Fleet management includes commercial motor vehicles such as cars, aircraft (planes, helicopters etc.), ships, vans and trucks, as well as rail cars. Fleet (vehicle) management can include a range of functions, such as vehicle financing, vehicle maintenance, vehicle telematics (tracking and diagnostics), driver management, speed management, fuel management and health and safety management. Fleet Management is a function which allows companies which rely on transportation in business to remove or minimize the risks associated with vehicle investment, improving efficiency, productivity and reducing their overall transportation and staff costs, providing 100% compliance with government legislation (duty of care) and many more. These functions can be dealt with by either an in-house fleet-management department or an outsourced fleet-management provider.
The most basic function in all fleet management systems is the vehicle tracking component. This component is usually GPS-based, but sometimes it can be based on GLONASS or a cellular triangulation platform. Once vehicle location, direction and speed are determined from the GPS components, additional tracking capabilities transmit this information to a fleet management software application. Methods for data transmission include both terrestrial and satellite. Satellite tracking communications, while more expensive, are critical if vehicle tracking is to work in remote environments without interruption. Users can see actual, real-time locations of their fleet on a map. This is often used to quickly respond on events in the field.
Advanced fleet management systems can connect to the vehicle’s onboard computer, and gather data for the user. Details such as mileage and fuel consumption are gathered into a global statistics scheme.
By combining received data from the vehicle tracking system and the on-board computer, it is possible to form a profile for any given driver (average speed, frequency of detours, breaks, etc.). All this data about vehicle behavior might be apply for operating skills elaboration with high economic impact in operations. With high developed systems, management has a full range of data in real-time: speeds, the use of brakes, abusive shifting etc. Collected and structured data may be applied as a KPI indicator.
Fleet Management Software
Fleet management software enables people to accomplish a series of specific tasks in the management of any or all aspects relating to a company’s fleet of vehicles. These specific tasks encompass all operations from vehicle acquisition to disposal. Software, depending on its capabilities, allows functions such as driver and vehicle profiling, trip profiling, dispatch, vehicle efficiency, etc. It can provide remote control features, such as Geo-fencing and active disabling. Current vehicle diagnostic information can also be related to a management site, depending on the type of hardware installed in the vehicles. New platform, based on Fleet management software, is fleet controlling with higher amount of information available for both drivers and dispatchers of a fleet. At this time, online software platforms are very popular: users no longer have to install software and they can access the software through a web browser.
Fleet Security & Control
Recent advances in fleet management allow for the addition of over-the-air (OTA) security and control of fleet vehicles. Fleet Security and Control includes security of the vehicle while stopped or not in operation and the ability to safely disable a vehicle while in operation. This allows the fleet manager to recover stolen or rogue vehicles while reducing the chance of lost or stolen cargo. The additional of Fleet Security and Control to a fleet management system gives a fleet card manager preventative measures to address cargo damage and loss.
Remote vehicle disabling systems
Remote vehicle disabling systems provide users at remote locations the ability to prevent an engine from starting, prevent movement of a vehicle, and to stop or slow an operating vehicle. Remote disabling allows a dispatcher or other authorized personnel to gradually decelerate a vehicle by downshifting, limiting the throttle capability, or bleeding air from the braking system from a remote location. Some of these systems provide advance notification to the driver that the vehicle disabling is about to occur. After stopping a vehicle, some systems will lock the vehicle’s brakes or will not allow the vehicle’s engine to be restarted within a certain time bound.
Remote disabling systems can also be integrated into a remote panic and emergency notification system. In an emergency, a driver can send an emergency alert by pressing a panic button on the dashboard, or by using a key-fob panic button if the driver is within close proximity of the truck. Then, the carrier or other approved organization can be remotely alerted to allow a dispatcher or other authorized personnel to evaluate the situation, communicate with the driver, and/or potentially disable the vehicle.
Fleet Replacement & Lifecycle Management
The timely replacement of vehicles and equipment is a process that requires the ability to predict asset lifecycles based on costing information, utilization, and asset age. Organizations prefer to use new fleet as a strategy for cost reduction where the used fleet is sold so that a new fleet is maintained.
Funding requirements are also an issue, because many organizations, especially government, purchase vehicles with cash. The ad hoc nature and traditional low funding levels with cash has put many operations in an aged fleet. This lack of adequate funding for replacement can also result in higher maintenance costs due to aged vehicles.