Technology is a fundamental tool to the current fleet manager, and because it is developing at such a rapid rate, so too is the role of fleet management in monitoring key business metrics. We can see at home how smart technology is slowly influencing major parts of our lives – heating, security, lighting, TV watching, music listening, even cooking – so it is no surprise that our work productivity and life on the road is now similarly monitored and made more efficient by evolving tech.
So much of fleet management is about monitoring and controlling costs, and this can be costs of vehicles, people or operations. Businesses need to see improvement and base many of their objectives on continual improvement, so what are the technology systems that are helping fleet managers?
GPS for efficiency
Sat Navs have been around for a long time, but GPS technology has advanced way beyond being a basic routefinder and now acts to monitor and report on many aspects of cost control in fleet management. So with GPS tracking systems you can manage routes, set-up traffic jam alerts, monitor how many stops a driver makes and manage who is the best driver to get to a location. So you can track drivers but also get jobs/deliveries done quicker.
GPS for fuel usage
Being able to monitor speed and mileage also enables the fleet manager to calculate the cost per mile of every delivery or visit, in terms of fuel usage. This enables better route planning for the future, but also allows you to work out the most fuel-efficient vehicles for certain routes and the most fuel-efficient vehicles for future lease contracts.
Vehicles can now be fitted with audible alerts to warn drivers of imminent speed cameras and changes in speed restrictions. This helps with drivers avoiding fines and penalties, but also makes their driving more economic. Alerts can also warn drivers of irregular steering or braking movements which can improve driver performance and may also have an impact on service and maintenance costs.
GPS tracking technology produces a wealth of data that can seem overwhelming. But it is possible to filter the data and set up regular reports to provide accurate and reliable performance data. This may help with reporting employee hours, jobs completed, mileage and various other metrics, and can be a significant saving in terms of completing paperwork.
When you have a fleet of drivers and vehicles out on the road, it can be a full-time job in itself just communicating with them. With all the systems listed above providing real-time data and decisions needing to be made, you need to streamline the messaging you are receiving, in order to simplify the communications you put out. An innovative Communications Hub has been developed by Total Motion to do just that, so all the technology systems we have talked about can be brought together as an interactive and single source of communications. This acts as a key support for drivers out on the road and enables proactive management back at base. The communications hub enables the fleet manager to make effective decisions via an online portal, which uses and provides quality data and simplifies the methods of contact. As an additional support function for the fleet manager, the same system can be set up to provide alerts about service and maintenance of vehicles and road tax, as well as providing real-time performance data.
It is hard to say where technology can go from here, and maybe we are still a long way off using driverless vehicles and fleet management being fully automated, so we will need to monitor the variables produced by human performance for some time to come, but fleet management is such a key element of a functioning organisation that keeping your finger on the pulse can be critical, and any competitive advantage provided by new technology could make all the difference.
For more information visit www.totalmotion.co.uk
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