What To Look For In A Fleet Management Solution
Fleet management, as the name suggests, is the management of a fleet, such as over-the-road trucking fleets, construction fleets, service and utility fleets, emergency vehicle fleets, etc.
Although responsibilities and titles vary depending on the fleet size, the purpose of fleet management is to ensure everything from fleet operations, safety and fleet maintenance are at their optimum performance, while keeping fleet safety a top priority. For fleet managers, the management of a fleet starts with managing the acquisition of vehicles and continues with the design and management of maintenance programs, overseeing fuel consumption and fuel economy, managing government and company compliance, as well as to support driver and vehicle safety goals.
Many fleets utilize fleet management software and vehicle telematics, such as the SmartDrive® video-based fleet management solution, which focuses on improving fleet safety, efficiency and operations.
Fleet Management Solutions
There are many different fleet management solutions available that specialize in different aspects of fleet management; however, it’s important to have a solution in which data points can be integrated for reporting. SmartDrive solutions integrate technologies on the vehicle, as well as data points for reporting.
Driver Safety and Driver Behavior
Driver safety is a major concern for fleet managers, but it can prove to be difficult when vehicles and drivers are hundreds of miles away. Ride-alongs, in which a fleet manager rides with a driver, are a common solution for fleet managers to assess driver safety; however, these are time-consuming and don’t provide the data and metrics to know if a fleet is safe. A video-based fleet management solution can help fleet managers have visibility into risky driving behaviors and to recognize which drivers need coaching or training.
Electronic Logging Device – ELD Compliance
The ELD mandate is a United States regulation that went into effect in 2019, and Canada’s ELD mandate will go into effect next year. The ELD mandate requires commercial drivers use an electronic logging devices (ELD), such as GeoTab, which replaces the hand-written Hours of Service (HOS) logs. The purpose of ELDs and HOS is to ensure that drivers are getting adequate rest so as to prevent drowsy driving. Fleet managers must know if their fleet is subject to the HOS laws and implement ELD systems to ensure they are compliant with the congressional mandate.
Fuel efficiency is an important aspect of cost savings for commercial fleets, and it’s an expectation of fleet management systems. Fleet management solutions that monitor fuel efficiency track driving behaviors that impact a rise in fuel costs, such as speeding, hard braking, fast accelerating and idling.
Commercial and domestic vehicles all need timely maintenance to mitigate risks of vehicles breaking down while in transit. Fleet management keeps a log of vehicles and their maintenance and scheduled maintenance, ensuring that commercial fleets keep running smoothly. Maintenance logs can also help a manager know if drivers are operating vehicles correctly, or if driver coaching is needed. For example, the need to replace brakes, windshields and tires earlier than scheduled could indicate drivers are following too closely. Close following can cause debris or gravel to hit the windshield, causing it to crack. Close following can also cause drivers to frequently brake hard, wearing down brakes and tires quicker than normal.
Commercial vehicles are often a target for theft, both of cargo and the vehicle. Fleet management can help deter theft with fleet management solutions that can track vehicles through GPS, while in-cab cameras can record thieves in-action, or even deter thieves from targeting the fleet.
What to look for in a fleet management solution?
Fleet management software can be a big investment, so it’s important to choose carefully. Here are some top criteria to look for:
- Integration: can the fleet management software integrate with systems already on the vehicle? Can the data points easily relate with other system reporting? Can you easily understand and discern action items to improve fleet operations or safety?
- Scale-up: does the fleet management software offer the ability to easily scale-up as your fleet grows? Or as safety and operational success indicators change?
- Innovative: is the fleet management software you’re considering innovative with offerings? Does the software company seem to know the industry and is it dedicated to helping your fleet manager reach his/her goals through new technology?
- Managed Solutions: are you considering a ‘dash-cam’, in which you’ll need to review every video to know if a driver needs coaching? DIY solutions, like a dash-cam, can take a lot of time when you have a sizable commercial fleet. A managed solution offers fleet managers the time to work on improving operations without time-consuming busy work.
About SmartDrive, a Video-Based Fleet Management Solution
SmartDrive Systems gives fleets and drivers unprecedented driving performance insight and analysis, helping save fuel, expenses and lives. Its video safety, predictive analytics, telematics, compliance and personalized performance program help fleets improve driving skills, lower operating costs and deliver significant ROI. With an easy-to-use managed service, fleets and drivers can access and self-manage driving performance anytime, anywhere. The company, which has been ranked as one of the fastest growing companies by Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™ for six consecutive years, has recorded over 24 billion miles and compiled the world’s largest storehouse of more than 300 million analyzed risky-driving events. Request more information and view the SmartDrive fleet management solution in action!