5 Things to Look for in Fleet Management Software
Fleet management software offers countless benefits to commercial trucking fleets, from improved operations and visibility to increased safety and job satisfaction for back-office teams, managers, and drivers.
Since purchasing a new software system or upgrading to a more modern tool represents a substantial investment in both time and resources, it’s important to do your due diligence when shopping for fleet management apps. Asking the right questions helps you ensure all expectations are communicated and no surprises await after your purchase.
What is Fleet Management Software for Logistics?
Fleet management software typically consists of a software platform with hardware tools to help fleet managers improve their operations. These software tools are designed to automate many of the daily tasks involved with running a fleet, including inspections and preventative maintenance, route design, driver communications, performance management, vehicle monitoring, and compliance tasks.
Modern fleet management tools on in-cab smart devices help drivers complete their daily tasks more efficiently while collecting large amounts of data from the route, vehicle, and drivers themselves. Accessing this data gives back-office staff and management insight into trends and real-time events, enabling them to proactively address any potential issues and create more effective processes and guidelines.
What Should You Look for in Fleet Management Software?
When shopping for a new or updated fleet management tool, it’s helpful to prepare a set of questions and expectations for vendor meetings. Getting input from multiple departments and roles within your fleet also ensures your new management tool will address as many pain points as possible.
Your new partner should be able to meet—or exceed—industry best practices, such as:
1. An Excellent Driver Experience
Drivers’ daily jobs can be difficult and dangerous. Your fleet management platform should make their jobs easier and more efficient by reducing distractions and helping them arrive home safely after each haul. One of the most important features for your drivers is an intuitive and user-friendly interface. The software they use should be easy to navigate while providing clear and organized real-time data.
Most drivers are familiar with smart devices, so a user interface following industry best practices with an intuitive flow flattens the learning curve, minimizing errors and frustration. Look for software that delivers information to drivers in a contextualized path so they don't have to hunt and peck for the information they need to do their jobs.
Asking prospective vendors to let drivers take a "test drive" of software you're considering gives them an opportunity to offer feedback from a unique viewpoint and raise questions you may not have considered. Including drivers in the process also helps build buy-in and encourages internal champions for your new software and processes.
2. Robust Reporting and Analytics Tools
An easy-to-use system without strong reporting and analytics tools only delivers the partial value of your software. Ensure the fleet management system you’re considering includes functionality for synthesizing and sharing real-time and historical data to help you make more informed decisions and stay aware of compliance, performance, and safety concerns.
Some fleet management software platforms provide business intelligence features that enable you to easily identify trends, track KPIs, and optimize fuel efficiency, route planning, and driver performance. Customizable dashboards offer a bird’s-eye view of your most important metrics, and filters help you drill down to the right stats.
Certain tools offer features for easily sharing your findings through automated reports scheduled for regular delivery to specific members of your fleet or your entire team. Some analytics apps also provide alerting features with thresholds that trigger real-time email notifications, helping you respond quickly to potential issues, such as HOS violations or speeding events.
3. Optimized Integration Capabilities
It's crucial for your new telematics software to integrate with your existing fleet management systems, so be sure to look for telematics software that integrates with your current dispatch, fuel management, and maintenance tools.
Knowing how your telematics software will integrate with your transportation management system (TMS) is also important, as that information is vital for driver and back-office staff communication. As you move forward in the software selection process, compare providers’ integration experiences and planned paths to integration.
4. Ample Scalability and Flexibility
Consider the scalability of each vendor’s solution and whether it’s capable of accommodating your fleet’s size while growing with your needs. This is key in future-proofing your fleet for years to come.
Software designed for customization to your specific operational requirements—both internal and mandated by government legislation—is essential. Ask software providers to share their roadmaps for the next 3-5 years and how they can specifically support your fleet as it changes and grows.
Another element to consider is the vendor’s application marketplace. How easy is it to customize your solution by adding or swapping out features? What kind of add-ons are available to address your unique goals and needs? A healthy partner ecosystem is a good sign of a vendor prioritizing innovation and industry involvement.
5. Top-Notch Implementation and Support
Your relationship with a telematics vendor doesn’t end at the moment of purchase; it’s a long-term partnership that requires proper implementation, training, and maintenance. Implementation and support are just as important as your telematics software’s interface and capabilities, so you'll need a provider with experience implementing software for fleets your size, an understanding of your specific integration needs, and an idea of the timeline to completion.
Ensuring your provider offers 24/7 support is also critical for understanding how product updates and changes are communicated. Look into how the vendor will manage your account and whether your fleet will be assigned a dedicated support team. When it comes to training, be sure to ask about in-person, virtual, and hybrid opportunities, as well.
Researching your new fleet management software speeds up your time to productivity, and communicating expectations to your vendor helps prevent surprises down the road, ensuring your tool will do everything you want it to do for your fleet.
Connect with us to learn more about how fleet management tools optimize your operations, or to discuss your needs and goals with our team.