Fleet management is essential for any company in the transportation industry. Although several solutions are on the market, certain features separate an effective system from the rest.
Implementing fleet management software should guarantee smooth operations regardless of the size of your fleet. In fact, you should be able to get insightful, real-time data about your fleet's performance from any solution you use.
To evaluate different options, you must be familiar with the current state of fleet management technologies and how it fits your business demands. Finding the right fleet management software solutions is fundamental to operational and cost efficiency.
Whether you're a first-time buyer or you're re-evaluating a solution you already have, you need fleet tracking software with powerful features that help you fulfill your requirements. In this article, we'll discuss the must-have features of effective fleet management software and why they are crucial for optimal fleet performance.
What is a fleet management solution?
Ideally, the primary objective of implementing a fleet management software solution is to enhance efficiency and power data-driven decision-making using real-time visibility. But what exactly is a fleet management solution?
A fleet management solution is software that uses real-time location tracking and GPS technology to manage the movement of fleet vehicles and other assets. Overall, this software can tell you where every vehicle or asset in the fleet is, its status, and other critical data.
Fleet managers and business owners use this solution to track daily fleet activities and improve operational efficiency. For example, the owner of a family-owned heating and air conditioning company already used CalAmp telematics equipment to track where his trucks are.However, he wanted to track whether the contents of the Freon canisters in his trucks were being used for non-business activities. He approached ArgoTrak, a CalAmp dealer and service provider, and got a CalAmp Tag that would track the location of the canisters.
Within a few weeks, the owner could confirm his suspicions and track down the workers stealing Freon for their own side jobs. Needless to say, fleet tracking apps will help you get real-time visibility, safety, compliance, and efficiency in your fleet.
The 7 must-have features for an effective fleet management solution
Choosing the best option for your fleet maintenance from the market's plethora of fleet solutions can be challenging. While different solutions provide unique advantages, these basic features should remain consistent across the board.
Here are the 7 key features of any fleet management system.
1. Customizable alerts and reports
A good fleet management software solution should have an extensive menu of customizable alerts and reports. It should give you real-time alerts on fleet activity, such as:
- Geofence entry or exit
- Excessive speeding
- Harsh braking
- Excessive idling
- Ignition going on and off
On top of that, you should get alerts on the status of your vehicle's health, including diagnostic trouble code (DTC code) triggers, battery levels, and fuel levels. Your fleet solution should also feature crash alerts and on-demand and scheduled reports about asset utilization, fuel economy, and yard management.
The reports on driver history, including fleet driver information, should be customizable, giving you insight into drivers' habits. Another important feature is role-based access. You should be able to send these alerts and reports to different stakeholders based on their roles.
2. Easy-to-use geofences
A geofence lets you set a virtual boundary for your fleet.
Choose a fleet tracking solution with geofence capabilities that are easy to set up. Most geofences feature standard shapes like rectangles, squares, and circles. However, to better create irregularly shaped virtual boundaries, your fleet solution should have customizable shapes.
Similarly, the geofence should come with customizable alerts and timestamps so you can know when one of your fleets enters or leaves a specified area. Role-based access customizations are a plus since they allow you to customize reports and alerts to specific stakeholders.
Here’s an example of how you can create geofences with the CalAmp Application:
So, how can you use a geofence to lower operating costs?
After setting up the geofence, Vallone could track the whereabouts of the buses in real time. As a result, there were significant changes in driver conduct and an improved bottom line.
3. User-friendly interface with mobile access
A user-friendly interface goes a long way in easing your workflow. Fleet management software should feature critical information in a way that’s simple to access.
To improve the overall user experience of your chosen solution, consider that it should have:
- A simple and intuitive workflow
- A seamless mobile user experience and the ability to transition from different devices, e.g., from desktop to tablet to mobile phone
- Single-click data access
An easy-to-use software solution means that your drivers, operations teams, and other relevant persons can access what they need whenever and wherever.
4. Integrated video telematics
Another must-have feature for vehicle fleet management software is integrated video telematics. Overall, it should feature smart cameras embedded directly into your fleet, thus giving you actionable insights into what is happening on the roads.
What's more, video telematics gives you insight into driver behavior, including:
- Speed limit violations: You'll be able to incentivize drivers to maintain stipulated speed limits since speeding contributes to almost a third of traffic fatalities.
- Accident alerts: Once an accident occurs, you'll get an alert on when and where it happened. Additionally, the built-in smart cameras provide footage of the occurrences, removing the need to sift through hours of footage manually.
- Driver activity, including harsh braking, over-idling, or cornering: You can track driver performance and make informed decisions to improve your fleet's safety through driver behavior monitoring.
For a deeper dive on the basics of video telematics and the benefits it provides for fleets, check out our Fleet Manager’s Guide to Smart Dash Cams.
5. Open platform with seamless integrations
Your fleet management software should allow integrations with third-party data via APIs, webhooks, data pumps, or a web map service.
Fleet solutions should be able to integrate with:
- Maintenance software such as Assetworks
- Outage management systems
- Fuel card provider, e.g., Wex
- Infrastructure software
- Smart trailer
- ESRI mapping
Further, you can leverage data-driven insights through bi-directional integration. This feature supports the ability to marry data from other systems and share data from your fleet management platform with other third-party applications.
6. Maintenance scheduler
An efficient fleet management app should be able to track time-based and usage-based maintenance right from the platform. You should be able to customize alerts for maintenance triggers and also integrate with maintenance software. A maintenance scheduler will give you maintenance alerts for vehicles due for repairs, thus reducing unplanned downtime.
Beyond preventative maintenance tracking, some of the more advanced fleet management solutions are even starting to integrate predictive maintenance functionality into their platform. If you want to get ahead of the maintenance technology curve, consider a provider that offers predictive capabilities.
7. Asset and cargo tracking
Cargo and asset tracking is another essential feature, especially for logistics providers. Integrating proximity sensors alongside your fleet vehicle tracking system allows you to track high-value assets while in transit. These proximity sensors are attached to cargo and paired with a telematics device in the backend to give you unparalleled visibility into your operation.
Why should your fleet management solution have these features?
There are several benefits of choosing a fleet management solution with the must-have features covered above.
Let’s explore these in more detail.
Features like a geofence can help you see which vehicle has entered or left a certain area and at what time. Additionally, asset cargo tracking helps you track all your assets and cargo to prevent loss or theft.
Mitigate risk and enhance fleet safety
You can enhance your fleet's safety first through integrated video telematics. This feature improves safety by giving insight into driver behavior and alerting you when important driving events such as accidents, speeding, or idling occur.
Secondly, the maintenance scheduler feature can help you increase driver safety since you can get insightful reports on engine health and perform maintenance planning.
Moreover, with a geofence, you can increase the safety of your cargo by tracking which vehicles have gone outside the virtual boundaries. Also, proximity sensors are crucial for asset and cargo tracking to help prevent loss and theft.
Seamlessly leverage IoT data into your processes
IoT makes collecting actionable insights and real-time vehicle data possible, making tracking, preventive maintenance, and route planning easier.
Incorporating Internet of Things (IoT) data into fleet management procedures allows you to make data-driven decisions and boost operational efficiency. IoT devices like electronic vehicle trackers, proximity sensors, and telematics devices can help in:
- Vehicle tracking: You'll always have information on where your fleet is, whether they crossed the designated areas, and the safety status of your cargo and assets.
- Understanding driver behavior and safety: You can track metrics such as speed limit violations, harsh braking, and cornering, giving insight into driving patterns. Consequently, you can reduce insurance costs that could otherwise eat into your profits by incentivizing your drivers to maintain the highest safety standards.
- Maintenance and diagnostics: You can set up alerts for maintenance triggers, especially when a DTC code has been triggered. This way, you reduce unplanned downtime and repair costs.
- Asset usage: By tracking idle time on your entire fleet, you can track how to improve driver performance by reassigning new routes.
Optimize your fleet management
With a maintenance scheduler feature, you can reduce unplanned downtimes and maintenance and repair costs, which is a big spend for fleets. Besides, vehicle tracking will provide visibility and insights, minimizing project and schedule delays.
For instance, Molly Maid required custom fleet management software to enable franchises nationwide to track vehicle locations, arrivals, departures, and routes and seamlessly integrate with their scheduling tool.
Molly Maid used the CalAmp Application to track the real-time location and arrival and departure times of cleaning vehicles. Not only could they easily identify delays and notify affected customers, but they could also find the most efficient route to a client's location to improve on-time arrivals.
Still, video telematics will help you mitigate the risk of accidents and know which drivers are putting your fleet and cargo at risk. Altogether, it'll help reduce the financial impact of potential insurance claims following accidents.
Lastly, a fleet management solution with a user-friendly interface allows you to customize reports and other software features, ultimately improving your efficiency when managing your fleet.
Ideally, fleet management systems should make it simpler for businesses of any size to expand their fleet. Implementing such a solution has the potential to bring significant improvements in fleet operations and driver productivity and also maintain your bottom line.
Although there’s no shortage of fleet-tracking solutions, it can be difficult to choose between the available options. An effective fleet management system can scale to support varied fleet sizes.
In addition to the features discussed above, a scalable solution will allow you to personalize it to meet the evolving demands of your business. Investing in reliable fleet management software can significantly impact productivity and your bottom line.
If you want a complete vehicle fleet management software incorporating all these features, look no further than CalAmp. Find out how to ensure peak fleet performance by requesting a demo today.