When you hear the word “fleet management”, it might have you think of yards full of trucks or taxis. However, many businesses with only a handful of vehicles engage in fleet management every day. Many times we will speak with companies with just a few vehicles and they tell me they are too small for telematics and it just doesn't make sense financially but small fleets can benefit from telematics just as much as large ones. In some cases, they actually benefit more from having telematics installed in their vehicles and see a return on their investment right away. In this article, we’ll share some small fleet management tips.
What is a small fleet?
There are no set size limits to consider a fleet small, medium, or large. The label "small fleet" has been applied to fleets with up to 20, 50, or even 100 vehicles. In general when we are discussing fleets, small fleets have 50 vehicles or less.
How do small fleets benefit from telematics?
Here are some of the top advantages of using telematics for small fleets:
Gain visibility into fleet operations and trends
Manage fuel efficiency and reduce waste or reduce fraud
Optimize routes and vehicle use
Reduce idling time
Increase driver safety
Small fleets are not always overseen by dedicated fleet managers. Instead, the task might fall to someone in the accounting or operations department, or even the owner themselves, due to the company’s size. For these individuals, fleet management is an extra responsibility on top of their normal priorities. Telematics, in turn, can make these responsibilities easier to handle through integrated fleet management features.
Small fleet tip #1: Customize your platform
The dashboard of your telematics platform is like the front page of a newspaper. It should have the biggest, most important metrics on it for at-a-glance access. Setting up custom dashboard reports lets you dictate which information makes it onto the front page. It reduces visual clutter and lets you focus on key information. You can review fleet activities quickly and cut down on navigation time — which is particularly important for part-time fleet managers.
High-quality telematics systems, like the system New England Mobile represents, will include optional features such as fuel tracking, engine monitoring, and rules for exceptions such as speeding. This information can be supplemented and enhanced using custom reports. These advanced functions are useful if you want to focus on specific metrics like CO2 emissions or cost-savings analysis across multiple vehicles.
New England Mobile will assist any of our customers with setting up their dashboards or setting up custom reports to show what's most important to them.
We initially help setup during our live training/onboarding session but can assist any time you are ready. We try to make it as easy as possible for you to get the most out of your system. We want you to be able to set it and forget it and just let the data you need come to you without having to dig around.
Small fleet tip #2: Simplify fuel tracking with emailed reports
Fuel is one of the largest expenses for any fleet, and small fleets feel the cost of fuel waste more than large ones. Telematics-based fuel usage reports make it possible to track and compare fuel consumption across vehicles. By finding and investigating irregularities, you can track down and correct any inefficiency, such as maintenance issues, excessive idling, driving habits, etc. If you implement policies meant to reduce fuel waste, fuel trend reports will make it easy to monitor monthly usage rates.
Fill-up reports let you monitor when and where fleet vehicles are refueled and compare this information to fuel card data to protect against fraud.
Use the “Email the report to me” option in MyGeotab to save time and get the report direct in your inbox. New England mobile can show you how to
Small fleet tip #3: Optimize your routes
Efficiency is the art of getting the most from the least, and this principle comes up often when working with small fleets. Fortunately, fleet managers can use telematics and integrated solutions to find ways to improve the routes of their existing vehicles.
New England Mobile's fleet management software tracks missed and completed stops, idling time, stop duration, and planned arrival time vs. actual arrival time. These tools can be used to compare routes and test changes in practices to help drivers find the most efficient way to carry out their duties.
In addition to the routing supports available in our system, ths system also contains several custom add on solutions that can be used to further enhance route-planning. These software Add-Ins offer dedicated tools for analyzing and planning routes and dispatching drivers.
Small fleet tip #4: Perform risk management
One of the weaknesses of small fleets is that individual vehicles represent larger chunks of the business. Losing even a single vehicle can cause significant drops in overall productivity. Managing risky driving behavior before it results in a collision is therefore a high priority.
New England Mobile helps fleets track risky driving habits through customizable rulesets. These rules create thresholds for speeding, harsh braking, harsh cornering, and other dangerous behaviors so you can identify drivers in need of coaching. Telematics Add-Ons we offer with our system can even provide this coaching in real-time though in-cab verbal prompts.
Contact New England Mobile Systems, Inc. for more information on how we help fleets across New England and have been for over 3 decades!