A fleet is any unit of vehicles, aircrafts or ships that operate together under the same ownership. The term fleet management is most commonly referred to as the management of a fleet of vehicles (vans, cars and lorries).
What is Fleet
Fleet management refers to the administration, monitoring and coordination of a fleet. For each individual vehicle in a fleet, fleet management can consist of all of the following tasks:
- Vehicle maintenance
- Licensing and insurance handling
- Compliance with relevant laws and regulations (e.g. health and safety legislation)
- Damage and accident management
- Fuel management
- Vehicle telematics
- Vehicle resale/return to leasing agency
- Driver management
Fleet management is applicable to companies with a small, medium, or large inventory of cars and is hugely relevant in vehicle-related sectors such as taxi companies, rescue organisations and shipping companies.
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The Fleet Manager
A fleet manager is the employee responsible for fleet management. Whether the fleet be large or small, there are a wide range of topics - each requiring deep knowledge - that every manager of a fleet should cover. Below are some of the core tasks of a fleet manager, broken down:
- Purchasing or leasing of the fleet
- Negotiating the terms of purchase/leasing agreements
- Vehicle management (e.g. tires and repairs)
- Eventual disposal management
- Parking ticket management
- Management of ‘smart repairs’
- Tank fraud
- Theft protection
- Analyses of fleet’s health and safety and accident prevention
- MOT checks
- Communication with drivers
- Mileage tracking
- Driver license check
- Definition of ‘fair wear and tear’ on company cars
- Environmental protection measures
- Cost containment through low fleet carbon emission: limited taxation and fuel consumption
In the best case scenario, the manager of a company’s fleet is a fleet manager. That said, many companies do not have the luxury to have a designated fleet manager. In those cases, the tasks of a fleet manager are usually undertaken by staff in the accounting, finance or operations department or by the company director.
When fleet management is only a part of someone's job, reliable fleet management software is often key to alleviate some of the complexities of managing a fleet. Such software can simplify administrative tasks, help create a highly optimised fleet and therefore save the company money.
In fact, fleet software has made such strides in improving the cost and hassle associated with fleet management in the last few years, that even designated fleet managers are installing software into their fleet.
How a Fleet Management
Fleet management has been digitalised to such an extent that, sometimes, the term ‘fleet management’ itself refers exclusively to a fleet software and what it can do for a fleet.
A critical component of all good fleet management technology is vehicle tracking, made possible by GPS technology. A piece of hardware has to be installed in fleet vehicles which records data at regular intervals and saves it for later retrieval or forwards it to a server. The data transmission can be either terrestrial or satellite-based.
This software gives an exact location of all vehicles in a fleet, at all times. Some of the practical implications, that enhances fleet management in business, are named below (see Fleet Management Software Solutions).
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You can view your vehicles’ route history with exact coordinates, including any stops made and the duration of each job. A fleet manager is then able to find any gaps in route efficiency and optimise the fleet accordingly.
Find The Nearest Vehicle
Locate and dispatch your nearest vehicles to a drop off/pick up request, provide accurate ETAs to clients and respond to last minute changes - essentially, be able to provide improved customer service.
You can protect your fleet by receiving live alerts whenever a vehicle moves beyond a designated area or turns on outside of working hours.
Create virtual barriers around specified locations and be notified when a vehicle leaves or enters that barrier, giving you more control over your fleet and allowing you to be notified when high-priority clients are served.
You can set up time restrictions (and be notified when they are exceeded) to help drivers stay within legal HOS limitations.
See which vehicles are on the road and which are on the premises of a business, and assign parking spots accordingly. This makes it easier for your drivers to find parking.
Download all the raw data recorded by the fleet management system and put them to practical use. Instantly create employee time sheets or mileage trackers.
Finding the right fleet software to help with fleet management is not easy. There are several options on the market ranging in price and capability.
Especially for those who are new to digitised fleet management, consumers often prioritise fleet software that is easy to use, not expensive and has a proven track record of reliability and success at fleet management optimisation.
Vimcar’s award-winning fleet management system is the market leader in Germany. It's well-known for its user-friendly software and its hardware that can be self-installed in minutes. For those wanting more support, Vimcar’s free onboarding and direct customer assistance is also available.
of the Future
Fleet management will probably face far-reaching changes in the future. A clearly emerging trend is, for example, the increase in corporate car sharing (also called business car sharing or commercial car sharing). Corporate car sharing is the shared and organised use of one or more vehicles.
Leasing, too, is becoming more prevalent and is replacing the ‘buying’ of cars, in the traditional sense. Leasing is comparatively inexpensive and offers a high degree of planning security - the variety of leasing options will likely continue to grow.
Beyond this, there is a clear push, for fleet management to be more environmentally focussed. Electric fleet vehicles, for example, are more popular every year. This is largely financially motivated. A fleet that has a smaller carbon footprint often pays significantly less in taxes and fuel consumption.
In general, most trends seem to point in one direction: continued digitalisation. Now, when asking ‘what is fleet management?’ you must also ask what is ‘digital fleet management’. Fleet technology digitsalises, consolidates and drastically simplifies the administrative tasks surrounding a more complex company car and leasing environment. Software currently on the market also makes fleets more efficient and greener and therefore less expensive to run.