6 Secrets of Fleet Management Software Buyers
Running a successful, large trucking fleet is not for the faint of heart. From planning and staffing loads to managing fueling operations, preserving your vehicles and maintaining compliance, and supporting driver satisfaction and retention, the moving parts can easily become overwhelming. A lack of efficient management and communication may mean disaster for your bottom line, routes, and driver safety.
The good news is that today’s trucking fleets can benefit greatly from technology; specifically, fleet management software specifically designed for trucking. Fleet management software features a digital platform of tools built to streamline daily tasks and improve communication along all points in fleets’ workflows. By connecting the back office with the cab, fleet management software helps fleets support a more efficient, reliable, and safe operation.
Getting Started with—or Upgrading—Fleet Management Software
If you’re looking to purchase your first fleet management software tool—or wanting to upgrade to a platform that better suits your needs—doing your research is key to making an informed decision. A fleet management software tool represents a significant investment of company finances, as well as a substantial number of hours for your team in training, implementation, and support. To avoid any surprises down the line, it’s imperative to do your homework, get buy-in and input from all areas of your operations, and ask potential vendors as many questions as possible when making your decision.
To support your research and purchasing journey, we’ve created a free guide called the “6 Secrets of Fleet Management Software Buyers.” Following these steps will help you form a framework of must-have features for your new fleet management tool. Download the full guide for more tips and ideas—and for a sneak peek, check out the overview below.
6 Secrets of Fleet Management Software Buyers
#1 Assemble the Right Team
As you begin evaluating the features you need—and the bells and whistles you want—create an advisory team that accurately represents your company. In addition to building consensus with team members who will be using the software most, an advisory team ensures all important use cases, pain points, and current gaps are covered. Be sure your team includes members from your operations, safety, maintenance, IT, and finance departments, as well as a few drivers.
#2 Evaluate Your Current Workstreams
Start by looking at how things work now based on input from teams involved with each part of your process. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your current system. If you are already using fleet management software, what do you like and what is frustrating? If you are starting from scratch, what other tools must your new software work well with to keep things running smoothly? Understanding your fleet’s current processes helps you identify pain points or inefficiencies and makes it easier to find the right solutions.
#3 Prioritize Ease of Use and Intuitive Workflows
It’s important to find a vendor that delivers trust and ease of use to everyone in your workstream. Consider the daily use case for each team and ask yourself if you would be adding or removing steps in their daily jobs. Look into training and what kind of learning curve would be present. During your vendor evaluations, mention your teams’ pain points and ask each vendor how they would solve these challenges. Their responses can help you determine whether their solution will simplify your workstream or introduce new layers of complexity. You can find the fanciest software available, but if your teams hate using it, you’ll be losing out in the long run.
#4 Look for Fleet Management Software that Plays Well with Others
Compatibility is key when it comes to introducing new software tools to your operations. Not only should your new tool integrate well with your transportation management system (TMS), it should also help you prepare your fleet for the future by being open to emerging technologies. Your software should also work well with partner applications—and features like single-sign-on and seamless connectivity to core tools—to ensure your drivers have fewer clicks to get their jobs done. To guarantee a smooth integration, ask vendors about their integration processes, timelines, and the user experiences for teams using the software.
#5 Seek a Partner Who Knows Your Industry and is Invested for the Long Haul
You have a vision for the future of your fleet and your software partner should, too. Ask questions about their experience in the trucking industry, what type of R&D they conduct to ensure their product is cutting-edge, and how they help companies scale with new technologies. Explore their customer feedback mechanisms and industry partnerships to learn how they can help ensure your fleet’s success in the future.
#6 Choose a Partner Who Excels at Implementation, Training, and Support
An investment in fleet management software goes far beyond the tool itself; your relationship with your vendor will entail training, integration, support, and feedback. It's crucial to choose a partner with a strong implementation process and strategies for quickly rolling out technology, handling change management, and setting accurate completion timelines. Be sure to understand the level of support you'll receive—including any associated costs—and the types of issues the support team can handle.
Research Makes the Difference
Doing your due diligence, getting internal input and buy-in, and asking plenty of questions of your potential vendors sets you up for success with your new fleet management software tool. After all, a software platform is a long-term relationship, so your new solution should meet all your needs and evolve with your company as you grow together.
To read an expanded version of these secrets, along with additional pro-tips, download your free copy of “6 Secrets of Fleet Management Software Buyers.” Ready to discuss your fleet management needs and learn more about our solutions? Connect with Platform Science today.