Owning or running a fleet of vehicles is an important aspect of many successful businesses across multiple sectors. You may need forklifts for your warehouses, vans for your courier service, HGVs for high-bulk deliveries, or simply a fleet of company cars for your sales reps to use.
Sectors that regularly use vehicle fleets include:
The emergency services
Public transport companies
Vehicle rental companies
Keeping track of these vehicles, organising their insurance, scheduling regular fleet maintenance and repairs, and dealing with any accidents can be a time-consuming task.
What is fleet management?
Fleet management is the organisation and overseeing of a collection of commercial vehicles. This role may be carried out by several people, or by a specifically appointed fleet manager who is in charge of the whole process.
The overall aim is to control every aspect of owning a commercial vehicle whilst reducing costs, risks, and increasing efficiency. We explore various areas of fleet management below.
Accidents are a common event that can cause a huge number of problems for businesses. As well as the associated costs with repairs, accidents take vehicles off the road, reducing efficiency and sometimes requiring a rental car and the additional expenditure.
Insurance premiums may well increase as accidents occur, leading to increased costs but also difficulty with insuring certain drivers or getting insurance for specific tasks.
Steps like implementing driver training courses, in-car safety software, safety analysis software, and monitoring tools like dashcams can all help improve fleet safety and reduce accidents.
Educating the staff who will be operating your vehicles is important for their safety and to reduce the costs associated with fuel consumption, accidents, and driver errors.
You may consider software that alerts you to drivers who require more help and training, allowing you to target the employees who would benefit most from additional driving advice.
This essential cost doesn’t have to be extortionate. By keeping track of your company’s claims performance, you can shop around rather than being tied into renewals with an insurance company that keeps increasing its prices.
Consider what type of cover you need; fully comprehensive is often only slightly more expensive but offers more protection, and may save you money overall.
Tasks like updating your insurance company on where your drivers are based, providing driver information, or agreeing to fit the fleet with driver telematics can all help reduce costs.
Fleets can contain vehicles owned outright, leased from rental companies for a set duration of time, grey fleet vehicles that are owned by employees with costs reimbursed, or a combination of the above.
Deciding where to source your vehicles takes time, as you need to balance quality and purpose with the price. Some companies opt to outsource their procurement to third party organisations, as there are so many factors to consider.
As one of the most expensive costs associated with running a vehicle fleet, fuel management is an important area to save money.
When selecting fleet vehicles, both their fuel efficiency and the type of fuel they use are important considerations. Downsizing your vehicle fleet has been shown to save almost 25% on fuel costs, whilst using alternative fuels like natural gas has saved organisations like Leeds City Council millions of pounds.
Fuel cards allow discounted fuel for your fleet, whilst saving you the administration time associated with reimbursing drivers for their fuel costs.
Consider the environmental impact of your fleet vehicles, as they contribute to your overall environmental business rating. Larger, older vehicle models and diesel vehicles may cost you considerably more in tax and fees in low emissions areas of cities.
Your drivers must adhere to the legislation surrounding fleet operations. Whether it’s drink driving legislation, speed limits, or smoking legislation, non-compliance can cause issues for you and your employees.
You have a duty of care for your drivers and a legal requirement to reduce and manage the risks involved with your fleet.
Health and Safety
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) makes it clear that all employers are responsible for providing a safe working environment for their employees. With 200 work-related serious injuries or deaths on the road every year, it’s obvious that driving is one of the most dangerous work activities that employees carry out.
By maintaining your vehicles appropriately, providing training to drivers and management staff, and always adhering to professional driving legislation, you can ensure your drivers are as safe as possible.
Management and repair
When investing in a vehicle fleet, it’s important to choose cars with a reputation for quality, ideally with a guarantee, to ensure they require as little time off the road as possible.
Some companies lease vehicles with repair and maintenance services included in the package, but in many circumstances, the company is responsible for vehicle maintenance and repairs themselves.
Choosing a local service provider, organising regular services, and organising last-minute repairs can be time-consuming and expensive.
With so many aspects to consider, many businesses choose to use fleet management software to simplify the process.
Fleet Management Software
Fleet management software allows your business to organise every aspect of running a vehicle fleet in one place. It’s so popular that 75% of fleet managers use some type of fleet management software.
Fleet management solutions allow you to monitor fleet activity, stay up to date on the condition of your vehicles, and help you optimise your fleet organisation. Using comprehensive fleet management software will reduce your administration costs, but also your operating costs.
A quality fleet management solution will feature:
GPS fleet tracking system with vehicle tracking
Digitally-based route planning software
Safety management software-including driver behaviour monitoring
Mobile app-based fleet management platform
Depending on your business’s individual needs, you may consider additional fleet management tools such as:
Inventory management systems
Delivery and dispatch management solutions
Customer booking features
Diver compliance management tools, some with DVSA earned recognition
Fuel efficiency solutions
The right fleet management tool can help reduce costs, improve vehicle availability and increase driver satisfaction. But with so many options on the market, it can be hard to choose which product suits your business needs.
Choosing your fleet management software
When choosing your fleet management solution, you must consider which features are important to you.
However, it’s also important to consider how easy to use the software is, how easily it can be integrated into your pre-existing software, and the company support you’ll get with the product.
Don’t forget to consider:
Cost vs quality
Custom vs off-the-shelf
Custom vs off the shelf software
Many pre-existing types of fleet management software exist, with a host of benefits including:
Low initial start-up costs
Free trials allowing you to try before you commit
Varied integrated tools
Different options for different budgets
However, off-the-shelf products offer no room for alterations to suit your business. This means a pre-existing fleet management system may not include all the features you need or may contain additional confusing tools that you just don’t want.
An off-the-shelf fleet management software provides a ready-to-use product that stays the same with a few upgrades throughout its lifetime. Whilst you use the software, the company retains ownership and you must pay a monthly fee whilst you continue to use it.
With the negative aspects associated with off-the-shelf software, your business may consider having custom software created.
Custom fleet management software features include:
Creation of a new product to your individual needs
Client ownership of software without subscription fees
No unnecessary features included
Adaptation of the software as your business grows
Whilst the initial higher costs and slower turnaround time may be off putting, you will end up with a product that is exactly what your business requires that you own outright.
Laracle is a software development company that creates unique one-off software products to meet clients’ specific needs. Read more about us below.
Why choose Laracle to create your fleet management software?
Usability - We create a product that is just for you, based on your exact specifications. This process is continuous, with input from your team throughout, which gives unrivaled usability. No need to include any extra features you don’t need.
Integration - Our applications are designed to seamlessly integrate into your pre-existing software to ensure smooth running and professional performance.
Expansion - As your business grows, so does our software. We are always on hand to improve and adapt your product as you expand.
Novelty - None of our products are ever recycled from other clients, each application is bespoke and tailored to you.
Cost - Whilst the upfront cost may be more, Laracle quotes you for the project upfront and charges no ongoing monthly fees. This will save you money in the long term.
If you’d like to hear more about how Laracle can help your business with your fleet management software needs, please contact us today.