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What is Fleet Management and why does my business need it?

 

Effectively running a successful company involves more than just managing operations—it also entails the meticulous upkeep of associated equipment, especially vehicles within a fleet. 

A GPS fleet management system plays a pivotal role in enhancing maintenance practices and bolstering a company’s competitive edge.

While most companies with vehicle fleets have established protocols for fleet management, maintaining regular maintenance schedules necessitates adherence to standardised operating procedures (SOPs). These SOPs entail careful consideration of industry standards, prioritisation of tasks, and alignment with operational goals. Communicating and implementing these SOPs across the organization is crucial for ensuring smooth fleet operations.

However, this process often consumes valuable time for managers and employees alike. Thus, the question arises: How can fleet operators effectively manage their vehicles while minimising associated costs? The solution lies in leveraging data analysis through a GPS fleet management system.

What is fleet management?

Fleet management, is a general term that refers to managing and coordinating company cars, vans, trucks, machines, buses, etc with the aim to improve efficiency and reduce costs.

It includes tasks such as vehicle maintenance, tracking and diagnostics, fuel management, driver management, safety and compliance, and route optimization. The goal is to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure compliance with government regulations. Fleet management uses telematics and GPS technology to monitor vehicle and driver performance in real-time, helping businesses optimize their fleet operations and improve overall productivity.

What does a fleet management system consist of?

A fleet management system consists of several parts: 

  1. Hardware 
    This is the GPS unit that is physically mounted on the vehicle. Using satellite coordinates, it tracks the vehicle’s current location and sends data back to the system. There are different types of hardware, each meeting different needs. Some must be fixed and connected to the car’s battery to get power – other types can simply be inserted into the car’s OBD connector. 
  1. Vehicle software 
    This is built into the GPS unit where it sits and collects important data about the vehicle, engine status and the driver’s driving behaviour. Examples of things that can be registered are: Ignition and battery status, speed, accelerations, hard braking, fuel consumption etc. 
  1. Fleet Management software 
    This is the fleet management system itself, to which all data is sent and processed into meaningful reports and summaries. This is where the fleet administrator logs in to keep an eye on the cars, manage users and cars, and gain insight into the collected data in an easy and clear way.

In addition to the very basic functionality that most fleet management systems contain, there can be a big difference in what the individual system offers. Netstar’s fleet management system contains many modules, such as allows you to keep track of electronic driving records and driving allowances, project expenses, workshop visits, task management, customer locations, Green Driving, vehicle reservations, car sharing and more.

Processes involved in fleet management

There are several important processes involved in a fleet management system. Firstly, there is the collection of important data, such as the cars’ location and routes driven, the drivers’ driving behaviour and times of visits to relevant addresses. Then there is the analysis and interpretation of this data, which enables both drivers and fleet managers to make relevant decisions for improvement. 

Ultimately, fleet management provides access to the insights and tools managers need to improve operations. Therefore, fleet management systems can fulfil a wide range of purposes – whether you need to reduce costs, minimize CO2 emissions, improve road safety or offer better customer service. 

How fleet management can lower operating costs?

The costs of operating a fleet of vehicles run far beyond the initial purchase prices. When you factor in licensing, repairs and more, managing a whole fleet of business vehicles is a sizable expense for your company.

Inefficient work processes and inappropriate driver behaviour cost the bottom line – but most fleet managers are not able to pinpoint exactly where it’s lagging or what to do about it. Without fleet management’s clear view of the cars across all your drivers and all your vehicles, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Tools and technologies, like video telematics in particular, have transformed the way the vehicle fleet companies are able to train, dispatch and monitor driver across their fleets.

Real-time video monitoring, centralised digital hubs and communication systems, GPS tracking, route optimisation, fuel management and other telematics tools have helped fleet owners and managers improve driver behaviour, monitoring and training. In addition to helping fleet companies identify, prevent and reduce poor driving behaviour, it also helps reward good driving to incentivise positive behaviour changes in the future.

Advantages of fleet management 

  1. Increased visibility over the cars. 
    Administrators have an overview of their drivers and vehicles at all times. They can check where they are, how much fuel they are using, if the driver is speeding, if the vehicle needs service and much more. Reporting from previous periods is also easy, and allows for the identification of consistent trends or problems.
  2. Improved customer service.
    When you can see the entire fleet with your own eyes, it is much easier to streamline your daily processes and plan optimal workflows. The system makes it possible to deal with sudden delays and leads to easier and better communication with both drivers and customers, which can be kept continuously updated
  3. Improved security.
    It is your duty to protect your drivers and other road users. A fleet management system can send a warning if your driver is driving too fast or if he needs to take a rest break. You can also receive notifications about when it’s time for service and minimize behaviours that are known to increase the risk of accidents, such as rapid acceleration and hard braking.
  4. Reduced costs.  
    There are really many ways a fleet management system can save you money. This can be about reducing fuel consumption, preventing unauthorized use of the car after working hours, adjusting the number of cars to suit the needs, etc. Our long experience shows that most companies save, on average, approx. 15% by installing a fleet management system.
  5. Reduced wear and tear

Inappropriate driving behaviour, such as sharp turns and hard braking, can damage your vehicles. If they go unnoticed, it can even lead to accidents or failure of the machine parts and premature replacement of vehicles. Without a doubt, a costly mistake that can easily be avoided. Fleet Management software such as Netstar Fleet Manager will not only identify this behaviour but will also send real-time alerts to individual drivers.

  1. Improved route optimization

Drivers who choose a route other than the most optimal cost time and money.
Netstar Fleet Manager ‘Trip Report’ feature alerts you to this issue and you can review a trip using the ‘Trip Replay’ feature to identify exactly where improvements can be made. Fleet management software can also identify so-called star driving and has many other functions with which you can optimize your routes.

  1. General optimization of the fleet

To get the most out of your fleet, you need to know what your vehicles are doing at all times. And where they are Let’s say, as an example, that during a period of growth you expand to have 100 vehicles in your fleet. Orders have also increased accordingly, and everything is running smoothly – or so you think.

Want to reduce your running costs with a Fleet Management Software you can build a business on?

Looking for an easy and affordable way to track your fleet of vehicles? Look no further than Netstar fleet management software. Our telematic solutions can be installed in any vehicle and provides full tracking capabilities, including speed and location. It also alerts you to harsh braking or acceleration. Whether you’re managing a fleet of vehicles or trying to improve driver safety, Netstar fleet management software has you covered.

Netstar’s fleet management tools are comprehensive, robust and proven, whether monitoring the performance of your fleet or addressing compliance and keeping your people safe. Our hardware and software support thousands of businesses, with tens of thousands of vehicles, across South Africa. Easy to use, and backed by a dedicated support team, you can monitor your fleet anywhere.

Our fleet management software is a one-stop solution to all your tracking needs. Whether you are in the field of taxis, trades or logistics, we have you covered.

For businesses seeking fleet management solutions, Netstar offers two main options: Fleet Tracking and Fleet Management. Both services include stolen vehicle recovery, real-time visibility, and protection of business vehicles and drivers. The Fleet Management option adds a layer of operational efficiency and cost savings through comprehensive management software that covers driver compliance, service scheduling, maintenance, fuel cost management, and extensive automated reports. Netstar positions itself as a leader in the fleet management industry by providing scalable, efficient operations, increased productivity, fuel and maintenance savings, and a safer fleet and workforce​​.

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