In today's fast-paced business landscape, effective fleet management is crucial for companies across various industries. Whether it's a logistics company optimizing delivery routes, a transportation company overseeing a fleet of vehicles, or a construction firm managing a fleet of heavy machinery, the ability to monitor, track, and maintain assets efficiently can significantly impact operational success and profitability.
In the era of digital transformation, fleet management has been revolutionized by the advent of custom fleet management software. Tailored to meet the specific needs and workflows of businesses, this software empowers organizations to streamline operations, enhance safety, minimize costs, and make data-driven decisions.
In this article, we will explore:
- The definition of fleet management software
- Its different types
- Benefits of fleet management system
- Challenges fleet managers have to deal with
- Fleet management software modules
- Challenges of developing own fleet management system
- And How our team can help you in building this system
So, starting from the basics…
What is a fleet management software?
Fleet management software is a standalone app or cloud software designed to streamline and optimize the operations of a company’s fleet. These operations can include cars, trucks, or ships.
At its core, fleet management software combines various technologies, including GPS tracking, data analytics, and automation, to deliver real-time insights and control over fleet-related activities.
Types of fleet management software
As it’s quite a complex solution, fleet management software refers to a wide range of apps designed to help companies manage and monitor their fleet. In general, we can distinguish the following types of fleet management software:
- delivery management
- fleet maintenance
- fuel management
- route planning
- truck dispatch software
Let’s look into each one in more details.
Delivery management software focuses on managing the end-to-end delivery process, including order management, dispatching, route optimization, and tracking of deliveries. It helps streamline the delivery workflow, provide real-time updates to customers, and improve overall delivery efficiency.
Last mile delivery being a particularly tricky one, often time utilizes a separate, yet integrated, software.
Fleet maintenance software helps businesses schedule and track maintenance tasks for their fleet vehicles. It can include features such as maintenance reminders, service history logs, and inventory management for spare parts.
Fuel management software allows fleet managers to track fuel consumption and all the related costs. This software can include features like
- fuel card integration
- fuel tracking
- fuel efficiency stats
Route planning software assists in optimizing routes for fleet vehicles to minimize fuel consumption, reduce travel time, and improve overall efficiency. It considers factors such as traffic, vehicle capacity, delivery priorities, and customer locations to generate optimal routes for drivers.
UPS fleet famously avoids left turns, saving from $300 000 000 to $400 000 000 annually in fuel, vehicle running costs and salaries.
Truck dispatch software
Truck dispatch software focuses on managing the dispatching process for commercial truck fleets. It helps assign tasks to drivers, track their location and progress, and optimize dispatch operations. By streamlining communications between dispatchers and drivers it also improves overall fleet coordination.
Benefits of fleet management software
Managing a fleet comes with many challenges and without the proper technology would be almost impossible in these days. That’s why running the process through in-house or 3rd-party fleet management systems is so popular.
These systems can help companies to optimize spendings on fleet, improve drivers’ performance and stay up to date with the latest regulations.
Let’s explain these benefits in details.
Simply put, thanks to the optimization and analytic features, fleet management software can save a lot of money. With it, companies can, for example:
- optimize routes
- reduce idle time
- improve fuel-consumption efficiency
- implement preventive service for vehicles
Thanks to that, logistic businesses can make better use of their spendings on fleet and reduce the risk of costly breakdowns and repairs.
Improved drivers’ performance
Fleet management system can also help companies to increase drivers’ performance and optimize their work time. The software helps create better driver schedules, allocate tasks efficiently, and reduce downtime.
By automating administrative tasks, providing real-time data, and improving communication between fleet managers and drivers, the system can boost productivity and enable more efficient use of resources.
Optimized regulatory compliance
Many fleet management software solutions incorporate features to ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards.
This can include, for example, electronic logging devices (ELDs) for Hours of Service (HOS) compliance, driver qualification management, and adherence to safety regulations. Thanks to that, businesses can avoid costly penalties and maintain compliance with the latest regulations.
Challenges fleet managers deal with
Being a fleet manager for sure isn’t a piece of cake. During their work, they often have to face a wide range of challenges from financial and organizational toHR-related stuff like drivers safety.
Driver safety and productivity
Fleet managers need to prioritize driver safety and monitor their productivity on the road. Encouraging safe driving practices, reducing accidents, and addressing issues such as speeding, harsh braking, or distracted driving require ongoing attention and effective driver management strategies.
The same applies to their productivity. To make the whole process more efficient, fleet managers have to optimize drivers’ schedule, including their rest time, etc.
Efficiency is the king, one could say. Fleet managers must operate within budget constraints while managing various expenses, like, for example vehicle acquisition costs, maintenance costs, insurance premiums, and administrative stuff.
Fuel cost instability
Fuel expenses can significantly impact fleet budgets. Managing its consumption, optimizing routes for the best possible efficiency, and monitoring fuel card usage can be challenging. What’s more, fluctuating prices and fuel theft are additional concerns that fleet managers need to address.
Fleet management software modules
Fleet management software typically consists of several modules or components that provide users with specific functionalities addressing various aspects of fleet operations. These modules work together providing a comprehensive solution to make fleet managers work more efficient.
The specific modules and functionalities may vary among fleet management software providers, and businesses can choose the modules that best suit their needs and operational requirements.
In most cases, we can distinguish the following modules:
- routing module
- fuel management
- vehicle maintenance
- fleet tracking
- dispatch and scheduling
- drivers management
- shipment management
- security features
Let’s explain each of them in more details.
This fleet management software module provides fleet managers with real-time updates on vehicles’ locations, distance covered by the drivers, and more. All of the data is collected via telematics devices.
A fuel management module allows for monitoring of fuel tanks statuses and creating fuel management reports. Thanks to that, fleet managers can plan routes and drivers’ work more effectively and reduce spendings on fuel. Or, at least, optimize them.
This module is essential when it comes to the tech condition of the fleet. With a vehicle maintenance, fleet managers can easily plan routine checkups and recieve alerts about the diagnostics, avoiding unexpected breakdowns which could slow down the whole workflow.
This module allows fleet managers to track their vehicles in real-time using GPS technology, providing them with a general overview of the location data, route history, and vehicle status.
Dispatch and scheduling
Dispatch and scheduling module is a great managers’ ally when it comes to optimizing routes, assigning tasks to drivers, and managing delivery schedules. Thanks to this module, the managers can improve overall delivery efficiency, reduce fuel costs, and ensure timely deliveries.
This module is used for handling drivers-related information and activities. It can include such features as drivers’ performance monitoring, their behavior analysis, qualification management, scheduling, or training.
With this module, fleet managers can analyze expenses, quotes, or licences in order to optimize the delivery process, dispatch, and cargo placement.
Safety first. This module helps to protect your vehicles and drivers by providing numerous safety-related features like, for example, emergency roadside assistance, vehicle theft alerts, remote monitoring. Thanks to that module and monitoring drivers’ times of arrivals, speed, etc., logistics companies can secure themselves from false claims.
Challenges of developing your own fleet management software in-house
Developing your own fleet management software in-house can present several challenges and considerations. It's crucial to evaluate the costs, expertise, time requirements, and long-term maintenance considerations before deciding to develop custom fleet management software. Alternatively, leveraging commercially available solutions or outsourcing the development to 3rd-party companies may provide a more efficient and cost-effective option that meets your specific requirements.
So, what are the biggest challenges of building a fleet management system?
Lack of logistics software development expertise
Based on our experience, it can happen that at some point in the development process, in-house software engineers realize that they lack understanding and tech knowledge related to building fleet management systems.
This drives the risk of getting stuck with the project for long and costly weeks (or even months) or completely collapsing the whole thing upwards. And this is something you don’t want to deal with.
Building fleet management systems is a very complex process that requires an experienced team of developers, testers, and project managers to make the whole software work smoothly, with no bugs or unexpected errors.
High cost of hiring tech talent
Developing a fleet management system requires a team of highly skilled software developers, UI/UX designers, database administrators, and testers. Hiring top tech talent can be very expensive having in mind the growing demand for these experts on the market, growing inflation, etc.
It may occur that the development and hiring become overwhelming for most of the companies that want to invest in their own fleet management software.
Building a custom software, besides its numerous advantages, can also be an extremely time- and resource-consuming process. Especially if the software is too complicated and the in-house development team isn’t able to handle it.
If the project is overcomplicated, it can slow down the overall performance of your company and hinder your business growth. That’s because you’ll be forced to assign most of your resources to work on the new software.
How RST Software can help you develop a custom fleet management software
As you can see, building in-house fleet management software is a demanding project that requires having developers experienced in building such systems.
Luckily, if you’re looking for help with your own fleet management system, we’ve been there and done that. And don’t have to take our word for it. Instead, just check out how we helped build the 2nd largest logistics platform in Europe for one of our clients – Trans.eu.
Cross-domain logistics software developers
Having built a number of complex logistic software, spatial databases, and location-based apps, including solutions that optimize logistics operations cost with hybrid cloud architecture, we are open to work with you.
Simply drop us an email at email@example.com, and we’ll take it from there.