The larger a truck fleet, the more valuable an efficient fleet management system becomes. But how big does a fleet need to be before it becomes an essential investment? Should smaller fleets be looking at fleet management services too?
In general, there is correlation between the size of a fleet and a willingness to invest in fleet management services. The larger the fleet, the more complex its operations, which means it stands to make the biggest gains. Smaller companies, on the other hand, often find it harder to justify the investment and continue to manage their fleets manually. But in doing so, they can miss out on many of the benefits of today’s fleet management services.
“Any company with more than one truck needs to work with fleet and transport management, which on the surface is about making sure trucks, trailers and goods are where they need to be, when they need to be there,” says Markus Fabiansson, Manager Services Offer, Volvo Trucks.
“But in today’s industry, it also includes analyzing driving techniques and fuel efficiency; coordinating all vehicle servicing, maintenance, and repairs in order to maximize availability; ensuring legal compliance; and securing that the right driver and the right truck are used for the right assignment. It can be very difficult and time consuming to manage all this using just manual processes.”
In recent years, digital tools have enhanced fleet management capabilities and the scope of available services. They enable the collection and processing of data in real-time, which can help streamline day-to-day transport operations and reduce paperwork and administration. Data can for example be automatically downloaded from a truck’s tachograph and integrated with other systems: like a driver’s working hours to the payroll system. This can save transport companies hours of work and administration.
Digital fleet management services also enable access to large amounts of detailed information – which helps create better insights into how a fleet is operating. For example, there are digital solutions that can monitor fuel consumption and driver behavior and be used to identify patterns and areas of improvement. Similarly, digital solutions can show CO2 emissions – something that is increasingly in demand from transport buyers, transport operators and authorities.
As a result, the value of fleet management services is no longer just about tracking trucks for large fleets. They can contribute to any business – big or small.
Fleet management tools can help simplify administration, as well as improve service planning and reduce fuel consumption. It can be very difficult to manage all this using just manual processes.
Implementing a fleet management system takes time and comes at a cost. Not just for the services themselves, but also to ensure the right competences are available for analyzing the data they generate. But the investment can be returned through improved uptime and productivity, as well as reduced costs and fuel consumption.
While the potential gains for larger fleets are higher, Markus has seen that these benefits are obtainable for all transport companies regardless of fleet size. “Even an owner-driver with a single truck can use fleet management tools to have more control over their vehicle. It can still provide them with useful data that can help streamline their administration, as well as improve their service planning and reduce their fuel consumption.”