2019 Fleet Management Software Buyer's Guide
Fleet management software has become a must-have for any company that deploys a fleet of vehicles. This guide will provide insight and tools for selecting the best Fleet Management solution for your company.
Fleet Management Software Benefits and Features
While needs may vary by business (and by industry), there are certain features that will benefit all fleet businesses, including:
- GPS Navigation and Tracking
- Dispatch Management
- Alert Systems
- Route Optimization
- Fuel Card Integration
- Fleet Maintenance Monitoring
- Rate Management for Long Haul Shipping
- Load Optimization
- Mobile Access
Implementing a Fleet Management solution in your business can generate many key benefits, including:
- Create a centralized scheduling system for dispatches and deliveries
- Display optimized routes to drivers through GPS
- Use GPS tracking to monitor where vehicles are in real time, ensuring that vehicles do not go astray
- Save money on fuel costs by monitoring consumption
- Find good rates for long haul shipping
- Keep track of vehicle maintenance needs
Fleet Management Trends to Watch in 2019
Business trends and software trends have a symbiotic relationship much of the time, innovation in one area always drives change in the other. To stay current and competitive in your industry by embracing all the best tools for your business, you should regularly study trends surrounding the software solutions you use in your company. Here’s what’s trending in Fleet Management software in 2019.
- Mobile capacity is becoming mandatory, and mobile apps can do more than ever. With the new mobile apps, drivers can contact customers when necessary, enabling a better customer experience.
- Environmental awareness is critical. Many of today’s consumers care about limiting their carbon footprint, so it is beneficial for companies to show customers that they are taking steps to limit fuel consumption. While shipping operations do consume substantial resources, the fuel-saving measures enabled by fleet management software can minimize environmental impact.
- In-depth analytics provide companies with information to help limit costs, optimize scheduling and routes, and otherwise improve business efficiency.
- Customization options are improving. This is significant for both day-to-day usage of software as well as for unlocking new insights from data analytics.
Choosing Your Perfect Fleet Management Software Solution
Conduct a Business Review
Before you select your Fleet Management solution, it is a great idea to make a list of the specific business needs that are driving your decision to implement a new system or upgrade your existing one. Thinking about the manual data barriers or customer-related issues that may be holding your business back will help you gain insight into just how different Fleet Management solutions will best fulfill your needs and help you meet your goals.
Purchasing a fleet management software solution is a major decision. Before you sign a contract, take stock of your needs by asking some basic questions. These questions will help you to determine what you need in a fleet management software solution.
Questions to Ask to Guide Your Review
- Do I want a web-based application? SaaS solutions offer many advantages to users.
- How will drivers access the application? Will they be using mobile devices to access the software, and if so, what platform do their devices utilize? (i.e. iOS, Android)
- What functions will drivers be performing with the application? What are their needs in terms of usability?
- Do we need to install additional GPS hardware? How can we integrate our existing GPS hardware with the new software?
- How will this software affect the ways in which customers interact with our company? Is it important for customers to be able to follow vehicle movement in real time? Several programs offer this functionality.
- Will the fleet management software need to integrate with other applications, such as HR software applications?
- What’s our business plan for the next five years? If we plan to grow our fleet, how will this happen? If you plan to scale, it is important to select a fleet management software solution that provides easy scalability.
- Do we prefer for GPS tracking tools to be based in Google Maps or to have their own data sources? Although many fleet management software applications rely on a Google Maps API, this is a potential source for problems.
- When can we anticipate receiving Return on Investment (ROI)? It should be possible to calculate your savings based on information about your fleet. Some companies recoup their investment in fleet management software within as little as 120 days of purchase.
- What do we require from a vendor in terms of ongoing support?
Build Your Fleet Management Budget
After you’ve conducted a complete review of your business needs and have a strong understanding of your Fleet Management requirements, it is important to figure out the budget you can allocate toward purchasing or upgrading your system.
Using the list you prepared while reviewing your business needs, you can determine how much value will be created by your Fleet Management system, and prepare your budget accordingly.
Need help building your budget? Get pricing from leading Fleet Management vendors now!
Determine Which Type of Fleet Management Technology Will Best Suit Your Needs
Fleet Management vendors typically offer an array of different technologies and deployment methods to best meet the size, budget, and needs of your company. The market for this software is robust, featuring solutions for a wide range of businesses and needs. Here are the basic categories of fleet management software.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
As in other software applications, SaaS solutions are becoming standard for fleet management. Web-based software offers numerous benefits, including low overhead and maintenance costs. Other perks include the ability to access software remotely, built-in data backups, and mobile access-all of which are particularly important for fleet management.
One important distinction between fleet tracking systems is the means by which GPS data is transmitted. A cellular tracking system uses cellular transmissions. Although this option tends to be less expensive than alternatives, it is more limited in terms of providing up to the minute information. Typically, users pay a monthly fee. Cellular tracking is a good option for smaller fleets.
Passive wireless tracking systems work in a similar manner to cellular tracking. These systems operate by recording data on hardware within an individual vehicle. Traditionally this method does not provide real-time tracking, although this has been changing as of late. Passive wireless tracking requires investment in additional hardware, but not a monthly fee. This is also a cost-effective option for smaller fleets.
Satellite transmission allows users to receive up to the minute location tracking for all vehicles. Typically, satellite tracking comes with monthly fees.
Specialized Use Solutions
Given the wide range of businesses that utilize fleet management software, a number of solutions cater to specific needs. These include third-party logistics firms, for-hire carriers, local delivery services, and taxi services, among others.
Know What to Look for in Your Perfect Fleet Management Provider
As you meet with various Fleet Management vendors that you’re interested in working with, you should do some due diligence in researching their reputation before you commit to purchasing their services. Some of the key things you should look for in your perfect Fleet Management vendor are prominence, reviews, and support.
Industry prominence and popularity
While you should not choose a vendor based on popularity alone, a vendor’s standing in the industry can signal what you can expect from their services. Make sure that the provider you select has prominence in the industry and is popular among other companies with similar needs as yours.
Reviews from current or past system users
One of the best ways you can easily research a Fleet Management vendor you’re considering is to look for reviews given by current or past users. Reviews from current companies using the software can give you great insight into how the provider treats customers and how companies value their services and features. Past reviews can establish a history of service values and give you a snapshot into how the provider handles business over time as well.
System Support Offered
Support is a vital component that all vendors will offer. However, the types and degree of support will vary from provider to provider, so make sure you know what level of support your team will need, and then ensure your selected vendor can easily fulfil those support needs.
Research and Compare Multiple Fleet Management Vendors
Once you have a firm grasp on all the things you need and want from your Fleet Management solution, and understand what you must invest, then you can begin researching and comparing vendors.
There are many excellent Fleet Management providers on the market, and you’ll undoubtedly be able to find your perfect system if you take a bit of time to really look into what each vendor offers and compare your top choices against one another to determine which is best for you and your business. As you compare your options, make sure to keep your list of key business needs and required features handy so you can reference them and keep yourself on track as you absorb all of the information and create a short list of viable options.
Set up Demos and Get Pricing from Fleet Management Vendors on Your Short List
Once you’ve created a short list of three to five Fleet Management solutions that you’re interested in implementing, it’s important to take your preparation and research one step further and get in touch with each vendor. Most providers will happily set up meetings to discuss your needs and requirements and can demonstrate all the key features for you.
Before you participate in a meeting or demo with vendor, make sure that you refresh your memory on all your business and feature needs. It is also a great idea to provide your lists to the vendor prior to meeting, so they can put together the custom options and pricing they have available that will meet your needs. This will make your time much more efficient, and also give the vendor a clear understanding of exactly what you require.