Just because the trucking industry managed to do “OK” in the past without fleet management systems doesn’t mean that they don’t actually need it.
It’s pretty much like how entrepreneurs in the past managed to keep their businesses afloat even without having any online presence. Nowadays, if a company doesn’t have any online visibility, they are bound to suffer massive losses as their competitors — those who capitalize in the power of the internet — leave them in the dust.
The same can be said about fleet management systems.
While trucking companies might still seem fine even though they won’t use the fleet management systems, they are bound to suffer dreadfully as their competitors gain an unfair advantage over them through the benefits they can garner from fleet management systems.
What kind of benefits can a trucking company expect from a fleet management system or FMS? Here’s a long list of them.
1. Less hassle for drivers.
Getting TONS of phone calls from dispatchers or fleet managers can be quite frustrating for truck drivers. After all, these phone calls can be very distracting when they are on the road.
However, even having said that, dispatchers need to make the phone calls anyway for updates. It becomes all the more important when shippers or consignees ask for updates on the driver’s location or ETA.
This stressful yet unnecessary cycle can quickly escalate to something troublesome like a growing friction between drivers and dispatchers. Worse comes to worst, drivers might end up getting into an accident due to a lack of focus on driving because he is on the phone with the manager.
All of this can easily be avoided with a powerful fleet management system in place.
When trucking companies have ELDs installed in their trucks, fleet managers won’t have to make these additional phone calls as they can see the exact location of any vehicle from their fleet management dashboard. They can also see the status of their driver, his driving time, and if he’s adhering to his schedules.
With fewer phone calls, the more the truck drivers can focus on their work making the experience a lot less hassling for them.
2. Better recruitment.
When drivers are happy with how efficiently the entire fleet is managed, trucking companies can count on their drivers to spread the word about how amazing their company is.
This makes finding and recruiting drivers a lot less painful for companies. After all, truck drivers also take the time to check out trucking companies that they plan to work with before they decide to apply to them or accept their offers.
While reviewing the company’s social media profiles or online reviews are some of the tools drivers look into when assessing a company, hearing firsthand from their friend drivers how good a carrier is packs way more punch than simply reading reviews from other random drivers online.
Considering how carriers would often spend thousands of dollars just to find and recruit a single driver, it would be of great help to them if their drivers would spread their positive experience with the company with other truck drivers.
3. Repeat business.
Because shippers are happy with the quality of service the trucking company is providing, they will keep on contacting the same company for their services.
One crucial factor that would put shippers’ minds at ease when working with a trucking company is when they’re getting constant updates. They need to know that their cargo is on its way or what its status is.
For companies who do not have a fleet management system, they are often unable to give adequate updates to the shippers about their cargo since they sometimes can’t contact their drivers. In cases like these, there’s no way for them to figure out where a truck driver is and how close the driver is to his destination.
This can often cause unnecessary stress to shippers since they also have to worry about deadlines. Of course, when they have a stressful experience with a carrier, chances are good that they’ll transfer their business somewhere else.
When a carrier has a good and proactive fleet management system, however, they can update shippers as often as they want because they know their trucks’ locations in real-time because of their ELD’s GPS function.
This can lessen the stress and anxiety of the shippers causing them to trust the trucking company and maintain a long-term business relationship with them.
4. Better CSA scores.
With how shippers are now looking into a carrier’s CSA score before working with them, it pays for trucking companies to invest in equipment or tools that would help them get good CSA scores.
Fleet management systems are a perfect example.
With fleet management systems, carriers can help their drivers avoid countless violations.
Here are a couple of ways an ELD can help carriers get better CSA scores:
- The driver can avoid HOS violations because the ELDs will notify them when they’re nearing one.
- They can avoid vehicle maintenance-related violations (like tire problems) since ELDs can notify them when their vehicles have fault codes.
- Drivers can avoid Form & Manner violations because electronic reports generated by the ELDs are neat, clean, timely, and complete.
It goes without saying that carriers can land more clients the better their CSA scores are.
5. Efficient fuel consumption
The GPS feature that fleet management systems possess enable the truck drivers or dispatchers to determine the best route for the drivers — one that would take them to the consignee in the quickest possible time.
A good FMS can also tell fleet managers if their trucks have excessive idle time or if drivers are driving off-route. These can contribute to fuel wastage, which can be avoided with fleet management systems.
Fleet managers can also point out these challenges to drivers so they — or whoever needs to be corrected — can make necessary changes. Once those corrections are made, the company’s efficiency in fuel consumption will drastically improve.
6. Lesser road accidents.
There are several ways a fleet management system can keep drivers from road accidents:
ELDs can help drivers remain compliant with HOS regulations.
Because drivers are complying with their hours of service limits, chances of them driving while fatigued will drastically decrease. Of course, this can translate to them avoiding road crashes because they aren’t drowsy while on the road.
ELDs can detect vehicle-related and maintenance problems.
Since ELDs can detect fault codes, it can notify drivers if a truck has maintenance issues (like brake problems). Once drivers are made aware of the problem, they can take extra caution when driving, or pull over to have it fixed if needed (depending on the severity of the problem).
Drivers can finally focus on driving.
Frequent phone calls made by managers can distract drivers from driving. Since the fleet managers will make fewer phone calls when they have fleet management systems installed, drivers can become more productive and earn more money for their managers and companies.
7. Increased profit.
Because fleet management systems can help trucking companies with optimizing their fuel consumption, avoiding fees, getting more clients, avoiding liabilities due to road accidents, and reducing their expenses on administrative tasks, it would result in increased profits.
8. Improve business operations.
More than just monitoring a truck’s location and the status of a driver, fleet management systems can bring truckloads of other data about a trucking company’s operation.
These are some of the other details that any good fleet management system should gather:
- Movements of a vehicle (idle times, sudden brakes, excessive speeding, or sharp turns).
- The truck’s fuel consumption.
- Identify recurring maintenance issues in a commercial vehicle.
- It can identify violations committed by drivers.
Trucking companies can use these details to learn more about the areas of their business that they can improve. For example, companies can reach out to their truck drivers who have a record of excessive fuel wastage, or those who have poor driving habits. That way, they can give their drivers proper feedback so bad driving habits are rectified.
9. Good customer service.
Trucking companies can provide better customer service to their clients when they have fleet management systems because they can send their clients updates about their cargo as often as they want.
Earlier, then there weren’t any fleet management systems yet, doing so would cause tons of hassle on the dispatchers and drivers end since several back and forth phone calls would have to be made between the drivers and dispatchers.
Now that there are fleet management systems available for tracking the location of a vehicle, fleet managers won’t have to call drivers whenever they want to update their clients regarding the status of a consignment — they can see the driver’s location in real-time through their fleet management dashboard.
This means the fleet managers can give their clients better customer service by putting their minds at ease when thinking about their cargo’s whereabouts.