If you have ever worked in finance or management, you are familiar with the obstacles that different Departments face while communicating their needs with each other.
Companies that employ fleets, especially, face these tugs-of-war on a large scale.
Robert Whitfield, an experienced fleet administrator, talks about the challenges faced by the finance and the fleet Departments in achieving a satisfactory level of efficiency.
These issues arise from not being able to prove the legitimacy of their requirements.
One way to fix this would be to have a common interface among the Departments, a middle ground that helps them collaborate effectively to achieve one common goal. Fortunately, this middle ground exists!
This article will highlight some of the managerial benefits of adopting Fleet Management Software (FMS), specifically, GPS tracking, into their company.
GPS or the Global Positioning System works using satellites that communicate the position of a linked object on earth. Simply put, an object that is linked to GPS is easily findable and traceable to an extraordinary level of accuracy.
But you must wonder, what are some of the managerial benefits of GPS tracking?
Well, GPS tracking, when linked to an FMS can address many inter-Departmental issues.
A. Fleet Department (Management)
The Fleet Department’s management usually handles policymaking, cost control, replacement, maintenance and acquisition of vehicles among other things like optimizing vehicle operation costs, conducting studies, and R&D.
It is also responsible for setting professional standards for the fleet operations.
The management handles co-ordination with the other Departments.
Through the use of FMS and GPS tracking, they can reap the following benefits:
1. Reduce operating expenses
Using the tracking features available in a typical FMS, the management department can track fuel usage, wastage, misuse, excess buying, etc. over a large scale.
Monitoring of this kind can cause a reasonable change in expenditure, making operations more economical.
Other ways of reducing expenses are checking tire air pressure regularly so that it isn’t too high or too low; causing wear and tear to the car.
Tracking vehicles using GPS technology can help understand patterns and remove the unnecessary ‘buffer’ cost that a lot of companies usually incur.
This could help the management stay within the budget allotted by the Finance Department, and bridge the gap between their respective requirements.
2. Reduce Downtime
Vehicles going down, whether temporarily or permanently, are a cause of great inconvenience not only to the fleet but also to the management, operation, customer support and by extension to Finance.
Vehicle downtime can be ascribed to broken or misbehaving equipment, accidents and other unexpected events that could occur at the most crucial points of a journey.
However, GPS tracking eliminates the ‘randomness’ from car maintenance and introduces predictability.
Using the ability to monitor and track the health of your vehicle, along with alerts for malfunctions, FMS allows you to know, in advance, when a vehicle is about to go down and provides you with the opportunity to take precautionary measures.
With prior warning, the management can arrange to find and replace vehicles with malfunctions, such that it does not disrupt the daily workflow of their fleet.
Such measures taken by the management would also be appreciated by other Departments like administration, or customer support, which are usually impacted by systemic breakdowns.
3. Monitor driving through GPS tracking
Though driver monitoring falls under the administration’s jurisdiction, management can benefit from monitoring driver behavior.
Tracking – how many drivers follow legal guidelines on a daily basis, the number of accidents due to driver misconduct, damage to assets due to mishandling – can help the management make better policies for hiring and retention.
It could also help them set better standards for employee conduct, and increase the overall competency of the business.
This policy change will help the fleet Operation Department since their primary goal is to keep the fleet running without hitches.
Other driver-activity like idling, rash driving, sudden braking, and accelerating, usually drinks up a lot of fuel, which leads to unnecessary expenditure.
However, due to the monitoring and recording by The Management, drivers are more accountable for their behavior on the field, thus reducing this expenditure to a reasonable extent.
This again, helps the fleet Department adhere to the budget set by the Finance Department.
4. Locate Stolen or lost assets
In any fleet, there is always a possibility of huge losses due to the misplacing or stealing of assets/vehicles.
The sure shot way to eliminate this issue is to attach GPS trackers to your vehicles.
With the constant tracking and recording of vehicular that co-ordinates through an FMS, you can rest assured of the safety of your vehicles.
FMS also has the option of alerts when a vehicle enters the radius of a point of interest (POI).
With POI to POI tracking, the management can have clear records of where and when the fleet has traveled and can reduce the instances of misplacing or theft.
This feature can help departments that deal with vehicle insurance.
5. Reduce Paperwork
One of the biggest benefits of GPS tracking through an FMS is the reduction of paperwork.
Management requires that all operations work smoothly and in sync, and in order to achieve this, every person and asset must be accounted for at any given point in time.
Usually, this entails a lot of paperwork, for example, if a driver were to call in sick one day, he might have to send a letter to an operator who would then send out a notice to another employee or a replacement to take over the shift. They would also send out a notice to management, to record the instance of a missing driver.
However, with FMS the entire process is simply a few taps and clicks.
Since it is a common interface, all concerned parties get notified at once without any paperwork.
Then by communicating with and tracking live location through GPS, the fill-in driver can be guided to his new assignment, and be able to complete the job without a hitch.
With these policies in place, the management can benefit not only its own working, but also that of the fleet administration, field operations, and customer support departments.
Adopting an FMS package and attaching GPS trackers to your business vehicles could decrease your insurance premium from 30% to 10%.
During the Insurance process, companies check to see if the car being insured is likely to incur damage in its line of work.
Insurance companies see GPS tracking as an asset for increasing the safety of the vehicle.
Tracking encourages drivers to drive more responsibly and ensures better maintenance of the vehicle through timely maintenance alerts and warranty tracking.
B. Finance Department
Typically the Finance Department manages the auditing, budgeting, accounting and distribution of its company’s finances. They work with almost all departments and are one of the larger departments in most companies.
Due to the gap between where a company is and where it wants to go, there tend to be differences between the finance and fleet management departments.
These center on costs of replacement, acquisition, and maintenance, among other things.
There is a constant changing, updating, and replacing of parts in the fleet department.
Thus there is a need for clear communication between the two departments – to be heard and for their demands to be met.
FMS can play a big role in eliminating some points of tension between them, with the use of online databases and GPS tracking.
1. Eliminate inefficiency and corruption
In many cases, due to the gap in communication between the two departments, the question of appropriation of funds for unnecessary expenditure could arise.
To eliminate this gap, FMS has the option of recording all vehicles acquired, their warranty periods and vehicles that have been in accidents. It also records whether they need replacements, their maintenance dates, and costs.
Additionally, data acquired from daily fleet trips, using GPS, could demonstrate the department’s need for newer equipment and machinery.
This computerized database, available to both parties, will contribute to eliminating many hang-ups between departments. It would allow them to be transparent about their expenses and requirements.
C. Field Operations
The field operations department’s responsibilities vary depending on whether it is a delivery, passenger, transport or any other kind of fleet. Either way, GPS improves the working of any kind of fleet.
1. Driver security
With the introduction of GPS into fleets, drivers have never been safer while doing their jobs.
Whether it is long-distance transport or local, the GPS will track a driver’s location and status at every moment.
Transport is a job that comes with its own risks like transporting goods, or in some cases, strangers over long stretches of unmanned land.
GPS helps the operations department keep an eye on every journey undertaken by its drivers.
Some software packages have an emergency alerts feature to communicate accidents or unexpected events.
The system will always have a record of the driver’s rides, passengers and location in order for them to be easily found and aided.
2. Ease of Use
Needless to say, GPS is a highly valuable tool for fieldwork as it helps greatly in navigation, routing, and optimizing the trips.
Drivers can access remote areas on maps without any additional direction from admins or customers.
This cuts down on a lot of tasks and helps a driver do more in less time.
D. Fleet Operation and Customer Help
Fleet Operators focus on managing smoothly in the field.
They take care of timely maintenance, allotting, dispatching and coordinating with field operators.
A subset of this section is the customer helpline.
Depending on the company, the customer helpline maybe in-house or outsourced to a call center.
1. Safety Alerts
While operating a fleet it is important to know about malfunctions or impending malfunctions so that vehicles can be pulled out before any significant damage is caused.
For this reason, GPS trackers are important for fleet operators to receive safety alerts.
For example, if a vehicle has a failing engine and has become unsafe for use, operators can dispatch a replacement vehicle to reach it as soon as the alert is received.
Thus, minimizing the on-road time of the malfunctioning vehicle and getting the assignment back on track as soon as possible is very much important.
2. More information for operators
With the live view of their vehicles’ locations, fleet operators have more control over dispatching and assigning operations. Some FMS also have automated dispatch features that reduce the number of executable tasks.
Live location tracking also brings with it added benefits for customer helplines. If a customer has questions or edits to make, a customer helpline operator can gauge the status of the assignment and answer accordingly.
GPS tracking minimizes the number of steps required to get to the required information, thus saving time and increasing productivity.
The Business at large
Apart from the aforementioned benefits, Fleet Management App packages also benefit the entire company in general by saving time. For example, tasks like routing, navigation, communication, and maintenance are all achieved faster through its technology.
As we know, time is money, and saving time only means that a business has the time to do more work and achieve more than what is expected of it.
Thus, it helps businesses to be more competitive.
This is one of the most important attributes of any business.
Being competitive would require you to have the highest rate of customer satisfaction while being the fastest and most intuitive.
This also can be achieved by using an FMS package.
Customers are most satisfied when given more power and control over their transactions.
With GPS tracking, your service becomes more predictable to customers and hence, more trustworthy.
When you give customers the ability to monitor the delivery of their goods or the completion of their transactions, it reduces their anxiety and increases confidence in your service.
And lastly, using the best fleet management software can greatly reduce your carbon footprint and make your fleet greener.
To know more about this refer to our previous article How Fleet Monitoring Software can make a greener fleet
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