Operating a fleet of vehicles brings with it a number of challenges, from understanding where your vehicles are at all times to dead-of-night accidents, driver performance issues and asset maintenance, among others. Fortunately, today's fleet management solutions not only tell you where your vehicles are by leveraging a connected global positioning system (GPS), but they can also give you valuable context to improve efficiency, reduce accidents and protect the bottom line.
No matter the purpose of your fleet—transporting people and goods, supporting construction sites or even emergency response—fleet management solutions that automate tasks and tap into near real-time data can help solve a myriad of fleet management challenges that can get in the way of profit, productivity and most of all, safety.
Solving fleet management challenges with near real-time decision-making on the road
Many issues organizations face in optimizing their vehicle fleets can be addressed through improved connectivity and more near-real time data, which are made possible through GPS-enabled fleet management solutions. Here's how technology is helping tackle a range of fleet management challenges.
Accidents happen, unfortunately. Not only are they expensive and can lead to injury and even hospitalization, but they also hurt productivity, bottom line and reputation. They can even lead to company liability for damages and injuries.
Since many accidents are caused by driver error or fatigue, a fleet management solution can help prevent accidents by tracking hours of service and shifts worked by a driver. It can also track a driver's training and experience to ensure they are matched with a vehicle while also helping to coach drivers to drive safely and help with efficient route planning that can have significant cost advantages.
While routine maintenance means taking a vehicle off the road for a short period, putting it off can lead to a major breakdown and longer periods of downtime, which means the vehicle isn't generating revenue. Predictive maintenance actions can be taken before fleet vehicles may succumb to a longer downtime because of important service that needs to be performed to avoid unnecessary and expensive breakdowns.
Moreover, vehicle tracking enabled by GPS can alert you to any problems onboard the vehicle, including components that may be starting to malfunction, rather than relying on a driver to report it. Early intervention can reduce your maintenance costs and reduce downtime.
The quickest way to get anywhere is a direct line, but that's not always possible on the road. However, if you have a lot of regular customers and destinations, drivers can be coached in near real-time about the best route options, based on time of day, traffic conditions and exceptional events, such as ongoing construction.
From there, GPS-enabled connectivity with near-real time data can even let a driver know there's a major accident that will snarl traffic for the rest of the day and plot an alternative. By streamlining regular routes and adjusting one-time trips using a well-informed fleet management system, you can reduce idle time, minimize distance required and optimize fuel consumption.
Keeping your vehicles fueled is a cost of doing business, but it's one that can fluctuate widely. Even when prices are low, you want to optimize consumption. Efficient routing can help, but tracking fuel usage can provide clues as to where you can make those improvements as well as identify other issues. You may uncover a maintenance issue that can improve mileage or decide a vehicle is due for retirement in favor of a more fuel-efficient one. You can also use fuel cards to help combat fraud.
Fleet management challenges can also include poor communications due to limited channels such as phone, email or text. Today's fleet management solutions leverage connectivity to display information as part of a driver's dashboard based on near real-time data, including that generated by GPS.
This enables you to optimize a route on the fly or flag a maintenance issue because you're able to monitor a vehicle's components from a central point. Meanwhile, drivers can contribute by updating their status and reporting issues that might affect other drivers, such as construction delays and collisions.