Find the best Fleet Management Software
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WorkWave Route Manager
Teletrac Navman DIRECTOR
A fleet of vehicles is fundamental to transporting items/materials, whether they are for an ecommerce order or a restaurant delivery. Proper fleet management plays a crucial role in making sure shipments are delivered on time, through the most efficient route, and with the least expense to the business.
However, it's extremely difficult to manage a fleet operation without using some kind of technology. You need to track the location of vehicles, the route they’re on, plan the routes to fit in multiple deliveries, schedule maximum possible trips, etc.
That's not all—you also need to monitor fuel consumption and related costs, manage compliance with local transportation norms, monitor driver behavior, track vehicle condition, and schedule vehicle maintenance. When it comes to actually executing these tasks, there are even more tiny tasks that get added to the list.
Fleet management software streamlines all these processes by automating many of the tasks. It makes sure everything happens smoothly and no essential task slips through the cracks.
In this buyers guide, we will look at this tool, its key features, and other essential details.
Here's what we'll cover:
What is fleet management software?
A fleet management solution helps users track shipments and inventory, optimize delivery routes, schedule shipments, and reduce risk factors. It helps bring down operational costs, fuel consumption, and delivery times.
The tool must not be confused with fleet maintenance software that focuses only on tracking the materials, parts, and labor used for vehicle repair. Fleet management is a broader system meant to keep the overall fleet performance at optimum levels.
List of task reminders in AUTOsist (Source)
Common fleet management software features
Some of the common features of fleet management solution are:
Delivery scheduling and dispatch
Schedule deliveries and track dispatches. Use GPS tracking to monitor the fleet in real time and analyze asset utilization.
Route planning and optimization
Plan routes by determining the shortest and most fuel-efficient paths between two stops. The feature may include fuel management modules to maximize fuel efficiency.
Rate and quotes management
Gather carrier rates and compare quotes to pick the most cost-efficient carrier partner.
Make the most of the cargo space by taking the volume, weight, and dimensions of consignments into account.
Manage and track maintenance of the entire fleet. Schedule preventive maintenance and get alerts when maintenance is due.
What type of buyer are you?
There are many different types of buyers who seek fleet management systems—ranging from long-haul shippers to local delivery fleets. We’ve covered some of the major buyer types below:
Third-party logistics (3PL) firms: 3PLs oversee logistics operations, everything from transportation to warehousing, outsourced to them. These firms typically need a full-suite fleet management solution that covers trucking, warehousing, and inventory control applications.
For-hire carriers: Carriers that transport cargo for other businesses also use fleet management tools to track their fleet. These buyers also need accounting and inventory control capabilities, especially if they deal largely with less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping. LTL specialists will want strong scheduling and dispatch capabilities in their fleet management tool.
Private fleets: These buyers represent the transportation wing of an organization whose core business is something other than transportation. They should consider an application suite that’s targeted less at trucking and dispatch and more at the company’s core business. They need to ensure the inventory control and accounting functionality integrates with the company’s other systems.
Freight brokers and forwarders: Freight brokers are intermediaries that match shippers with carriers. They require specialized tools that have strong scheduling, quote management, and CRM capabilities. Freight forwarders are similar to freight brokers, except that forwarders take physical possession of shipments in order to make the most efficient use of the carriers’ cargo space. Freight forwarders’ software needs are quite similar to those of freight brokers, but they also need features for load optimization and warehousing.
Benefits of fleet management software
A typical fleet management system will offer these key benefits:
Higher profit margins: By tracking the current position of your fleet and the tentative time for job completion, you get the visibility to schedule more dispatches. This directly results in a boost to your profit margins.
Greater fuel efficiency: The tool helps you track refueling patterns, fuel consumption, idle times, driver behavior, fuel costs, and receipts. With this information, you can determine the amount of fuel needed and calculate related costs to optimize expenses on fuel.
Increased customer satisfaction: Using the tool, you can provide customers with real-time information on their shipments. You can also optimize delivery times through improved coordination and better route-planning and thus offer faster service to customers.
Considerations for selecting fleet management software
Here are some things you need to consider before finalizing a fleet management system:
Business needs: The key to finding the right fleet management tool is understanding your business needs. For example, if your fleet has heavy vehicles (such as GVWR Class 7 or 8 truck) and involves substantial maintenance and heavy fuel consumption, you'd need a tool with strong diagnostics and analytics capabilities.
Customer support: Be sure to get clarity about the customer support costs, if any. The support costs of some tools may also increase with usage. Also, check if your team is comfortable with the mode of support provided, such as phone, web, ticket, or email. And, if the support team is based out of another time zone, check if they’ll be able to offer services during your work hours.
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.