Managing a fleet of vehicles is a demanding job. It requires someone with the ability to store and process a lot of information, coordinate operations, and manage not just people, but also equipment and delivery instructions. It’s a hard job, one that is made easy, thanks to technology. However, with the various fleet management software out there, picking one and not the other can seem like an impossible decision. Which features are worth spending money on? Which of them are simply marketing ploys to justify the overpriced product? This list will explain to you all that you need to know about the features of a good fleet management software.
Knowing where your vehicles are at all times is one of the main duties of a fleet manager which makes GPS tracking an essential feature. The rule is, if the software doesn’t have decent GPS tracking, you can do better. When sifting through potential candidates, you’ll want to look for software that provides live updates on vehicle locations or the closest to that in terms of duration. If you find yourself drifting towards the five-to-ten minute range, you’ve gone too far. With live updates, you can react immediately to any possible emergency, navigate your vehicles through traffic jams and blockages, as well as, efficiently coordinate your operations. If you’re always a step behind your vehicles, how will you maintain your edge?
When on the road, it’s quite common to see drivers that tailgate, accelerate too much, and harshly brake all of a sudden. That’s when you know to keep your distance from them, but if this driver is one of yours, then you have another thing coming. Some fleet management software are equipped with features to detect sudden acceleration, braking, and excessive speeding, the symptoms of a careless driver. Such a feature will allow you to properly assess your drivers’ performance, and take action if necessary before a disaster occurs. Not to mention, if you keep your drivers at top performance, you’ll be able to save even more on fuel costs because poor habits like quick acceleration are gas-burners.
What sort of analytics should you expect from a good software? Driving time, idle time, fuel consumption, and the route taken; these four factors are detrimental when it comes to impacting costs. One of the main steps a fleet manager takes before creating a trucking company is calculating potential expenses. A smart manager tries to find the best ways to cut costs before they even set up shop. Knowing the rate at which your vehicles consume fuel when driving, when idle, and being able to compare between the original routes and the taken ones will help you maximize efficiency. Not only will it help you manage your overall fuel consumption and minimize idle time, but it will also help you map out the routes for your vehicles.
The careful monitoring of your vehicles’ health should, without a doubt, be one of your main concerns as a fleet manager. Having a truck breakdown abruptly before or during a trip is any manager’s nightmare. That’s why it’s best to opt for a software that records vehicle health indicators such as battery voltage and fuel consumption. Through the software, you can then compare data, schedule vehicle maintenance, and set reminders for future maintenance dates. In doing so, you’ll be ensuring that your fleet is always healthy, fully-functional, and you’ll also be avoiding sudden mishaps and late deliveries.
If your fleet management system is any good, it should allow you to set alerts depending on your priorities. Wouldn’t you want your attention instantly directed towards a traffic jam or a speeding driver so you could react quickly? The same way you set a Google Alert to know when something is circulating the web, setting alerts through your software can help direct your focus where it’s needed. Especially because when dealing with a large fleet, it’s hard to keep track of your vehicles all at once.
As you can see, there are many desirable features to look for in a good fleet management system, each created to serve you, the person at the helm. It’s impossible to point at one feature and with good conscience label it as more important than the others. It differs from a fleet manager to another, and that’s something you should keep in mind when purchasing a software. With that in mind, you can avoid spending money on features you have no need for. But, don’t go in the opposite direction and buy cheap, mediocre software, either. After all, a good software is an investment with guaranteed long-term returns.