Most fleet managers are like a driver trying to do 100km/hr on the open road but with their windscreen obscured. It’s too often covered with the mud of inefficient processes or inaccessible data that result in a very narrow view of what is happening, and reduce your ability to make fast, effective decisions about managing the fleet.
Implementing a fleet-specific software system can help fleet managers gain the complete visibility back over their fleets. Here’s five ways a fleet manager can drive faster:
1. Technological advancements
GPS tracking and reporting would have to be two of the most important developments in the fleet world over the past 100 years. One of the key visibility issues that fleet managers face is the literal visibility over their fleet, at any one time they could have no idea where their drivers or vehicles are.
This can create headaches when incidents occur or delays (for one reason or another) are faced and a fleet manager is unable to locate the vehicle in question. GPS tracking allows fleet managers to know where their staff are at all times, a huge step forward in terms of safety and accountability.
There are many other new technologies being released every year that can help fleet managers gain better visibility over their fleets which helps to streamline their internal processes. Having a software system that either has good technological capabilities or can utilise the data from them can be a powerful tool in overcoming visibility issues.
2. Empowering drivers
Log books are the bane of any fleet manager’s existence. The information is collected but never properly collated and just sits somewhere to be slowly forgotten. Collation of this information, when it needs to be done, can be a lot of work for everyone involved.
Providing drivers with a way to log their information directly to the central database cuts out a lot of extra handling in the process. Empowering the drivers to log their own information takes weight off the fleet manager’s shoulders.
It also provides a clear picture of the entire fleet, without having to take ownership of all the information. This can cut a lot of wasted time out of processes and helps to streamline the business.
3. Connectivity to data
There are no longer excuses for not being able to collect detailed fleet data. The real challenge is how that data is understood and used to increase efficiencies and profits.
Fleet managers are implementing systems and processes that feed data back to a central point, and then even more to manipulate that into something useful. For example, fleet managers are gathering information from drivers with their daily vehicle checks which needs to feed through and connect to the data on when that vehicle is next due for a service.
A good software system will not only collect this data but connect all the dots together. It will take the note from the driver indicating that the oil light came on and connect it to the fact that the service on the vehicle is due next week and send an alert to the manager responsible.
It will increase the visibility for the fleet manager over the entire fleet and provide an easy way to report at any one time.
A key issue that fleet managers face is hidden information from their systems. A vehicle might be due for a service but without actually going and looking for this information, they would never know about it and likely end up missing this deadline.
Sometimes simply having the visibility of a fleet isn’t enough, there needs to be an additional, proactive step that actually informs you of issues, deadlines and potential bottle necks.
A system that provides workflows and alerts can be one way that fleet managers can gain proper visibility, because who has time to go in and routinely check vehicle information?
Setting up alerts for those who need to know the information, or a workflow email that picks up the information as it goes, can set the base for a really solid, reliable system for fleet managers, creating a “global”, proactive view of their fleets.
5. “Paper trail”
In an epitome of irony, a paper trail is one of the key reasons that software can solve your visibility issues. All too many times, time sheets, log books and servicing notices get lost in the black hole of someone’s desk, or down the back of that dodgy filing cabinet drawer, never to be seen again.
The old school paper trail is very difficult to manage and keep track of, not to mention an utterly time consuming task to manage. This creates gaps in visibility over the fleet and potential risks in unwarranted or unregistered vehicles continuing to operate.
A good software system can help facilitate a reliable, modern paper trail. Instead of that piece of paper being filed somewhere deep in an office, it is recorded in the system where alongside it, you can view historical entries and important events for each vehicle, driver, or department.
Netresult has developed their product AutoCheck to work specifically for fleet managers, offering the visibility that they really need through a series of useful features. These include duty of care inspections, electronic log books and a paperless defleeting process.