Have you ever wondered how fleet businesses keep their operations running smoothly, productively, and profitably?
In this article:
- Understand what fleet management is and what processes it entails
- Find out what exactly a fleet manager does and the day-to-day tasks they face
- Learn about fleet management software and how it benefits the management process
- Discover how actionable insights from Cartrack’s technology can improve employee productivity
Firstly, what is fleet management?
The term fleet management refers to the management and supervision of vehicles such as cars, trucks, or vans that are used for business purposes. Fleet management does not only refer to a single task but a process involved in overseeing the entire fleet operation, from employee performance to fleet performance.
The fleet management process includes:
- Managing fleet vehicles
- Tracking task completion rates
- Improving driver safety and productivity
- Ensuring vehicle maintenance
- Analysing fuel costs and managing fuel consumption
- Optimising routes for on-time deliveries
- Using actionable insights to make strategic decisions
All these tasks are undertaken to increase employee productivity, ensure fleet operations run smoothly, improve customer experience and increase profits while reducing operational costs and time wastage.
To better understand fleet management, let’s take Bill as an example. Bill is a fleet manager for a small fleet business in the health industry.
What is a fleet manager and what do they do?
As a fleet manager Bill is responsible for all aspects of the fleet business, this includes directing and managing fleet vehicles, resources, and costs. This role requires efficient use of time, and excellent leadership and decision-making skills to effectively oversee fleet assets and increase fleet performance. Even though Bill’s daily routine may differ slightly from that of other fleet managers who work in different fleet industries, they all share common responsibilities which include:
- Managing, overseeing, and supervising fleet operations
- Hiring quality drivers and monitoring driver behaviour and performance
- Creating and managing driver tasks and schedules to maximise productivity
- Ensuring the fleet remains compliant and avoids unnecessary setbacks
- Implementing fleet management strategies to reduce fleet costs and increase productivity
- Creating and using detailed reports
- Organising paperwork and administration
- Ensuring regular vehicle maintenance for operational efficiency and minimising downtime
- Meeting customer expectations and ensuring a high level of customer satisfaction
It’s challenging for Bill and other fleet managers to efficiently manage their fleet’s daily tasks while boosting profits. Therefore, they use fleet management software to help them manage small, medium, or large fleets efficiently. This type of system allows them to receive reports, data, information, and actionable insights designed to improve fleet operations and productivity.
Let’s gain a deeper understanding of this fleet management software.
Who uses fleet management software and why?
Fleet management software is a computer software that simplifies the work of a fleet manager by using GPS tracking so managers can:
- Track fleet vehicles and assets
- Monitor driver behaviour and performance
- Measure task completion rates
- Manage and reduce operation costs
- Schedule regular vehicle maintenance
Ensure fleet compliance
Manually managing all the above can be challenging whether it is one vehicle or an entire fleet. Businesses use fleet management software to simplify the fleet management process by gaining a birds-eye view of the entire fleet operations with an all-in-one platform. This way, Bill or any other fleet manager can improve safety, reduce fleet costs, increase vehicle lifespan, receive real-time fleet alerts, optimise routes, and increase customer satisfaction – all remotely, from his fingertips.
Fleet management software is useful for any company that needs commercial vehicles and drivers to conduct everyday business. This includes businesses in the following industries:
- Food transportation
- Public or private transportation
- Health and emergency services
- Courier and package delivery services
With the use of fleet management software, fleet managers in the above industries can successfully manage a fleet business by efficiently overseeing driver behaviour, internal and external factors that impact fuel prices, customer expectations, and vehicle maintenance – just to name a few.
4 benefits of fleet management software
There are multiple ways that fleet management software benefits fleet operations. Let’s unpack four of these:
- Fleet management provides fleet visibility: Fleet management software integrates vehicle telematics to provide fleet managers with a complete view of all fleet activities. Fleet managers can use real-time visibility or historical data to make data-driven and informed decisions regarding deliveries, routes, tasks, costs, and safety, as well as exonerate drivers or expedite insurance claims.
- Fleet management reduces fuel costs and consumption: Fuel costs alone can amount to approximately 40% of fleet expenses. With fleet management software, fuel costs and consumption can be reduced by using GPS vehicle tracking to detect fuel wastage and find solutions, for example:
Idle time: A bus wastes 3.5 litres of fuel per hour of idling, a medium-heavy truck wastes 3 litres, and a large sedan wastes 1.5 litres. With fleet management software, fleet managers can detect idling and educate drivers about the need to reduce idle times.
Delivery time: Quick turnaround times translate to less mileage and less fuel used. Fleet managers can use fleet management software to optimise the most efficient routes, access driver and vehicle information, and monitor traffic and weather. To ensure drivers have quicker turnaround times.
Driver behaviour: Speeding, harsh braking, and cornering are some of the driver behaviours that waste fuel. Fleet management software allows fleet managers to monitor driver behaviour and receive real-time alerts in the case of poor driver performance.
With Cartrack’s easy-to-use Mi-Fleet software, fleet managers can easily manage and control fuel transactions, pinpoint fuel wastage, and detect fuel fraud. This saves fuel, money, and admin.
- Fleet management increases employee productivity and safety: Managers can ensure fleet operations are both safe and productive by using fleet management software that manages vehicle maintenance, reduces downtime, improves driver behaviour, optimises routes, monitors vehicle and driver safety, and boosts employee efficiency.
- Fleet management increases customer satisfaction: In the age of fast internet, online shopping, and same-day delivery, customers have become less patient and have high expectations. 61% of shoppers would like to have their items delivered within three hours of making an online purchase. With GPS tracking as a fleet management solution, fleet managers can increase customer expectations by optimising routes and ensuring that drivers remain on course with delivery schedules. GPS tracking further allows customers to track their deliveries in real-time while fleet managers can keep drivers updated on any emergencies or changes to deliveries.
Any fleet industry or size can reap these benefits if a fleet operation is efficiently managed. For fleet managers to effectively manage a fleet business, teamwork and well-maintained assets are vital. In contrast, having a non-functional team and ill-maintained assets can lead to an unfulfilled fleet manager role and an unsuccessful business operation.
Top-four productivity challenges fleet managers face
Productivity is the key to a successful business story. As a fleet manager, Bill’s job is to maximise the fleet’s productivity. The productivity of a fleet operation is dependent on a fleet manager’s ability to efficiently manage the fleet. However, fleet managers may struggle to effectively meet their responsibilities and efficiently manage a fleet operation because their role is dependent on the productivity of employees, the state of the business assets and resources, as well as external factors such as inflation rates.
These are the top four productivity challenges that fleet managers face:
- Time and energy spent on admin and paperwork: The administrative overload from fleet management tasks such as invoicing, creating reports, creating driver schedules, scheduling vehicle maintenance, and following up with drivers and customers can be challenging and time-consuming. Fleet management software provides an efficient, cost-effective, and paperless way to handle admin by digitising and automating day-to-day operations on one cloud-based platform
- Unplanned vehicle downtime: The time vehicles spend off the road due to incidents such as breakdowns, collisions or delays in maintenance and service schedules, hinders the fleet operations productivity and profits. Rather than waiting for unplanned vehicle downtime, fleet managers can use fleet management software to perform vehicle diagnostics and automate maintenance schedules and reports to keep their vehicles on the road, maximising productivity and ultimately profits.
- Unsafe driving: Unsafe driver behaviour such as speeding, harsh braking, cornering, and fatigued driving increase the risk of accidents and damaged goods. This means more time and costs spent on repairing vehicles, insurance claims, and replacing and re-delivering customers’ products. By using real-time alerts of poor driver behaviour and driver scorecards for performance-based feedback and training, fleet managers can improve driver behaviour and boost productivity.
- Unclear communication: Another big one is communication or the lack thereof, especially on tasks, schedules, and pick-up and drop-off locations which can lead to an unmotivated and unproductive work environment, as well as time and costs wasted on wrong deliveries. Fleet managers must ensure drivers are well-informed, well-rested, and well-trained. Fleet management software can automate certain tasks and managers can use actionable insights to improve fleet productivity and efficiency.
Actionable insights to improve fleet management and employee productivity
Actionable insights can be defined as data and information about a business that can be used to make business decisions and achieve business goals. This refers to data and information that can be translated into action (whether decisions or performance). When used effectively, actionable insights lead to improved employee productivity and business growth.
This way, Cartrack can help fleet-based businesses get more productivity out of their employees, assets, and resources.
Top-three actionable insights by Cartrack to help improve employee productivity:
1. Contextualised metrics for strategic decision making: With the use of the fleet’s operational, administrative and financial data, Cartrack produces tangible data so fleet managers gain insight into the fleet operation that they can actually use to make accurate strategic decisions.
For example, the fleet’s operational, administrative and financial data can be used to determine the cost per job. If the cost per job is too high and outweighs the profit per job, fleet managers can use this information to decide on cost changes and direct actions to reduce fuel consumption, optimise routes or decrease idling time.
2. Comparable metrics to pinpoint challenges and solutions: This allows fleet managers to compare metrics across drivers and vehicles to pinpoint leakages, identify challenges and solutions to tackle them, and spot where to optimise time and increase productivity.
For example, fleet managers can compare cost differences per task per vehicle based on driver behaviour, vehicle maintenance costs, fuel costs, and cost per kilometre. If one vehicle’s costs are significantly higher than others, fleet managers can pinpoint the challenge and tackle it.
This information can be used to further empower, educate or train the driver to use assets, resources, and time more productively.
3. Instant insights to spot unproductiveness: This helps fleet managers instantly find the information needed and stay in the know of any unproductive areas of the fleet operation. Whether it is time per delivery, data on a specific vehicle, or driver behaviour – fleet managers can receive instant insights in case they need the information urgently.
Cartrack gives fleet managers an overview of fuel consumption, unproductive idling, safety, and vehicle utilisation on a dashboard, all within just one click. Fleet managers can further use the filters to specify what information is needed- this saves hours that would be spent analysing data.
Improve employee productivity with Cartrack today
Get actionable insights to improve employee productivity with Cartrack’s easy-to-use platform that gives you an overview of your fleet’s operation.
Get a quote today and say goodbye to the downtime!