Regardless of what kind of fleet you operate or what lanes you travel, having the right technology in place is a crucial part of your performance, safety and efficiency.
But, let’s face it: how “fleet management technology” is defined and delivered continues to rapidly advance. From its humble beginnings as simple “track and trace” solutions, fleet management platforms have increasingly gained sophistication to help every aspect of a carrier’s operations.
So, how do you know if your fleet management solutions are setting you up for success? Here are five key ways to ensure you maximize the return on investment (ROI) and select the solutions to help you make informed, data-driven decisions and keep a competitive edge.
#1: Choose the Right In-Cab Hardware
Just like the consumer hardware market, the choices for displays and other in-cab equipment are seemingly endless, so it is important to weigh your options to ensure you select the right hardware for your business-specific needs.
When it comes to selecting the displays themselves, you have a lot of choices to consider. The three main categories of displays are:
Proprietary: These displays are manufactured exclusively for your technology provider.
Commercial: These displays are made by third-party manufacturers like Samsung and can be purchased either through your technology provider or off the shelf.
Bring your own: The “bring your own device” (BYOD) model relies on your drivers to use their own cell phones or tablets as an in-cab display.
Even these options come with many choices. When looking at display types, remember to consider things like portability (do your drivers do work outside the cab?) and toughness (how about operating in rugged conditions or extreme temperatures?). By considering driver workflows and environment, you can make a more informed decision on displays for your fleet.
It’s not only important to consider the physical aspects of your display type but the operating system that your displays run on. With the rise of consumer-grade devices in transportation, operating systems like Android™ are becoming more and more common. Smart devices that run on the Android platform are more customizable from top to bottom, providing users the opportunity to load and use only the apps they want and need.
#2: Explore the Power of Bundling
Now that you’ve taken the time to select the right hardware for your fleet management platform, the next question to ask yourself is “How do I best position my business for a rapid return on investment (ROI)?” One way to accelerate this ROI is through bundled pricing structures.
This bundled pricing model is likely something you are familiar with in your personal life. Regardless of your preferred smart device, be it a phone, tablet or wearable - you likely manage your hardware and data costs for a single monthly price.
Fortunately, this concept is gaining traction in the transportation technology space, with solution providers increasingly turning to a “hardware-as-a-service” model to bundle the costs of an in-cab device and associated software into a single monthly price.
The end result? A streamlined buying process that reduces upfront costs and empowers you with continuous upgrades to help you stay at the forefront of fleet management innovation.
#3: Take Your Fleet Management a Step Further
In addition to thinking about the hardware itself, it is equally important to consider what the hardware can enable and how this can help you justify the investment. By taking the time to invest in new technology, you should also look at the full range of options available from your technology provider.
Certain items such as electronic logging (ELD), messaging and vehicle and driver data collection are a core part of any fleet management platform. Supplementing these standard capabilities with additional functionality can help you achieve additional ROI and expand how your business defines “fleet management”.
Some additional technology options to consider include items such as:
Video cameras and other safety-related technology
Commercial in-cab navigation
Electronic scanning and document management
Weigh station bypass
Full-service fuel tax reporting
By taking a more holistic approach to your new technology investment, you can identify and uncover new opportunities to make the most of this change to enhance how your business operates. And, in some cases, it doesn’t require any additional hardware to enable these services within your fleet.
#4: Stay Away from Technology Silos
The success of your implementation will also largely depend on integrating any third-party systems into your fleet management platform. Many fleets rely on the data collected at the vehicle to inform back office software related to:
Routing and optimization platforms
Supply chain visibility tools
It is crucial that these integrations are available to help you avoid a “siloed” approach that requires manual intervention to get data from one system to another.
Even if integrations are available, setting them up can be sometimes complex. It is also imperative that your fleet management technology partner is capable of working with you, as needed, to ensure these integrations are properly configured to enable a seamless flow of data in your technology stack.
#5: Choose a True Technology Partner
Identifying the right fleet management solutions is an important milestone but so is ensuring you select the right technology partner. By ensuring you have the support in not only implementing the solutions but using them will be a key variable in determining your technology ROI.
So, how do you know if you are getting a true partner? When evaluating a potential fleet management vendor, consider how they can help you conduct onsite training, create a library of training resources, install new equipment and provide drivers and back office personnel with user support.
Start Realizing a Faster ROI on Fleet Management Technology
There is no question that a major technology change in your fleet can seem daunting -- but taking the time to evaluate your fleet management options can empower you to get the most out of your investment.
At Trimble, we help fleets like yours every day harness a wide range of solutions to help improve the safety and efficiency of all parts of the supply chain.
Are you ready to take advantage of the latest advancements in fleet management technology? Contact us today to discover we can help you maximize your productivity and connectivity with the solutions that matter to your operations.