Technology is invading every industry, and fleet services are no different. Whether you own one vehicle or hundreds, high tech provides a cost-effective way to keep your eyes on the road. If the idea of making an investment is holding you back, consider some of the ways not having smart vehicles hurts operating costs.
One advantage to using fleet management software is route assignments. When a driver takes a truck out, dispatchers and management lose all control over movements during the haul. Even with the usual check-ins, where the truck travels at any given moment is guesswork.
Drivers assigning their own routes may sideline to stop at a favorite restaurant or travel in tandem with a friend. Being on the road is boring and gets lonely, going a little out of the way to take the same route as another driver livens it up. Tandem driving costs more than just time, though. Meet ups along the route at coffee houses or to overnight at the same hotel could potentially take both trucks miles off course. The major cost is fuel.
With fleet management software, dispatchers can electronically plan routes for drivers and keep them moving in the right direction. Instead of waiting for a phone or radio call, dispatchers track the progress of each truck in real-time.
A running truck burns fuel. Each hour of idle costs approximately one gallon of diesel, according to Telogis. Many times sitting idle is a problem at a drop site. A driver preparing to make a delivery waits for one reason or another. In the old days, a driver would need to call in to advise the dispatch of problems. With the proper software, management can monitor the situation and help diffuse potential issues. If a trucker is running off schedule due to a delay, the dispatch can notify the next customer along the route of the change.
Global positioning systems help track a vehicle via an interface. This lets a dispatcher know where every truck is at all times. If a unit gets lost, the dispatcher can get it back on the right road to complete a delivery. Any vehicle in a fleet is an investment. The GPS system is one way to monitor the investment in case of theft or an accident. Real-time visibility means always knowing where the truck and driver is during a haul.
Using an electronic documentation program removes expensive paper products from the cost equation. Data input at one location is immediately available in another office. A driver logs his delivery into the electronic system and the office prints the receipt within minutes – no more waiting for faxes before issuing signed proof of delivery.
Turning to electronic documents is helpful in other aspects of fleet management. Drivers can submit pay sheets while on the road. Companies looking for financing can provide necessary title information and inventory statistics securely online.
When a truck goes out of service, it affects every aspect of the operation. Software can help manage the fleet by recognizing problems that have the potential to become disasters. The programs use the fault codes of a system proactively. When a fault appears, an alert goes out. Staying on top of the maintenance problems reduces incidents of roadside breakdowns and repair costs.
Working in the Cloud
Fleet management technology doesn’t require a large upfront purchase. Maintaining an in-office computer network and server takes funds to buy expensive hardware. Companies need personal to maintain in-house systems, as well.
Cloud technology has opened the door for small fleets to take advantage of everything the Internet has to offer this industry. With cloud companies, businesses pay for a service, not a product. Even small offices can take their management system online. All the benefits that come with this technology are available for a monthly fee instead of a capital expense. The money you save can go into employee benefits, new vehicles and green upgrades.
Fleet management technology is a smart business choice, no matter how large of fleet you maintain. It improves systems that make the fleet industry unique. Dispatching, route planning, documentation and driver management are more fluid when you add technology to your service.