6 steps to better… Fleet software
To run a safe fleet 24/7, drivers need constant benchmarking of their driving performance, leading many organisations to seek more sustained approaches than just one‐off driver training. Fleet software and tracking devices can provide the necessary information to create a profile of a driver’s key strengths and weaknesses, and help to improve driver efficiency.
So says John Cameron, general manager of Trimble Fleet Solutions: “Mobile apps, developed to allow drivers themselves to monitor their driving behaviour by getting data from the vehicle sent to their smartphone, are fast making an impact. For the driver, having the intelligence of how they are performing at their fingertips greatly increases their road awareness and empowers them to make immediate improvements to be a better, safer driver. For the business, it can benefit from mitigated risk, a reduction in accidents and boast a safer workforce out on the road.”
Management software can help keep track of expenditure and ensure that agreed Service Leasing Agreements (SLAs) set at the time of a rental contract being taken out are met.
“Our online system, IRIS, delivers rental booking and management for customers whilst providing a platform for suppliers to monitor performance against bespoke Service Leasing Agreements (SLAs),” explains David Brennan, CEO of Nexus Vehicle Rental.
“IRIS streamlines the booking process, allowing customers to easily manage all rental through one portal and offers access to a number of reporting tools to keep track of spend, service levels and invoicing via the dashboard.
It also manages pre and post rental administration including the management of damage and fines to minimize administrative costs.”
Risk management can be simplified through the adoption of a managed services portal which allows fleets to specify which risks need to be controlled, and track notifications accordingly. The Licence Bureau offers a Compliance Managed Services (CMS) portal to help fleets maintain a comprehensive overview of their driver’s legal status: “Our system allows for all staff to be identified as drivers or nondrivers so additional HR issues can also be managed,” says Malcolm Maycock, managing director of Licence Bureau.
“The system is linked to the DVLA, through which we make initial licence checks as well as rechecks and provide full driving entitlement. Automatic alerts can again be set depending on the company its style of vehicles and of course its appetite for risk e.g. over six points.”
Asset management software can help fleets keep track of resources ranging from handheld devices through to vehicles, ensuring they are always available when needed and associated costs are controlled.
“Allowing management of all of a user’s assets in one place makes it much easier to control everything while keeping down costs,” explains Leslie Depond of BulbThings, an asset management specialist.
“BulbThings will connect your assets via a single, Cloud‐based solution and as more things get connected, the solution will allow the tracking and management of them all.”
“Fleet software gives managers a birds‐eye view of the entire field operation, checking the overall health, profitability and productivity of the fleet, whilst ensuring the workforce is operating the vehicle/asset safely as intended,” adds Paul Reynolds of logistics‐based services provider, Telogis.
Control fuel costs
Fuel reports can help to mitigate fuel spend by monitoring usage and pinpointing inefficiencies. Available through fleet software supplier Fleetio’s customer portal, Fuel Summary Report allows users to view summarised fuel metrics for single or multiple vehicles, all in one view.
The summary data is calculated across all vehicles returned in the list and, through the use of filters and column sorting of data, can provide details such as which vehicle has the best/worst MPG, what the average cost per mile for each vehicle is, and how many gallons of fuel was purchased for the fleet over a specified period. Using this data the fleet operator can make informed decisions
about whether the vehicle parc needs to be upgraded, or employees could benefit from eco‐driving training.
Accurate route planning
The more accurate the information available to the fleet operator during the planning process, the more realistic the final route plan will be. This can have a positive impact on driver workloads, vehicle utilisation and predicted arrival times, helping to boost customer service levels.
Software can help to improve the accuracy of vehicle scheduling, as Charles Nockold of fleet software specialist Paragon Software Systems, explains: “Where a company’s route analysis or day‐to‐day experience shows that routes in some regions are consistently faster or slower, the underlying speed settings can be adjusted to ensure that the routing result is as accurate as possible. Speed adjustments and updates about temporary road works or local events can be made at any time using Paragon software; ensuring scheduling systems are accurate and well calibrated.”
Construction giant Skansa invested in Jaama’s Key2 software across its fleet of
1,600 company cars, 650 light commercial vehicles and 250 heavy commercial vehicles to cut its fleet administration burden and utilise data to deliver financial savings.
Skanska’s expansion through acquisition meant the fleet department was operating on two systems functioning in parallel which, according to head of fleet Julie Madoui, was proving to be administratively cumbersome and operationally inefficient.
“The management information available has enabled us to remove lots of spreadsheets,” adds Ms Madoui. “The ability to link data from different parts of the system enables us to make business critical decisions and save money for our customers. We are already benefiting from some ‘quick wins’, which administratively include the ability to automate processes such as sending block emails to hundreds of people with automated chasers.”