Learn how small business fleets can use telematics to increase productivity and find cost reductions.
Fleet management is often associated with large fleets of vehicles, such as those found in trucking or taxi companies. However, many businesses with only a handful of vehicles engage in fleet management every day. These small fleets can benefit from telematics just as much as larger ones, and in some cases, the benefits of telematics are even magnified. In this article, we’ll explore how small fleets can use telematics to achieve higher performance and find cost savings.
What is a small fleet?
So, what exactly is a small fleet? There is no formal size threshold for when a fleet is considered small, medium, or large. The label of “small fleet” has been applied to fleets with up to 20, 50, or even 100 vehicles. In general, small fleets have 50 vehicles or less.
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Small fleets can benefit from telematics in a number of ways. Here are some of the top advantages of using telematics for small fleets:
- Gain visibility into fleet operations and trends: With telematics, small fleet managers can gain real-time visibility into the location, status, and performance of their vehicles. This information can be used to monitor trends and identify areas for improvement.
- Manage fuel efficiency and reduce waste or fraud: Fuel is one of the largest expenses for any fleet, and small fleets feel the cost of fuel waste more than large ones. Telematics-based fuel usage reports make it possible to track and compare fuel consumption across vehicles. By finding and investigating outliers, small fleet managers can track down and correct inefficiencies, such as maintenance issues, excessive idling, and poor driving habits. Additionally, fill-up reports can be used to monitor when and where fleet vehicles are refuelled and compare this information to fuel card data to protect against fraud.
- Optimise routes and vehicle use: Efficiency is key when managing a small fleet, and telematics can help fleet managers optimise routes and vehicle use. For example, MyGeotab’s fleet management software tracks missed and completed stops, idling time, stop duration, and planned arrival time vs. actual arrival time. These tools can be used to compare routes and test changes in practices to help drivers find the most efficient way to carry out their duties. Additionally, the Geotab Marketplace contains several custom solutions that can be used to further enhance route-planning, such as Driving Smart Deliveries, a route optimisation solution that uses an intuitive editor to make routing changes and quickly inform drivers and customers of delivery status.
- Increase driver safety: One of the weaknesses of small fleets is that individual vehicles represent larger chunks of the business. Losing even a single vehicle can cause significant drops in overall productivity. Managing risky driving behaviour before it results in a collision is therefore a high priority for small fleet managers. Telematics can help fleets track risky driving habits through customisable rulesets that create thresholds for speeding, harsh braking, harsh cornering, and other dangerous behaviours. This information can be used to identify drivers in need of coaching, and telematics Add-Ons such as GO TALK can provide this coaching in real-time though in-cab verbal prompts.
Small fleets are not always overseen by dedicated fleet managers. Instead, the task might fall to someone in the accounting or operations department due to the company’s size. For these individuals, fleet management is an extra responsibility on top of their normal priorities. Telematics, in turn, can make these responsibilities easier to handle through integrated fleet management features.
To make the most of telematics, small fleet managers should customise their platform to meet their specific needs. For example, setting up custom dashboard reports lets fleet managers dictate which information makes it onto the front page of the platform, reducing visual clutter.
If you would like to take our fleet management system for a spin to see how it can help you optimise driver performance, get started today. Try our Fleet Complete demo.
Originally published by Geotab.com on August 22nd 2019.