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Any company who owns a fleet of vehicles for logistics purposes engages in fleet management. The primary role of fleet management is to keep track of the vehicle that is moving to a destination to deliver products. Companies with a large fleet usually have a specific department armed with fleet management software that handles the management of vehicles.
What is fleet management?
Fleet management is a term used to refer to managing a fleet of vehicles and supervising processes including tracking the location of each vehicle in the fleet, fuel consumption and maintenance of the vehicles.
Here is a fleet management example to help you understand this better. imagine one of the vehicles in your fleet made a late delivery. Fleet management will give you end-to-end visibility of the logistics chain and help you find out the reason for the late delivery. This will help you rectify the mistake and make on-time deliveries.
Activities under fleet management
A fleet may have different types of vehicles and usually two or more vehicles can be termed a fleet. Fleet management duties assigned to a manager are as follows:
- Vehicle acquisition: This involves selecting and procuring vehicles that meet the company’s operational needs while considering factors like cost, fuel efficiency, and maintenance requirements.
- Telematics and GPS tracking: GPS and telematics systems allow companies to track vehicle location, monitor driver behavior, and route optimisation.
- Maintenance and repairs: Fleet is regularly subjected to maintenance, inspections, and repairs. This ensures that all the vehicles are safe and reliable.
- Fuel management: Managing fuel consumption and fuel costs is an important task handled by fleet managers. Implementing fuel-efficient practices to reduce expenses and environmental impact is also under their purview.
- Regulatory compliance: Following various transport regulations in India related to vehicle safety, emissions, e-Way bill is a task under fleet management which ensures fleet compliance.
For companies who employ fleet management for supervising their carriers, there are several benefits:
- Fuel efficiency through fleet fuel management
- Savings on maintenance cost
- Improved regulatory compliance
- Route planning and fleet optimisation for improved efficiency
- Real time GPS fleet tracking facility for end-to-end visibility on each vehicle in the fleet
- Reduction of accidents
- Eliminates theft of cargo
- Fleet management software provides data insights and analytics
- Promotes on-time deliveries
Fleet management software and telematics technology are two key logistics trends within the fleet management industry. These services have helped to simplify operations and make the functioning of fleets more efficient.
Fleet management software and telematics technology
Fleet management software utilises data to analyse the fleet operations. This data analysis can give insights into fuel consumption, driver hours, overall costs, etc. Advanced fleet management software accompanies machine learning and Artificial Intelligence to help fleet managers find and solve problems.
For example, tracking vehicle location when you have 10 or more vehicles is a huge task. Fleet managers often rely on real- time GPS tracking provided by the software to know the exact location of their vehicles which increases visibility into fleet operations and contributes to vehicle safety.
The software collects data with the help of telematics devices which monitor vehicle movement, driver behavior, fuel consumption, etc. The devices are connected to Cloud which then transfers the information to the software for further analysis. The software will have a dashboard which indicates vehicle location, fuel utilisation, compliance, maintenance, etc.
Apart from fleet managers multiple departments in the company can utilise the data from the software:
- Maintenance managers
Maintenance professionals responsible for scheduling repairs for the vehicles can get real-time odometer readings and leverage digital inspection reports and diagnostics alerts to plan maintenance. This is a practice called predictive maintenance under which vehicles breakdowns are predicted and eliminated reducing the downtime.
- Accounting department
Fuel bills, invoices, and time sheets can be utilised by accounting managers in the calculation of logistics expenses and preparing budgets.
- Safety managers
Companies with a large number of vehicles in their fleet employ safety managers who monitor the safety aspects of the vehicles like maximum axle weight. They can collect data on vehicle diagnostics, driver behaviour, etc., to optimise the safety of the vehicle.
- Higher level executives
With an overall view of the fleet operations, the leadership team can view all duties performed by the vehicles and the optimisations being made by the fleet managers for enhancing the operations. They can also look into the fleet analytics to capture information on the costs involved and potential for expansion of the operation.
Big logistics companies running large fleets have begun to use AI cameras to monitor driver behaviour. This helps fleet managers to spot distracted driving, driver fatigue, etc. This allows businesses to reduce accidents on the road, improve safety and eliminate costs associated with fines, insurance and accidents.
Effective fleet management involves planning, strategising, coordinating, communicating and constant optimisation of processes for better efficiency. This ensures that the vehicles are safe, complies with all regulations and promotes cost savings.