For many years, one of the greatest advantages of owning a fleet of vehicles was monitoring their location and other information. Technology has changed dramatically over the past decade, and so have your options for monitoring vehicle data. While some companies still offer basic GPS tracking systems, many more can help you make sense of all that data by presenting it in easy-to-understand ways. The more you know about your fleet management tools, the better decisions you’ll be able to make when using them throughout your business operations. Here are five ways that technology can extend its value beyond simply knowing where vehicles are located:
Work to understand all of the features of the fleet management system
When you invest in a fleet management system, it’s important to understand how the technology works. You want to know what capabilities are available and how they can help you improve your business. If a system has an artificial intelligence (AI) engine, for example, it may be able to predict when vehicles need maintenance based on sensor data. Or, if there’s an option to integrate third-party apps or IoT devices into your solution, that could mean new opportunities for increased efficiency and productivity.
Once you’ve got a handle on all the features of your fleet management system, look at ways they can be leveraged in real-life situations. For example:
- Use AI-based predictive maintenance alerts as an opportunity to reevaluate staffing needs at certain times during the day or week based on predictions about how many vehicles will require service during peak traffic hours (and thus require more technicians).
- Integrate third-party apps into your software so that customers can book rides directly through their mobile app instead of having them call an 800 number first before getting through to with one of your dispatchers
Use reporting and analytics to inform decision-making
If you’re managing your fleet as you did 20 years ago, it’s time to rethink your approach. What do I mean? Well, in today’s fast-paced business climate and with technology advancements at every turn, there are now more ways than ever before to improve the efficiency of your fleet management program.
The first step is to use reporting and analytics to inform decision-making. For example:
- Use data from across departments such as finance and operations to make decisions about fueling costs or maintenance schedules.
- Use information about driver behavior on the road—such as speed or braking patterns—to identify potential vehicle problems so you can take action before they become costly issues.
- Use information related to customer satisfaction surveys to identify areas where you can improve customer service levels (e.g., fuel stop times).
Develop a plan for integrating fleet management systems as needed
You can often save money and resources by integrating your fleet management technology with your business’s other systems. For example, suppose you already use a mobile device management system to manage smartphones or tablets in the workplace. In that case, it may make sense to integrate that system with GPS tracking to get more accurate location information on drivers and their vehicles. Or you may already use an electronic toll collection (ETC) system for trucks and other large vehicles, which would allow you to combine it with GPS tracking to provide drivers with real-time notifications when they approach ETC lanes.
This will ensure that all data from each component of your fleet management system is available through one interface—saving time and reducing potential errors caused by multiple apps accessing different sets of data. And by implementing procedures for integrating all components (such as assigning certain groups access rights), you can reduce the chances of making mistakes when using this technology even further.
Explore additional services provided by your technology providers
Your fleet management technology provider may offer additional service capabilities to help you get the most out of your fleet management technology. These services include additional services to optimize vehicle performance and efficiency, such as telematics data analysis and predictive maintenance.
To learn more about these capabilities and how they can benefit your organization, speak with a member of your team who is familiar with your company’s needs. If there are some areas where additional support would be beneficial for optimizing your fleet management operations, consider exploring those options further.
Train ongoing staff members and new hires
Training is an important part of the fleet management process and you can use it to further improve your processes. Look at what training you’re providing to employees and see if there are any gaps or opportunities for improvement. Then, you can work with your fleet management provider on how best to make that happen.
The goal should be for everyone in your organization to understand the importance of tracking vehicle usage and maintenance history and how their daily tasks fit into this larger picture. In addition, they should know how each individual’s performance impacts their departmental goals and overall company success.
It’s also important that they learn the ins and outs of the software system itself—which features are most useful, where data is stored and retrieved from etc.—so they can quickly access information whenever needed without having to contact IT support staff first (who may not always be available).
Fleet management technology is designed to make your company more efficient, and you must take advantage of all the features and capabilities. By understanding which features are right for your business and how they can be used effectively, you’ll get more value from your systems—and ensure that they keep delivering results over time.