As any fleet management business starts expanding, its vehicle requirements also increase extensively. And as one enters the world of fleet operations, many new challenges arise at unexpected times.
Without proper guidance and information, the transition from handling one to five or more vehicles at once can be quite challenging. It involves preparing for random car breakdowns, fuel shortage, increasing vehicular downtime, etc. – all of which can be quite overwhelming.
This guide covers everything you need to know about fleet management – its meaning, importance and advantages of fleet management and best practices for fleet management.
What Is Fleet Management?
Fleet management essentially refers to all the processes involved in overseeing a fleet of vehicles, in order to minimize risks and maximize efficiency.
Employed intelligently, it streamlines all essential operations like transport acquisition, compliance, fuel management, CO2 emission reduction, staff safety, customer support, etc…
What Are The Types Of Vehicles In A Fleet?
Mentioned below is a brief breakdown of the types of vehicles that usually comprise a fleet –
This category refers to taxi or car rental services. Transport fleets can range anywhere between a sedan and a raptor truck.
Transport vehicles require the fleet manager’s attention above all other categories, due to its need for absolute safety and timely maintenance or breakdown concerns.
Applicable for businesses that need frequent local delivery or parcel shipping services, this type of fleet usually operates from the distribution stores to its destination.
Owing to the growth of eCommerce, its demand has substantially increased in the past few years and hence, delivery vehicle operators tend to opt for fleet management tools more than others.
Businesses that often deal with high-volume cargo operate a fleet of trucks. There isn’t any limit to how many trucks a company may operate as most companies usually tend to have dozens of these long-haul vehicles.
Truck management usually involves major safety and compliance obligations, owing to its humongous size and frequent long-haul tours.
Importance Of Vehicle Fleet Management
In order to be successful, businesses that operate in fleets have to consistently provide the best service at a cost-effective rate.
This is why fleet management is of utmost importance.
Listed below are some of the key features of a fleet management system –
Being updated about your fleet’s whereabouts helps in route optimization which lowers the average fuel consumption as well as shortens travel time.
In essence, it helps save costs by monitoring your vehicles and suggesting faster alternatives. Besides, once you start tracking your fleet, the risk of vehicle theft also drops significantly.
Fuel Cost Management:
With fuel prices rising, appropriate fuel management is a growing concern in this industry. In addition to that, other issues like employees making use of the fleet vehicles for non-professional usage also raise these operating costs further.
To avoid such occurrences, meticulous fuel cost management is an essential element of fleet management.
Effective Transport Management:
This refers to the process of vehicle acquisition. Every stage in this cycle involves heavy negotiations, deals, and paperwork. You need to choose which vehicle fits your business needs the best and operate accordingly.
Many companies are now making the shift to electric vehicles as they help lower their business’s carbon footprint and enhance their public image.
To read more about EVs taking over the transportation industry, click here.
Key Responsibilities Involved In Fleet Management
Managing a fleet isn’t an easy task to handle. This is why most of the businesses in this industry rely on high-quality car rental software to automate all basic operations and improve efficiency.
In this context, here are some crucial responsibilities that fleet managers usually deal with –
When you’re operating a fleet, it’s imperative to look after the drivers’ safety at all times to avoid accidents, legal trouble and your reputation suffering. With proper safety programs, you must ensure that your staff is practicing safe driver behaviour even when they’re hundreds of miles away from the base location.
The end goal here is to minimize corporate liability and positively influence the drivers to be more responsible for everyone’s safety and well-being.
Maintaining Legal Compliance:
Fleet management is more than just reducing costs and hazards; there’s a deeper, legislative angle to handling these operations.
As a fleet manager, staying updated with the latest announcements and regulations related to fleet operations is imperative. This way, the business stays immune to legal challenges, hefty penalties, and so on.
These compliance issues are primarily for vehicles involved in shipping food, hazardous material, etc., and can also go as far as driver vehicle inspections and reports.
For instance, the 2017 Electronic Logging Device compliance requires commercial fleet operations to keep track of their HOS (Hours Of Services) electronically to reduce the fatigue of manually recording their timings.
Reselling Fleet Vehicles:
Periodic maintenance and earning a good resale value for fleet vehicles also fall under best practices for fleet management. Fleet managers recognize the importance of keeping their transport in proper condition throughout to maintain its resale value when the time comes.
Fleet vehicles that are in well-maintained condition usually have a higher resale value, enabling companies to sell these assets at a profitable price.
Fiscal Planning and Contract Management:
Last but not least, contracts are an integral part of business operations. From purchasing vehicles and hiring drivers to upgrading the fleet and reselling fleet vehicles ― everything is bound by contractual agreements and falls under the purview of fleet managers.
Advantages of Fleet Management Software
Now that we have understood the basics, let’s move on to learning about fleet management tools and how they assist in handling basic responsibilities and improving operational efficiency.
Mentioned below are key features and advantages of investing in a fleet management system –
24/7 Remote Management:
The best part about technology is how it completely invalidates the need to be physically present to ensure proper management. With an advanced software, you can manage your fleet from any corner of the world.
RENTALL, an industry-leading car rental software system, led by a team with over 50 years of experience, is a cloud-based management system that aims to make vehicle management easier than ever.
It comes with a mobile app feature that enables you to log in, coordinate and manage your fleet 24/7 from anywhere.
Besides, the app pushes real-time notifications that keep you in the loop about all the recent events, maintenance dates and important updates.
Live GPS Tracking:
Initially used for military purposes, GPS has now made its way into modern business operations to improve productivity. GPS tracking of the fleet makes optimizing their routes a lot easier, which as we know, directly cuts down excess fuel consumption. I
t’s also highly useful for safety as GPS can shoot instant notifications or alerts in case of an accident or emergency, which isn’t very uncommon for transport operators.
Moreover, GPS tracking also helps with insurance-related matters. Many insurers insist that you integrate GPS in your fleet to detect any sketchy, off-schedule activities. For instance, if any car is consistently travelling off-route, one can detect whether it’s a case of theft or not.
Read more about the benefits of GPS tracking for fleet operators here.
Direct Communication and Fraud Detection:
Fleet management tools also comprise in-built communication systems. This feature allows businesses to directly chat with their driving staff to ask for updates on any task or provide any information while they’re on the road.
Real-time communication shuns away many operational roadblocks such as safety hazards, missed deliveries, etc.
Another common issue in the transportation industry is fraudulent activities by drivers. Some examples include drivers misusing their fueling cards for non-corporate activities, letting non-registered drivers use the company vehicles, etc…
Having AI in your defence prevents such possibilities and safeguards the company from any future loss.
Better Customer Service:
Fleet management services strive to enhance the business-customer relationship by providing exceptional customer service.
The best way to achieve that is by ensuring that the customers receive their goods and deliveries on time, without fail.
Although late deliveries are quite concerning for high-volume cargo trucks, it’s a deal breaker for small businesses that mostly depend on quick customer orders. Nobody wants an unhappy customer base, and that’s where fleet management software comes in to streamline and manage all the transportation events.
Real-Time Fleet Status:
Last but not least, the software can also be extremely useful in resolving conflict. A recent Fleetroot report shows that fleet management software can inform whether any vehicle has spent overtime hours, or how long the engine has been idling.
These two aspects are the root cause for most of the conflicts between driving staff and employers. Fleet management tools help maintain complete transparency and avoid any such potential debates or arguments.
Adopting new technologies helps streamline operations as well as gather and analyze your key business metrics, thereby contributing significantly to your business growth in the long run. Therefore, in order to stay ahead of the curve, be sure to invest in a leading fleet management software.
RENTALL is the broadest, most adaptable and continuously evolving rental platform on the market. No matter your company size, location or business goals, RENTALL delivers improved operations, smart reports, increased bookings and happy customers, all through an easy-to-use interface. Explore our solutions here, or connect with us at +1 888 628 6827 or email@example.com for a consultation.