For a business that relies upon its own fleet of vehicles to transport goods and provide services to its customers, fleet running costs represent a significant proportion of the company’s overall expenditure. Read more now on ask any query
Operating a vehicle fleet also represents one of the major impacts any business has on the environment. Therefore, it follows that if vehicle fleet efficiency can be improved, costs will be reduced and the environmental impact of the fleet will also reduce.
Operating a vehicle fleet, even one of a relatively small size with just a few vehicles, presents a range of management issues to the business, insofar as how it can maximize the efficiency of the fleet and control expenditure on fuel, tyres and maintenance, whilst at the same time improving the service it provides to its customers and reducing its negative impact on the environment.
Another key factor a business needs to take into account when aiming to maximize the efficiency of its fleet, is how to increase the productivity of the workforce and control the way its drivers operate the vehicles.
Poor driving affects fuel efficiency, from excessive speed, erratic driving style such as over-braking and prolonged idling. It also affects tyre and maintenance costs and influences the ‘life expectancy’ of the vehicle.
An important issue for the business to consider is the behavior of the workforce when they are off-site, carrying out their duties and effectively ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ It is not uncommon for drivers to utilize their vehicles for ‘unauthorized’ purposes, or to waste time in other ways when unobserved. Where drivers have been employed for lengthy period of time, some will learn how to stretch out their workload to fit into their working day. Over time, management may come to consider that the time actually required to complete work they may have been doing for many years is correct, thereby building inefficiencies into the operation.
Larger fleet operators and increasingly many smaller companies operating vehicles are now making use of vehicle tracking technology to improve vehicle efficiency, and as a result seeing dramatic reduction in costs and improved efficiency within their operation, by utilizing vehicle management information systems (VMI).
There are a multitude of vehicle information system companies providing the technology, most of which offer a real time web based platform to manage the fleet.
Generally the company can utilize the platform to observe in real time the actual location of its vehicles, to an accuracy of a few metres. The position of the vehicles are displayed on mapping system incorporated into the platform, with each vehicle identified by an ID number.
Most VMI systems on the market, come complete with a standard suite of reports, which are generated by the software, using data taken from the satellite tracking system. Standard reports will typically identify the start and stop time of the vehicle throughout the day, record of speed, the route taken and periods of idling. Reports can be configured to provide other data if required.
Some companies have integrated functionality of VMI with payroll information, allowing data produced by the system, such as vehicle start and finish time to generate time sheets.
In addition, lone worker protection and vehicle security can be enhanced, by incorporating panic button for the driver should he be faced with an emergency and placing a ‘geofence’ around the vehicle parking location to raise an alarm if the vehicle is taken out of the area of the geofence, during set period. The same method can be used to prevent unauthorized use of a vehicle outside its set route.