If your company has more than two vehicles, you have a fleet. As with all components of a business, fleets need managing. Fleet management ensures that overall transportation costs are kept to a minimum. Fleet management is a challenging job and is much more than just knowing where drivers and vehicles are or occasionally checking the oil levels in the fleet vans. With the assistance of modern technology such as GPS devices and vehicle tracking systems, a fleet manager’s job can be much easier.
One of the most fundamental components in fleet management is vehicle tracking. Modern technology in the form of GPS tracking devices has made tracking and diagnostics much more efficient and easier, leading to far more efficient fleet management overall. GPS vehicle tracking systems allow a fleet manager to know exactly where every vehicle in the fleet is at any given time and gives them the opportunity to plan the most efficient routes and reduce waiting time for customers.
An important part of fleet management is duty of care. Fleet management should provide clear policies and guidance for employees who drive on company business. Vehicle tracking systems incorporate software that can build up a profile of a driver’s habits, enabling fleet managers to monitor behavior on the road so you can see exactly how safely company vehicles are being driven.
Fleet Tracking Reports
Reports are a key part of a vehicle tracking system. Fleet tracking software is able to generate a range of reports that keep a user informed of their fleets activity and performance and allow comparisons to be made between drivers performance. In addition these reports can help ensure that drivers are managing their time effectively and driving efficiently. Other reports may include which sites have been visited. This ensures that mobile workers meet contact targets and provides timesheet and mileage reports that help to accurately manage employee expenses claims.
Typical features include Geofence – the application which draws a virtual ring fence around a specific address or location. Use of Geofence enables a user to readily identify addresses of significant interest to companies in terms of customer, office or depot addresses. Employee addresses can be recorded just as easily, making Geofence the ideal tool for alerting and reporting needs.
As soon as a vehicle breaches a ‘ring fence’, notification is immediately sent by e-mail or text to alert the fleet manager; additional applications can include reports on early arrival, late arrival and ‘on site’ time notifications with the obvious advantage of facilitating easy and accurate provision of invoices to those companies which charge for ‘on site’ time. Yet another advantage is the production of verifiable information to resolve potential customer disputes.
Reports of this type are a key feature of a typical vehicle tracking system, with the tracking application capable of producing all the reports required to inform users of their fleet’s activity and performance, thus facilitating comparisons between drivers performance. This allows drivers to manage their journeys more effectively and to compare driver efficiency. In addition, reports can inform managers of sites visited, ensuring that mobile workers meet contact targets as well as providing timesheet and mileage reports to help managers to monitor employees’ expenses claims
Vehicle fleet tracking also introduces safety and crime prevention elements. GPS can be used to quickly locate and recover a vehicle or equipment that has been stolen. Also a silent alarm can be triggered if a vehicle is stolen or involved in an accident. This is particularly important if the fleet operates in more remote areas and can mean a far more rapid response to an emergency system. This reduces recovery time for stolen vehicles and therefore the costs associated with vehicle theft.
Tracking systems can also provide fleet managers with crucial data for mechanical diagnostics including mileage and fuel consumption, speed and direction. This enables fleet managers to build up a profile of the activities of both driver and vehicle. For example, if the driver is persistently speeding the fleet manager can then implement actions to change this behavior. Speeding uses up fuel and by monitoring the average speed of the vehicle, larger fleets can make considerable savings in their annual fuel bill. It also presents a far better image of the company to the general public, particularly if your fleet is made up of sign-written vehicles or carries the company’s logo.
Another essential component of fleet management is also the essential maintenance of fleet vehicles, ensuring that every vehicle is roadworthy before taking off for their next job. Diagnostic information provided by vehicle tracking systems can make this task much easier, preventing vehicles that may be faulty or dangerous from being used. This ensures that a fleet manager’s duty of care to both the public and their employees and drivers is maintained at the highest level.