4 key benefits of fleet management for small and mid-size businesses.

Fleet management systems are not just for companies with large fleets of vehicles. Any company can benefit from advanced monitoring and management technology.

The transport and delivery fleets that small to medium-sized businesses operate can improve their operations, performance, and recordkeeping by implementing a fleet management solution.

With fleet management solutions, there are four areas where you will likely benefit: efficiency, performance, safety, and compliance. Here are details about what you can expect.

1. Efficiency.

When it comes to tracking your vehicles, monitoring their utilization, and planning and scheduling, a fleet management system can significantly improve your operational efficiency.

Fleet telematics and management have evolved into a comprehensive structure that allows you to know where your vehicles are; to determine whether they’re parked, idling, or moving (and how fast); to monitor scheduled and actual arrival times; and to transform maintenance from reactive to preventive.

You can reduce costs through near-real-time diagnostics that notify you if a vehicle is experiencing performance issues or needs maintenance. You can optimize your fleet schedules based on hours of service availability. And you can keep a close eye on driver performance, from both operational and safety standpoints. With telematics tracking, your home office can gain visibility, so dispatchers know where all their vehicles are and where they are supposed to be at any given moment.

2. Performance.

Better management means better awareness of and control over your fleet’s vehicles and drivers, so you can improve their performance and cost-effectiveness. That means knowing the status of your vehicles and how they’re being driven, diagnosing the performance of the vehicle’s engine and other vital systems, and managing fuel use.

A vehicle that is out of commission is doing nothing for your business. Maximizing the productive hours for those vehicles, and extending their usable life, adds to the bottom line. With sensors monitoring data such as fuel level, tire pressure, oil status, engine temperature readings, and brake wear, you can get an early warning about the symptoms that lead to a vehicle breakdown and proactively manage the situation before it gets worse.

Also, by tracking both vehicle status and driver performance you can enhance fleet fuel management and reduce fuel costs. Having the data to monitor idling and driver behavior, such as fast acceleration and speeding, gives you the insight to make changes and save money.

3. Safety.

The safety of your people and vehicles is always a top priority. With in-vehicle sensors you can monitor speed, erratic driving or lane changes, aggressive driving issues such as rapid acceleration or hard braking, unscheduled stops, excessive idling, vehicle accidents or breakdowns, and out-of-route miles. Access to this data allows you to coach your drivers toward better behavior and help ensure all your policies are being followed.

Drivers who know their behavior is monitored are also more likely to follow your policies, traffic laws, and industry regulations. The results? Fewer accidents and improved safety performance, with fewer liability claims, fewer traffic tickets, lower insurance premiums, and less concern about vehicles going out of service due to accidents.

The use of geofencing – setting up geographic limits to where your vehicles can go – can help keep your vehicles out of non-approved geographic locations or areas under construction where there may be greater risk of theft or damage. Drivers can be notified if they venture into those areas or are otherwise off their intended route.

4. Compliance.

Regardless of the size of your fleet, compliance is a major concern. Staying in line with rules about the time that drivers can spend behind the wheel, the activity logs that are required, fuel tax payments, inspections, and other regulatory requirements is made easier with fleet management systems that incorporate electronic logging devices, or ELDs.

With ELDs, you can all but eliminate paperwork and the risk of human error. Accuracy in logs is assured and available instantly. It simplifies reporting and allows you to better monitor activity and improve trip planning. Drivers don’t need to spend unproductive hours filling out the required information and can instead focus on what you hired them to do: keep your vehicles on the road generating revenue.

The use of ELDs can reduce inspection time by providing comprehensive logging data. This streamlines inspections and eliminates the need to deal with handwritten logs as you strive to verify hours of service and find any errors in your reports.

Whatever your company’s size, a fleet management system can provide a welcome and cost-effective upgrade in how you monitor and manage your vehicles and the people who operate them.

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