The job of managing a fleet of vehicles is a challenge, no matter how many vehicles you are responsible for. With repairs and servicing, driver error and incorrect routes being taken, the number of things managers have to juggle is never ending.
Businesses that use their own fleet of vehicles, or logistic companies that need to manage vans and lorries travelling across the country, need to implement systems and services to help manage the fleet so business can continue as efficiently as possible.
But it is not just about productivity. Fleet management is also about the safety of the drivers. Some drivers will be on the road for days at a time and may be transporting toxic or dangerous cargo. Drivers often also have to use heavy equipment to unload and tracking helps to ensure everyone is safe while on the job.
So how do they do it?
The simplest and most common way businesses can manage their fleet is by providing labelling for each vehicle which can then be tracked. Metal nameplates or decals are added to the car, lorry or HGV so that the vehicle can quickly be identified and the driver can be found. This is different to the car’s registration plate and will be a different referencing system for every company.
ID Tags are a great way to check vehicles in and out, so that the status of each can be monitored closely.
This form of fleet management is not only easy to implement, it is also incredibly cost effective. Although the tracking is more manual based, with more technical, automated options available, it is great for businesses who just need a simple tracking process.
For something a little more high-tech, logistics services often us a GPS tracking system to help manage the fleet in real-time. These tracking devices are added to each vehicle, and can provide information about the driver’s whereabouts, driving efficiency and whether they are taking regular breaks - as well as other information if needed.
This automated, computer-based option means a fleet manager can keep an eye on the whole fleet on a single screen.
Of course, in comparison to the metal tagging option, GPS tracking can be incredibly expensive. The devices themselves are not the only cost, as you will also need to install each one onto the vehicles – which again, will cost. The trackers do not always come with memory back up either, meaning you can only get the most out of the device if you have people constantly monitoring the software.
GPS tracking is also a slight deterrent for drivers – even if they know they stick to all the regulations and rules. The constant feeling like someone is watching may give them the impression that drivers are not trusted.
For fleet management, there is no one size fits all. Larger companies may benefit from the real-time updates of GPS tracking, while smaller businesses will cope perfectly fine with a metal tagging system. The key is knowing what your company can afford and what you need your tracking to offer.