What is fleet management software (FMS)?
Fleet management software is a system that helps businesses manage, coordinate, and organize their company vehicles from a central point. The primary objective of having such a system is to maintain the smooth operation of the fleet by improving performance, ensuring compliance with government regulations, and reducing operational costs. An FMS system helps companies to collect, process, store, monitor and export information.
Fleet management software is a critical system for any company in the fleet management industry. FMS systems are taking an integral role in today’s increasing number of fleet companies. Beyond that, organizations in the following areas can leverage fleet management tools to improve their productivity:
- Transportation – ride-booking services, car rental companies, bus providers and taxi operators stand to benefit incredibly from FMS.
- Field services – companies involved in delivering goods and services to customers can boost their efficiency.
- Financial institutions – corporate fleets and armored vans can be managed using FMS.
- Cargo and delivery – companies involved in long-haul trucking services and parcel delivery can also use these software systems for their fleet management solutions.
Standard Features of Fleet Management Software
An FMS solution streamlines every step and activity involved in fleet operation. The system is also used to oversee everything, including vehicle condition, driver safety, customer satisfaction, and maximizing company returns. Fleet management software consists of the following major components.
Cargo optimization – an FMS system improves operational efficiency by helping you plan and manage cargo, equipment, facilities, and workforce to ensure better utilization of resources and more integrated operations.
Scheduling, dispatch, and routing – the FMS automates and streamlines related tasks to enhance schedules, maximize dispatch capabilities and locate the most efficient routes. All these tasks are essential to ensuring jobs are carried out within the set timelines.
Inventory management – fleet management software handles tracking, recording, automatic reordering, costing, and cycle counting to ensure availability and reduce downtime.
Driver management – using FMS, you can track driver records and files, performance and productivity statistics, certifications and licenses, and behavior data effectively. This information can then be used to influence decision making.
Inspection management – FMS helps you monitor and maintain strict compliance with electronic inspections and issue management systems.
Vehicle information – a repository storing fleet information such as vehicle specifications, maintenance history, logged miles, and performance makes it easy to manage vehicles.
Mileage tracking and GPS – an FMS solution uses trackers and telematics to relay real-time information about vehicle location, event reporting, and miles traveled. Telematics encompasses the transmission, storage, and receiving of data over a network. These devices usually have onboard hardware GPS tracking capabilities to transmit data either real-time or at preset intervals.
Fuel management – FMS monitors fuel consumption and costs, enabling you to identify the vehicles and drivers with poor fuel efficiency based on historical data and benchmarks.
Security and safety features – FMS includes safety management tools that protect the vehicle and the driver by offering vehicle theft notifications, emergency roadside assistance, and remote monitoring. Monitoring driver arrival and departure times, speed, and other crucial details enable fleet companies to protect themselves against false claims.
A remote control is crucial for tracking stolen assets and gradually reducing the speed of the relevant vehicles. This is incredibly handy when you need to retrieve a stolen vehicle.
Road hazard alert – notifying drivers about the weather and the state of the road, as well as alerting them of immediate changes, will help keep them informed about the conditions and ensure their safety on the road. Having access to real-time information streams means you can notify the driver about approaching potential danger.
Accident detection – if a driver is involved in an accident, the FMS can capture real data from the field that can help you support claims.
All of the aforementioned features are included in a standard FMS suite. So, why would you want to have a custom FMS solution?
The insights from generic FMS, while useful, are too limited in many situations. The reports you receive from a standard FMS system may not offer you full visibility into the operations of your company. Most web-based fleet management tools lack customizable functionality that can be adjusted to your business needs.
Custom vs Generic FMS
Many software development companies specializing in fleet management solutions convince their clients to change their business processes to fit the generic software package rather than customizing the software to fit the firm’s business processes. While this makes it easy for the development company to build the application, having specially made software is better, as businesses are built around processes. These are the factors that make a company unique and give it a competitive edge in the market.
Custom fleet management software is specially made to meet a particular purpose and satisfy a client’s specific business processes. This is a huge advantage, as you can preserve your own methods and strategies without needing to conform to whatever the software is designed to handle.
Pros of Custom FMS
- Meeting specific business needs: Custom FMS performs optimally for your company, since it is made to work in your specific line of business. The system will have a specially defined scope to accommodate all the requirements of your fleet company.
- Scalability: Custom FMS allows you to add different functionalities to your system at the right time. A custom FMS solution gives you 100% control over the technology stack, development, and features.
- Custom User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX): Customizing the UI makes interaction with the software more efficient and enjoyable. Custom UX enhances customer loyalty by improving usability and making it easier for someone to interact with the product.
- Full control of the source code: Owning the source code guarantees that your company has the right to sell, copy, and modify the software. This means no other company or person can create a similar program.
- With custom FMS, it is possible to manage project cost and scope by splitting features between different phases of business and product evolution.
Cons of Custom FMS
- Cost: Developing a custom FMS can be quite costly due to the customization of features.
- Time for development: custom development always takes longer than buying out-of-box solution and integration.
Pros of generic FMS
- Access to updates: Many generic FMS developers constantly update their applications to fix any bugs or vulnerabilities in the system.
- Quick integration: It takes less time to integrate, as you skip the development stage. You buy the solution out-of-box and integrate it into your infrastructure by following well defined and tested procedures. Nonetheless, bugs can arise and tech support might be expensive.
- Lower costs: Generic FMS, understandably, costs less than a custom made FMS.
- Available as SaaS: The Software-as-a-Service model eliminates the need for the company to install and run the software on its computers or data centers. Such installation can require significant investment in terms of manpower, logistics, and infrastructure. SaaS avoids the expenses of acquiring hardware and maintenance, as well as software licensing, installation, and support fees.
Cons of Generic FMS
- Predefined scope: A generic fleet management system comes with predefined functionality. Your organization is, therefore, forced to use the available system features in executing its business processes. Since each fleet company has unique systems and workflows, a generic FMS solution may not suit all the elements of a particular company, making it unfit for purpose. You would likely have to supplement the gaps with additional software (incurring additional integration headaches) or manual work.
- Security risk: Generic FMS is used more often, so cybercriminals are more familiar with the vulnerabilities and are more eager to spend time and money on targeted cyber attacks.
Benefits of Fleet Management Software
Before the introduction of fleet management applications, paperwork was used for such tasks as fuel tracking, mileage logging, and route mapping. FMS has vastly improved efficiency, reducing costs and giving fleet owners better control over their businesses. So, why is it worth investing in a fleet management system?
Improve customer service
With FMS, you are aware of vehicle locations at any point in time. Thus, you can provide better customer service by scheduling deliveries well and boosting efficiency. You can provide customers with more accurate information and greater transparency. You focus on taking care of a customer’s needs and the system knows which of your vehicles is closest to that customer’s location.
FMS systems render notifications based on calendar, mileage and time, enabling optimized vehicle use and reducing maintenance costs. FMS enhances productivity and reduces the time spent by administrators, drivers, and mechanics in executing their fleet management duties. For example, using GPS tracking functionality ensures that you can plan routes smartly and get traffic updates. The information can be used to plan exact departure or arrival times, making customers happier. Mechanics can easily access repair and maintenance histories, and working schedules for dispatchers and drivers are thoroughly optimized. Managers and directors have access to all the information related to transport, maintenance, fuel consumption, and other vital data. The map and tracking functionalities can also help you plan for refueling, while real-time traffic updates help drivers choose the best routes to save time and fuel.
When vehicle performance data is pulled, fleet managers can identify which type of vehicles deliver on optimal performance, fuel-efficiency, low maintenance costs, and high reliability. Good software leverages advanced machine learning algorithms for automated data processing and prediction for all vehicles. This facilitates decision making on the health of vehicles to determine when they need servicing and avoid accidents. Managers can use this information, in the long run, to determine which types of vehicles are most suitable for their business. Thus, process automation helps businesses boost performance.
With a large number of vehicles and staff to manage, you get a better understanding of the whole business operation through FMS. You can make data-driven decisions, get better visibility, save on costs, improve performance, and reduce stress levels.
How you can improve your fleet management process
Have you thought about the integration of your fleet management system? Before performing research on fleet management system developers or existing solutions, examine the goals you want to reach. Having clear goals will help you define and build the right solution for your business processes. This might be more complicated than it seems.
There are many pre-made solutions that cover part of the functionality you need. But if you want to have complete control over your business, it would be better to develop custom fleet management software. This is the only way to cover your needs without shelling out for unnecessary features. A custom fleet management system is a powerful tool.
Unicsoft has a wealth of experience in developing comprehensive and custom fleet management software solutions enabled with GPS tracking. We are committed to developing reliable and effective fleet management software that delivers on your requirements, so you can focus on other business roles, knowing you have software that will improve your business performance. We have helped several companies create excellent custom software solutions for their business operations.
One of our recent success stories is the development of the ‘Exception Prediction Tool for Supply Chain’. Our client was a leading provider of supply chain consulting software and fourth-party logistics services. Our goal was to optimize the supply chain. We fully reworked the machine learning model for logistics incident prediction and supplier-related incidents. Our tool takes input from the past for training and uses it to predict possible exceptions in the next week. The tool predicts whether the consignor might provide a higher or lower volume than advised or if the consignor might fail to ship at all. The tool is used every Thursday and runs predictions for the upcoming week. The Unicsoft team considerably improved the machine learning model. The precision of the forecasts increased significantly. With the new modern interface, the tool is easier to use.
Read more about our Supply chain experience
If you are considering developing a custom fleet management system, do not hesitate to contact us. The preparation and development processes both require a team of experienced professionals who can analyze your current software, develop programs from scratch, and determine the best hardware to use. Unicsoft experts will help your business by building fleet management tools that optimize your supply chain, cutting out unnecessary costs and maximizing returns. We offer a free consulting call with our experts, lasting up to four hours. Reach out to us now to discuss your needs!