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|Dave Pelland has extensive experience covering the business use of technology, networking and communications tools by companies of all sizes. Dave's editorial and corporate experience includes more than 10 years editing an electronic technology and communications industry newsletter for a global professional services firm.|
Small Business Fleet Management Tools
Whether your small business depends on one vehicle or 30, fleet management tools can help you reduce costs while improving efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Fleet management systems combine hardware, software and data to provide you with a real-time view of your vehicles’ location and performance, up-to-date maintenance data, notification about driver behavior or other events, and other information that improves the overall effectiveness of your fleet (and your business).
Fleet management tools help business owners get an accurate measurement of what each vehicle and the fleet as a whole costs to operate per mile. Understanding and tracking this vital metric is often the first step to identifying ways you can optimize fleet-related costs.
The software will also provide reports on typical expenses such as fuel, repairs and driver payroll that can be easy to track individually, but harder when combined. Understanding these costs can help you identify potential savings.
For instance, fuel generally accounts for about 25 percent of a fleet’s operating costs, so finding ways to schedule or route vehicles more efficiently can provide savings that improve your company’s bottom line directly.
Tracking how and when vehicles are used can also help you reduce the amount of time vehicles sit idle, or are driven without cargo. Reducing those so-called “empty miles” can be a helpful step in increasing efficiency and lowering fleet-related costs.
In some instances, for instance, using an outside provider to make a small or one-time delivery may be a more cost-effective choice than dispatching a company vehicle. Understanding your fleet’s cost-per-mile can help you make better-informed decisions.
With a growing number of fleet management platforms targeting small and medium businesses, picking the right one for your company’s needs will likely require careful evaluation of features and usability. Some factors to consider include:
Most fleet management systems designed for small businesses are cloud-based, with subscriptions varying by desired features and the number of vehicles that are tracked.
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