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Selecting the Right Fleet Management Technology

Oct. 19, 2021
What should business owners look for in fleet management software?

If people are the heart and soul of a company, vehicle and equipment fleets are their blood and bones. This is especially true in logistics-related companies and any that spend a lot of time traveling or delivering materials and packages. Manual fleet management was the primary way to handle these growing fleets, but as they get larger, manual data collection and management is no longer a viable option.

Fleet management software options are emerging to help companies keep up with every vehicle they own and manage. What should business owners look for in fleet management software, and what do they need to know to choose the right options for their business?

What to Look For

First, what should business owners be looking for in fleet management technologies? There are a lot of options to choose from, and the exact details will vary depending on the needs and budget of the company. In general, though, it is a good idea to look for programs and technologies that offer:

Ease of Use

There will usually be a bit of a learning curve when implementing any new technology or software, but it shouldn’t be insurmountable. Bringing in a third-party company to set up the new system is expected. Hiring a permanent subcontractor to keep it running shouldn’t be necessary. Opt for something that’s easy to use—not everyone needs a degree in programming or software development.

Accessibility

The earliest incarnations of fleet management technology may have been restricted to access from a single point, but as the tech has developed, it’s become easier to access the data necessary to keep a fleet running smoothly from nearly anywhere. Choose a technology that offers mobile access and secure networking that allows users to log in and access the collected data anywhere they have access to an internet connection.

Actionable Insights

The average fleet can generate massive amounts of data every day. Not all of that data is useful, but sorting the wheat from the chaff and figuring out what’s important and what isn’t can be a massive undertaking. A good fleet management software system will handle that on its own and provide actionable insights that fleet managers and business owners can use to better operate their fleets.

Predictive Algorithms

Fleet management software, when paired with machine learning or AI systems, can become a company’s personal crystal ball of sorts. There’s no magic behind it—just data analysis and pattern recognition. The more information these systems are introduced to, the smarter they become and the more accurate their predictions. This can be a valuable tool for preventing breakdowns and helping fleet managers build the best preventive maintenance schedule.

Fleet Management Options

What specific options should all fleet managers look for in their fleet management programs?

VIN decoders are a valuable tool for any vehicle that has a VIN, such as cars and trucks. The option isn’t always available for heavy equipment like one might find on construction sites. VIN decoders work by providing fleet managers with the exact specifications for each vehicle in the fleet, based on the information provided by the manufacturer. From there, it’s easy to keep track of each vehicle as well as its specific needs.

Opt for a fleet management system that offers scalability options. This might not always be necessary, especially for companies that have a limited number of vehicles with no plans to expand, but for companies at the beginning of their journey, or those working on plans to expand their fleet, scalable options are going to be the best choice.

Benefits of Fleet Management Technologies

Why should fleet managers and business owners invest in fleet management technology? These systems are essential for:

●     Finding, identifying, and eliminating idle time. Time spent idle wastes fuel and creates undue wear and tear on the equipment, which can lead to premature breakdowns.

●      Reducing repair costs. Monitoring equipment carefully makes it easier to detect small signs that could indicate a larger problem before it causes the equipment to fail entirely.

●      Making it easier to keep up with maintenance schedules. Instead of having to check a schedule every day to figure out when something needs to be taken offline, fleet management programs create the schedule. All operators have to do is stick to it.

●      Managing asset utilization. Are all of the vehicles in the fleet being utilized to their full potential? If they aren’t, fleet management software makes it easier to identify deficiencies so they can be corrected.

●      Monitoring operators. This can be a valuable asset for ensuring all assets are being used optimally and that there are no safety violations to be concerned about.

●      Keeping track of machine locations. This can be a valuable tool for preventing theft and assisting in recovery if a piece of equipment or a vehicle is stolen.

Implementing New Technologies

What does it take to implement new fleet management technologies, especially for companies that may be relying on obsolete manual data collection methods?

Start by exploring all the available options and researching the various fleet management programs that might meet the company’s needs. Once a selection is made, the next step is to inform everyone of the upcoming change. Drivers and operators might not need to know the ins and outs of the management software, but they need to be aware that things are changing because it might impact the way they drive.

Once the word is out, consider bringing in a third-party company to assist with the initial setup and training. Ideally, companies won’t need further assistance unless something breaks down, but for the initial setup, it’s always a good idea to have someone who knows precisely what they’re doing to walk team members through it.

From there, all that remains is making use of the technology as it collects information and provides actionable feedback options. It’s really as simple as that.

Looking Toward the Future

As fleets get larger and vehicles get smarter, fleet management technology will slowly shift from a convenience to a necessity. Now is the perfect time to start looking into fleet management options for every company, regardless of their size or the size of their fleet.

Rose Morrison is a freelance writer who covers construction, home improvement, and contracting topics. She is also the managing editor of Renovated.com, a site dedicated to the latest trends in the home industry. She has a passion for innovative technologies that are making the home industry sustainable and efficient. Check out Renovated.com to see more of her work.

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