Choosing the right Fleet Management System for your Industry
Fleet Management Systems
Date posted: 16 November 2016
Choosing the correct fleet management system can be a very difficult decision when there are so many different aspects to consider. You may have hundreds of questions buzzing around your head about how fleet management systems can benefit you, the differences between systems and which one is most appropriate for your business.
What is a fleet management system?
A fleet management system relates to the management of vehicles such as cars, trucks and vans which are used for the likes of transportation and delivery. The system incorporates vehicle maintenance, fuel management and keeps track of the fleet of drivers; therefore, these factors are highly beneficial to make sure that your business is running smoothly. The huge benefit of a fleet management system means that you can keep track of your fleet, finance and maintenance 24 hours a day by using satellites to send data across to receivers through the vehicle’s own GPS system. Then, this information can be tracked via online software so that you are kept up to date with the daily running of the company.
How do I choose a fleet management system?
Deciding on the correct fleet management system to invest in is crucial to ensuring that your business is well-organised and runs efficiently. There are so many available on the market and understanding how each one works can often be difficult to process; especially if you have a limited understanding of the product range.
The fleet management system should be adaptable to meet changes within your business; for example, if a large number of vehicles were integrated into the company, the system should be able to manage this modification. Essentially, a vital benefit of a system is to enhance the efficiency of the business and its staff in order to create a smoother running of the fleet.
Before you make any purchases; consider some of these ideas to make an accurate selection of the system that will be right for your business:
- Does your business aim to go green and work towards creating a healthy environment? If so, consider a system which will enable you to do so effectively.
- Are your staff reliable enough to manage the system when logging data and keeping track of your fleet?
- Think about your budget and whether you are spending too much; if so, would it be worth purchasing a system at all?
- Would the system solve any problems you’re currently experiencing?
- Will the system be useful both now and in future, despite changes that may arise within your business over time?
- Will you get a good return on investment if you were to purchase a fleet management system?
Before you choose a fleet management system, it is beneficial to do background research so that you know what it is you are looking for. You could opt to take a look at websites or view a product listing to get a feel for what you are buying into. There may be companies who have been running for years who have developed these systems, but often there are brand new start-ups also. Go with your gut instinct and see which is most appealing to you. Don’t hold back if the product you are looking for is from a start-up company, as they may be just as good as any well-respected brand. Remain open-minded but also be sensible with your choice.
Depending on your business type, different fleet management systems will improve companies in different ways. A logistics company will have different requirements to a taxi company, for example. Logistics companies aim to lower costs as much as possible but will be sending a high volume of vehicles out. A fleet management system geared towards their industry type should assist with solving issues that could hugely affect the logistics industry, such as the rising costs of fuel. Fleet management systems are essential in the shipping and truck industry and again will have different needs than others previously mentioned. Systems geared towards these trades are made to track progress, plan routes and contact drivers if required. Once you understand what it is that your industry’s aims are, you will have a better idea of what the ideal system looks like.
Take into consideration what your business objectives are and the requirements that are needed when purchasing a system. Understand whether you are looking for a simple strategy or something more advanced that has cutting-edge features, such as automated vehicle location (AVL) and dispatch management. Obviously, the need to have these features will depend on your business type, so have a think about what you’re actually going to use before falling hook line and sinker for a shiny marketing package. It may be worth making a list of your requirements initially to help make a well-informed decision.
Here are a few suggestions you could use for your requirement list dependant on your business needs:
- Automated vehicle data collection
- Vehicle maintenance scheduling
- Remote vehicle diagnostics
- Driver behaviour monitors
- Fuel management
- Vehicle tracking
The TomTom WORKsmart contains many of these features and would be a great investment if this is the type of system that you have been hunting for. If you are looking for solely a vehicle tracking system, we provide the TomTom WEBFLEET, starting from just £13.95 per month.
Ease and control
It may seem obvious, but being able to manage your system easily is a fundamental aspect of any choice you make. Running a business is hard enough without unnecessary challenges from your fleet management system. Opt for a web-based system which can be controlled via a number of devices to keep check of your data and can work effectively with existing systems. There is no use having a system that you cannot get the hang of, as it will just make life much more stressful in the long run. Perhaps choose one that doesn’t require constant updates if this is an area you are unfamiliar with.
A good fleet management system should give you full view of your vehicle operations and efficiency from the work force that are out in fleet. You shouldn’t be settling for anything less if this is one of the main reasons for buying a system initially. You should be able to witness the usage of the car, the safety of the driving and managing your fleet.
While you are unable to work with your staff face-to-face as the fleet operator, you need a fleet management system which enables you to keep watch of your workforce throughout their shift. Systems should allow you to keep updated on the location of the vehicle, behaviours of drivers, driver safety and speed, pinpointing incidents and accidents, the consumption of fuel and severe acceleration or braking which could put others at risk.
Be aware of any upfront costs that may not be clear to you upon purchasing. Have a clear focus on your ambitions and business goals as well the budget you are willing to spend. You may not be aware of hardware costs not included within the price or installation and support costs that you will need to pay out on a monthly or yearly basis. Don’t jump in too quickly if it seems like a fantastic deal; ask as many questions as possible so that you know what you are signing up to. Often it is a matter of balancing what you need and what you can afford to come to a reasonable solution. We are proud to say that we will explain everything to you before purchasing with total trust and reliability.
If there are a number of operators apart from yourself who need to understand the software; make sure you choose a system that provides training or tutorials in order to ensure that all staff are fully equipped, with enough information to manage the system without confusion.
Talk to iTracking
It would be well worth having a chat about the product range if you need assistance. We will be able to provide well-informed accounts of our products so that there’s no doubt in your mind that you have made the right decision. With both smaller and larger fleet management systems to choose from, the benefits of each can be easily discussed over the phone.
Perhaps ask for customer references if you are still unsure on which system to purchase, to see how particular industries have worked with them and whether it was a good investment. It is always best to get second opinions before you make that huge decision yourself.
If you would like any further information on fleet management systems or how we can help you choose the correct solution, give us a call today!