There is a massive switch in the general shopping patterns from traditional to online transactions. Due to this shift, businesses now need to send their products directly to their customers’ addresses.
Typically, the process of sending packages to customers involves using several fleets of vehicles. Customers receive the goods delivered to them at their doorstep. Several of these delivery vehicles operate simultaneously, making it challenging to monitor all of them.
Apart from challenging, manually monitoring fleets of vehicles is neither efficient nor cost-effective. Items may be misplaced, there will be increased fuel consumption in each vehicle, and many other issues may arise.
Fortunately, fleet management software is available for businesses to increase the productivity of their supply chains. Simply put, fleet management software is a type of delivery management software that helps business owners better manage their fleet of vehicles.
This article explores how fleet management can help solve transportation-related problems while increasing business productivity. But first, a quick primer on fleet management:
What is fleet management?
Fleet management is a tool which complements a delivery management system. It helps businesses regulate multiple fleets of vehicles. Businesses that need to ship goods to their customers will benefit from it since it helps reduce their fleet operational costs.
Fleet management also refers to the process of overseeing the general fleet operations. That way, businesses can use this tool to control various aspects that influence the efficiency of a fleet, from driver management, route planning, capacity planning, to many others.
Fleet managers will typically be in charge of monitoring fleet operations. As middlemen between business owners and fleet drivers, they will ensure that each vehicle’s performance is under control and optimal through proper fleet management.
Benefits of fleet management
Businesses can benefit from fleet management because it reduces operating costs. Let’s explore these benefits in more detail:
- Proper vehicle maintenance
Businesses can benefit from the convenience of proper vehicle maintenance by incorporating fleet management into their operational systems. A critical aspect of fleet management is ensuring that every available vehicle in the fleet is in decent condition.
A fleet manager is in charge of conducting vehicle inspections regularly. If and when they discover a problem with a vehicle, they can take proactive measures and solve the issue. Regular maintenance ensures that fewer problems slip through the cracks. That way, businesses don’t incur heavy losses on fixing any major issues. Catching and solving a problem when it’s minor is less costly than repairing significant damage.
- Lower fuel waste
Fleet management typically includes visibility into driver behaviour, such as the possibility of speeding or idling. Both speeding and idling can increase unnecessary fuel consumption, raising operating costs.
By incorporating fleet management into their system, businesses will be able to hold their drivers accountable. This gives drivers a sense of responsibility and knowledge that their actions can negatively impact their work and the business. Understanding this and encouraging the drivers to perform better can reduce the amount of fuel wasted during idling and speeding.
- Proper driver management
Most fleet management systems include driver management features, allowing fleet managers to optimise driver productivity. For example, the fleet management software can help assign daily schedules to drivers, from accepting the assignments and marking them as complete when done.
Additionally, fleet management enables fleet managers to obtain real-time delivery status. Since GPS is incorporated in the driver management app, fleet managers can track the vehicle’s location, allowing them to help or guide the drivers if there are problems or delays.
- Robust route planning
Another perk of fleet management is that the fleet managers get the ease of route planning. Fleet managers can automatically share the route plans through one integrated system as fleet managers consider fleet sizes, road conditions, and loads.
This means that drivers can now easily follow predefined routes while operating the vehicles. Assigning routes beforehand can help drivers get familiar with their assignments, reducing the likelihood of drivers getting lost, which may cause a delay in arrival and increase unnecessary fuel consumption.
- Increased profitability
Since fleet management streamlines the shipping process, businesses can reduce a range of potential expense increases (e.g., fuel waste, faults in the vehicles, accidents, delays on the road, and many more). In addition, with more money to direct toward other divisions, businesses can optimise their spending, leading to higher profits over time.
- Stock management
The number of goods leaving the warehouse will be calculated through fleet management, allowing businesses to carry out stock management to ensure the availability of goods.
What does a fleet manager do?
In a nutshell, fleet managers are responsible for monitoring fleet performance. In a more specific way, here are some of the tasks and duties that are expected from fleet managers today:
- Create schedules for the drivers
Creating schedules for fleet drivers will help streamline the shipment process. A fleet manager must carefully consider the customer’s regions and ensure that drivers cover all areas. A fleet manager should also optimise the schedule so that customers receive their goods on time.
Once a fleet manager has made the schedule, drivers can access their daily schedule via the driver management app. Drivers can also view their routes through the app, eliminating the need to switch between multiple apps. This gives both the fleet manager and the driver clarity on routes and schedules, allowing them to plan for any delays or potential problems.
- Schedule routine maintenance and repairs on vehicles
Fleet managers must plan routine maintenance and repairs on cars to keep track of the assets. Fleet managers help businesses ensure vehicle safety and efficiency by correctly scheduling maintenance. A well-maintained fleet of vehicles saves fuel, reduces maintenance expenses, and increases productivity.
Furthermore, fleet managers ensure that the business complies with vehicle laws and regulations by performing routine maintenance and repairs.This promotes safe driving and reduces the number of accidents due to missed problems.
- Make vehicle purchases
Fleet managers are also in charge of purchasing the vehicles themselves. They might need to look around to compare offers from various fleet specialist companies and ensure that they choose the one that’s best for their business — both fiscally and otherwise.
- Train new drivers
A fleet manager’s duties also include understanding and communicating road and driver safety to current and new drivers. A fleet manager must train fleet drivers in advance to help them be more cautious, and therefore, safer on the road. Of course, it goes without saying that businesses will also fare better with fewer accidents and delays.
- Create a cost-effective vehicle plan
A fleet manager must understand the technical aspects of fleet operations, which is why most of them have a degree in transportation engineering. Since they know the fleet operations scheme, they can create a cost-effective fleet operations plan.
- Ensure drivers follow the predetermined routes
Route planning is the responsibility of fleet managers. After creating an effective route plan, they must ensure that the drivers follow the predetermined routes. Fleet management software allows fleet managers to monitor driver performances. At the same time, a driver app shows the access routes that drivers can use. With both fleet managers and drivers working together and communicating so easily, the drivers can complete tasks more efficiently and improve the business’ quality of last mile deliveries.
- Create reports of driver’s performance
Creating a drivers’ performance report allows fleet managers to understand the fleet’s daily performance. Two other systems besides fleet management can specifically help fleet managers to create driver’s performance reports — driver management systems and truck tracking systems.
Driver management is helpful because it allows drivers to accept and complete their daily orders autonomously. Subsequently, fleet managers can access the daily, weekly, or monthly data through the analytics dashboard.
On the other hand, truck tracking is helpful to track deliveries in real-time. The GPS in the car encourages drivers to be responsible and allows fleet managers to monitor their compliance. Consequently, fleet managers can get visibility and create reports accordingly.
What is fleet management software?
Fleet management software is a cloud-based platform that assists fleet managers in monitoring the entire fleet, including vehicles, equipment, and drivers. Fleet managers can also take corrective actions when they recognise any issues through fleet management software.
Since fleet management typically comes as a cloud-based, SaaS (Software as a Service) platform, businesses will benefit from the ease of not needing to worry about the updates or maintenance since the vendor will take care of it. That way, fleet managers can directly use the software to monitor multiple data points using a single application in real-time.
Since fleet management software focuses on functions for streamlining the fleet and vehicle operations, there are several functionalities that it needs to provide:
- Live tracking the vehicles’ current status
- Route planning
- Monitoring driver behaviours
- Optimising fuel consumption
- Automating the process of order assignments and completion
- Scheduling routine maintenance and repairs on vehicles
What kind of businesses need fleet management software?
Any business that involves the delivery of goods will benefit from integrating a fleet management software into their system. However, in practice, several categories of scope will most likely incorporate the software into their operations.
Here is the list of fleet scopes that would benefit from implementing fleet management software, according to a study:
- Small fleet (up to 20 vehicles)
- Mid-size fleet (20 – 99 vehicles)
- Large fleet (100 – 499 vehicles)
- Huge fleet (more than 500 vehicles)
How to choose the best fleet management software for your business?
Now that we’ve covered fleet management, the main features, and even the specific scopes and businesses that benefit from it, here are six key features to look out for in your choice:
6 Key Features of a Fleet Management Software
- Driver management
The driver management feature will give you the power to control and measure your drivers’ performance with ease. That way, you can ensure that your drivers meet their daily obligations.
Not only that, the driver management feature will also help you:
- Create a daily schedule for the drivers
- Ensure driver compliance with the rules and regulations
- Scale drivers’ performance and see whether or not they met their KPIs
- Calculate the amount of revenue earned by drivers after completing their orders.
- Vehicle tracking
The vehicle tracking feature is a critical component of fleet management software. Businesses can gain visibility into the movement of their vehicles by embedding GPS in them.
Knowing where the vehicles are at any given time can be helpful. Businesses can learn the average time it takes drivers to complete each task, and proactively inform their customers about the expected arrival time. Giving clear status updates on the delivery journey can improve customer satisfaction and improve customer retention.
- Fleet alarms
Fleet alarms are helpful because they can notify fleet managers of issues in the fleets under their care. For example, if a vehicle goes past its speeding limit or needs an engine oil change, a fleet alarm can draw attention to the problem. This early and proactive awareness allows both fleet managers and drivers to take corrective action to reduce any bigger issues.
- Fuel optimisation
Fleet management software usually includes fuel optimisation by embedding sensors to detect fuel levels. The data collected from the sensors can then be used as a reference to estimate the amount of fuel needed to cover a certain distance.
- Route planning
The route planning feature is an essential part of fleet management software, where fleet managers will create routes that the drivers will travel by.Through this feature, enterprises can save money by avoiding fund overruns caused by lost drivers, such as unnecessary fuel usage, long idling, and longer shipping time.
- Machine learning
Fleet management software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) powered by machine learning will help streamline business operations. With artificial intelligence (AI), fleet management software can automatically assign delivery jobs to drivers. At the same time, drivers can automatically complete their tasks, making the process more efficient.
So, does your business need a good fleet management software?
We understand. After all, we’ve only just explained the benefits of having one, and you want to try it out with your business. At Yojee, we’re here to help you take your business and its operations to the next level. Increase productivity and lower costs with our logistics software — easily integrated into your existing systems.
Contact Yojee’s team for a consultation and demo here.