Business owners with small fleets using staff drivers wear many hats and face unique challenges. Adding a fleet management platform frees busy business owners to focus on daily operations while improving fleet efficiency.
Operating a small business that performs services at a home or jobsite comes with challenges. Company owners and operators have a business to run, customers to service, employees to supervise, and a fleet of vehicles to manage.
They juggle countless tasks and manage many moving parts, including monitoring and scheduling vehicle maintenance, improving driving behaviors and safety, and keeping accurate records.
Whether you operate a landscaping operation with one truck or an HVAC company with 20 service vans, your fleet can benefit from fleet management tools. The right platform helps businesses leverage their data to make informed decisions about drivers and vehicles that directly affect their success and bottom lines
Before adding a fleet management platform to your operation, it’s important to define fleet management.
Fleet management refers to actions that help a fleet operate efficiently, on time, and within budget. These actions can include tracking fleet activities, driver dispatch and routing, route management, vehicle record keeping, monitoring driver behaviors, and service and repairs. The actions converge to help companies ensure compliance, improve efficiency, and reduce costs.
Even fleets driving passengers to the airport, operating food trucks selling food downtown, or dispatching technicians to repair household plumbing can benefit from fleet management tools. There are numerous advantages to improving fleet management through improved data management and GPS tracking.
There’s a misconception, though, that fleet management platforms only work for large fleets. While many companies design tools for maximum-sized fleets, platforms, such as Satrack’s fleet management platform, pair well with field service fleets too. These tools deliver a host of benefits for service fleets of one or more vehicles. The advantages include:
Access to Real-Time Information:
Fleet management keeps you informed. Without a platform to manage your fleet, you may not know where drivers are or how they are doing unless you contact them directly.
Fleet management platforms let you see driver and vehicle location in real time. They also provide data on speed, routes, time spent at each location, and fuel usage. These tools pinpoint driver locations when service requests come in so you can dispatch the closest driver to the customer’s location. The success of your business is tied to on-time arrivals and exemplary service. You can’t have one without the other. Fleet management software lets small businesses track on-time arrivals along scheduled routes or stops. Business managers know when vehicles arrive late, linger too long, or show up at unapproved locations.
Fleet management also improves safety, a top concern when employees, rather than professional drivers, use company cars to drive to customers’ homes or job
sites. When you monitor driver behavior, you can use data on excessive speeds or hard braking to correct and improve employee actions on the road. Improving safety can reduce accidents and save lives. U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS’) data cites motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of work-related deaths in the United States. Driver/sales workers and truck drivers incurred 1,005 fatal occupational injuries in 2019, the highest since BLS began tracking these stats in 2003. And work-related crashes represent 18.8% of work-related deaths.
Now consider that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 94-96% of all motor vehicle crashes involve human error. And, that as early as 2015, research revealed when fleets combine data on how drivers behave on the road with training designed to correct unsafe behaviors, they can reduce accidents by up to 50%.
Improving driver behavior also protects the bottom line. Crashes cost employers millions a year. The Network of Employers for Traffic Safety finds on-the-job highway crashes cost employers:
Fleet management gives insight into operations and activities. You can see how your fleet performs and identify possible improvements, then incorporate these recommendations into your operations.
Fleet management platforms can monitor vehicle speed, idle times, and routes to see where drivers waste fuel. Fuel use represents 60% of a fleet’s total operating costs, thus fuel waste puts a huge dent in fleet budgets. When companies combine knowledge of where they waste fuel with a driver training program
and policies designed to reduce fuel waste, they can slash fuel costs.
Argonne National Laboratory research finds a compact sedan uses 0.16 gallons of non-diesel fuel per hour of idling with no load. AAA now puts the average fuel price at $3.19 per gallon. If a five-vehicle fleet idles five hours a day every day of the year, that adds up to $1,164 at today’s fuel costs. Now imagine if you have 20, 50 or even 100 vehicles. The cost of idling packs a hefty price tag when drivers spend a lot of time behind the wheel.
Fleet management improves fleet maintenance. Vehicle maintenance is a significant factor in total cost of ownership (TCO). While you may not be able to
control maintenance costs, you can regulate maintenance quality and consistency.
A fleet management platform can ensure fleet vehicles receive regular and effective maintenance. Knowing what maintenance vehicles need and being able to predict when they need it, lets you schedule maintenance around business operations. It also keeps every vehicle in your fleet in peak condition to reduce unplanned downtime. Further, data collected on vehicle maintenance trends casts a spotlight on premature wear and tear and helps plan your next vehicle purchase.
Enhanced Record Keeping:
Managing a fleet demands detailed record keeping. When fleet management is not your sole job, these records can fall through the cracks. Using a fleet management platform keeps all records in one place and issues reminders as updates are needed. A fleet management platform provides a central location to house copies of driver’s licenses and vehicle registration information. Organizing records systematically helps operations comply with state and federal laws.
Satrack Fleet Management Tracking Technology simplifies organizing and optimizing fleet operations. Our tools help business fleets view and control many
moving pieces. Fleet managers can access the location of company vehicles and drivers, know who is driving, see how the vehicle is being driven, and receive vehicle diagnostic data in real time.
Optimizing fleet operations involves making sense of your data. Satrack partners with service fleets to optimize operations. The company develops day-to-day reporting structures and custom features to provide tools that smaller service fleets will use. For instance, if you pay drivers by miles or by hours of operation, the system will track this data to aid payroll services.
Managers can access over 50 reports already in the system or develop customized reports about fleet operations. Business owners can view reports in a web portal or download them as a PDF or Excel document. They also can use the system’s scheduling tool to send reports automatically to their inbox on a desired frequency.
They also can set the Satrack system to trigger alerts when data meets specific parameters. For instance, they might receive an alert when a delivery takes too long, or a vehicle idles longer than it should. All alerts go to the system’s main screen. There’s no scrolling through screen after screen to locate the information you need. Satrack tools allow managers to track and identify driving habits among employees operating company vehicles. Managers can observe when drivers are (or are not) working and view unauthorized stops or route changes. They can identify trends in driving habits such as speeding, harsh accelerations, or lengthy idle times to reduce fuel use, boost performance, and improve safety.
Satrack’s driver ID solution allows you to monitor the driver’s journey data when they switch between various vehicles. It encourages drivers to be more responsible and accountable for their driving behavior, resulting in safer and more cost-effective driving. Further, Satrack provides vehicle diagnostic data in real time to help fleet managers get a handle on vehicle health and proactively schedule service. Whether your business installs Internet services, repairs household appliances, or landscapes around new buildings, you can benefit from fleet management tracking and technology. This technology can optimize fleet operations to meet customer needs, keep employees safe, protect company assets from damage, and save money.
Learn more about how Satrack can help smaller field service fleets optimize operations, improve driver behaviors and lower risk, deliver services on time, and reduce operating costs. Click here to schedule a call!
There are currently 1,305,155 delivery drivers in the USA, serving our communities daily. Logistics companies, trucking and transportation companies and delivery companies including landscaping businesses, flower shops, bakeries, plumbing firms, all depend on an effective fleet of vehicles in order to keep business running as usual. With such a demand for delivery drivers across many sectors, there is an important demographic whose health and safety cannot and should not be ignored.
With over a million delivery drivers hitting the streets daily, and more so since the onset of the pandemic, heavy traffic has become inevitable. Motorists must take precautions to ensure they are keeping not only themselves safe on the road, but also other road-users, including pedestrians.
GPS tracking technology can encourage drivers and employers to abide by restrictions that are put in place to protect road-users. Fatigued driving is a main cause of traffic accidents. In fact, one startling statistic claims that 6,400 people died annually in crashes where drowsy driving was the cause, according to the National Sleep Foundation. GPS tracking can ensure drivers take breaks to rest when necessary, impacting the health of drivers positively.
Those restrictions are as follows: The FMCSA states that drivers must take a 30-minute break by law when they have been driving for eight consecutive hours. Without such a break, as a bare minimum, drivers are prone to cognitive impairment which can affect their health, and that of other road-users.
Cognitive impairment is a combination of reduced coordination, judgment, and reaction times, and is a principal cause of fatalities on US roads. But how can we help reduce these figures? The answer is, of course, technology. GPS tracking software has become more than a means of keeping tags on drivers – it is now a necessity that ensures the safety of all road-users, especially our drivers.
The GPS tracking device sends real-time information through the cellular network which can then be analyzed by servers, so you can see the location, driving habits, and speed at which a driver is traveling at any given time. Some of these devices are professionally installed in the vehicle, some are plug and play, and others can be set up via a mobile app.
By tracking driving habits, incentives can be offered to more responsible drivers thus motivating them. Additionally, companies can use the information obtained through the GPS tracking software to develop education and training programs, to further incentivize their drivers to act diligently on the roads.
A common misconception about GPS tracking software is that companies use it to keep tabs on their drivers and to catch them out. Companies based on trust and those who look after their teams, find this belief outdated, and instead use GPS tracking in a way that positively affects drivers’ health and wellbeing.
Stress, and more importantly, repeated stress episodes, are known to contribute to more serious and adverse health problems if left ignored – it can cause and worsen cancer, heart diseases, hypertension, aging, depression, fatigue and rage.
Based on the assumption that drivers are where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be, GPS software gives them an additional tool to reduce stress – it proves that they are where they say they are, minimizing the occurrence of disputes between drivers and customers.
GPS Fleet Tracking not only positively impacts the health and wellbeing of our drivers – optimal working conditions can greatly alleviate symptoms of stress – but also fleet management software can reduce the overall risk of traffic-related accidents.
As it stands, you are three times more likely to be involved in a traffic accident when you are fatigued. This alarming statistic brings to light the importance of diligent driving, because of the effects not only on the driver but on other road-users. GPS fleet tracking software can assist in lowering this figure, as drivers are obliged to take necessary breaks and stick within the rules for the number of hours they can drive.
By providing your fleet with software that improves the mental and physical health of drivers, you can ensure a better service from well-rested, well-cared for employees. In turn, a more effective service means happier customers, which is good for business.
The added benefits of improved communication can save your business valuable time and money – you know at the click of a button where your drivers are. Add to that the ease of route planning, which means your driver gets to their destination faster, all the while with less stress on the driver themselves.
The clear advantage to bestowing your fleet with GPS tracking software lies in the health and safety of road-users. Our drivers are the pillar of our companies, without them, there is nobody to supply our customers, so it is paramount we have their best interest at heart.
GPS software is often leveraged for route planning and orienteering, but the health and wellbeing of our employees are also enhanced, as the data collected from GPS tracking technology ensures we comply with government specifications for road safety. This is why GPS fleet tracking is raising the bar in the delivery world.
If you worry about where your employees are traveling in company vehicles, or simply want to track where your vehicles are, now may be the time to install a global positioning system (GPS) on those vehicles. With a GPS vehicle tracker, you can accurately track company cars or trucks. State-of-the art GPS services allow you to log in and view current location from any web-enabled computer or cell phone. Some systems also allow the setting of online geographic boundaries. Vehicles that cross a boundary trigger an instant violation alert.
The chief advantage of a GPS vehicle tracker is the ability to allow management to track the location of company cars and the employees driving them at all times. When a customer calls about a scheduled delivery, you can easily advise the customer of the estimated arrival time—without having to call the employee en route. Inappropriate use of company vehicles (e.g. for personal reasons) can also be easily discovered through GPS.
GPS vehicle trackers also encourage more efficient use of company cars. When employees know that their mileage and even driving habits is being monitored, they tend to be more careful in company vehicle use. Employees who understand that the GPS will result in improved efficiency, profitability, and on-the-job safety are much more likely to view the new company vehicle policy as a good thing.
The end result is bottom line savings, which can easily offset the investment made in GPS equipment and installation.
GPS systems are also extremely helpful when drivers become hurt, stranded, or lost. In addition, companies can guide the employee quickly and directly to hard-to-find locations, saving time and fuel and if the fleet management is significant in your business, the savings and efficiency achieved are likely to be well worth the investment.