11 Tips for Improving Truck Fleet Management

No matter how big or small your fleet, truck fleet management can be complicated and stressful. From hiring and training, to fleet vehicle maintenance and fuel costs, fleet managers have a lot on their plates. Advances in technology, such as telematics GPS trackers, have made truck fleet management easier. These innovative technologies can help improve every aspect of fleet operations and make management more efficient.

Issues That Truck Fleet Managers Face

With all the moving parts involved in truck fleet management, fleet managers are under enormous pressure. Their day begins with keeping costs down, monitoring fuel usage and staffing issues, and ends with tracking expenditures – all the administrative challenges required to successfully manage a fleet.

In addition, truck fleet managers have to provide comprehensive training and regular health and safety courses for their drivers. Monitoring driver behavior and arranging training where needed, is an important part of fleet management. Fleet managers must also keep their trucks in working order by making sure they are regularly serviced and quickly repaired to avoid long periods of downtime. Vehicle maintenance is key to ensuring trucks are safe to drive and keeping small issues from becoming expensive repairs.

How to Improve Fleet Truck Management

To stay on top of evolving customer demands, efficient truck fleet management is crucial. This means you need to be able to plan and optimize routes, make changes instantly, track your drivers' locations, and keep your customers satisfied. Smart technology, seemingly endless information, and fast connectivity, give people the impression they can get what they want, when, where, and how they want it.

GPS tracking and telematics can be an important addition to a truck fleet management program. It gives you increased visibility into driver location and behavior. Using the information provided by your telematics solution can help you make sure your drivers are efficient, productive, and driving safely.

If you're still on the fence about telematics GPS fleet tracking, consider these 11 ways GPS tracking and telematics can help reduce costs and improve truck fleet management.

1. Better Manage Your Fuel Spend

First on the list, improve your fuel efficiency and fuel spend. Fuel prices can fluctuate wildly, which makes it hard to keep them under control. And while you may not be able to control the price of fuel, you can improve your fleet's fuel consumption. You can do this by monitoring and modifying your drivers' behaviors and instilling good driving habits such as avoiding speeding and excess idling, as well as reducing harsh accelerations and hard stops. This can help reduce your fleet's spend on fuel.

2. Automate Your Route Planning

Automating your routes can make your day easier - what used to take hours, can be done in minutes. You won't have to manually plan each route, and you can plan more efficient routes in real-time, that keep your fleet on time and save on fuel. In addition, you can get insights into your fleet's performance and use key metrics to make strategic decisions. More efficient routing also reduces wear and tear on vehicles, extending their useful life.

3. Improve Fleet Performance with Data

Information may be your most powerful tool for improving fleet performance. It can help you identify the areas in which you are succeeding and where you can improve. The insights and metrics you get let you make informed, strategic decisions that improve overall fleet efficiency. You will also gain insight into which team members are not following the plan and may need targeted coaching.

4. Paperless Compliance

Paperless Hours of Service (HOS) logbooks help improve reporting, reduce administration costs, and maximize uptime. Drivers often have a hard time keeping up with paperwork and end up with incomplete or incorrect HOS logbooks, leading to compliance issues.

ELD paperless logbooks are allowing drivers to maximize their driving time with accurate hours' recording. Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) can also be completed electronically, with data captured on the driver's smartphone alongside photo evidence. Data is uploaded automatically, which lets you schedule maintenance and order new parts more efficiently.

5. Plan Based on Load and Truck Size

Truck drivers need navigation that helps them safely maneuver an 80,000-pound machine over various types of terrain, through all road and weather conditions. GPS tracking helps drivers get to their destination efficiently and safely. With route planning, they can avoid roads with low bridges or weight limits. Realistic maps let drivers know what's around the next bend in order to reach their destination safely. Your fleet can get notifications of any detours or road closures, so they can find a better route in real-time and stay on time to meet delivery or service timeslots.

6. Preventative Maintenance to Keep Your Fleet on the Road

Telematics for truck fleet management can provide diagnostics data on the health and performance of your vehicles. You get an accurate picture of how your trucks are performing as alerts about any upcoming maintenance or unexpected issues. This helps you schedule your maintenance, so your service center has the parts you need, and your vehicle has less downtime. You can schedule the work, fix small issues before they become big ones, and quickly get your truck back on the road.

7. Improve Driver Performance and Promote Safe Driving Habits

Telematics can help you ensure that your drivers get regular training that improves their efficiency and safety. You can keep track of who needs extra training and what type of training they need. In addition to saving on fuel costs, reducing bad driving behaviors such as hard braking, excessive idling, and over speeding can improve overall fleet safety. You can give your drivers accurate feedback about their driving and help them improve.

8. Communication and Incentives

Clear communication with your drivers is an important way to keep them updated about driving conditions and let them know they are part of the team. You can also set up an incentive program that rewards drivers when they improve their driving. This can motivate your drivers to continue to improve their driving and, in turn, improve your fleet's efficiency.

9. Trailer Tracking and Asset Management

When you use battery-powered GPS tracking hardware to monitor the real-time movement and location of trailers and other assets, this improves security and vehicle and asset recovery in instances of theft, as well as letting you know where all your assets are at any given time. You'll be able to see where they are on a map and see where they are in relation to your other assets. You can set up geofences and rules that let you know when an asset, such as a trailer, leaves a specific area.

10. Provide Accurate ETAs to Customers

We live in an on-demand world, and giving your customers vague arrival times can impact on customer loyalty. With a GPS tracker and route planning, you can make accurate estimated times of arrival (ETAs) and update your customers should a driver become delayed. You'll be able to make reliable appointments, avoid bottlenecks and improve overall delivery scheduling. You'll always know where your trucks are and when they are arriving at their destinations.

You can also share ETAs with your customers to know when a package or technician will arrive, to coordinate deliveries and pick-ups. A quicker turnaround increases driver utilization and improves your bottom line.

11. Unprecedented Insight into Your Fleet

No matter where you are, in the office or on the road, you can get unprecedented insight into your fleet's activity. You can monitor your driver's routes and give them turn-by-turn directions, if needed. You can save time and money while making sure your business runs smoothly. A mobile app lets you get last-minute information about your fleet's routes and act accordingly. Being able to access this type of information is key when it comes to unexpected events, such as a sick driver or vehicle problems.

Fleet Management Made Easier

Managing fleet trucks and other vehicles presents many challenges. Luckily, telematics continues to develop solutions you can customize to your fleet's needs. This makes your job and your drivers' jobs less stressful, easier, and safer. If you are looking for ways to improve your truck fleet management, telematics is a viable option to consider.

A fully-implemented and supported MiX Telematics solution is guaranteed to improve driver safety and reduce accident rates while also lowering risk, liability and cost.