Fleet performance and driver safety have always been among the biggest concerns for fleet managers. Eventually, Telematics technology came along, to revolutionize the way fleet managers deal with the aforementioned concerns; among other things, through the use of a fleet monitoring system. Nowadays, an intuitive driver and fleet monitoring system enhances business profitability and growth, by optimizing both vehicle and workforce performance.
What is a fleet monitoring system?
A fleet monitoring system is a central software-based platform. One that tracks, assesses, and reports on fleet vehicle activity. It also reflects on driving behavior. In other words, it is a control hub for the coordination and management of the entire fleet.
Having access to accurate, actionable data — such as vehicle diagnostics, mileage, fuel use, driver productivity, and driving patterns — fleet managers can find solutions to reduce costs and improve overall fleet health.
Using a driver and fleet monitoring system to improve driving behavior
It goes without saying, safe driving behavior can make a world of difference in the viability and success of a fleet company. Even a small distraction on the road may have a negative impact, resulting in repair costs, driver injuries, poor reputation; and, eventually, business decline.
For this reason, a driver and fleet monitoring system automatically records daily driving behavioral data — directly associated with vehicle condition — helping fleet managers with a fleet performance overview. That goes to say, through alerts, reports, and driver scorecard analytics, fleet managers know every single incident of unsafe driving, negligence, and other unwanted behavioral patterns in their fleet; for example:
- Sudden acceleration
- Hard braking
- Sharp turns
- Nonoptimal routing
- Using vehicle out of working hours
Analyzing the data collected from the driver monitoring system, fleet managers can identify areas for improvement; and take corrective action towards rectifying them.
From monitoring to training
With this in-depth data, assessing driving patterns is easier than ever; and, in the hands of fleet managers, can lead to more informed business decisions. Not to mention that steering focus towards resolving driving behavior issues, managers can also protect their employees; and other road users.
For instance, a good practice would be to provide training that will help employees become conscious drivers; and improve their behavior behind the wheel. There are plenty of defensive driving courses to choose from; many of which are state-certified.
In conjunction with the training, it’s important for managers to be clear on the company’s safety policies too; by that token, explaining to employees that implementing both (policies and training) promotes the company’s overall safety culture.
In this context, a driver monitoring system can serve as the backbone of an all-encompassing employee support system; one that helps drivers enhance their driving skills. At the same time, it helps recognize continued efforts and good performance, while offering incentives and rewards.
The future of fleet management calls for data-driven fleets
In recent years, the fleet industry has witnessed significant advances, thanks to vehicle Telematics technology and the IoT. Today fleet managers have the opportunity to visualize, analyze, and deploy big data, to streamline a fleet company’s operations.
As mentioned, a driver and fleet monitoring system — or a fleet management system — is a central platform that monitors, analyzes, evaluates, and produces reports. Utilizing such a system and the data it provides, modern fleet managers can identify potential fleet anomalies (before they become threatening problems); and even correct cost-surging driving behaviors.
Consequently, fleet “data-mining” ushers in a new model of fleet management, shedding light on operational shortcomings and, at the same time, simplifying once time-consuming processes. Practically speaking, real-time alerts and detailed reports — all at hand, via the system’s dashboard — transform the way fleet managers process information regarding vehicle and driver, to make strategic business decisions.
“Across-the-dashboard” management, at fleet managers’ fingertips
Logging in to the fleet monitoring system’s dashboard, fleet managers have full administration over their company’s assets — both vehicles and drivers — at their convenience. In short, a dashboard displays real-time data and vehicle and driver-related information; often, in the form of charts and graphs.
A driver and fleet monitoring system’s dashboard is usually made up of several tools and micro-applications, each designed for a specific purpose. For example:
- monitoring fleet vehicle status and notifying the fleet manager when something’s off
- sending immediate alerts for over-speeding (and other dangerous driving behaviors)
- calculating the amount of time an engine has been idling, etc.
Thanks to this automated assemblage and classification of fleet-related data on a central dashboard, fleet managers can focus on, and act upon, crucial trends; thereby, helping them make effective decisions across the board.
Making the most of big data is the key to business success in the rapidly evolving fleet industry. Dashboards, and their integrated collection of smart tools, offer the means to harness vital information; such that might otherwise have been inaccessible.
The three fundamental benefits of a fleet monitoring system
Using a driver and fleet monitoring system comes with a host of benefits that can have multiple applications in a fleet’s operations — depending on their implementation. However, there are three fundamental aspects in fleet management that are distinctly more ‘exposed’ to unanticipated — and unnecessary — expenses. To elaborate, these are fuel usage, maintenance and repairs, and driver behavior.
Under this perspective, a fleet manager can make the most of an intuitive fleet management system. That is, to immediately assess — and address — any issues deriving from the aforementioned fronts; to ensure, eventually, that the fleet is operating in a cost-effective manner.
1. Optimizing fuel management
With a fleet tracking system up and running, fleet managers can monitor the fuel costs of the entire fleet. That is, for each vehicle and trip, separately. This immediately opens up a window into how fuel is being used among fleet vehicles. For example, drivers who let their vehicles’ engines idling more than expected, will cause a spike in fuel costs. Having all the required data available, fleet managers are able to optimize fuel expenses, once and for all.
2. Improving maintenance and repair scheduling
Thanks to analytics collected from the fleet monitoring system, managers can schedule predictive maintenance — or preventative maintenance — for their fleet. This way, potential vehicle health complications are identified and resolved, before they become costly problems. Vehicle breakdowns and expensive repairs are promptly reduced and even eliminated. By extension, when vehicles are properly maintained, the probability of accidents is immediately decreased — fleet expenses too; while the lifespan of fleet vehicles increases.
3. Promoting safe driving behavior
Fleet drivers who often display unsafe driving behavior, like speeding, hard braking, and accelerating aggressively are not only wearing down the vehicle and wasting fuel, but also putting themselves and other road users in great danger. Thankfully, Telematics and fleet management software provide data on how drivers typically use their vehicles every day; hence, allowing fleet managers to delve into their drivers’ behavior patterns, and train them accordingly.
TL;DR — Fleet monitoring systems bringing value to fleet companies
Today, more than ever, fleet managers require total visibility into their fleet and its daily operations. That’s in order to better manage their fleet and maximize the utilization of their assets. With the ever-increasing requirements in the market for faster and more productive fleets, turning to technology might be the only way to stay ahead of the game. To that end, vehicle Telematics and fleet management software are rapidly becoming essential for the viability, sustainability, and growth of fleet companies.
Using comprehensive fleet data — automatically produced by a fleet monitoring system — can help cut down costs; and tackle other fleet inefficiencies. Therefore, a fleet’s lifespan, productivity levels, and profitability are increased. That being said, the power that comes from monitoring vehicle status and operation, as well as driver behavior, allows a fleet manager to gain a strong competitive advantage for their business.
At the end of the day, investing in a driver and fleet monitoring system brings value to fleet companies. And that’s by helping managers protect their drivers, reduce costs, optimize operations, increase efficiency, and promote growth.