1.4 million active fleet management systems will be in use by 2021, up from 0.7 million last year. It’s clear that businesses are embracing this technology to streamline and improve operations. A recent Berg Insight report highlights the continuing growth of the tech in Australia. But what exactly is a fleet management system, and why would you get one? Here’s an outline of everything you need to know.
What is a fleet management system?
Devices installed in your vehicles log important data and track location, communicating information back to your office. Armed with fleet management software, you know how your drivers are behaving, see where each of your vehicles is at all times, and can analyse how they’re being used.
How does it work?
Berg Insight outlines four main segments of the technology, which work together to form a useful business solution. We call this the ‘Connected Truck’. Your vehicles all produce massive amounts of valuable data. When they’re connected to a fleet management solution, you can access this information and make sense of it, helping you to drive down costs and increase productivity.
- Vehicle segment – Installing a telematics unit allows you to capture data on what your vehicles are doing. This includes when the engines are running, as well as other insights like speed, idling, handling and fuel use. Adding an in-cabin device improves communication and efficiency on the road. Drivers can receive live route updates or input information to share with back-office staff.
- GPS segment – The vehicle tracking system allows you to pinpoint the location of every vehicle in your fleet by using GPS, so you know exactly where your drivers are and what routes they’ve taken.
- Network segment - Networks transmit data from your vehicles, while satellite communication lets you track of vehicles and communicate with drivers even when they’re in remote areas and outside of mobile coverage.
- Back office segment – A fleet management system is most effective if it integrates easily with your other business systems and applications, whether you’re sending driver timesheets from the system to payroll or a proof of delivery to your invoicing platform. This segment also offers reporting that lets you see your vehicles on a map and visualise business trends and progress.
Why is it a useful business tool?
Fleet management software offers wide-ranging benefits for any business operating a fleet, from keeping your drivers safe to lowering costs and reducing maintenance needs. You can collect a whole range of information so you can start to connect the dots and see trends that are impacting your bottom line or affecting productivity.
Here are the major benefits of a telematics or fleet management solution.
- Vehicle management – Keep track of every vehicle so you can instantly assign jobs to available drivers, plan routes more efficiently, track idling or fuel burn and get alerts when it’s time for a service. This sort of data helps you make more informed decisions about utilising vehicles and reduce unnecessary spending on fuel or vehicle maintenance due to poor driving habits.
- Driver safety – Making sure drivers are safe is a top priority but it’s a challenge when you don’t know what they’re doing on the road. Enforce safer driving behaviours with accurate data on speeding, cornering and harsh braking, as well as the ability to record and replay incidents with a bird’s-eye view of road events. An in-vehicle device also alerts drivers immediately when they’re speeding or need to take a rest break.
- Fleet compliance –Meet regulatory requirements and avoid costly penalties with an automated solution. Electronic systems create more accurate work diaries and make sure drivers are taking breaks when they should. Similarly, a digital record of your fleet’s maintenance services and automatic alerts for scheduled or preventative maintenance helps keep your vehicles up to code.
Getting on board
Despite the growth of fleet management solutions, Berg Insight points out that many businesses are still not taking advantage of what the technology has to offer. But with innovative technology promising significant change for all industries, adopting systems that let you make better decisions and frees your staff from time-consuming admin will put you ahead of your competitors.