Effective Fleet Management for Small Business Contractors

The benefits of fleet management technology can positively impact a company’s bottom line and provide owners and fleet managers the tools to help seamlessly operate, maintain and deliver to customers across the board.
By Kevin Aries
April 5, 2021

Small business contractors are faced with the difficult challenge of managing their fleets more effectively and efficiently while balancing limited resources. With an abundance of solutions available, fleet management technology can provide major benefits for managers and their wallets. Thanks to recent advancements, it’s now more accessible than ever to implement, review the solution in person and easily self-install fleet management techniques. Additionally, small fleet managers can be up and running with scheduling tools, GPS tracking and video-enabled solutions in no time.

For any small business contractor that is either actively searching for fleet management solutions or just passively considering the option, this technology can improve their business’ bottom line while providing valuable tools to effectively manage all aspects of the process.

Scheduling Management

As small business fleet managers seek out solutions, a type of fleet management technology is remote scheduling management. Not only does this help to maintain positive customer experiences and improve transparency with staff, but it also gives fleet managers the tools to effectively manage service requests and dispatch them to drivers in the field. Transparency is key to overall customer satisfaction as the technology provides estimated arrival times to customers with notifications.

Furthermore, fleet managers can provide strong customer service by using the technology to respond quickly to customers with more information on job status, as well as follow up on appointments and request a review from customers. Managers can review a completed job and reach back out to a customer to resolve a potential problem. With remote scheduling technology, businesses can provide customers a better experience while simultaneously gaining valuable insights through collected data to better maintain and manage their fleets and driver scheduling shifts.

As the industry continues to manage through a lingering pandemic, it's important to acknowledge that COVID-19 health concerns have changed the way businesses work. Fleets must prepare for periods of low-staffing and sick leave. In addition to instances where field service dispatchers are receiving emergency requests from customers, smart scheduling technology can easily update schedules at a moments notice, while managing rapidly changing regulations and health recommendations simultaneously.

Overall, building processes that allow a business to manage a fleet remotely is crucial to combat today’s challenges. Having one shared, easy-to-view schedule means dispatchers can avoid patching together separate calendars and spreadsheets. By providing a more efficient scheduling system, fleet management technology not only improves the customer experience but the worker experience as well.

Asset Tracking

According to the 2021 Fleet Technology Trends Report, 72% of fleet managers said they are currently using GPS tracking technology in their organization. Telematics combined with GPS gives small business contractors, which manage fleets, the ability to see where all vehicles are in near-real time from a desktop or mobile device. Additionally, fleet managers can use a helpful feature called GPS geofences to better track assets by creating virtual borders within the application that shares an alert whenever an asset leaves a specific area, like a jobsite or parking location. Once geofences are set up, fleet managers can receive near real-time alerts to address issues within their fleets immediately.

In addition to tracking the location of various vehicles and assets, GPS tracking technology can provide data on vehicle condition, upcoming maintenance and fuel consumption. Multiple, easy-to-use dashboards show operational efficiency of the vehicles and monitor for many actionable metrics, including idle time and miles driven. Fleet managers can reference this valuable data and examine how individual vehicles in their fleets are being driven to identify areas of improvement, combat vehicle wear and tear, and reduce fuel consumption. This data is crucial to helping managers keep costs down while improving the technology’s ROI, with 32% of fleet managers reporting a positive ROI in six months of implementing fleet tracking technology.

Create a Safety First Culture

In a small business structure that may not have a team of safety managers to walk drivers through important policies, creating a culture of safety can seem like a daunting task. With fleet management technology, managers have a solution in hand. In-cab video solutions like front-facing and driver-facing cameras offer a way to proactively monitor for risks and use data as an opportunity to coach drivers about proper protocol.

Additionally, managers can use downloadable video clips to help hold important discussions with drivers to promote safety, curb future instances and ladder up to an overall safety success program that can encourage drivers to stick to safety protocols long term. With a safety success program, fleet managers can tailor their approach to individual drivers, share more effective key learnings and reward them with incentives. It’s also important to remember that front-facing and driver-facing cameras can help protect a business from lawsuits and false claims when other video may not be available.

Regardless of the fleet size, fleet management technology can benefit a small business in innumerable ways, from smart scheduling, tracking vehicles, supporting company safety and more. Overall, these benefits can have a positive impact on the company’s bottom line and provide owners and fleet managers the tools to help seamlessly operate, maintain and deliver to customers across the board.

by Kevin Aries
Kevin Aries is the head of Global Product Success for Verizon Connect, helping build software solutions that enhance the way people, vehicles and things move through the world. Working with transportation, field service and other fleet-based businesses, Kevin spends his time understanding the problems and solutions of the service industry improving customer experiences, productivity, efficiency and safety.

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