Have you ever wondered how big companies like Amazon, Flipkart, Swiggy, and Uber manage their numerous vehicles, deliverymen, and customers?
What is it that enables them to work efficiently on a large scale?
Well, the short answer is, they use Fleet Management Software.
In this article, you will read about everything from its working to the best software available on the market today.
1. What is fleet management?
Simply put, it is the management of a group of commercial vehicles over a large geographical area.
It includes the handling of vehicle maintenance, financing, tracking, replacement, navigation, and routing.
Fleet management software refers to an application that helps business enterprises coordinate and manage work vehicles in a central information system for the smooth functioning of the entire organization.
The software thus helps the enterprise to reduce costs and enhances performance according to government regulations.
2. What is it and who is it for?
Imagine running a local food delivery service that consists of about 30 motorbikes and 2 cars.
The tracking, routing, navigation, and allotment of deliveries for these large number of vehicles solely via calling would not be feasible for the smooth operation of your business.
This is where software would make a difference.
With customized automation of delivery systems, live tracking that would cut down the number of steps required to communicate location and status, and algorithm-based predictions for vehicle maintenance, fleet management is as easy as a tap and a swipe.
It is useful for any business, large or small, that wants to eliminate middle-men or fleet management organizations and wants to transition to automating its systems.
3. How does it work?
It uses a basic combination of Big Data Analytics and GPS to track, analyze, store information and make predictions.
With the advancement of technology and User Interface design, it is becoming increasingly mobile-friendly and easy to use.
For an average user, it would take about 30 minutes to install and a short while of online learning to use such software efficiently.
Fleet Management Solutions works in various sectors –
a) ensures vehicle and employee security and efficiency by documenting information on speeding, work breaks, idle time and driving routes
b) Enables management and dispatchers to record data on vehicle operation
c) Monitors vehicle operations for maintenance and mechanical issues to enhance the company productivity over the matters regarding driver license management, vehicle disposal, government rules and regulations, vehicle insurance and acquisition
4. What are its features?
The features of the software vary based on the size and objective of the fleet, i.e., whether it is out for transport across long distances, local delivery, and other commercial or non-commercial purposes.
An all-around software would include features such as Asset tracking, Predictive Maintenance, Warranty tracking, Delivery management, Safe navigation, Route Optimization, Regulatory compliance, Accident reporting, customer feedback, and driver productivity optimization.
Some of these features will be explained in more detail below.
(5.) Asset tracking
Asset tracking would include a display of the real-time movement of assets, or even tracking immobile assets; storing data of the history of these assets and their proximity to each other.
Adopting a live Google map, Asset tracking uses a combination of mobile phone technology and GPS.
It typically provides a detailed as well as a clustered view of both, vehicles, and sensors, on the map.
(6.) Predictive/preventive maintenance
Software that has a predictive maintenance feature generally uses predictive algorithms in order to track the amount of usage of a vehicle, its previous maintenance, and its longevity without the hassle of having to maintain manual or written records of all the times a vehicle is serviced.
It is also superior to manual records because the software is programmed to send alerts and notifications to the user’s phone before a vehicle is due for maintenance, thus avoiding breakdowns in the middle of an operation, downtime, and accidents.
This proactivity could save a business from unforeseen losses.
(7.) Timely replacement
Similar to preventive maintenance, this feature proactively predicts the half-life of a vehicle, or its parts and alerts its user the best time to sell or replace a vehicle or its parts.
This helps a business fetch higher returns from the sale and also maintain the standard and quality of its fleet.
(8.) Warranty tracking
As the name suggests, this feature tracks the warranty of the fleet’s vehicles and their parts and will display the status of any given vehicle’s warranty at the time of replacement or maintenance, thus saving large amounts of unnecessary expenditure.
It is especially useful for larger fleets since they tend to have many variables to manage during the maintenance.
(9.) Delivery, scheduling, and dispatching
In large businesses with a steady stream of orders, scheduling is key for the smooth running of its various systems.
Scheduling would take care of operations such as receiving orders from the end user, assigning the product/assignment to an available unit to dispatch, being aware of the fulfillment/ termination of a delivery and keeping track of the number of free and engaged vehicles at any given point.
(10.) Route navigation
Combining apps like Google maps and its in-built Asset tracking feature, route management allows a fleet to find the fastest and most efficient route to its destination.
It includes traffic management and prediction through route analysis.
With the increase in competition across businesses to provide their customers with the fastest service, it is essential for smaller businesses to adapt to and compete with bigger corporations in order to survive.
This means that the smaller the fleet, the more important a feature like a route management becomes.
(11.) Managing Safety and Compliance with government regulations
With more pressure on a driver to optimize productivity, there also comes the danger of speeding to meet the deadlines.
In such situations, safety management is important in order to avoid getting into trouble with the law, getting into accidents, and the damaging of assets.
Safety management works on sensors attached to every vehicle in the fleet.
Among these sensors are speed and proximity sensors, which when triggered, sound alerts to the driver of the vehicle to drive within speed limits or avoid getting too close to other vehicles.
The fleet manager caters to the five key elements of a fleet, such as –
a) Vehicle acquisition and management
Vehicle acquisition involves evaluating changes and stability of elements of vehicles such as insurance and tax costs and fuel consumption.
The fleet manager ensures that regular checks are maintained according to government regulations.
b) Fuel management
Managing a large fleet of vehicles requires a great deal of fuel, for which fuel management is necessary to handle the same. Fuel management is helpful for dealing with market fluctuations and other factors that can influence the fuel market.
c) Concise information
Huge amounts of data are generated during fleet that could get time-consuming and there is always a risk of misplaced information.
On the other hand, the software plays a significant role to control fuel consumption as well as in the reduction of purchase costs.
What Are The Benefits of Fleet Management Software?
Fleet management is a big responsibility, for which you need the relevant software.
The benefits are as follows –
a) FMS can help economize fuel expenses by at least 30%
b) FMS can let you know if the engine is idling, provided that the engine status is active but the vehicle is resting. Thus, one can save a great deal of time by not involving in excessive debates with the drivers.
c) With the help of FMS, employers can know if a driver is working overtime then and there, instead of knowing about it after the driver has returned.
d) You can check if any of the drivers engage in frequent harsh breaking that could contribute to vehicle damage in any way.
e) With the help of GPS fitted in with the FMS, you can track vehicles on the road and guide them through the fastest routes, thus saving time and money in the process.
In conclusion, software for fleet management can be used by companies small and large alike to achieve their maximum potential in terms of productivity.
Using data that would otherwise be passively recorded it would improve the efficiency of any commercial fleet.
If you are the owner of a fleet of vehicles and have not yet adopted best fleet management software into your business, this might be the right time to transition.
With the ever-increasing demand for faster and more efficient services, transitioning to a technological approach to management might just be the only way to stay in the game!
12 Things To Look For While Choosing Fleet Management Software
With the influx of fleet management solutions in the market today, choosing the right fleet management software can be a daunting task.
If you are a fleet owner or manager, you are probably bewildered by the sheer number of options you have.
In this article you will be introduced to one process you could use to find the exact software according to your fleet’s requirements.
1. Determine your fleet’s requirements
The first step in choosing the right software is to determine your own fleet’s needs.
Each fleet is vastly different from the next and has its unique strengths and weaknesses.
And the same goes for all fleet maintenance software in the market today.
In order to find the right fit, you need to identify the problem areas that drove your business to opt for a software solution in the first place.
An example of a problem area is if your fleet has excessive fuel consumption or wastage. In this case, you would opt for software that focuses on diagnostics as opposed to scheduling.
2. Does this system address your issues?
The next step is to look at software through the lens of your specific issues.
Narrow down to a list of software packages that fulfill all the issues that your fleet faces.
Though this might seem like the obvious next step, it is quite easy to lose sight of your goals when exposed to the baffling variety and range of features offered by the most software packages.
Keep in mind that even though having a large range of extra features gives you many options, it could also be a deterrent in your business depending on the size of your fleet.
This brings us to the next point, choosing your level of complexity.
3. Level of complexity
While choosing the software, it is easy to be attracted to the idea of what your fleet could be instead of what it presently is.
This could be a problem while choosing the right level of complexity for your fleet, which is very important.
For example, if you have a small fleet and a highly complex software with many features, you might not have enough data to draw realistic inferences.
Not to mention, that you would be paying far more than necessary, for half the features will be redundant.
This could lead to more problems than solutions. Looking at software that does a few things and does them well might be a better alternative for the smaller fleets.
The same principle also applies to the opposite scenario, where a large fleet employs a barebones software package.
Generally, larger fleets need to take many more factors into account in order to operate at an acceptable level of efficiency.
This requires them to track many more variables, and they have enough data to harness and make positive changes.
It would be wise of them to choose a powerful platform with a diverse range of features to really benefit from the fleet management app.
4. Reliability and sturdiness
One of the criteria that could make or break your software experience is sturdiness.
If your software is perfect for your requirements in every way but crashes often enough to disrupt your workflow, it could cause your business unwanted downtime.
It is a good practice to use many trials and demos before you decide on one software package.
5. Customer support
Despite taking measures, there will be times albeit rare, when your software could run into problems.
In such cases, to avoid downtime you will need support from the system’s service provider.
While choosing your software, make sure that they have a good customer support and a problem resolution system.
This will play a huge role in how much your business benefits from the systemic transition.
6. Speed and robustness
While using the trial, observe the speed at which your software processes data and syncs across many devices.
Software that lags is almost as bad as software that crashes.
In many cases, fleet managers use mobile apps to keep an eye on fleet operations on the go.
Make sure that even the mobile app functions and updates information at short intervals so that you get real-time updates.
This is especially important for scheduling with fleet operators/drivers who are on the field.
It is vital that your software functions at high speeds across all devices.
7. Easy-to-use Interface
When a fleet goes through a systemic transition from paper-based to software-based, there is an understandable upheaval in the functioning of the business.
Many employees take some time to get used to the new way, and there could be some changes in their job profiles too.
In such situations, it is imperative that your software has an easy-to-learn and use interface.
This will help get your employees on board and the business back on track much faster.
Not to mention, that as employees leave or get promoted, their positions will be filled in by the new people.
It is simply better to have a good user interface to avoid hiccups in the otherwise smooth functioning of your fleet.
8. Security and privacy
Another aspect to consider is the security of your system.
What are the concerned company’s attitude and policy towards privacy?
Is their system impenetrable?
How easy is it to hack into the software and disrupt the workflow?
These are aspects of the system you could test through the application.
Use the demo to have employees log into it with aliases and dummy information.
Then test how much information is released and what the level of privacy is for an employee’s personal data.
Also, test who can access what information from within the system.
To test the security of the system, you could take measures to test the system’s infrastructure.
One way to do it is to ask an expert to hack into the demo to test the system.
However, in many cases, that could have legal implications.
So another alternative would be to ask a cyber-security specialist to analyze the proposed software package.
The pricing of your software, in most cases, should be directly related to its quality, level of complexity and the size of your fleet.
The first thing to take into consideration would be to look into its ROI (see next point).
Apart from that is also your company’s budget, and the future or growth of your proposed software (See point 11, ‘Scalability’).
It is true that investing in Vehicle Fleet management Software will reduce your overall expenditure.
But before you reach that point, it does require some initial investment for equipment and infrastructure.
Do take this investment into account while budgeting for them.
It is better to spend more on quality software than it is to buy rickety software just because it falls within your budget.
At the same time, since it is a long-term investment, mid-size and small fleets should go for the most economical option that covers their basic needs.
10. Value for money/ROI
ROI or Return on Investment is one of the most important things to take into consideration while buying.
In a way, it is the driving force behind your endeavor.
Before buying, enquire into the ROI for their system.
Ask your seller to explain its benefits and to provide proof of ROI through case studies of their other customers that have seen a good return on investment.
Also, check for whether these case studies match the specifics of your fleet in any way.
Your system’s ROI depends on the constitution of your fleet.
Identify the trend of successful ROI in their case studies.
Are they all big-sized fleets?
Did they all have similar reasons to choose Fleet management GPS systems?
Once you have identified the trend, see if your fleet fits into the movement.
This is one way to see if the proposed software would work to your advantage in the long run.
The scalability of a software package determines how useful it is to your fleet in the long-term.
Will the software scale up as your fleet and business growth?
What is your projected business two years from now?
Can it scale up or down to that size?
Since a systemic transition is difficult for any business, it is not advisable to change software packages periodically.
Scalability is key for the future of your fleet.
The best plan is to think about this software as a long-term solution, which brings us to the next point.
We are at a stage in time where technology reaches new heights every day.
In this ever-changing tech landscape, the only way for a business to survive is to adapt and be competent.
The field of GPS navigation too became available to the public a mere 20 years ago and has made remarkable progress in a short span of time.
The possibilities of tracking are endless, and it is inevitable that the field of tracking will grow to be far more than it is today.
So, while choosing your software, find out whether the team that developed has a strong vision for its future.
Do they upgrade regularly?
Are they up to date with the industry standards?
Do they have a strong R&D department?
What are their short and long-term goals?
This could be a good determining factor while choosing your package.
The best way to test the above criteria is to try software demos.
If you were unsure about how to go about choosing the right system, we hope that this mini-guide has provided you with enough information to start narrowing down your options!
Are you ready to begin your quest to look for the best fleet management system for your fleet?
Start your free fleet management software demo today
What Can Fleet Management Software Do For Schools?
Whether you are a parent or the administrator of a school, you know about the various joys and anxieties of raising the children.
When it comes to child safety, both, schools and parents see to it that they can do everything they can to ensure that their children are safe in every activity that they undertake.
However, for parents that use school bus services, there are still a few aspects of their children’s safety that they have no control over.
These include monitoring their Bus driver’s behavior or making sure that their children have reached school as scheduled every day, among the other things.
That is, until now.
The introduction of Fleet Management Technology has brought up the number of safety and logistical solutions into the mix, for parents and schools alike.
This article will tell you about the many advantages of adopting Fleet Management and tracking technology into your school.
Typically, the best fleet management system has an elaborate tracking package for school administrators and a mobile phone application for the parents.
The school should be able to track all the registered students and school buses simultaneously.
The parent app should be able to track their child’s commute and other safety-related actions as will be explained in more details below.
1. Driver Information
For most parents, the first cause of school-related anxiety is when a new bus driver or a replacement driver is assigned to their child pickup.
How can parents identify that he is licensed and a responsible driver with no criminal record?
With a Fleet Management App, all driver information is updated immediately to a parent’s app.
All information pertaining to the safety of their child is passed on to the concerned parents.
As for the school, whether they own the fleet or hire one on a contract basis, it is essential for them to keep records of all drivers’ assignments, as it is good to have all the information handy in case of an unforeseen event.
2. Driver Behavior
One of the main, if not the biggest, causes of concern with school bus commute is the driver’s on-road behavior.
Do they follow traffic rules?
Do they drive within the speed limit?
Are they safe drivers?
These are some of the questions that Fleet management technology has the answer to.
Now with the help of sensor tracking, schools can monitor everything from whether drivers are wearing their seatbelts to whether they are following the traffic rules.
This not only helps schools keep an eye on buses, but it also increases driver accountability and increases the probability of him/her driving responsibly.
As for the parents, depending on which software they choose, they can have access to driver behavior tracking.
With the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, children can now do app ‘check-in’s when they enter the bus.
Children will carry their RFID cards and verify them with the RFID reader at the door of their bus.
This will record the exact time of boarding and in some cases will assign the child a seat number.
This information will be updated instantly to the school’s database and the parent app.
If a parent has working hours that need them to be at work before their child goes to school, with RFID check-ins they can rest assured that their child is on time as scheduled.
It is also important for the school to note the time and event of the child boarding the bus, for reference in case the child does not show up to school or shows up late.
4. Know the status and location of the bus
Location tracking is another safety feature offered by your software package.
This way schools and parents can be sure that their children are headed straight from home to school as per the daily route. Any route changes will immediately be updated on both the school and parents’ apps.
This will help them detect any unusual activity on the bus route instantly.
There is also the POI-to-POI alerts system, which will alert the concerned parties when the buses are nearing or have entered any of the points of interest zones, in this case, the school, or the child’s locality.
This way, the child’s parents can be reminded 5 minutes before time, to go to the pickup zone when the bus is nearing their address.
Schools can also use these POI-to-POI alerts to clear the landing zone or parking spaces for incoming buses before they enter the premises.
5. Late record
Sometimes, due to traffic conditions, or a majority of latecomers, school buses get delayed and arrive at school behind the schedule.
In such cases, children who end up coming to school late suffer late remarks or miss the class.
With the location-tracking feature, schools can get live updates about their buses’ ETAs or scheduling issues.
Based on the ETA, the children’s respective class teacher can be notified of the scheduling issue and can make concessions for the concerned children.
This reduces the children and parents’ stress in relation to situations that are outside their control.
Based on their RFID card checkouts, schools and parents will be notified of when and where a child gets off the bus.
If a child has checked-in and not checked-out, their school and parent will be notified and an inquiry can be made immediately.
This is a foolproof method of ensuring that each child has successfully completed its bus journey.
The exact time of the checkout is also noted so as to track whether the child goes directly to school after alighting and whether it is synced with the school check-in.
7. School check-in
School check-ins are the final step that parents and schools require to track to know that their children have reached the safety of their schools.
It marks the ending of commute-related worries for all parties concerned.
School check-ins use the same RFID cards that were used in the buses to maintain consistency in data.
If a child has marked their bus checkout and not checked-in to school, it could help the school triangulate the child’s last seen location.
This will help reduce cases of class bunking, wandering away without supervision, and or other unforeseen occurrences.
It will also immediately notify the parents about their child’s whereabouts or lack thereof.
In many cases, it takes teachers and classmates a few hours before they realize that a student is missing despite having gotten on the bus.
With school checkouts and check-ins, the software will immediately notice that something is off.
It is always best to act immediately in such situations.
8. Customizable alerts
Additional to the POI-to-POI, parents, and schools can opt to customize their alerts.
This way they can see more or less of one kind of alert and so on.
Some parents like to get periodic alerts while some prefer having only the essential information.
This feature makes it possible to accommodate each parent’s wishes with regards to the number of alerts and notifications received.
If a parent is busy in an important meeting or has a low battery they can opt for DND and vice versa.
9. All history and Timestamps
With a huge database of all travel and commute history for all children and buses, along with exact timestamps, schools can get valuable insights into their fleets and students based on the data analysis function that the software employs.
This can help them better their schedules, policies, timings, and rules for the convenience of all parties involved.
As you can see, GPS Fleet Management software has a lot of perks for schools.
It is the best tool to better address parental concerns and school policies.
Is your school ready to usher in an era of safety and automation?
Start your free fleet management software trial today
How To Make The Best Use Of Fleet Management Software For Your Growing Business
A software to manage your fleet is a must-have for a business that relies heavily on transportation and is used for cost management, fuel management and to increase the productivity of their fleet.
Let us understand the fact that managing a fleet of vehicles can be a challenging job for a fleet manager because of issues which he cannot control like legislation and rising prices to name a few. Efficient software can help mitigate these risks for a fleet manager.
Another concern that some business owners might have is that when the business grows can the software grow with it? Scalability of this software is an issue that has kept many fleet managers from adopting this system.
So here we will tell you how a fleet management software can expand and add in new features with the growing need of your business.
· Software Enhancement – With this age of rapid technological innovation almost every software meant for fleet management is capable of frequent improvements.
This will help the business owners who are aspiring to scale up their business keep their software up to date with the recent technology.
This means more features, better report generation and more efficient and quicker way of data processing all of which will complement the increase in demand of the business.
· Innovation & Adaptability – It is the most common feature that can help your fleet management app be at par with your business.
Let us take GPS tracking as an example, these days, you get options like customized groups, hierarchies, categories and attributes, and others which can help keep a large amount of data organized.
Also, these days there are several options where you can increase the size of your database and change the reporting settings the way you want and the way it is required for your business.
· Flexibility and Customization – These days software can be customized based on the need of the business and the objective one wants to achieve from the software.
However, with the increase in demand and profits, the software can be customized again to address the changing needs of the business.
Increase in the number of cars, purchasing new vehicles, changes in the reporting pattern and handling bulk data for new orders; all of these can be easily done with effective software for fleet management.
Also, this software will handle the legislation requirements and updates pretty well so with the change in business or diversification, you can count on them.
One thing has to be kept in mind is that the business owner and the fleet managers must be aware of the business plan and the growth plan of the business for at least 2-3 years down the line.
If that is not clear it will be difficult for business managers to choose the best fleet management software or get the right customization.
There will always be a variety of software available in the market, but one has to be sure of what the plan and the mission of the business is.
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