Would dedicated software make sense for your fleet?
Still on spreadsheets? There are many benefits to be gained from upgrading to a product that’s tailor-made for your operation
1. How many vehicles does a business need before dedicated fleet software makes financial sense?
We usually find that companies with a fleet size of 10 or above start to see tangible financial benefits from using fleet software. Although there is financial benefit for companies with even smaller fleets than this in terms of time/resource savings, plus many providers offer very low-cost options for the smallest of fleets.
2. How will specialist fleet software improve on the Excel and accounting software that many businesses use? What types of reports can it generate to make fleet management more efficient?
Fleet software brings everything together in one place, making fleet management easy. This also gives a robust audit trail, eliminating the risk of corrupt or lost data. Spreadsheets are by design a multiple-use tool, so can be inefficient, cumbersome and prone to human error. But arguably more importantly, Excel can leave sensitive information open to unauthorised access.
You may have already experienced the types of mistakes that can easily occur when using spreadsheets. For example the errors that can occur by fields being inputted loosely typed with no automatic enforcement of data – think about those frequent instances of wondering “is that a date or a number?” Many such errors are only discovered weeks or even months after the event, usually at the crucial point of needing the correct data in a hurry. What’s more, complex spreadsheets can often only be efficiently understood by their creator.
With dedicated software, detailed reports can typically be generated using any combination of data within the system, fulfilling the reporting required of all stakeholders including senior management, HR, finance and others.
3. How can a fleet manager avoid being overwhelmed by data from a fleet management system?
Fleet management systems store an enormous amount of data about vehicles, drivers, finances, daily activity and so much more, so it’s easy to see why companies
sometimes fear being “drowned in data”. But the best fleet management systems provide a platform that easily sorts the data and stores it in an easily accessible, manageable way.
Reporting menus are typically intuitive and enable the user to receive the specific reports they need, when they need them – and reporting by exception gives them instant visibility of anomalies and potential issues.
There are a great many options in today’s FMS market; some are highly complex and aimed primarily at technically minded, data-hungry fleet managers and others are cleverly designed to support the needs of the most inexperienced or apprehensive fleet administrator.
The key to avoiding being overwhelmed by data, if this is indeed a concern to you, is to be sure to shop around and opt for the solution that best suits the way that you and your company wish to operate its fleet.
4. How easy is it for a fleet software to integrate with a company’s existing IT strategy?
There are two basic options for fleet software. Either server based (this solution requires a in-house server installed on client premises) or a software as a service (SaaS) product, which means you need nothing more than a web browser and an internet connection. The in-house server solution requires more time for IT support, such as install updates and backups of the software, whereas this is all taken care of with a SaaS solution.
5. How can fleet software integrate data from different fleet suppliers like leasing companies, fast-fit outlets and fuel cards?
Many software systems enable data to be integrated via API or other importing routines, from a wide range of sources including telematics, fuelcard providers, licence checking and lease providers. Gathering all of this data into a central platform enables you to connect all of your sources, build an accurate, comprehensive picture of your fleet activity, and handle your fleet tasks efficiently. And having all relevant fleet information on a single platform makes it easy to build a robust audit trail to help you fulfil your legal requirements.
6. How can fleets that operate from different offices and depots integrate a single fleet software system and database?
If the software is SaaS-based, the online software can be accessed from multiple sites at any time. If an in house server solution is used, then a VPN will be required. We also recommend that you select a system that offers an unlimited number of users, and be sure to check that the user hierarchy is permission-driven so that you can control viewing, editing and reporting rights for different roles and branches.
With a dedicated SaaS product, you can be sure that all users will always be working on the current version, with the correct information.
7. When a business is considering a new fleet software system, what costs should it budget for in terms of software, hardware and training?
Costs do vary quite considerably between solutions, but as a general rule there will be a one-off setup fee based on fleet size, and then an ongoing subscription fee which can be monthly or sometimes annual. Again, fees will be proportionate to fleet size. Some providers also charge fees for training and support; others include these in their setup and/or subscription fees. Selecting a SaaS product will eliminate any hardware, installation and update fees.
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