In the 21st Century, there are a host of businesses whose existence and profitability depends directly on the efficient management of a fleet of vehicles. These include HVAC, landscaping, mobile IT, and many other types of companies. And “fleet-centric” businesses not only need to buy the best vehicles and hire the the most reliable drivers; they also need to focus on effective fleet management.
To ensure you optimize efficiency (and profits), you need to take a closer look at how you can integrate cutting-edge technologies into your business routine. Here are three of the most important tech tools that can help your business grow:
1. GPS Tracking Tools
GPS fleet tracking is an essential tool for managing any modern company that keeps up a fleet. The more vehicles you add to your fleet, the more difficult it is to manage them properly by the old-fashioned paper and pencil method or by manually collecting and computing each piece of important information.
Instead, you can get GPS systems capable of handling fleets ranging in size from thousands of vehicles to only a few. And these modern systems monitor far more than vehicle location. They also track things like fuel usage, mileage, maintenance and vehicle health, arrival/departure times, and bad driving habits like speeding or hard braking.
Also be sure to look for a GPS fleet tracker that is simple to install and use, one that easily integrates with your existing apps and big data systems, that has a real-time tracking screen, and offers regularly scheduled “report cards” that drivers can use as a point of departure for future improvement.
2. Dispatch and TMS Software
Dispatch and TMS (transportation management system) software covers different aspects of fleet management when compared to GPS tracking. Some of these systems are now cloud-based, but many companies still prefer in-house software.
Three important functions of Dispatch/TMS programs are:
Managing assignments. The software seamlessly “bundles” all data relevant to a particular assignment in one convenient location. It simplifies checking on content of goods delivered to the jobsite or sold to the customer. It makes it quick and easy to tell which drivers are handling which projects and whether an assignment is currently open/closed.
Route planning: TMS software shows you which routes are the shortest distance, the quickest, which have the fewest stops, and involve less overall expense. This puts you “in the driver’s seat” when making trip-planning decisions.
Storing business data: TMS also offers a catch-all location to store business data like driver and clients lists, asset totals, and preferred vendors.
3. “Fleet Friendly” Apps
Another key set of tools for drivers and fleet managers is the large number of innovative and helpful “ fleet apps ” out there. It’s true these apps are used by professional truckers, but they are also very helpful to any business that maintains a fleet.
Here are three of the best of this class of apps:
FleetSafer Mobile: This app sends an automatic “I’m Driving Now” message to anyone who texts or emails a driver on duty. A driver’s eyes are off the road 4 to 5 seconds for the average text, and it only takes one second of distraction to cause an accident.
Gas Buddy: Gas Buddy alerts drivers of which stations along their route currently have the lowest gas prices. Given that a few cents per gallon adds up to something significant, when you travel hundreds of miles per week, this app will save you a good deal of money.
Xata Turnpike: This app fills in some of the gaps that other tools miss. For example, It registers drivers’ hours on the road and keeps anxious customers up to date on estimated arrival times.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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