How to choose the right vehicle fleet management software? 6 must-haves

Fleet management

13 April 2021 • 19 min read

    A fleet of vehicles resembles a solar system that is difficult to harness. Each machine, just like planets, stars, and even the smallest comets, has its own pace, direction, and purpose. Somehow everything seems to be working in perfect harmony, almost as if it was managed by a programmed system. Imagine having a fleet management solution that could provide a particular set of features. How to choose the right fleet management software for the fleet of a leasing company, a machine park, or a car rental? What should the ideal software guarantee?

    Car fleet management challenges

    A fleet manager without proper management software is almost inevitably doomed to fail. Monitoring fuel costs and consumption, tracking drivers’ routes and behavior, managing contracts and leasing invoices, directing emergencies – all of these activities require not only an experienced manager but also a system that will gather all the data and enable its faster processing.

    As the TomTom survey showed, 49% of fleet managers claim that at least one of their team members spends up to two hours each day on quoting and invoicing. This amount of administrative work slows down productivity and inhibits focusing on core tasks.

    Another fleet management challenge is the necessity to observe and oversee both the vehicle location and driver’s behavior. Without a GPS system, it’s impossible to calculate the optimal routes that would translate to reducing fuel costs and engine usage. It’s not a secret that driving behavior has a big impact on vehicle fuel consumption. As the IEEE Access study showed, there is a strong correlation between fuel consumption and vehicle’s speed (0,77 correlation coefficient), as well as negative acc – meaning speed changes – (0,75 correlation coefficient). When we add to that excessive idling or improper shifting, there is a large chance to accelerate vehicle usage. Monitoring these aspects can help with eliminating the damaging behaviors and finding their sources quicker.

    What features should fleet management software include?

    Modern digital fleet management systems give fleet managers and their teams solutions for automating and facilitating everyday tasks. However, in order for the system to be effective, it has to contain at least a couple of mandatory features.

    GPS tracking

    As it was mentioned before, fleet management software without GPS tracking is just deficient. Fleet vehicle tracking enables checking whether the drivers are staying on the route, and using telematics devices allows for capturing data from all the vehicles. As a result, the manager receives a detailed report on fuel consumption and its correlation to drivers’ behavior. Then, they can easily store and track all the data both concerning specific drivers or vehicles and the whole fleet. As a manager, you can quickly locate any of your vehicles and determine which of them is the closest to a given job, as well as help drivers to avoid traffic or accidents.

    Applying GPS tracking in vehicles is beneficial not only for the managers but also for drivers. When using an application integrated with the vehicle fleet management system, drivers are able to receive notifications and information that accelerates looking for data and just makes their work easier. An app, such as Mobile Car Management, is a great help in handling ongoing drivers’ tasks. GPS allows for geolocation of service points (consistent with the vehicle’s brand), gas stations (corresponding to the driver’s fuel card), and tire services closest to the driver.

    GPS tracking is also profitable when it comes to optimizing route performance. When the corporate fleet vehicles use nonefficient routes, a car fleet management system effortlessly detects it and guides the manager to plan the most cost- and time-efficient routes.

    Administrative tasks automation

    One of the main fleet manager’s responsibilities is taking care of all the administrative layers of a fleet system. Apart from supervising vehicles’ service inspections, they have to have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to due dates, such as insurance payment dates or contract contractual terms. A fleet management software will handily take care of these tasks. Its modules should include invoicing and contract preparation as well reporting, where automating the tasks allows for maximum efficiency.

    In order to reduce the number of inquiries from the drivers, the fleet management system should also enable them to handle basic changes on their own. For example, the Mobile Car Management application gives drivers the possibility to:

    • check the data of the closest technical survey,
    • check the number of days till the contractual term,
    • get the vehicle technical information, history of repairs and inspections,
    • find out which fuel cards are available,
    • submit an application in various areas (such as contracts, invoices, payments, etc.).

    The system also accelerates the administrative tasks in case of vehicle leasing. In this instance, the driver – by using the app – can also:

    • view the current repayment schedule,
    • view a list of concluded contracts, as well as insurances, applications, and payments related to them,
    • apply for: a change of installment amount or extension of installment, issuing a duplicate, lodge a complaint,
    • check the insurance policy data.

    Communication with drivers and clients

    Whether you manage a fleet of leasing cars or the company’s fleet – at some point communicating with drivers or clients must have started to take a big part of your time. Although proper contact with drivers plays a great role in successful management, it doesn’t have to be this time-consuming. A digital fleet management system integrated with an application for both managers and drivers reduces the number of necessary contacts between the driver and the contact center to the minimum.

    How is it possible? Apart from the feature allowing to check the vehicle data or submit an application, the driver receives automatic notifications about damages, applications, payments, and other client activities. Additionally, in case of any emergency, the driver can use a speed dial button to call an emergency contact, Assistance, or account handler. What’s more, the driver has access to the handbook showing the consecutive steps in the event of a collision. They can also use the outline in the camera guiding how to properly take a picture of the damage and send it to the insurance company. This set of tips and services help drivers in quickly achieving day-to-day activities, as well as act calmly in emergency situations. On the other hand, the company’s contact center isn’t overloaded with calls and messages.

    Reducing environmental impact

    Transportation is responsible for the majority of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In 2018, transportation accounted for the largest portion (28%) of total U.S. GHG emissions, followed by electricity (27%) and industry (22%). Other sources claim an even larger impact, on a 34% – level. Both individual users and fleet owners have to steadily take consecutive steps in order to decrease the negative environmental impact of their vehicles. For example, FedEx plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040, and DHL plans for zero emissions by 2050. These bold, but absolutely necessary, plans require a lot of data analysis, planning, and making the right decisions.

    While picking electric vehicles seems like the best idea, even when a company can’t afford that drastic change, it can make evident improvements by using a proper fleet management system. Thanks to GPS tracking, a fleet manager can determine the best routes for drivers (which reduces the amount of time spent in traffic and transfers into lower fuel usage), help to improve driver’s behavior on the road, and finally, rectify CO2 emission. Using a system combining all the fleet data, you can easily plan all the future activities for the vehicles.

    Diagnostics

    Unexpected repairs generate costs several times: fleet owner pays not only for the damage but also for a replacement vehicle and personal costs. Although not all of the repairs can be projected, a lot of them are a result of poor management and lack of monitoring. While regular vehicle wear is inevitable, as a fleet manager you can either be prepared for the upcoming costs or be taken aback. A fleet management system isn’t able to predict road accidents, but it works great as the vehicle health monitor. Generated reports show in black and white which areas need to be taken care of immediately and which of them can cause expenses in the future.

    Complete solution

    Finally, a vehicle fleet management system should be fully customizable to your company’s needs and cover all the features in one tool. Despite offering an application for drivers and fleet managers, the software should provide:

    • automation,
    • monitoring of various vehicle elements: fuel usage, technical condition, engine damages,
    • preparing offers and schedules,
    • multi-channel communication,
    • assigning a vehicle to a specific driver,
    • reports of fuel consumption and charges,
    • geolocation of service points etc.

    A proper system should give you a bird’s eye perspective on all the current mechanisms, data, and activities of the fleet. The centralized access to every element will allow for analyzing drivers’ performance, predict upcoming expenses, and manage the fleet more effectively, with less effort.

    Are you managing a corporate fleet and looking for a customer-tailored solution? Read more about the Car Fleet Management and Mobile Car Management or contact our specialist. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and prepare the offer customized to your expectations.

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