Fleet management software is the one service that every fleet needs. It pulls together all the daily chores of running a fleet and makes them simple and easy to track.
Streamlining all those tasks saves untold thousands of dollars. For fleets, this software is solidly in the “can’t afford not to get it” category. Anyone who operates even just two or three vehicles across a broad spectrum of industries could benefit from fleet management software— from shipping to construction to delivery services to lawn care.
What Fleet Management Software Does
A high-quality fleet management software from a trusted vendor has a lot more to offer than just the basic ability to dispatch and monitor a fleet of commercial vehicles.
A fleet management system, or FMS, is actually a little more than a software product. You’ll get the centralized backend software for managers and the mobile app version for drivers, plus some form of hardware in each vehicle in your fleet. Once hardware units are installed, they’ll send near-real-time data so that the central dashboard can track GPS location and engine status.
With the right features, you’ll be able to track your scheduled vehicle maintenance, your employees’ driving habits, and all the information you’ll need to stay compliant with the ELD mandate and save money by knowing your IFTA fuel tax rates. And the best fleet management software will let you communicate with your drivers in real time too, letting you stay on top of sudden changes in plan.
But not all FMSs are equal. Here are the biggest factors to keep in mind when deciding which FMS is right for you.
All the top FMS providers charge on a “per month per vehicle” basis, though many charge annually. On average, an FMS costs about $35/month/vehicle, though the price varies depending on the features and customer support options.
A basic FMS that’s little more than a vehicle tracker might cost just $5/month/vehicle, while a more advanced option may cost $60/vehicle/month.
Since the FMS cost is per vehicle, larger fleets will pay more. But larger fleets will also benefit more from advanced FMS offerings than a smaller fleet would. A large fleet can gather more data and use it to inform their decisions, which have greater impact.
Dispatch Management Needs
Ultimately, the features that fleet management software offers need to line up with your needs. Too many features you’ll never use, and you’re overpaying for the service; too few, and you’ll never fully benefit from the software, either. But you’ll definitely need the basics. Here are the most common features a fleet manager might need:
- Dispatch and tracking — Dispatch and tracking is the basic feature any FMS will have. With it, you’ll be able to assign jobs quickly and easily. Routing automation features can pick out the most efficient route for drivers will multiple locations to visit, and can adjust to changing traffic or weather conditions.
- Fuel management needs — Fuel management is a huge FMS perk. Fuel accounts for the single biggest cost to fleets after employees, so you’ll save a huge amount with features that track fuel use by location and vehicle, nabbing you the tax cuts you deserve and curbing fraud.
- Compliance and safety needs — ELD compliance is really a must. Every commercial motor vehicle in the US needs to electronically log employees’ hours of service to comply with the law. An FMS can help drivers quickly pass any roadside inspections. Safety measures and maintenance planning are also useful, and some FMSs include AI-powered automation
The Bottom Line? Money-Saving Benefits
Fleet management systems can cut fleet fuel costs by as much as 30%, speed up routes, stop harsh braking and cornering, reduce engine idle times, deter theft and fraud, and help managers easily create data-rich reports with the touch of a button.
In the end, an FMS will cost even a small fleet thousands of dollars a year — but will save them thousands more.