves customer service.
Fleet management systems allow you to monitor the health of each vehicle including fuel levels, battery health, tire issues, recall notices, and more. This increases the safety of your vehicles and your drivers while saving you money on costly repairs or unexpected maintenance.
Collecting driver behavior data allows you to see whether operators are handling your company vehicles safely or not, allowing you to track harsh cornering and braking, aggressive acceleration, idle times, and more.
All fleet tracking data is stored on a cloud platform that can be accessed by fleet managers at any time (from anywhere) to assist in the management of their fleet.Discover our Fleet Managment System
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 the following key benefits:
- Increased accountability
- Increased productivity
- Greater profitability
- Improved budgeting & planning
- Lowered auto insurance
- Reduced fuel costs
- Increased safety
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. Incentivizing 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 identify 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.
5. Lowered auto insurance
Protecting your company vehicles with auto insurance is a non-negotiable if you operate a small business. Unfortunately, these costs can add up as you add more drivers and more vehicles to your fleet. Luckily, with the right fleet management solution, you can reduce costs on your insurance premiums for your commercial vehicles.
Installing a GPS fleet tracking system may qualify you for an anti-theft device discount. Having a tracker with disturbance alerts that lets you know when a vehicle is broken into allows you to notify the police as soon as possible, with a higher possibility of recovering any stolen vehicles quickly.
Auto insurance companies may also consider offering you a reduced rate if you have a proven track record of hiring safe drivers. Having a fleet management system in place gives you the historical fleet data you need to prove driver safety to your auto insurance company.
6. Reduced fuel costs
Unless your fleet is strictly operated by electric vehicles, fuel consumption is undoubtedly an overhead expanse that is always on your radar. One of the many benefits of fleet management is that you’re able to reduce fuel costs and save on this ever-fluctuating expense.
Fleet management systems collect valuable data that allows you and your drivers to identify cost-saving areas. For example, if some of your drivers have a high idle time, this can easily be detected through fleet management software, allowing you to address the issue right away. You can then keep tabs on idle times moving forward to see if there is your drivers are actually implementing these behavioral changes.
Fleet management also includes vehicle health data like tire pressure, maintenance, and more to help you further identify areas of opportunity to reduce your fleet’s fuel costs.
7. Increased safety
Keeping your drivers and vehicles safe is a top priority. Implementing a fleet management system increases the safety of both your drivers and your vehicles. Fleet management software collects driver behavior data such as speeding, harsh braking, aggressive cornering, and more which allows you to identify drivers who aren’t driving safely. Force Fleet Tracking goes a step further, giving every trip a Roadscore out of 100 so you can clearly identify which drivers need extra training and which ones to reward.
Additionally, fleet management software keeps you on track with routine maintenance and monitors vehicle health to ensure your drivers are operating well-maintained and safe vehicles. Vehicle health monitoring includes features such as battery health, tire issues, factory recalls, and diagnostic trouble code (DTC) notifications.
Fleet Management Benefits for Your Industry
Benefits of fleet management for HVAC include more effective dispatching for emergency jobs, having historical data to settle customer disputes over techs showing up or not, and sending live tracking links to customers so they can see where their technician is while en route.
Benefits of fleet management for plumbing include effective dispatching for emergency jobs, live tracking links which allow customers to see when their plumber is en route, and the ability to settle customer disputes if they claim the plumber never showed up. With fleet management software, you can easily see whether or not a technician was at a customer’s house and for how long.
Keep technicians safe and accounted for, improve customer service, and reduce operational costs with fleet management for electrical companies. Fleet management with geofencing technology allows you to see when a vehicle enters or exits a specific parameter which can help keep technicians safe should anything happen on the job and no one is around.
Benefits of fleet management for pest control companies include keeping your employees accounted for, providing proof of service notifications, streamlining operations, and reducing operational costs.
Get real-time updates and alerts of your entire pest control fleet based on location, vehicle health, driver behavior, vehicle disturbances, and more. You can also use geofences and get alerted when your crew arrives on-site
The main benefits of fleet management for roofing companies include tracking your entire fleet in real-time, keeping your trucks and employees safe and accounted for, and reducing operational costs.
Track your fleet in real-time. This allows you to ensure all federal and state laws are being followed, that drivers, vehicles, and products are secure, that drivers are held accountable, and that your business runs more efficiently.
Increase accountability by being able to easily see if your trucks, gear, and people are where they need to be with fleet management for contractors. Get ahead of costly maintenance and repairs, and add a layer of protection to driver and vehicle safety.
The main benefits of fleet management for cleaning companies are keeping your cleaning crew on the move without needing to micro-manage them, as well as providing live tracking links to customers so they can see when cleaners are en route.
Don’t see your industry? Force offers fleet management solutions for more than the industries listed above. Whether it’s vehicle tracking, preventive maintenance, or driver behavior monitoring you’re after, fleet tracking will give you peace of mind and help you better manage your team.
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 Fleet Tracking is a preferred solution for 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.