Fleet managers have to battle on many fronts to get vehicles and mobile workers to where they’re needed. Now, digital solutions enable them to organize their work much more efficiently than with a time-consuming spreadsheet.
It’s the same game every day. Fleet managers have a lot to do: monitoring and optimizing vehicle data; planning routes; and making sure the drivers don’t exceed their maximum hours at the wheel. But they are also responsible for ensuring economic efficiency and safety, settling insurance claims, and guaranteeing deadlines are met. They face many obstacles in their day-to-day work. What they often lack is simply a clear overview. How are you supposed to calm down the customer and provide good service if you don’t know which driver or service employee is currently on the road or where they are? Not to mention when the driver will finally make it to the customer. Badly planned routes are another thing that can lead to waiting times – and annoyance – for the customer. But how can you optimize routes and driver utilization, and also save fuel costs? How can you monitor and prevent the unauthorized use of vehicles outside of service hours? And how can you ensure that billing documents are always present and complete? Cost control and cost savings are central to all these issues.
Cost control: so important, but so difficult
According to a study conducted by Dataforce, a market research institute, fleet managers say their top priority is optimizing costs. For its fleet management study 2019, Dataforce surveyed more than 600 fleet managers. One finding, for example, was that only 26.3 percent of fleet operators calculate the TCO (total cost of ownership) of their vehicles. Possible reasons for this, says Dataforce, are not just the size of the fleets in question; another relevant factor is low staff numbers in fleet management. The smaller the company, the less cost control there is.
But why is that so? Quite simply, ongoing business operations take priority. Customers are waiting and appointments have to be kept. In the stress of day-to-day work, hardly any time is left to perform a thorough analysis. But without such an analysis, it is virtually impossible to calculate potential costs savings.
The solution: digitalized fleet management
Digitalization can help logistics companies out of this bind. By digitalizing your fleet management processes, you can bring together the control and management of your vehicles and drivers on a single platform. All your data can be recorded and presented in a structured manner, enabling you to get a clear overview of your business processes.
The Internet of Things (IoT) can be a big help to the logistics industry. The IoT connects processes, machines, devices, and sensors, helping companies manage their fleets more efficiently and gain a competitive edge with enhanced customer service. A fleet management platform allows you to digitalize all aspects of your fleet without incurring huge costs. The competitive advantages of this speak for themselves:
- You always have a clear picture of your fleet
A quick glance at the display is enough to see where all your vehicles are. You know immediately which employees are where. You can track the activities of every vehicle in real time. The route planner optimizes all your journeys. That saves not only unwanted traveling times, but also fuel. Ultimately, all this leads to better utilization and greater fleet efficiency.
- You have control over how your vehicles are used and can protect them against theft
The tracking function lets you know exactly where every vehicle is at any given time. If a vehicle is used by an unauthorized person or is stolen, the Automatic Alarm function notifies you by text message or email.
- Efficient accounting saves you time and worry
All your data is backed up at a central location. An electronic driver’s logbook and automatically generated reports make billing and accounting easier. You’ll never have to make manual entries in a spreadsheet again. The time management data for each order can be simply entered in a smartphone and transferred electronically to head office. That prevents errors. All data can be evaluated at any time and backed up in the cloud.
- You optimize your customer service
When customers call you, you can tell them immediately when the service employee will be there. Real-time tracking allows you to easily locate the drivers you are looking for. You can also dispatch a service employee to a customer on the spur of the moment. All this enhances customer satisfaction.
- You can reduce high fuel and maintenance costs
Tracking also makes the driving behavior of your employees transparent. An economical driving style saves costs and is good for the environment. You can prevent misuse by analyzing tank levels. That enables you to give your employees clear instructions and monitor their compliance, helping reduce costs, avoid accidents, and extend the useful life of your fleet.
Digital fleet management helps you cut costs and improve efficiency. An honest appraisal of your own fleet is the first step in the process. Once you have uncovered the weak points in your system, you should seek professional advice and give digitalization a chance. Would you like to find out more?
Download the Digital fleet management guideline here.