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What is Fleet Management Software?

What is Fleet Management Software?
Fleet management software (FMS) is a solution that helps companies and organisations to manage, organise, and coordinate their work vehicles from a central data platform. The goal is to keep the fleet operating smoothly whilst reducing costs, improving performance, and ensuring compliance with government regulations. The primary purpose of FMS is to collect, store, process, monitor, report on and export all information associated with vehicles and drivers and be fully auditable. FMS is sometimes called a fleet telematics solution. Telematics is an IT category that encompasses local data from the vehicle itself, and long-distance transmission of computerised information from external sources such as Vehicle and Driver license information from the DVLA, vehicle specification and servicing databases etc.

Benefits of Fleet Management Software
Prior to the introduction of FMS, management of vehicles and drivers has been a time-consuming, paper-based manual process, with any sort of computer assistance being limited to spreadsheets. This has been highly inefficient, prone to error, doesn’t provide any sort of alert or reminder processes, and was very difficult to retrieve historical information or be easily auditable. FMS solutions have done away with manual methods which consumed time, resources and money, aside from giving business owners barely enough control over fleet operations. FMS has automated most of the tasks, streamlined associated processes, and even provided real-time insights for better management of both drivers and vehicles.

What are the main functions of FMS?
There are four main functions of fleet management software programs. These are:

  • Vehicle management – Managing and streamlining processes, tasks and events related to fleet vehicles such as vehicle inventory; maintenance; registration, licensing and tax; vehicle insurance including restrictions and due dates; cost analysis; and vehicle disposal.
  • Driver management – Including monitoring health records, managing licenses, recording of penalty points and infringements, driver scheduling and booking, and driver performance.
  • Incident management – Covering incidents, accidents and any resulting points, fines or disqualifications, as well as apportioning costs to drivers.
  • Tracking – encompasses telematics, fuel usage, mileage, idling times, route planning, work time, logbooks, alerts and notifications.

How to Choose the Best Fleet Management Software
There are several FMS platforms and tools available in the market and most fleet management software providers naturally will advertise their product as the ideal ones for your business. However, nobody knows better than you on what works best for your company. Hence, when you’re looking for the best fleet management software it’s important you keep in mind your needs and requirements, not those of the vendors.

Typical Types of Business that can Benefit from a FMS
A Fleet Management System is a valuable tool if your business or organisation manages a fleet of vehicles that form an integral part of your operation. With today’s increasing amounts of vehicle-related legislation and the expanding number of vehicles companies must manage, pro-active fleet management has taken on a more significant role. Companies and organisations with the following operations can take full advantage of a FMS system:

  • Field services – Companies that deliver services to customers such as utilities (power, water, cable, ISPs), home services/repairs (building trades, plumbing, HVAC, electrical), and large construction (trucks, heavy equipment).
  • Transportation – Bus and taxi operators, car rentals, hire booking services, and Removal companies.
  • Cargo and delivery – Long-haul/cross country trucking services (tankers, cargo trucks), and package/parcel delivery.
  • Financial institutions – Armoured vans and corporate fleet.

Key Features of Fleet Management Software
Companies that depend on vehicles to deliver products and services to customers need a FMS to control costs, mitigate risks, enhance productivity, and remain compliant with government regulations. A FMS system streamlines all processes and activities related to fleet operations and oversees everything from driver safety and vehicle condition to customer satisfaction and corporate profitability.

Deciding on what you need from a Fleet Management Software System
Not all companies need all the functionality available in a FMS system. Some companies trade very specifically on the routing, scheduling and dispatch management functions of a FMS system, for online deliveries for example, or service team scheduling. However, other companies that are not delivering ‘just in time’ products or services may only need to ensure that drivers and vehicles are properly managed to reduce costs, demonstrate a duty of car to employees and third parties, and remain fully compliant.

Some key functionality would include:

  • Dispatch, Scheduling & Routing – automates and streamlines all related tasks to maximize dispatching, find the most efficient routes, and improve schedules (arrival, departure, duration), which are meant to get more jobs done on time.
  • GPS, Vehicle, Accident, Mileage Tracking – involves telematics and trackers to provide real-time data on vehicle location, miles travelled, and incident/event reporting.
  • Cargo Optimization – Improves operational efficiency by managing and planning cargo, facilities, equipment and workforce for more integrated operations and better utilisation of resources.
  • Fleet Maintenance – fact-based decision making and automated reporting to optimise preventive maintenance schedules, reduce rework, reduce maintenance costs, identify high-cost units, and to support unit replacement decisions.
  • Driver Management – covers driver files and records, productivity and driver performance, license and certifications, and behavioural data.
  • Fuel Management – monitors consumption, mpg, costs, and allows you to identify drivers and vehicles with poor fuel efficiency based on benchmarks and historical data.
  • Inspection Management – tracks and maintains strict compliance with inspection schedules, provides remote daily/weekly checks through handheld Apps, as well as linking with issue management systems.
  • Vehicle Information – a centralised repository of all data on a fleet vehicle including specs, repairs, maintenance history, performance, miles logged and the like, all fully auditable and reportable.

Cloud-based fleet management tools enable communication with an IoT device installed in each vehicle, allowing fleet managers to:

  • Track where vehicles are at any time – to better meet delivery and service schedules as well as respond in real-time to traffic and other potential road incidents.
  • Track vehicle mileage – to efficiently manage the health of vehicles and get them serviced as needed.
  • Get notified when anything goes wrong – to better address vehicle performance threshold or driving event such as battery life, coolant, speeding, and the like.

The above are some of the key advantages of fleet management software, but there are several other benefits from using a FMS system. These include:

  • Time management – Improves productivity and saves time of administrators, managers, drivers and mechanics. With GPS tracking feature, routes can be planned, and traffic updates received to predict departure and arrival times. Working schedules are optimised for drivers and dispatchers, while mechanics can get easy access to repair history. All data related to maintenance, fuel and transport are recorded, monitored and available to fleet heads and managers.
  • Employee satisfaction – FMS maximises and enhances a driver’s work since it reduces time on manual tasks like record keeping and monitoring. It also improves information flow as well as communication, increasing driver safety and efficiency.
  • Fuel management – Various FMS functionality are designed to reduce costs. Fuel information combined with optimised route planning lowers fuel consumption and excessive idle time. Tracking systems can be used to plan fuel refuelling while traffic information features help avoid wasting time and fuel in traffic jams.
  • Maintenance cost savings – Some FMS systems allow notifications based on mileage, calendar time and other criteria, paving the way for optimised vehicle use and thereby reducing costs on maintenance.•Insurance cost savings – FMS improves road safety, lowers accident rates, and prevents vehicle theft (a feature on some systems) which greatly reduces insurance costs because of markdowns in risk loss.

Latest Trends
Existing and emerging technologies will have a profound impact on the way companies manage their fleet. Many innovations integrated into FMS systems will be introduced as vehicles become more connected and are transformed into true mobile offices. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Cloud computing will further revolutionise fleet management – It will allow higher degrees of data and system integration, enable highly customised solutions for fleet managers, increase data download speeds, provide more mobile-centric operations, and greatly enhance remote processing of fleet related data and transactions.
  • More mobile apps for fleet operations – There will be deeper integration of mobile devices into vehicles paving the way for hands-free connection and interaction, and wireless syncing of vehicle data (mileage, vehicle health and performance) with mobile devices. Eventually, mobile devices may become the primary tools on how drivers handle their fleet tasks as key fleet information and data will all be digital and accessible from a mobile device.
  • Big data factor – Decisions relating to all aspects of fleet management will be driven by big data. Decisions covering vital areas such as vehicle selection, driver safety planning and vehicle maintenance management, to name a few, will be based on insights drawn from fleet analytics that will process greater amounts of data.
  • More driver behaviour management tools –FMS ultimately deals with man and machine, but the greater part of the equation is driver behaviour, performance and safety. More apps will be developed with driver scorecards to track, measure and promote better decision making centred on driver behaviour and how it affects safety, productivity and costs.
  • Vehicles as mobile offices – Vehicles are becoming offices on wheels complete with Wi-Fi, two-way multi-channel communication, and information processing capabilities. Innovations will produce virtual mobile offices and FMS will largely incorporate all these technologies into an integrated, future-proof system.

What to know more
If you would like to know more about fleet management software, tracking and the general warfare of your fleet, why not give one of the team at MPH a call who can talk you through the benefits of these systems.

At MPH we manage several customer fleets and use MPH FleetCheck software and have a wealth of experience in this area. We can help make sure your company is compliant with current legislation and reduce maintenance and running cost.

For more details and a no obligation chat please call 01242 500255 or pop your details onto our call back form below and we will give you a call.

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Posted on 16th April 2019 at 10:30 AM

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