Fleet managers almost always have too much on their plate. They must ensure timely deliveries, coordinate driver schedules, and deal with many other logistical challenges. Additionally, the ever-increasing demand for e-commerce will make up an unprecedented 22% of the total retail sales worldwide this year. When too much pressure piles up, following the best practices for performing a task can improve operational efficiency.
Why telematics is mandatory
Budget restrictions and resource limitations make it difficult for many fleets to maintain and improve operational capabilities. Increased costs, such as soaring energy prices, elevated cost of living, and inflation, affect 73%of fleets negatively, as per Verizon Business.
Shifting to fleet tracker devices and fleet management software is an exceptionally effective add-on for enterprises. With the right fleet management telematics solution, you gain the following advantages.
- Better fuel usage and efficiency
- Reduced operating costs
- Fewer accidents (longer vehicle lifespan)
- Reduced labor costs
- Greater transparency in asset tracking
- Enhanced resilience in the supply chain
These benefits prove that using new technologies, such as telematics, should be the first step to improving the performance of fleets and meeting goals. Actually, it's a requirement for most of the fleet management best practices discussed below.
- Leverage data to make better choices
Gathering data you can convert into actionable insight is crucial for you to be effective in fleet management. If you track the correct data, you can improve almost every aspect of the supply chain and make informed decisions and the right choices about technological adoption.
You will always encounter data or metrics specific to your industry, but there is more fleet management data a commercial fleet can benefit from.
Utilize driver logs
- Fuel tracking -This metric means tracking fueling dates and locations and fuel type, quantity, and cost.
- Vehicle maintenance -Scheduled and unscheduled maintenance support and fleet vehicle repairs are part of this metric. It also includes creating vehicle replacement cycles. Vehicle maintenance also incorporates collecting data about the work needed, maintenance dates, spare parts required, the overall cost of the components, and labor charges. Effective fleet maintenance lengthens the lifespan of the vehicles.
- Purchasing and leasing -This metric points to the contracts and warranties for a purchased fleet vehicle.
- Vehicle usage -Using this metric, record who signs out of vehicles and the time, date, and mileage of a trip. Monitoring the odometer is equally important.
- Driver licensing -This metric is for the issuance and expiration dates of driver's licenses and heavy-duty vehicle certifications.
- Driver performance -This metric records valuable data concerning accidents, such as time, location, and the nature of the accident.
Fleet managers may deem it necessary to track every vehicle as it comes and goes from the establishment. However, it is unnecessary. Instead, managers should focus on tracking key transactions and giving drivers a required logging checklist when their shift ends.
Conversely, managers can make it an official policy to finish an inspection checklist before they are given the keys to a vehicle. Driver logs improve fleet tracking and cut vehicle maintenance costs. Additionally, this practice encourages better accountability.
Digitize the dispatching system
Proper fleet dispatching is a challenging task. If done manually, the dispatching process may get riddled with errors. Additionally, it can be very time-consuming as it needs fleet managers to coordinate with various stakeholders. That is why fleet dispatching management must be digitized.
Digitized systems are beneficial to centralization, greater organization, and closer collaboration. This improves communication channels across the supply chain and keeps everyone informed.
At the same time, a digitized approach automates some of the repetitive tasks and workflows often handled by dispatchers, such as scheduling or sending updates to drivers. Furthermore, an automated dispatching system makes it unnecessary to go through assignments, orders, and invoices by hand.
Prioritize preventative upkeep
Waiting until an automobile experiences major failure is not a feasible strategy. Thankfully, those days are over, and this hauls in another fleet management skill. Managers must take advantage of the advancements in the telematics capabilities offered by vendors. These technologies let fleet managers act more proactively instead of reactively. Furthermore, specific devices, such as environmental sensors, can monitor the condition of goods in transit.
IoT-enabled telematics systems can capture different types of fleet data, including speed, location, acceleration, OBD fault codes, fuel consumption, engine condition, etc.
This ability to monitor the condition of commercial fleets and the goods in transit gives you the benefit of pinpointing and solving issues before they worsen. The upfront costs of preventative maintenance are high, but the long-term payoff is worth every penny because you can avoid expensive repairs.
Fleet size and usage optimization
For fleet managers dealing with small to mid-sized commercial fleets, achieving a capacity balance is crucial to proper management. If you have more vehicles than required, you will spend more than you need. On the other hand, having just a few automobiles will inevitably lead to downtime and driver burnout.
For larger fleets, inefficiencies are much more likely due to large-scale operations. With too much logistical activity, bottlenecks are common. Sooner rather than later, they will materialize and stop you from achieving your goals.
That is why it is of the utmost importance for fleet managers to seek out ways to improve fleet optimization and vehicle usage. There are ways to reduce or eliminate fleet inefficiencies, including performing timely audits, adopting route optimization systems powered by GPS, educating drivers, and communicating with stakeholders regularly.
Driver behavior monitoring
According to Skypatrol, Fleet managers should prioritize improving driver safety. In reality, it should be their primary objective because even a non-fatal accident can cost a company up to $75,000. If the incident is fatal, you will have a tragedy on your hands, which means you must foster better driving habits among your drivers as soon as possible. You can use driver monitoring systems, OBD-II trackers, external cameras, dashcams, and similar technologies.
Researchers from KeepTrucking claim that if a fleet uses dashcams powered by Artificial Intelligence or fleet vehicle GPS trackers, it can reduce its accident frequency can be reduced by 22% and instances of unsafe driving by 56%.
Using multiple fleet management tools
Combining productivity technologies with fleet management systems can help fleet managers meet their ROI goals. Just think about it - software programs and devices capable of tracking vehicle location data are valuable. However, when you connect them with transportation management systems and data aggregation tools, you can automate workflows and even streamline service-level agreement management.
To that end, fleet managers must consider how well their fleet management solutions will blend in with their existing solutions. Furthermore, you must assess the ways these technologies will benefit operational potential.
Proper fleet management involves measuring success constantly, and the best way to do it is to track key performance indicators. Keeping tabs on the most essential KPIs of fleet management is mandatory. Those KPIs are where your competencies lie and where operational shortfalls exist. From there, you determine what works for you. Simultaneously, you can diagnose bottlenecks and fix them.
Some of the most important KPIs of fleet management include vehicle uptime, vehicle utilization rate, ETAs, fuel costs, fuel efficiency, and vehicle total cost of ownership.
Remove the technological layers of fleet management
The best practices elucidated above demonstrate how you can improve your operations just by incorporating new habits, such as developing KPIs to measure success and using logs. Moreover, effective fleet management demands a closer look at all the technologies available today. Here are a few noteworthy examples.
- Autonomous driving
- System architecture
- Smart video telematics
- Advanced location intelligence
- Zero-emission vehicles
- Open application programming interfaces
- Advanced analytics
Good fleet management requires you to weigh your options by scrutinizing different fleet management solution providers, such as Vyncs. Visit us to learn how we have been supporting fleet businesses across the USA and other parts of the world and what we can do for you.