Tips for Automating Your Fleet Management Processes
To say that fleet management is logistics heavy would be an understatement. There are countless moving parts and a wide array of variables you have to account for on a daily basis. One of the best ways to get a grip on fleet management is with automation — something that’s advanced greatly in recent years.
By using the right tools, you can make tasks that were once meticulous and labor intensive become hyper-efficient and surprisingly simple. Here are some practical tips for automating your day-to-day fleet management processes to make your fleet as streamlined as possible.
Use Smart Route Planning and Tracking
Hands down one of the most critical parts of keeping a fleet running smoothly is ensuring drivers use the optimal routes. Whether they’re making deliveries or arriving for appointments, they need to move fluidly to their destination point, while minimizing friction along the way. Of course there’s a lot more to this than just choosing the shortest distance on a map. There are a wide array of factors involved with route optimization, including constantly changing route traffic, weather conditions, delivery requests, and so on. Besides that, you may also need to consider things like preferred time slots and even business hours.
Therefore, you can’t simply rely on using standard GPS and expect your fleet drivers to take the quickest, most cost-effective routes. You need a more comprehensive solution that looks at the big picture, while calculating all of the variables in near-real-time. And that’s where smart route planning and tracking come in.
This technology provides high-level business intelligence that automatically A) directs drivers according to the ideal route based on real-time conditions and B) reroutes them as conditions change. Maybe, for instance, an accident just occurred a few miles ahead on the initial route a driver is taking to make a delivery. A tool like VQ Telematics would quickly reroute them in an alternate direction where they could bypass traffic congestion.
In turn, your fleet stays more nimble and is able to seamlessly adjust for strategic decision-making.
Automate Mileage Tracking and Log Updates
Keeping track of miles driven, inspections, checkups, and so on, is a vital part of fleet management processes. But it can also be incredibly onerous. In the past, drivers would have to manually make log updates, which would quickly eat away at their productivity and was the source of a lot of headaches.
However, there are now sophisticated solutions available that automatically track these things for you and make log updates without your drivers having to do so manually. With telematics, for example, you can:
- Keep a close eye on how many miles your drivers have traveled
- Track what their drive time is
- Log when inspections and checkups are performed
That way you’re always on top of log updates, and it frees up more of your drivers’ time so they can focus more intently on core tasks rather than paperwork. This brings us to our next tip.
Get Maintenance Scheduling Reminders
Besides just recording mileage and when inspections and checkups are done, you can also use telematics to automatically alert you when they need to be made. That way you’ll know when it’s time for tire rotations, oil changes, and more major fixes. This offers two key benefits.
First, it ensures your fleet vehicles continually receive the maintenance they need to operate at a high level, while at the same time reducing the likelihood of major breakdowns. It’s always best to take a proactive approach to fleet management processes where you schedule preventative maintenance, rather than a reactive approach where there’s unscheduled breakdown maintenance.
As Government Fleet explains, “A properly maintained vehicle provides the lowest operating cost. If the vehicle is running poorly, it is prone to costly breakdowns, higher fuel cost, and driver write-ups.” Automatically receiving maintenance scheduling reminders creates a framework that makes sure your vehicles get the maintenance they need before it becomes a problem, which saves time and money in the long run.
Second, it frees up the cognitive burden of having to keep track of everything manually. Staying on top of scheduled maintenance for even a handful of vehicles can be difficult. But it’s compounded when you’re dealing with dozens or even hundreds of vehicles. By leveraging telematics, you’re always aware when it’s time for maintenance without having to remember or check old school logbooks.
Access Risky Driving Alerts
Risky driving behavior is a big problem for today’s fleet managers. Whether it’s distracted driving while texting, speeding, or aggressive driving, this not only puts fleet drivers themselves in danger, but also other drivers and pedestrians. Besides the importance of instilling safe driving behavior from an ethical standpoint, it also has a big impact on productivity and profitability. After all, if your drivers are consistently involved in serious accidents, that means your vehicles are out of commission and require costly repairs.
Creating a safe driving policy is a vital first step for today’s companies, but it only goes so far. You can greatly enhance the overall safety of your fleet with improper driver behavior management solutions, such as VQ Telematics. With it, you can access near-real-time alerts any time your drivers engage in risky behavior so you can immediately take corrective action and provide educational opportunities.
That way poor driving behavior doesn’t have the chance to persist unaddressed, and you can continually refine your fleet management processes where driver safety is your focal point. Rather than waiting until an incident happens, this enables you to stay proactive and swiftly correct problem behaviors before they have the chance to take root.
Receive Near-Real-Time Notifications and Reporting
Our final tip for automating your fleet management processes is leveraging telematics to stay updated on the overall performance of your fleet via real-time notifications and extensive reporting. This involves a three-step process:
- Install a telematics device on each of the vehicles in your fleet, which connects to the OBD-II port
- Generate data from a SIM card and modem
- Transmit the data to a user-friendly dashboard
From here, fleet managers can analyze the information to gain full visibility on each individual vehicle and driver, as well as your fleet as a whole. This takes the guesswork out of fleet analysis and gives you a continuous bird’s eye view on what’s happening. You can, for instance, track fuel efficiency, average speed, and idle performance just to name a few.
As you accumulate more data, you’ll be able to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your fleet so you can make key changes and reinforce positive behaviors among your drivers. Over time, this can help you lower your fuel consumption, become more eco-friendly, save money, and generally operate more efficiently.
A great real-life example is the Port St. Lucie Police Department in Florida. After just two months of using Derive, they were able to spend $40 less in fuel per vehicle per month and produce 200 less lbs. of carbon emissions. As for overall savings, the Port St. Lucie PD lowered their overall fuel costs by 12% by leveraging fleet management data. And as you might imagine, this can be a true game changer across a large fleet.The Port St. Lucie PD lowered their overall fuel costs by 12% by leveraging fleet management data. Click To Tweet
Simplifying Nearly Every Aspect of Your Fleet Management Processes
Overseeing a fleet of vehicles is a tall order, and many companies understandably struggle with their efficiency. While technology was a lot more basic and limited in the past, we’re now at a point where you can automate nearly every part of fleet management.
From route optimization and re-routing to mileage tracking to risky driver alerts, you can keep your fleet running like a well-oiled machine with very little manual effort. It’s just a matter of utilizing the right tools that align with your business goals.