Skip to main content

What is a Fleet Management System?

Fleet management is all about enabling your business to reduce costs, improve efficiency and ensure compliance across an entire fleet operation. Fleet management systems have been making fleet managers’ lives easier for decades and continue to advance, but what exactly do they do?

Simply put, these systems are a digital platform for tracking, monitoring and managing data from commercial vehicles. Fleet management tools like Trimble Fleet Manager™ help those in the back office gain real-time visibility into fleet performance and compliance via cutting-edge driver and equipment tracking. What’s more, a fleet management platform stores, processes, gathers, monitors, reports on and exports information as a valuable tool for vehicle and driver safety and efficiency.

Technology-focused fleet management started to take shape in the 1970s and 1980s as computers became widely available. As time has gone on, fleet management systems have grown more complex in the quality and quantity of data they track, and can now provide more insightful, intuitive recommendations faster than ever before. By tracking key metrics like vehicle maintenance, route optimization and driver performance on a daily basis, companies can move goods more efficiently and with reduced downtime.

Fleet management: a range of capabilities

Fleet management systems offer a variety of functionalities, including:

  • Tracking the physical location of a fleet’s vehicles

  • Using telematics that combine GPS navigation with on-board diagnostic sensors to track safe driving habits

  • Tracking real-time driver and vehicle performance data, including a driver’s hours of service (HOS), vehicle idle time, fuel efficiency, speed and revolutions per minute (RPM)

  • Monitoring the maintenance and lifecycle of a vehicle

  • Performing vehicle diagnostics

  • Improving security management

  • Providing reports and recommendations on safety, compliance and business opportunities

Using fleet management technology can provide clarity into fleet performance, and by accessing a variety of data, such as vehicle and driver performance, managers can monitor safety, manage compliance and track efficiency. These solutions not only help you see where your drivers and vehicles are, but also empowers you to better utilize your personnel and equipment.

By spotting key trends in real time, you can maximize your fleet’s performance to reduce out-of-route miles, eliminate empty loads and make the most of your drivers’ available hours. An intuitive and easy-to-use platform is vital to a smooth operation and effective communication with drivers.

While a fleet management dashboard captures this driver and vehicle-centric data, it is also important to ensure that back office personnel like fleet and safety managers can access this data to make decisions to improve fleet performance and efficiency.

For example, the data displayed in Trimble Fleet Manager can be customized to specific roles, in order for safety managers, operations personnel and others to easily see the metrics that matter to them. Trimble Fleet Manager is also built on a highly secure, cloud-based infrastructure that is trusted to keep your data safe today and in the years ahead.

The benefits of using fleet management technology

happy driver

Some of the benefits of deploying fleet management technology include:

Reduced costs and maintenance

A fleet management platform reduces transportation complexities as well as costs. This includes better fuel and maintenance management thanks to predictive analytics and accurate reporting that leads to reduced fuel costs and out-of-route miles.

Simplified regulatory compliance

There are strict regulations around a driver’s HOS, and federal law mandates that drivers use electronic logging devices (ELDs) to record data related to the operation of the vehicle and driver activity. Fleet management technology can help you manage electronic logging as well as automated fuel tax reporting, electronic driver vehicle inspection reports (eDVIR) and log auditing. By using this technology, fleet managers can easily stay up-to-date on these regulations, preventing noncompliance issues that could lead to penalties or fines.

Improved fleet and driver safety

From fatigue and speed monitoring, to tire pressure monitoring and vehicle and asset tracking, fleet management solutions can break down safety data into easy-to-understand information that allows you to highlight driving patterns in need of coaching and takes the complexity out of managing drivers.

Increased productivity

With visibility into the operational and historical data of a fleet, you can minimize risks and identify opportunities to increase efficiency and overall productivity.

Better communication and customer service

Through the streamlined communication of a fleet management platform, everyone from the driver to the operations manager can stay on the same page about fleet operations. By keeping an eye on your fleet at all times, you can also provide better customer service.

Fleet management systems often get confused with transportation management systems (TMS), which instead of focusing on the visibility and movement of vehicles, optimize shipping routes, automate dispatching of tasks and provide real-time visibility on job fulfilment status. The two are typically used in tandem to increase the efficiency of delivery operations.

Enhance fleet performance, safety and compliance

The powerful capabilities of fleet management platforms provide fleet managers with visibility into the operational data essential to manage a fleet intelligently and efficiently. Trimble integrates with dozens of other technology providers, enabling you to connect driver and vehicle data into your back-office systems, streamlining the flow of information across your fleet faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Are you ready to see how Trimble can help you leverage a fleet management system to unlock the full potential of your business? Discover how our comprehensive fleet management solutions can help you reach new levels of safety, productivity and efficiency.