Fleet managers must overcome hurdles every day to do their jobs, but those that impact fleet management productivity the most are often routine tasks that eat up large chunks of time. They include administrative tasks, management of fuel costs, monitoring driver behavior and ensuring fleet regulatory compliance.
Although necessary, this steady deluge of tasks can keep managers treading water. Many become roadblocks that make an operation more inefficient, impacting fleet management productivity and the bottom line.
Advanced software systems can provide significant support in these areas. They provide solutions to routine tasks, freeing fleet managers and allowing them to spend more time on issues that lead to improved performance.
Common Issues That Impact Fleet Management Productivity
While every fleet is unique, fleet managers frequently face a list of common challenges that hinder their ability to focus on bigger issues. Telematics solutions offer a way to make process improvements in these areas that result in optimization of fleet operations.
Regulatory compliance alone can lead to hours wasted each week as managers work on the required – and, in many states, growing – list of reports required by governments at all levels. It’s especially difficult if fleet managers still use a paper-based system.
Automated systems can now track all the different compliance reports required by the DOT, FMCSA and FDA. Fleet managers can avoid fines and properly file Hours of Services, Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports, International Fuel Tax Reports and much more.
Even a medium-sized fleet has a complicated maintenance schedule to maintain. Missed maintenance or not detecting an issue early can lead to breakdowns, delivery delays and costly repairs.
Technology now offers automated software that can create and maintain a maintenance schedule. Connected sensors also monitor engines, detecting potential problems before they worsen and cause a breakdown on the road. Fleet managers also benefit by creating a preventative maintenance checklist.
Managing Fuel Costs
Fuel costs are always volatile, a lesson learned again in 2022 as prices skyrocketed worldwide. Veteran fleet managers know it’s just a matter of time before the next high price wave rolls across the country. Even at “normal” rates, fuel costs make up a huge chunk of a fleet’s budget.
It’s possible to improve fuel consumption rates by using software systems that monitor drivers and provide alerts when they engage in fuel-burning behavior (such as extended idling or rapid acceleration or braking). Fuel cards also allow managers to control when and where drivers buy fuel.
Drivers represent the biggest asset – and potentially the biggest risk – for fleets. A good driver is highly valued and can make a big difference in company performance. A poor driver can put a fleet at higher risk for liability claims, costly repairs and not fulfilling obligations to clients.
Telematics can help fleet managers get a handle on driver performance. Systems that use in-cab cameras monitor driver behavior, sharing all information in real-time with managers. Some systems provide alerts when drivers exhibit risky behavior. They also provide information to fleet managers that allows them to pick the right type of trainer for each individual driver, addressing areas where they need improvement.
Asset Tracking and Management
Success leads to bigger fleets, and bigger fleets lead to more assets to manage, including vehicles and non-vehicle assets, such as trailers. Keeping track of everything is difficult to manage. In some cases, theft can also become an issue.
Connected devices placed on assets can continuously track location, making them easy to find at any time. They also can send alerts if any asset leaves a designated area, letting managers know if someone moves an asset without permission. Telematics provides solutions to the challenges that affect fleet management productivity. By learning how telematics offers a strong return on investment, fleet managers take the first step toward improving their operational efficiency and profit margins.