Tag Archives: Fleet Management Software

Buying Fleet Vehicles – Everything You Need To Know

Groups of vehicles owned/leased by businesses, government agencies, or other organizations are referred to as fleet vehicles. Car rental companies, public utilities, taxicab companies, police departments, and public bus companies operate fleet vehicles.

Many businesses buy/lease fleet vehicles to deliver goods to customers or cater to the travel needs of sales representatives. Fleet vehicles are managed with the help of a fleet or transport manager through fleet management software.

Read Also: 8 Tips for Managing Fleet Vehicles

A fleet management system (FMS) is employed to connect the vehicles to a telematics system for efficient management.

Buying vs Leasing 

A variety of aspects should be taken into consideration to decide whether buying or leasing vehicles is more advantageous in your case.

Further, you find out whether you qualify for fleet leasing programs if you have a requirement for several cars/vans for salespeople or delivering products. It helps you to save a lot of money.

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It has become easier these days to lease a small fleet of minivans, pickups, or cars. If you buy/lease more than 10 vehicles, you qualify as a commercial fleet buyer and you will be provided with a fleet registration number through the dealer.

This makes you eligible for all fleet incentive programs announced by manufacturers and dealers. Some dealers might offer programs designed by them for businesses. They may even obtain a fleet registration number for you even if you have leased less than ten cars.

In order to decide if fleet leasing is the right option for you, you must discuss with your accountant and work out the costs involved, taking into account the monthly lease payments; gas, oil, and maintenance expenses; annual insurance premium, and license fees involved.

Another aspect to be considered is whether you need to appoint a person to manage your fleet or not.

The costs and savings associated with giving an allowance to your employees and getting them to lease their vehicles should also be worked out before deciding to go ahead with fleet leasing.

One important aspect that you must clearly take note of is the penalties involved if you have to terminate a lease before the contract expiry date. This is crucial especially if you are likely to experience cash flow fluctuations every month.

Some of the possible pitfalls that you need to keep in mind prior to signing on the dotted line are as follows:

Insurance Coverage

Some dealers ask you to raise your insurance coverage. This is because they own the vehicles you leased from them. You should shop around a little bit before you decide on your fleet service provider because insurance can be quite high.

You should also find out if you can buy a blanket policy that covers both your fleet and business.

Overextending Your Hard-Earned Money

Seeing many new vehicles parked in your company’s parking area is definitely an ego booster. However, you need to decide as to how many vehicles you really need.

You must take care not to get carried away at the time of ordering a fleet. It is, therefore, highly recommended that you analyze your requirements before placing the order.

Neglecting to ascertain about mileage limits

The expenses involved vary radically and ranges anywhere from 15 cents to 20 cents per each mile driven over the prescribed limit.

So, if you cover, for instance, 50000 miles every year, buying a fleet may be a better option than leasing. Of course, you need to work out the details for your situation before going ahead with one of the options.

Failing to compare buying and leasing costs

Most dealers often have vehicles that they want to sell off as early as possible and they will offer special discounts and deals if you are ready to purchase rather than lease.

Read Also: What Are The Benefits of Fleet Management Software?

Discuss with the fleet manager in detail and work out the costs of buying and leasing in order to see as to which option makes more sense in your case. Always get the comparison in writing.

Spending too much

Never allow yourself to be talked into making a down payment that is higher than what is normal.

Typically, the down payment involves the instalment amount and license fees that are payable and a small deposit.

Forgetting state taxes

 Indeed states like Nevada and Texas do not levy any taxes, but some states, for example, California, levy high taxes and registration fees. You have to pay them upfront when you lease vehicles.

Avoiding paperwork

Irrespective of the size of a fleet, you are required to keep track of the mileage and expenses for each vehicle. This is essential to budget your cash flow.

Some Helpful Tips

1. Be clear about the different types of vehicles you need – minivans, pickups, and/or passenger cars

2. Be sure as to what purpose each of the vehicles will be used for

3. Pick the right vehicles and not those that are cheap; If you do not choose the right vehicle, your job will not get done; some of the questions you must answer for selecting the right vehicle are: 

  • What will you haul using the vehicles? 
  • How much space is required? 
  • What should be the payload (weight capacity) of the vehicle you need?
  • How would you organize the payload? Will you need special shelving, ladder racks, or toolboxes? Consider whether the pickups and vans need to be specially equipped
  • How many people would be present in the vehicle at any point in time including the driver?
  • If the vehicle has to pull a trailer, what should be its size and capacity?
  • Whether a four-wheel drive is required for your vehicles? Will the vehicle be driven off-road to justify the additional expenditure of using four-wheel drives?

4. Know clearly the features needed on each vehicle – radios and air conditioning may be required but it is better to avoid fancy features

5. How much cargo space is required for accommodating your product?

6. How many miles do you need to cover in a year? The limit set by most leases is 12,000 to 15,000 miles in a year

7. Leasing a fleet from one dealer is more economical and efficient

8. When visiting dealerships, always discuss with their fleet manager

9. In addition to shopping for vehicles, shop for a lender as well

There are several fleet financing companies out there that are ready to discuss incentive programs, your buying needs, and payment modifications. You can find them by asking your dealer for providing a line of credit.

Read Also: 7 Essential Skills To Become A Successful Fleet Manager

Or else, you can ask the dealer to recommend a leasing company they are already doing business with. Check with other lenders as well before finalizing anything.

You can also ask your bank if they have any fleet leasing programs. Alternatively, you can make use of a buying service for negotiating a deal and setting up financing arrangements.

31 Ways to Reduce Fleet Maintenance Costs

If you operate a fleet of vehicles for running your business, one of the key performance parameters would be the fleet maintenance costs. You need to reduce the costs involved to improve the bottom line of your business. Read on to know the different ways in which you can cut down the costs associated with fleet maintenance.

Read Also: 8 Tips for Managing Fleet Vehicles

#1:Consider changing your funding methods, especially if your fleet operation was started three-four years ago. The decisions you have taken a few years back might have become obsolete because of the changes in your business operations and other external factors.

#2: Create a new vehicle choice list based on carbon dioxide emission levels (140 gram per kilometer) and mileage considerations (45 miles per gallon). This will help you to realize significant savings in fuel consumption. There is no need to worry, you will have enough options.

#3: You will be able to save big time if you remove vehicle choice and adopt a policy of one management model and job requirement vehicle. This policy may not be popular with drivers, but their concerns can be addressed by offering better vehicles.

#4: Choosing vehicles on the basis of whole-life costs is another way in which you can reduce maintenance costs. Fleet managers often select vehicles based on their price. This does not provide a true picture of the actual cost of operating a vehicle across its lifetime.

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#5: Study the economics related to paying cash allowances instead of providing company cars by working out the costs incurred for each grade of employee. Choose an option based on the savings you can accrue over the life of the vehicle.

#6: You must encourage your employees to be mindful of fuel efficiency all the time. This will enable you to reduce your fuel bills substantially and, in turn, cut down fleet maintenance costs.  You can give the drivers several tips to drive efficiently.

#7: It is a good idea to choose the right fuel card provider. The fuel card provider chosen by you should make it possible for you to track your expenditure online. As the efficiency of the fuels can vary considerably, the use of fuel-saving additives might be helpful.

#8: Find out if free fuel is an attractive perk in terms of taxation point of view. Based on your findings you can decide how you would want to implement your policy so that it is beneficial to both parties.

#9: Another way in which you can achieve your goal of reducing your fleet maintenance costs is by encouraging refueling at appropriate places. Planning their journey in advance and refueling early helps to eliminate the need for filling fuel at expensive places.

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#10: It is important to identify ways in which drivers can help the company save a fortune on fuel costs. However, you need to communicate the same in an effective manner to your drivers and make sure that the momentum is maintained.

#11: Most of the tips provided in this post work for both car and van fleets. However, here are a few tips that are specific to van fleets: Consider using software for route and route and journey planning. Use smaller vans wherever possible. Opt for white vehicles. Odd colors tend to reduce residual value.

#12: Fleet vehicle downtime impacts profitability, disrupts work, increases admin time, and affects your relationship with your customers. A study carried out recently showed that accident rates are 30 percent to 40 percent higher in the case of fleet vehicles when compared to private vehicles.

#13: You should never assume that diesel vehicles are cheaper. Petrol vehicles are expensive in the long run. However, a petrol vehicle is a better option for if the distance covered is less than 10,000 miles in a year.

#14: Optimize daily rental usage by following a policy-driven decision rather than a driver-based decision to realize savings. Consolidating suppliers will help rationalize rates and makes monitoring costs and usage easier.

#15: Try to reduce grey-fleet journeys by putting them in the spotlight. This will encourage your employees to make informed decisions with respect to work-related journeys they always make.

#16: It is important to ensure that the fleet partner you are working with is the right service provider. This is to ensure that the fleet partner delivers cost savings without sacrificing customer service irrespective of whether you have a fleet size 1000 vehicles 40 vehicles.

Read Also: What Are The Benefits of Fleet Management Software?

#17: You should make a concerted effort to minimize the charges applicable when a fleet contract comes to an end. The fair amount of wear and tear allowed varies from one leasing company to another. So, it is important to go through the terms of the contract with a toothcomb before signing on the dotted line.

#18: Reducing driving speed helps you to save on fuel costs. Excessive speeding is not only risky but also consumes more fuel. While driving at 70 miles per hour increases fuel consumption by up to 9 percent than driving at 60 miles per hour, it is nearly 15 percent more when compared to driving at 50 miles per hour.

#19: It always pays to seek expert advice from the account manager. There are two aspects to managing a fleet: day-to-day interaction with drivers (it should be manned by employees who understand your vehicle policy) and strategic analysis of data.

#20: Deploying a vehicle tracking system encourages drivers to assume responsibility for their driving and avoid bad habits. When you monitor the behavior, driving speed, and fuel consumption, the drivers exercise care at the time of driving company vehicles.

#21: Reallocation of vehicles is another way in which you can cut your fleet maintenance costs. For many organizations, the cost associated with vehicle fleet maintenance is by far the second largest in terms of overhead expenses. Therefore, drawing out a reallocation policy is very helpful in cutting costs.

#22: You need to have a management information system in place to quickly access data related to your fleet costs. It is not easy to identify the tricky areas in the absence of a powerful tool for reporting fleet operations. This will help your Account Manager to provide you with the required information promptly.

#23: When it comes to avoiding excess mileage, some of the aspects include the following: Aim for the lowest realistic distance possible when signing a new contract.

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Work closely with your leasing company to avoid any surprises at the end of the contract period. Consider returning lease vehicle and utilizing daily rental vehicles if the charges related to excess mileage are too high. Employ telematics systems for capturing accurate mileage readings.

#24: If an online presentation, conference call, or video conference can resolve an issue, avoid using a fleet vehicle to meet a client.

#25: Most companies leave pool car management to those who are not directly involved with the overall fleet usage. When used in the right manner, the pool car fleet becomes one of the most cost-effective options and saves you a lot of money.

#26: To help your drivers understand the benefits of achieving fuel efficiency when driving fleet vehicles, you can arrange formal training programs. However, this initiative will work best when used in conjunction with sending out frequent reminders through other means.

#27: Who doesn’t enjoy independence? However, you must find out whether your team members should always drive in separate vehicles. If your team has to attend a program or an event at the same venue – for example, a client visit, trade exhibition, or conference – make sure that they share a vehicle and travel together.

#28: If you try to do a lot of things in-house, you might end up incurring unnecessary costs as a result of allocating valuable resources to activities that do not contribute to your core business at all. You should consider outsourcing some of your routine fleet tasks to another company. For that company, it is their core activity and they will follow industry best practice to deliver efficiencies and cost savings.

#29: Outsourcing fleet administration is one thing, but you should not overlook the time you invest in management. As time is money, you must consider the time you invest so that you can work smarter and not harder.

#30: Focus on continuously improving efficiencies. This is more of an attitude than an action plan.

Read Also: Top 5 Tips to Increase Efficiency of Your Fleet

#31: If you are operating your own vehicles, it is important to manage depreciation and sell a vehicle at a point in its lifecycle when it offers optimum value.

8 Tips for Managing Fleet Vehicles

Whether in business organizations like a trucking company or in educational institutions or school districts, fleet managers have to supervise even complex fleet operations daily.

Managing a fleet of vehicle includes supervising, organizing, as well as recording all aspects of a company’s fleet.

Being a manager, you may have to set up regular vehicle maintenance schedules, look for cost saving trials, or even execute effective driver training plans.

The complexities in managing fleet operations force many companies to outsource their fleet management tasks to firms that provide services of experienced fleet managers.

Read Also: Top 5 Tips to Increase Efficiency of Your Fleet

Exceptional fleet management can provide diverse benefits such as better productivity, reduced fuel usage, increased business efficiency and even happy customers by supplying goods and services on time.

Here are 8 tips to make you an effective fleet manager

1. Key step – have a complete fleet management program

A well-executed fleet vehicle management plan can serve as a major contributor to any business’ bottom line.

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Such a well planned program includes tracking, evaluating and optimizing every element of the fleet such as buying vehicles, monitoring the fleet, managing costs, appointing and training drivers, modifying safety set of rules, setting up Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), preparing the team for all operation situations and justifying associated risks.

2. Keep proper records of all data

Maintaining records are crucial for vehicle management. The manager is responsible to know all details such as what vehicle will be handled by which driver, during which time.

Make sure to have a log which will be signed by the drivers daily and this log should include details such as name of the driver, date, number of vehicles they drive and the time they started and returned.

Managers should also maintain physical and digital records of –

  • condition of the vehicle, which helps to know all the mechanical problems
  • the mileage before and after the shift and perform regular maintenance accordingly
  • tire conditions and pressure
  • detailed maintenance history  such as date of last oil change for all vehicles in the fleet
  • common routes that the vehicles are taken through and
  • alternate routes that can avoid heavy traffic patterns

With digital records, it is easy to find any report much faster than searching among a pile of papers.

3. Use advanced fleet management software

With a fleet management system, managers can track and maintain their fleet in a quick and accessible way.

Desktop as well as mobile based fleet management applications are now available to manage all types of transportation.

Such software helps to take complete control over almost every aspect of the fleet’s operations. Along with adhering to regulatory requirements, such apps can reduce the operational costs, improve fleet visibility and fuel management and increase profitability as well as driver satisfaction.

Companies are providing automation platforms for transportation that helps to convert your current fleet operating procedure to much easier ones that can boost engagement and create a better secure experience for all stake holders.

With this type of software, managers can also benefit from features such as real-time alerts, route optimization plans, planning for deliveries on-time and more. Choose the one that can integrate into your systems flawlessly.

Auto fleet management also helps to allocate the task to agents one by one based on the nearest location or it will be assigned on the first come first serve basis. There are also options to serve batch wise.

4. Hire qualified drivers

While hiring fleet employees, you should consider several factors. Accredited medical cards should be obtained to certify that the applicant is medically fit for driving commercial vehicles.

The driver must have –

  • a valid  driving  license with  appropriate class requirements
  • the physical as well as mental potential to operate vehicles in a safe manner
  • Department of Transportation’s (DOT) medical card
  • a commercial  driving license (CDL) to operate truck vehicles
  • experience in the field and a history of steady employment
  • passed a certified pre-employment drug and alcohol screening
  • a better driving record

Experience required for a driver may differ for different businesses. If they are not that experienced, consider the period of time in which they had their license.

Read Also: What Are The Benefits of Fleet Management Software?

Also ask for references from previous employers, which help to learn about the candidate’s skill level, behavior on the job and capability in the field.

5. Offer additional training for drivers

Even if the drivers joining your team has sufficient experience and training, providing additional training with instructions to drive on different types of roads, hazards of unfocused and weak driving and first aid training will help.

You should also arrange superior screening policies for all drivers and train them with safe-driving policies to lower traffic incident risks of fleet vehicles.

With successful safety training programs, organizations can decrease accident rates, reduce vehicle repair costs and lessen legal issues.

Make sure to provide your drivers with guidelines regarding the importance of wearing seat belts, and advise them on what need to be done in case of a vehicle breakdown, road incident or crash.

Also implement fleet-wide safety rules and make it mandatory for every staff to follow them. Make them aware of the consequences that may occur due to distracted driving and use of mobile devices during driving.

Also make them sign this document of safety rules to ensure their understanding of these policies.

Regular training programs also help drivers to be up to date with the transportation industry trends and any change in company rules or standards.

Less experienced staff must also be provided with on-road and off-road real-time training with the support of experienced staff.

6. Take care of vehicles too

While training and caring for your staff, remember your fleet vehicle also needs care. Consider having vehicle-specific safety policies in place to protect vehicles from any damage or accidents.

Developing wide maintenance and assessment schedules for each fleet vehicle help businesses to manage risks related to fleet operations, guarantee safety, and reduce spending on repairs can help.

Also remember to regularly update and document these guidelines. Maintenance program for your fleet can be preventive, routine or even emergency one.

While preventive maintenance focuses on maintaining the overall condition of the vehicle, routine maintenance occurs on a regular basis for every type of vehicle.

At the same time, emergency maintenance is unplanned. With an excellent preventive and routine maintenance policy, your firm can avoid any major emergency maintenance problems that may occur.

7. Use GPS software to track your fleet

Sophisticated fleet tracking systems which use global positioning systems (GPS) are now widely available to track the exact location of any vehicle. Installing GPS tracker for trucks and other vehicles helps with the better management of fleets in a much lower operating cost.

By tracking your trucks and drivers real time, drivers need not have to call you to update the location or tasks done. You can also correct them in case of they are passing through a wrong route. Managers can check the driving patterns and if vehicle is missing or someone has stolen it, location can be noticed.

8. Have an idea about fleet insurance policies

With the right fleet insurance policy, all vehicles can be covered. Make sure to find the right coverage at the most affordable price for your specific fleet.

Discussing with experienced hands in the industry helps to understand your insurance needs and the insurance providers in the industry space.

There will be changes and updates to most insurance policies each year. Consider an annual review to assess whether your current policy is meeting the company’s changing insurance needs.

These reviews can also help managers to evaluate claims and recognize ideal steps to minimize insurance costs in the future.

You must have a clear idea about the changes that may occur in your insurance policy if you add more vehicles or drivers to your fleet.

Read Also: 7 Essential Skills To Become A Successful Fleet Manager

Also check whether your insurer offer any discounts, if you implement fleet management software, or provide better security measures or arrange any focused training programs.

With this knowledge, you can consider adding these features to your fleet and thus take benefit from the discounts offered.

Let us know if these tips help you manage your fleets better.

How Fleet Management Software Helps Oil And Gas Industry?

In the oil and gas industry transportation is an inevitable necessity to transit goods, workforce, products and essentials to and fro.

Working as an embedded industrial line which comprises mining rigs, extraction sites, and heavy machineries, storing facilities, refineries and dump yards, oil and gas industry required an efficient fleet service as well.

Read Also: What Are The Benefits of Fleet Management Software?

Hence, it is a tedious task for a manager in the oil industry to handle fleet operation every day.

Therefore, employing a competent fleet management system helps a lot to control risks and optimize all sorts of transportation operations productively.

Let’s look at how fleet management will help the oil and gas industry.

1. Minimize Downtime

Oil and gas industry is too much costly to afford downtime. Possibly, excessive labor and restless operation is the primary cause of downtime in the fleet industry. In addition, the improper driving practices and irregular service schedules hit hard it’s productive functioning.

Furthermore, unexpected terrain conditions and weather also incur downtimes in the oil and gas industry.

To eliminate all the chances of downtime we have to cautious about almost everything accompanying the fleet operations including:

  • Road terrain
  • Weather status
  • Traffic trend
  • Vehicle condition
  • Driver behavior
  • Vehicle efficiency

Hence, by employing fleet management software you can scan across the fleet activities and the external conditions via sensors and GPS tracking systems.

Further, this software enables the fleet driver and managers to get the health condition of vehicles as well as drivers in real-time.

Thereby, fleet management software can minimize downtime by:

  • Update vehicle working condition.
  • Recommend better driving practice.
  • Suggest better route map for trips.
  • Inform traffic trends on the road.
  • Schedule trip chart and duty roster
  • Warn and report hazardous practices.
  • Real-time communication channel.

2. Greater Safety

It is an open fact that the oil and gas industry is a rugged terrain where safety is at stake. The chances of safety hazards are unpredictable. Hence, taking the possible precautions help to ensure a safe working environment.

Fleet management software offers greater safety with zero compromises on efficiency.

Moreover, working hand-in-hand with all essential safety policies and compliance parameters of different vehicles, fleet management system enables to run tense-free fleet operation in the oil and gas industry.

Fleet management software helps you to ensure safety by informing:

  • Optimized route track.
  • Unsafe weather conditions.
  • Location of vehicle.
  • Driver working hours.
  • Vehicle health status.
  • Compliance report.
  • Driving trends and behavior.
  • Activity and efficiency report.
  • Incident report.

Hence, fleet management software leaves no room for any kind of negligence and vulnerable conditions to put the fleet operation at risk.

3. Reduce Fuel Expense

One of the very reason businesses of all sizes are employing Fleet management software is its amazing capability to reduce fuel expense significantly.

This software allows you to find out fuel consumption trends across the trips. Analyzing the roads and the driving trends fleet management system helps in finding the real cause of fuel wastage.

Read Also: Why Is Fleet Maintenance Important For Heavy-Duty Trucks?

Furthermore, the daily activity and expense report give a detailed picture of daily trip expense trends.

Tracing the below factors fleet management software suggests an optimized plan which could eliminate all unnecessary expenses.

  • Trip duration
  • Idling time
  • Number of stops
  • Acceleration rate
  • Off-road rides
  • Driving behavior
  • Road and traffic
  • Location and route

4. Driver Communication

In oil and gas industry the location of the different facilities such as labor camp, material depot, refinery, mines, and rigs would be far.

Hence, the fleets might be sheering over different locations at the same time.

Hence, to avoid any sort of miscommunication and confusions, a proper communication channel that connects every vehicle to the fleet operators is essential.

Fleet management system helps to mitigate these problems by serving as a proactive communication channel across the fleets with the managers.

In addition, it gives proper warning and notifications when necessary to both drivers and fleet managers.

  • Drivers can communicate with fleet managers and other drivers.
  • Managers can communicate with all drivers and control accessibility.
  • Notifications and warning can be sent to both drivers and managers.

5. Preventive Maintenance

Inspecting the hundreds of vehicles dashing across the oil and gas fields every day is an impossible task for fleet managers and operators.

The heavy-duty machines and labor conveyers run long distance each day and travel through different terrain that may weaken them.

However, in oil and gas fields we cannot compromise in safety anyway. Hence the fleet management system is the best resolution to monitor and upkeep the health of vehicles every day.

Fleet management system read the status of reach working component in the vehicles and sends a detailed report to the fleet command center.

Analyzing the report, fleet managers can schedule appropriate service frequencies and follow up the vehicle maintenance activities systematically.

The predictive maintenance system informs the necessary makeovers in the vehicle beforehand and helps to avoid midway hassles.

Conclusion:

Since the purpose and the need for vehicles in the oil and gas industry are diversified and unavoidable, it requires more care for running an uninterrupted work cycle.

Read Also: 5 Essential Safety Tips For Fleet Drivers

Fleet management software comes with every provision that fleet managers are sought after long since to ease out the daily tasks. It has helped enterprises of all size to cut off unnecessary expenses and safety concerns over vehicles and drivers. Thus, employing a fleet management solution for your fleets helps you a lot for sure.