How wireless fleet management systems can help reduce your fleet size and increase profits by monitoring vehicle use.
Reducing fleet size yields significant cost savings. For a fleet of 1,000 units, eliminating 100 units can save more than $300,000 per year in operating costs, according to Government Fleet magazine.
An overall fleet-size reduction of at least 5 to 10 percent is very achievable. One way to accomplish this reduction is by using a wireless fleet management system to monitor fleet vehicle usage. With this technology, costs can be further reduced by lowering fuel consumption and reducing vehicle maintenance.
Wireless fleet management systems collect and transmit vehicle performance, location and activity data remotely from the vehicle's engine computer and global positioning system (GPS). These systems have a device installed on the vehicle that connects to a vehicle's On-board Diagnostics Port (OBD-II) and an antenna for cellular transmission.
Fleet managers typically log on to a secure, easy-to-use web application to view specific data and monitor vehicle activity. Wireless fleet management systems can also notify fleet managers via email or text when an exception occurs within the fleet, such as an engine problem.
Monitoring Vehicle Use
By continuously monitoring a vehicle's location and engine status, a wireless fleet management system can provide detailed information on each vehicle's usage, including miles traveled, engine hours, days used, number of trips, and more, for specific time periods. Fleet managers can then analyze this information to maximize fleet productivity.
If lesser-used vehicles are not mission-critical, they can be eliminated. And over-used vehicles can be rotated with under-used vehicles to balance out the wear and tear.
Eliminating Unauthorized Usage
Many construction firms allow workers to take vehicles home at night but have policies against using vehicles for personal reasons. Fleet managers can monitor usage and commute patterns to determine if vehicles are used for personal reasons.
Wireless fleet management systems offer reports and alerts to measure unauthorized usage, including:
- Odd Hours Report-This identifies vehicles used during unauthorized hours. Fleet managers can enter a violation window and the date range, and the report will identify any vehicles in violation, the first and last time they operated in that window, their speed and locations.
- Odd Hours Activity Alerts-This immediately identifies vehicles used during unauthorized hours as that usage occurs and will immediately alert relevant personnel.
Fleet managers can review vehicle activity reports to identify and eliminate wasteful commuting patterns.
A wireless fleet management system continually monitors every vehicle's location. Fleet managers can view not only the current location but also stops, idling and mileage. This provides information that can yield efficiency and cost reductions.
A fleet management system has several options to reduce miles traveled through more efficient routing, including:
- A real-time, comprehensive map of all current vehicle locations and their status, plus a function to locate the closest vehicle
- The ability to route a specific vehicle to the next job and provide driving directions
- A 90-day review of vehicle location history online (available on some systems)
- Reports to track weekly mileage trends over time to assure that the total miles traveled are dropping
Fleet managers can also use wireless fleet management to place geofences (a virtual perimeter) in certain geographical areas to pinpoint vehicles that venture in and out of those areas.
The following reports can help fleet managers track unauthorized vehicle usage and optimize routing:
- Geofence Violation Report-This report provides a history detailing when a vehicle entered or exited a geofence and the duration of time spent within the specified area.
- Geofence Activity Alerts-This report immediately alerts relevant personnel when a geofence violation occurs.
Replacing Older Vehicles
Contractors sometimes keep older vehicles as backups, which expands the fleet size. By using a wireless fleet management system, an analysis of average annual vehicle use by model year typically reveals that older vehicles are not used as frequently as newer units. Also, by analyzing maintenance issues, such as the number of Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) by make/model, fleet managers can determine which vehicles would be most advantageous to sell or replace. This helps control fleet size and performance.
With the economy forcing tight budgets for years to come, your fleet managers must carefully manage your fleet size and vehicle usage.
Did You Know?
Wireless fleet management systems can provide:
- Timely and accurate vehicle usage data with trends over time
- Miles driven and/or engine hours for each vehicle and vehicle type
- Number of trips taken for each vehicle and vehicle type
- Vehicle use by jobsite, location or department
- Days used for each vehicle and vehicle type
- Average and peak vehicle use
Construction Business Owner, July 2011