What is fleet management software?
Fleet management software allows you to track vehicles, monitor their use, and assess drivers, ensuring maximum efficiency and best practice across your fleet
Fleet management software is a vital component of fleet management, helping you to keep track of your vehicles and monitor driver behaviour.
At times, running a business fleet can be an overwhelming experience. If you want to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness from your vehicles, then you need fleet management tools that serve the particular needs of your business.
This article explains just what fleet management software can do for your business. We’ll explain what fleet management software actually is, look at the rough costings involved, and point you towards the best providers in the market.
This article will cover:
- What is fleet management software?
- Fleet management software functions
- What are the benefits of fleet management software?
- The best fleet management software
- How to choose your fleet management software supplier
- Fleet management software costs
- Fleet management software: a case study
- GDPR and vehicle tracking
- Next steps
- Fleet management software: the FAQs
What is fleet management software?
Fleet management software encompasses a range of platforms and technologies that help you keep track of your fleet, ensure the safety and productivity of your drivers, and maximise the performance and efficiency of your vehicles.
It can also log and store essential data and documentation on vehicles and drivers, which both fleet owners and drivers can access whenever they need.
Fleet management software uses GPS signals to track and report on the movements of your fleet. This bolsters efficiencies in regards to fuel use, time management, and route planning.
Fleet management software functions
Fleet tracking software comes with a dizzying array of features. Below, we take a look at just some of them, and explain how they can benefit your business fleet.
Keeping track of your vehicles is, obviously, imperative when managing a fleet. Vehicle tracking software uses a GPS system to track your vehicles in real time, round the clock.
Find out more about vehicle tracking here.
Route optimisation helps your drivers find the most cost-effective routes. You can both plan multi-stop routes in advance and manage routes to help drivers adapt to last minute changes when there are road closures or traffic flare-ups.
Route optimisation has the added advantage of protecting the environment. And with transportation a major contributor to global CO2 emissions, it should be your duty as a fleet owner to minimise environmental impact.
A natural benefit of route optimisation is saving on fuel costs. The fewer unnecessary miles your vehicles cover, the less money you’ll waste on fuel. And considering how costly fuel is, streamlining you fleet’s efficiencies is an undeniable benefit.
Better customer service
Vehicle tracking can help you to improve your customer service by:
- Keeping clients and customers up to date with delivery times
- Quickly dispatching the closest and most suitable driver to any particular job
Driver monitoring and management
From monitoring driving style and behaviour to suggesting improvements and ensuring best practice, tools can keep track of all manner of metrics. It’s amazing how much data software can now produce and analyse to help you optimise your fleet.
Metrics produced include:
- Records of idling time
- Route history
- Fuel use
- Emergency stop use
- Lane stray
- Speed and stoppage times
- Inclemencies in weather, and the impact this has on driver habits
There are a number of metrics that vehicle tracking software can measure to ensure driver safety, including:
- Engine faults
- Seatbelt use
- Vehicle health, including engine fluid levels
- Lane stray (indicates tiredness)
- Number of breaks taken
- Length of time on and off the road (it’s important drivers get enough rest to stay alert)
Some providers can even issue in-vehicle alerts if they detect unsafe driving.
As well as helping drivers use their vehicles more safely, fleet management software can instruct them to drive more economically by analysing factors such as acceleration and brake use.
Some even employ an element of healthy competition to help educate drivers, who can compete for positions on leaderboards and check how they measure up to their colleagues. They can then discuss their score with a supervisor and work to improve it.
Fleet management software lets you securely store and share all sorts of essential information, including:
Drivers can also access the information they need to carry out their job, as well as alerts and reports, from their mobile.
Fleet management can really help to lift the burden of admin associated with owning a fleet of vehicles, and the upkeep that entails.
For example, by recording important milestones, it can notify you when a vehicle is due for a service or MOT, or when the insurance needs to be renewed.
It can also collect a variety of data on vehicle utilisation, such as:
- Distance travelled per day/week/month etc.
- Travel time
- Time spent idling
- Max speed
This can be used to generate reports and make improvements.
What are the benefits of fleet management software?
Automatic timesheet completion
Timesheets help you to keep track of how much time your business has spent serving each client. Timesheets are essential for accurate billing, but they’re a notoriously time consuming and fiddly administrative task.
Vehicle management software can take the sting out of timesheets by completing them automatically. It also provides accurate driver data that can be translated into tangible, billable metrics, which keeps things clear and transparent between business, driver, and client at all times.
Reduced fuel and maintenance costs
Keeping your fleet fuelled up whilst sticking to a budget can prove difficult. To account for a fleet’s fluctuations in fuel requirements, the dashboard display that comes with fleet management software will help you identify key areas that could be improved in terms of efficiency.
Up-to-the-moment fleet visibility
Watching as your fleet ‘flies the nest’ can be slightly daunting – it’s a big world out there, and the vehicles that are so pivotal to your business’ success could end up in all sorts of scenarios. Fleet management software alleviates such anxieties by providing you with real-time information on the whereabouts and health of your fleet, alerting you to any potential dangers or illegalities, so you can effectively manage on-road incidents from the comfort of the office.
Improved driver health and safety
Vehicles in need of maintenance, or drivers working longer hours than they should be, can put your vehicles and your employees at risk – not to mention other road users and pedestrians. This is why managing your fleet is important, as it will clearly signpost anything that could jeopardise the health and safety of your drivers (e.g. spending too much time on the road without rest).
Fleet management software provides the in-depth information you need to track your vehicles with utmost efficiency. You’ll be kept aware of vehicle health, efficiency, and progress every step of the way, so you can ensure that the client’s needs are being met and that drivers and vehicles are happy and healthy.
The best fleet management software
|Verizon Connect||Drivers’ leaderboards show staff how their driving compares to their colleagues’.||Only available on request|
|Movolytics||Trip history: journey data is recorded so you can check back on it in the future.||Only available on request|
|Quartix||Friendly, committed customer service, free installation, mobile app, transparent pricing & interactive demo||
£13.90 – £16.90
Best for driver monitoring and management
Driver management –
Smart driver ID means you can keep an eye on the progress of each of your drivers, even when they drive multiple vehicles. Drivers can also join leaderboards which show them how their driving compares to their colleagues’ – healthy competition is an excellent motivator!
Data trend analysis –
Verizon Connect sorts current and historical data into easy-to-digest charts on your dashboards, revealing key trends in the way your fleet works over time and helping you visualise your progress towards performance KPIs.
The cost of a Verizon contract will depend on fleet size, features required, and contract length. However, as Verizon only offers its products on lease, there won’t be any hefty upfront costs for your accounts team to contend with. Instead, lease costs will start at a few pounds per vehicle, per day.
Best for vehicle tracking
Automated alerts –
Using Movolytics, you can pick and set alerts – both via SMS and email – to keep you abreast of what your drivers are up to. You can choose to receive alerts when they’re idling, speeding, have driven out of boundary, or entered a geofenced zone. You can also receive alerts when a vehicle requires maintenance.
Trip history –
Movolytics records journey data so you can check back on it in the future – useful if you ever want to look back on how many journeys were made in a certain period, check that a particular trip was completed on time, or find out where a vehicle was on a certain date.
Movolytics pricing is only available on request of a quote, which we can provide via our handy online form at the top of the page.
Best for customer service
Live metrics dashboard –
Quartix updates your dashboard every one or two minutes (depending on your package), reporting on data such as driver speed, idling, and fuel consumption in real time.
Vehicle configuration –
Quartix enables you to fill out a range of details for each vehicle – including driver details, MOT, road tax and insurance renewal dates, and vehicle privacy hours – to help you stay abreast of each of your motors. You can also group vehicles together for more general reporting.
One of the only fleet management software suppliers to provide transparent price points online, Quartix is a GPS vehicle tracking solution for commercial fleets of all sizes. The monthly prices for its three tiers are:
How to choose your fleet management software supplier
Here’s a quick list of things to look out for when selecting the right fleet management supplier for your business:
Text or email notifications that signal when something’s not quite right with one of your vehicles can help you to nip any issues in the bud – saving time, money, and possibly lives.
Look for a system that will allow you to personalise your settings, so you’re notified immediately of unsafe driver habits or vehicle malfunctions.
Customer service and demonstrations
Unsurprisingly, vehicle tracking devices can be slightly complex to use. This, of course, depends on how tech-savvy you are, and the system’s level of complexity in the first place. If you do anticipate some teething problems when it comes to rolling out a new system throughout your workforce, then keep your eye out for suppliers that have a strong customer service team, or offer free demonstration videos or training sessions.
If you’re looking to be able to use your system from your mobile, you’ll need a cloud-based system to give you that any time, any place user option. Not all systems work via the cloud, so be mindful of this when selecting your fleet management software.
It goes without saying that the cost of your software needs to be a key consideration. Don’t spend beyond your means on a system too complex for your business. Similarly, remember that cheap doesn’t always mean cheerful – lower price point systems aren’t cut out for larger operations, and often aren’t scalable.
So, if you’re looking to grow your business and expect your fleet management software to keep up at the same rate, then make sure your system is robust enough to facilitate this.
Following on from the previous point, make sure your system is future proof. Where do you expect you business to be in two years’ time? If you don’t anticipate dramatic change, or for your fleet to grow too much, then your choices will probably still be relevant. However, if you’re anticipating rapid growth, then it’s wise to check that your GPS software is ready for the transition from entry to advanced level fleet size (more on that on our vehicle tracking costs page).
Return on investment
Don’t forget that you also need to factor in the return on investment (ROI) of fleet management software.
It more than pays for itself when you consider:
- Reduced fuel costs
- More efficient driving
- Reduction in vehicle maintenance costs
- Reduction in insurance premiums
Fleet management software costs
Frequently, the price of fleet management software is based on the size of your fleet and the distance it will be travelling on a regular basis.
Many providers don’t publish their prices, but you can get a clearer idea of cost by contacting them directly.
Generally, you’ll be paying a fixed monthly fee which will scale in line with your fleet. Most providers offer free installation of their hardware. You may also be able to find a fleet management software free download that you can use for a trial period.
|Entry level vehicle tracking – suitable for fleets of 1 to 20 vehicles||£10-£15/month (includes route and fuel tracking)|
|Mid-level vehicle tracking – suitable for fleets of 21 to 50 vehicles||£15-£20/month (includes route and fuel tracking)|
|Advanced level vehicle tracking – suitable for fleets of more than 50 vehicles||£20-£30/month (includes customisable tools, such as driver management)|
For more information regarding the financial side of things, be sure to visit our dedicated vehicle tracking costs page.
Or, to be the direct recipient of tailor-made quotes, fill in the quick and free form at the top of the page, and we’ll put you in touch with the right suppliers for your business today.
Fleet management software: a case study
To fully get to grips with the ins and outs of fleet management software, Startups.co.uk had a quick Q&A with Ed Ring, academy manager for sustainable waste management specialist First Mile.
We found out what fleet management can really do to make 40-tonne, heavy duty vehicles more efficient, safer and more compliant.
How impressed are you with the ROI from your fleet management system?
“We’ve had a great return on investment from implementing Verizon Connect’s REVEAL platform, both financially and operationally. The platform gives us total visibility over the location of our vehicles on the road, as well as insights into how they are being driven, which we can then use to coach drivers to be safer or more economical on the road.
“For example, we’ve seen idling (running a vehicle’s engine while it is stationary) drop by 70%, helping reduce both fuel usage and environmental impact.
“The implementation came in at under £200 per vehicle (including installation) and has helped reduce operational costs, such as fuel, and working hours considerably. Thanks to the greater data visibility afforded by the platform, it’s easier to view, measure and control costs, demonstrating value right from the outset.”
What are the top three benefits fleet management has brought to your business?
- “Operational planning –
In high-traffic areas such as London and Birmingham, the platform helps ensure our drivers are taking the best routes to complete daily jobs thanks to Verizon Connect’s simpler reporting, featuring customisable reports that are clear and easy to understand. Its simplistic, common sense style allows for fluid integration with the operations department. We were running the system by the end of the first day of installation rather than the system running us.
- “Reducing accidents –
The new system has helped drivers become more aware of their own driving behaviour, making it easier for them to adapt their driving styles to promote safety. Average speeds have dropped by seven to eight miles per hour since we implemented the platform, while insights from the Reveal platform have been used to inform bespoke training sessions for drivers.
- “Maintenance –
The platform helps track key indicators such as engine-on time and mileage, which down the line can be used to determine the type of service a specific vehicle may need. If any maintenance issues come up, an alert will appear in the reporting suite. We can also use insights gleaned from drivers’ daily vehicle checks to help keep on top of potential maintenance issues on a proactive basis.”
Do you have any tips or advice for business owners looking to invest in a fleet management system?
“Choosing the right telematics system can be difficult. It’s important to find a solution that supports your business model.
“There are many great companies offering different solutions, but they may not necessarily reflect your business needs. It’s advisable to check which systems are most frequently and effectively used in your sector, invite different telematics firms to assess your specific requirements, and encourage an initial trial to assess its compatibility and functionality with your business.”
GDPR and vehicle tracking
Given the wealth of sensitive driver data they have the capacity to collect, you may have spotted the potential for vehicle tracking solutions to contravene General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
In case you haven’t yet encountered GDPR, it was introduced in 2018 to modernise data protection laws and give individuals more control over their personal data.
According to Lawgistics, which provides legal solutions for the motor trade, the information produced by a vehicle tracking device would be defined as personal data under GDPR, because it relates to a person who can be directly or indirectly identified.
However, you are entitled as an employer to use tracking devices to collect this data, provided there is a legitimate reason for doing so – operational efficiencies or safety/security benefits, for example.
In order to stay above board, then, you need to have a clear policy set in place which details the nature and extent of monitoring. The trackers should also have privacy buttons.
According to Lawgistics, your policy should:
- Make employees aware of the presence of tracking devices in their vehicles
- Be completely transparent
- Clarify what private use can be made of the vehicles used by the employees
- Explain the purpose of the device and rules on their use
- Explain what data the system can collect, and how the data will be used by managers, supervisors, the Transport Unit, clients, and the general public
- Be consented to in writing by all employees
As you’ve seen, adopting fleet management software can represent a great investment for your business.
Whether large or small, any business that relies on a fleet will benefit from the efficiencies and cost savings a fleet management solution can create.
If you’re keen to experience the benefits that vehicle tracking can bring to your business, then be sure to pop to the top of the page to complete our free online form. It’ll only take a moment, and we’ll put you in touch with the suppliers that can cater for your business needs.
Unanswered questions? Click on the links below to find out everything you need to know about fleet management:
Fleet management software: the FAQs
How long does it take to install a vehicle tracker?
It typically takes between one and two hours to install a vehicle tracking device. For more information regarding vehicle tracker installation, see our how to install a vehicle tracker page.
How long does a GPS tracker battery last?
The battery in a tracker can last up to five years, however, the more frequently a tracker reports its location, the quicker it loses its battery power. So, if you’re looking for up-to-the-moment reporting, the battery life will significantly decrease.
Can you put a tracker on the outside of a car?
If attaching a tracker externally, put the device on the undercarriage of the car, near the outside, to maintain a strong signal. If attaching inside, make sure it’s out of the driver’s way, but near enough to the outside to pick up signal.