Keeping tabs on your fleet of vehicles used to be more art than science. That’s changed a lot during the past decade as GPS fleet management systems have grown in sophistication. Early iterations allowed you to follow dots on a map but today you can generate much more granular information, supporting real-time business decisions that maximise the efficiency of your fleet.
Of course, what you need to know varies wildly from industry to industry. The metrics that matter to a company transporting livestock won’t necessarily be the same for a waste management firm. Fleet management software improves your business visibility straight out of the box but the key to unlocking greater value lies in integration with other smart technology.
In this series of posts, we’ll examine how these integrations are helping businesses across a range of industries improve all aspects of fleet management. This will include construction, agriculture, resources, government and service delivery. Let’s kick off with a look at the transport industry.
Running a fleet of vehicles involves thinking so many steps ahead, it sometimes feels like playing chess with lots of extra pieces on an oversized board. In order to maximise efficiency, you need to know where vehicles are and what jobs are coming in so you can determine the best combinations. In the past, the only way to do this was through regular phone contact with your drivers. This was a time-consuming activity for both parties. Invoices could only be calculated and sent when the driver returned to base. With fleet management tools much of this can be automated, freeing back-office staff from laborious data entry. Real-time data enables faster invoicing and quicker payment. Not only can you perform more jobs with the same resources, but you can deliver better customer service in the process.
Examples: iCOS LIVE – Transport management software offering real-time track and trace from job order through dispatch to proof of delivery.
CMS Transport Systems’ Freight 2020 – A fully-integrated transport management system allowing you to manage operations and create a self-service customer portal.
The Heavy Vehicle National Law governs many aspects of your fleet operation from vehicle condition to the loads they carry. Chain of responsibility legislation means that anyone in a position of influence or control may be held responsible for regulatory breaches. Integrating your fleet management system with tools that monitor these requirements allows you to better manage compliance requirements. You can even use it to drive competition between drivers based on the best fatigue management they achieve or the least amount of harsh driving performed with a resulting increase in kilometre rates for the period.
Example: Transtech’s Mass Manager & Pre-Trip Checklist – This allows drivers to report all the trip details required by the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme, providing real-time data for your office.
It’s great to know how far each vehicle in your fleet has travelled this month but managing maintenance schedules has long been a headache. The problem only gets worse as your fleet grows. Integrating your fleet management system with maintenance software will automate these processes so you instantly know when a vehicle is due for its next service and what is required to complete the service in the form of a work order. Feeding various sensor data such as Tyre Pressure Monitoring or engine fault codes into the system means you can avoid unnecessary wear and minimises the risk of catastrophic failure. Better yet, with access to detailed data about fleet performance, your workshop can have the parts it needs available without carrying excessive amounts of stock.
Examples: FleetMEX – A fleet maintenance management system that lets you manage registration, maintenance, invoicing, purchasing and security on any fleet from mining equipment to golf carts.
Noregon – Heavy-duty diagnostics to check a vehicle’s body, chassis, engine, transmission and brakes.
PressurePro – Real-time tyre performance readings and alerts to be communicated to your driver and office.
Hummingbird Electronics CAN sensors – These sensors feed fault information from your vehicle's CAN bus standard onboard computer directly to your servers.
4. Fatigue Management
Everybody in the chain of responsibility has a role to play in minimising driver fatigue to improve road safety. From 2017, your business will have the option of replacing paper diaries with electronic ones. Electronic Work Diaries give you the reassurance that drivers are taking adequate breaks as outlined in the latest legislation, which makes life easier for fleet managers and drivers alike. All the driver needs to do is press start or stop for break calculation and back-office reporting to be handled automatically, with in-cab notifications delivered at the appropriate time. At the more advanced end of the technical spectrum, biometrics are shaping up to be an important tool, with cameras that can monitor drivers and their behaviour for signs of fatigue.
Example: Transtech Electronic Work Diaries – Now your drivers and operators can easily manage fatigue with real-time visibility.
5. Competitive Advantage
Improving the performance and safety of your fleet is good news for everyone, including your customers. After all, they’re also concerned about ensuring they meet their chain of responsibility requirements. With this in mind, it’s increasingly common to include stipulations about compliance systems during the tender process. Integrating your fleet management systems with other smart technology tools will put your business in contention for jobs that might be otherwise off limits.