[by Bryan Shannon, Director ORDP]
A few weeks ago, I shared some suggestions with you for how to select a fleet management company. This time, I wanted to take a step back to talk more about why you might want to use a fleet management company in the first place. We don’t buy products and services because of the features they have – we buy them because of the benefits they ultimately offer to us. So, what are the benefits of fleet management?
You’ve probably heard a lot about fleet management systems and how everyone in our industry seems to be using them nowadays. But maybe you’re not convinced as to why you should use them. After all, you already have a system in right now that seems to be working – why upset the upset the applecart? In this article, I want to share some of the benefits of fleet management systems so that you can make a more informed decision as to whether they’re right for you. What can they actually do for carriers? Are they worth the investment of time and money?
As Director of ORDP I talk with countless drivers and carriers, so I’m in a unique position to hear from them about what benefits they actually get from using fleet management systems. You may remember from my earlier article about how to select a fleet management system that there are many different types of fleet management systems. This means that the benefits to your company will vary depending on the specific fleet management system you choose. But, there are three common benefits that most any fleet management system will deliver to customers. These include improved compliance, increased efficiency, and cost savings. Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.
1st benefit of fleet management: improved compliance
One of the biggest reasons many carriers rely on fleet management systems is for the benefits it brings in the form of improved compliance. Everyone in our industry knows that compliance is a critical part of our jobs, and non-compliance can cost a carrier lots of money if drivers are taken out of service. In an earlier post, I talked about motor carrier safety letters and why they might get sent out. If you’re using a solid fleet management system, you can help to improve compliance with FMCSA’s rules. Just as importantly, you can also document that you have complied with FMCSA rules, as any modern fleet management system has documentation, analytics and verification tools built right in. Some fleet management systems also include features to streamline IFTA reporting. Depending on the fleet management system you’re considering, you can also pair software with hardware to provide video and audio feeds of drivers, which again can help to improve compliance and also provide proof of compliance with rules in the event of a violation. Other specific features that many fleet management systems include to help with compliance include vehicle trip logs, truckload management, and driver management.
2nd benefit of fleet management: increased efficiency
Although compliance is critical in our industry and staying in compliance is an important benefit of fleet management systems, it’s certainly not the only benefit. Another benefit of fleet management systems is the opportunities it offers carriers to improve efficiency. Many fleet management systems offer features like automatic optimized routing which not only takes into account factors like distance when planning a driver’s route, but also traffic and road types. Many fleet management systems also offer features that help to manage speeding and idling. Speeding of course can be a compliance issue, but it is also an efficiency issue: your trucks are generally going to be more fuel efficient when they’re not exceeding the posted speed limits. Idling can cost carriers lots of money, too, and through idling monitoring features offered by some fleet management systems, you can improve overall fuel efficiency of your trucks. A critical aspect of successful fleet management is planning and scheduling maintenance jobs. One benefit of fleet management systems is that many of them will automatically provide maintenance plans for individual vehicles, based on that vehicle’s driving history. And, at the same time, they make it easy for carriers to see the full vehicle maintenance history at the click of a button.
3rd benefit of fleet management: cost savings
Cost savings is often a direct result of increased efficiency, but it’s an important enough benefit of fleet management that it deserves its own section. When your fleet management system increases efficiency, it can save your company big dollars in driver time, in fuel, or both. When a fleet management system optimizes a driver’s route, it not only considers the factors mentioned in the previous section, but it also takes into account drivers’ hours of service and finds the best route to minimize the number of stops, potentially saving you money. Similarly, because fleet management systems help you to better plan and schedule maintenance of your vehicles, it can help you save money in the long run through increased longevity of your vehicles, fewer emergency repairs, and less down time for your drivers if your vehicle requires maintenance while on the road. For many carriers, the cost savings of using a fleet management system will quickly payback the investment in the fleet management system.
About Bryan Shannon
Bryan Shannon is Managing Director of ORDP. His strong track record of helping carriers manage their fleet operations, grow market shares, and increase revenue is backed by years of experience in the trucking industry.
ORDP’s CDL Driver Protection Legal service finds attorneys for CDL drivers nationwide to resolve traffic violations and DOT compliance-related issues impacting the bottom line of commercial fleets. ORDP’s CDL protection comes with built-in trucking benefits that help carriers attract and retain top talent and improve employee performance.