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What is Fleet Management?

Trackunit

Your Full Guide To Understanding Fleet Management

Any business or organization that depends on a fleet of vehicles or equipment for its operations will need some level of fleet management. In fact, according to an annual survey by Government Fleet, over 75% of fleet managers use telematics or management software to assist them with their equipment and vehicles. 

But what is fleet management, what does it entail, and how can a company improve its fleet operations? The following guide is your one-stop shop. 

From a review of definitions to a Q&A with the experts, this guide will help you understand fleet management, how it works, why it’s important, and how to choose the best management system for your business. 

What Is Fleet Management?

While fleet management involves a number of different aspects, put simply, it’s the task of acquiring the right vehicles/equipment, taking care of all the vehicles used and ensuring they continue to run smoothly until their eventual disposal. A fleet manager (a vehicle shepherd of sorts) conducts these duties.

What are the Benefits of Fleet Management? 

There are countless advantages to managing a fleet well. Here are some of the main ones: 

Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance schedules help minimize breakdowns, save money on expensive repairs and prolong the lifespan of the vehicles.

Less Fuel Waste

Route optimization reduces wasted fuel and minimizes idling, potentially saving thousands of dollars in fuel costs. For on-road fleets, managers can view data to find the fastest routes for their drivers, reducing time on the road and gas used.

Asset Safety

Real-time equipment tracking helps prevent theft and unauthorized use. According to experts, the industry experiences hundreds of millions to $1 billion worth of losses each year. Effective management improves asset protection, keeping vehicles on their rightful lots and business owners at peace. 

Automating Tedious Tasks

Implementing management software allows time-consuming, manual tasks to be automated to save time. 

More Time to Focus on What Matters

Overall, having a handle on a fleet frees managers and business owners to focus on delivering better service to their customers.

Why Fleet Management is Important

Owning a car isn’t cheap — imagine owning an entire fleet of trucks, off-road equipment, and other vehicles. Maintenance, repairs, and fuel costs, especially for complex equipment like those used in construction, add up.

The easiest way for businesses to make money is to save it where possible. Good management helps businesses analyze ways to eliminate inefficiencies, reduce operating costs, and protect company assets.

Different Industries That Benefit From Fleet Management

Most people may only consider commercial vehicles or public transit as “fleets”. However, several other industries require and depend on expert management, including: 

  • Construction
  • Equipment rental depots
  • Food delivery 
  • Public and private transportation (i.e., City and school busses, Uber) 
  • First responders (i.e., ambulances, fire trucks) 
  • Security and law enforcement
  • Home services (i.e., HVAC, plumbing)

What Does a Fleet Manager Do? 

Effective management requires a manager or management team. Fleet managers are responsible for maintaining a fleet and keeping costs low. They oversee everything from initial acquisition to eventual disposal of a vehicle or piece of equipment. 

Responsibilities include ensuring proper performance, fuel management, and maintenance of each vehicle or piece of equipment during its working life. They track vehicles and try to find ways to reduce the cost of fleet operations. 

Fleet managers also play a role in training and directing the drivers/operators and keeping them safe. They ensure drivers operate the vehicles safely, implement programs to train them on usage practices, and ensure the company stays compliant with government regulations. 

Challenges Fleet Managers Face 

Management isn’t easy, especially when it involves keeping track of the location and status of hundreds of assets across a large geographical area. Fleet managers face several obstacles, including:

  • Vehicle acquisition: The process of determining the right vehicles, negotiating with manufacturers and even considering resale value, all while maintaining the budget, can be complex. 
  • Fuel wastage and management: Vehicles need fuel, which costs money. Managers can’t control fluctuating fuel prices, making it difficult to gauge how much to budget. Many companies opt to reduce fuel consumption by optimizing routes or going electric. 
  • Keeping costs low: With so many vehicles in multiple locations, fuel costs, insurance, maintenance and repairs can add up quickly, making it difficult to meet the bottom line. 
  • Health and safety of drivers and equipment: Managers must ensure that their drivers are not overworked and that equipment is protected from theft while not in use.
  • Administration and interpreting data: Data can be overwhelming without a system to interpret it and use it effectively. 
  • Vehicle maintenance schedules and downtime: Maintenance is key to preventing downtime, but it can be difficult to predict when each vehicle will need a service appointment. When done manually, asset maintenance can easily get neglected, leading to unexpected breakdowns and high repair costs.

The Different Aspects Of Fleet Management

How does fleet management work to smoothen a company’s overall operations? Typically, with industry best practices and a comprehensive system or software. Here’s a breakdown of a few features: 

  • Vehicle & Equipment Tracking

Real-time location tracking enhances theft prevention and optimizes the utilization of assets across job sites. GPS increases visibility, helping managers improve operational efficiency and plan efficient routes to reduce fuel consumption. This lets businesses deliver better, more reliable customer service.

  • Safety & Sustainability

Management systems help workers stay compliant with government and safety regulations, fostering a culture of responsibility. Monitoring driving behaviors like speed and excessive braking helps keep workers, communities, and vehicles safe. 

Optimized routes not only reduce expenses but also minimize a company’s carbon footprint. These efforts enhance employee welfare, reduce potential liabilities, and foster public trust.

  • Maintenance Scheduling

A well-maintained fleet operates more reliably and has a higher resale value due to a well-documented history. Software with usage data and predictive engine analytics lets managers schedule appointments before breakdowns happen, reducing downtime, minimizing accidents, and increasing profitability.

  • Vehicle & Equipment Usage Reports

Usage reports also show how assets are used, guiding purchase decisions on which equipment is worth investing in for the future. Managers can also interpret this data to reallocate assets that aren’t used as much. 

  • Cost Tracking & Reductions

An expense tracking system enables businesses to maintain detailed records of all fleet-related costs, making it easier to identify cost-saving opportunities. This includes everything from fuel and maintenance to insurance and license fees.

Tips to Choose the Right Fleet Management Software

The best way to manage a fleet effectively is with an efficient management system. 

Traditionally, jobs were done on pen and paper, with manual tracking and reactive maintenance. Fortunately, the influx of technology has brought faster, more efficient solutions for everything, including managing fleets.

Fleet management software is essential for fleet-based companies hoping to boost productivity by automating their processes. Here are a few tips on choosing the right software for your business:

  • Know what your business needs. Identify inefficiencies in your process and check out the market for fleet management software that addresses them. 
  • Can it integrate with your existing systems and processes? New software should enhance your current processes and productivity, not take away from them. Ensure your new software integrates seamlessly with your existing processes and systems. 
  • Opt for a user-friendly interface – Simple is best. A confusing interface will only frustrate you and your team. See if there’s an option to demo the software before purchasing, as this can help you test if it works for you.
  • Is it scalable? Consider a fleet management solution that fits your budget and can scale with your business as you grow. 

If you’re looking for management software for your business or organization, look no further than Trackunit. With unparalleled connectivity, seamless integration, and real-time analytics, Trackunit gives you everything you need in a single platform solution. 

Our Trackunit Go app solution is accessible on your smart device or tablet. It gives team members more control and instant access to all critical information on a virtual dashboard. 

Our system lets you identify usage trends so you can invest in what’s on-demand. Seamless integrations with your existing ERP system help your team manage the bigger picture and drive your company forward. 

Discover what works best for your business — request a demo today. Trackunit – better connectivity for better productivity and minimal downtime. 

FAQs

Q1: What is required to manage a fleet?

To work effectively, management teams need a qualified fleet manager and a suitable (software) system to support efficiency and productivity. Software tools locate inefficiencies to continuously improve processes. 

Q2: What is a fleet management plan?

A fleet management plan is an all-inclusive strategy created to reduce operational costs and optimize performance. The software tool helps streamline maintenance, driver safety, compliance, and workflow.

Q3: Is fleet management part of construction logistics?

Yes, fleet management is an integral component of construction logistics (the process of planning the workers and resources necessary for a construction job). Fleet management ensures teams have the equipment and vehicles they need to get projects done right. 

Q4: What is the difference between fleet management and fleet operations?

Fleet operations are the day-to-day activities of a fleet and its drivers or operators; fleet management is much broader and involves the strategic management of these operations in addition to acquisition, maintenance, safety, and efficiency. 

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