Fleet Management Overview

What are fleet management solutions?

Understand the basics of fleet management solutions and how they can benefit your fleet.

Approximate read time: 5 minutes

What is fleet management?

If your company depends on commercial vehicles to do business—whether that’s 20 vans or 200 semis—you’ve got a fleet. Ensuring your fleet is at maximum productivity and efficiency, as well as minimum cost and risk, is the practice of fleet management.

Organizations have been trying to perfect fleet management virtually since Henry Ford rolled the first car off the assembly line. It’s not easy, but it is possible. The best fleet managers are able to control operational costs and efficiency, vehicle maintenance and utilization, driver safety and compliance, route planning, fuel consumption, and much more.

Fleet management technology is used to help fleet managers save time, money, and manpower, while getting insights that can only come from advanced machine calculations.

Why you need technology for fleet management

Effective fleet management is both an art and a science, and it would take a superhuman to handle everything on their own. Do you have to use a robust, expensive fleet technology solution to manage your fleet? No, and smaller fleets may shy away from the investment. But the entire industry is becoming more and more reliant on automated processes, artificial intelligence, and fleet management software that can do it all, so you’ll need the technology sooner or later. It’s the only way you’ll be able to stay competitive and keep your business growing.

Whatever your specific needs are surrounding your vehicles, drivers, and day-to-day operations, fleet management technology’s greatest gifts are automating manual processes and dynamically providing fleet managers with valuable data. You’ll have more time and more information to make better, more thoughtful decisions backed by data. Implementing this type of fleet management software will be worth the insights you receive—guaranteed.

It’s important to note that fleet management solutions are either “real-time” or “passive.” Both types of technology offer a variety of features, including vehicle location, direction, speed, routes, etc., but there are distinct differences between the two.  

With real-time fleet management tools, you know what’s happening in the field, as it happens. Fleet managers can get live updates on the types of events they need to know about and, depending on your system, even video footage. Fleet data is aggregated and packaged into neat analyses that show clear trends and problem areas. With real-time fleet management solutions, it’s easier to monitor operations and make quick decisions that can help improve efficiency and safety.

Passive fleet management solutions collect valuable data, but by the time you get the data, it may be too late to act. Typically, data is collected through a device in a vehicle and then downloaded manually or wirelessly. Generally, it takes longer to compile the data and these passive systems don’t provide as much analysis.

Types of fleet management solutions

As you begin your hunt for a fleet management solution, it’s important to know there are a few general categories—it may help narrow down your search by deciding which of the two are the best fit for your fleet.

vehicle management

Fleet management with GPS fleet tracking

Modern fleet management solutions offer much more than dots on a map when it comes to GPS functionality. Look for software that locates, tracks, and manages your fleet vehicles (ideally in real time) with interactive maps to help you respond faster to what’s happening on the road and efficiently manage resources. Advanced GPS fleet tracking allows you to find and dispatch drivers instantly, set geofences with alerts, share ETAs with customers, and review full trip histories.

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Fleet fuel and speed management

Do you know how much fuel is costing you every month? Should you be spending that much, or can your fleet be more fuel efficient? Fuel can be controlled more than maintenance costs, and the best fleet management technologies can help you do that. Your fleet management system should provide reports on fuel consumption and trends, driving behavior that contributes to inefficient usage (such as hard braking), and the like.

what is fleet management

Fleet management with video

Video can change the way you operate and protect your business. Your fleet management software should offer cloud-connected video that tells the true story of what’s happening in your fleet. Some video devices have the ability to continually record and are able to parse out specific incidents based on triggers you set (for example, collisions or speeding).

Video is a powerful tool that many fleets have already adopted. Video helps fleet managers improve fleet performance and reduce costs by: 
  • Verifying incidents quickly so they can know what is going on in their vehicles in real time.
  • Providing hard evidence against false claims that can save companies thousands in legal fees.
  • Leveraging human review and machine vision with artificial intelligence to identify clear examples of risky driving behaviors that can be used to coach drivers.

Having video telematics as part of your fleet management solution is quickly becoming a standard for a fleet management tool, versus a “nice to have.”

What to look for in fleet management software

If you don’t know where to start when evaluating fleet technology solutions, don’t worry. Here are the most important features to look for in fleet management software:

fleet management software

Ease of use

First things first—the fanciest, mightiest fleet management system in the world won’t help you much if it’s not easy to use. Get a live demo of any fleet software you’re considering and then take it for a test drive. Is the navigation intuitive? Can you get to what you want with minimal clicks? Does it automate everything you need it to? Does it have a clean, appealing interface? You’ll be using this system every day, so make sure it’s friendly and accessible.

Fleet management system

Accessibility

You should be able to access your fleet management solution on the go—it’s a mobile world, and it’s certainly a mobile industry. You’ll need fleet software that you can log in to from anywhere with an internet connection. Ask any fleet management technology vendor if their system is mobile-optimized and accessible from desktop computers, as well as smartphones and tablets. And also make sure the fleet management technology is compatible with all major browsers.

Fleet management system

Fleet data that provides actionable insights

There are a lot of fleet management solutions that can provide you with reams of data—but you don’t want an overwhelming information dump. You need fleet management technology that can collect and analyze the data for you. Look for software with dashboard summaries, trend reports, driver rankings, and other telematics data that will help you make informed, smart decisions.

How Lytx helps with fleet management

Lytx offers customizable fleet management solutions to fleets of all sizes, across all industries. With Lytx’s telematics technology, fleet operators and managers have the tools to improve operations, shore up safety, and take the best care of their drivers and vehicles. Our solutions are proven to change driver behavior and deliver a rapid return on your investment to save you time, money—and most importantly, lives. 

Schedule a demo to learn more about how Lytx can help you manage your fleet. 

 

Related resources:

7 Ways Fleet Management Software Helps Fleets Work Smarter   9 Questions To Ask When Looking For A Fleet Management System Everything You Need to Know About Fleet Tracking   Fleet Telematics Solutions