A Deeper Look at Fleet-Management Software

FMS can positively impact every facet of a company—not just fleet management.
By Peyton Panik
April 5, 2022

Fleet management software (FMS) is an innovation that showed up on the fleet scene and made a huge impact, quickly growing into its own industry since its first implementation in the late 1990s. Almost three decades later, FMS has solidified its longevity, and there are numerous providers to choose from, with each platform offering its own unique features and functionalities.

What does FMS do?
FMS takes all the processes fleet managers and drivers have traditionally completed by hand and streamlines them onto a single platform that can be easily accessed by any stakeholder at any time. It can combine individual facets of managing a fleet—GPS tracking, telematics data, fuel expenses, business calculations, inspections and more—for real-time visibility, as well as automate certain tasks and notifications for a more hands-off approach to data collection and operation-wide collaboration.

Some fleet managers still track data using pen and paper, but that can oftentimes create more work than is necessary while sacrificing important insights and measurements that a good FMS generates automatically. This is because data is siloed rather than able to interact, as it does within FMS.

A deeper look at the role of FMS

1. FMS does more than just track vehicles.

A common misconception about FMS is that its only use is keeping track of fleet assets. While that is an important and necessary function, that perception undercuts the impact other features can have on an operation. FMS not only allows users to organize all their assets in one place, it also begins to quantify the health of those assets over time. Users can compile data around mileage, hours of service and inspections, as well as create preventive maintenance schedules and corresponding notifications that allow for maximized uptime while still getting vehicles the service they need when they need it.

As users track vehicle health over time, they can take that same data and analyze their fleet from a financial standpoint. FMS can automate reports around vehicle utilization and total cost of ownership so that fleet managers can prioritize their company’s bottom line as well as their fleet assets. The variety of integrations that can be used with FMS extends its power as an analytical tool. Connecting GPS and telematics devices lets users keep tabs on driver behavior, idle hours and route optimizations, while fuel card integrations help users stay aware of fuel purchases and ahead of potential theft.

2. It keeps drivers—and vehicles—safer.

Safety should always be a top priority for any fleet considering the inherent risks drivers face on the road every day. FMS can help mitigate some of those risks from the outset, as well as create some protection for when accidents do occur.

By syncing GPS and telematics data with FMS, users can easily monitor driver behavior to encourage drivers to take the right actions to keep themselves safe on the road. Poor driving habits can also affect the safety of vehicles, so using FMS can ensure a vehicle’s safety from driver-induced wear and tear, adding another layer of safety.

Being able to keep a traceable record of vehicle services and inspections lets users catch potential issues before they happen, keeping assets in good working condition longer and preventing them from becoming potential liabilities. Also, those records can become a legal lifesaver in the event of a lawsuit following an incident.

3. It makes audits and compliance so much easier.

Most fleets have to deal with some level of oversight to keep their operation running. Nothing is worse than hunting down all the necessary documents when the auditors come knocking and finding that some are missing.

FMS makes it easy to remain compliant in the same way it can help protect users from legal repercussions with solid record keeping. When it comes time for an audit, or events like CVSA Roadchecks come up, it’s important to have all documentation squared away to make the process as quick and seamless as possible.

An easy way to stay prepared for audit is to use software to implement electronic DVIRs (eDVIRs), which can be more easily maintained and stored than traditional paper inspections. Drivers can complete simple, thorough eDVIRs in a mobile fleet management app and instantly upload results into a centralized system, saving time on the inspection process and response to reported issues.

While FMS is often viewed as a one-trick-pony, it can positively impact every facet of a company.

by Peyton Panik
Peyton Panik is a Content Marketing Specialist at Fleetio, a cloud-based FMS designed to help organizations track, analyze and improve fleet operations.

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