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Taking control of your fleet

By Kyle Linsay
Monday, June 10, 2013 - 20:14

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CONTROL: Trimble give their expert advice

Trimble, one of the world’s leading providers of advanced positioning solutions, kick off our Guest Blog with their take on how to control your fleet…

Introduction

Many companies acknowledge that 2013 is a year when they need to do more with fewer resources as increasing customer expectations, an uncertain economic climate and rising fuel prices continue to pressurise the bottom line.

Field service companies can’t stop using their vehicles, so maintaining efficient fleets is essential for any business to remain competitive and selecting a solution which boosts productivity whilst reducing costs ensures a business achieves a genuine Return on Investment (ROI).

Trimble’s ‘Road Ahead’ study unveiled that 20% of large field-based work forces in the UK are still operating fully manual systems to manage their fleets.

Technology in the form of fleet management and telematics technology, however, was recalled by 65% as being a top area for investment and the area most in need of upgrading.

According to AberdeenGroup surveys, investment in such technologies provides far reaching benefits including:

  • 32% improvement in fleet utilisation
  • 31% reduction in daily mileage
  • 25% reduction in idle times
  • 22% reduction is fuel consumption
  • 21% reduction in vehicle and operating costs
  • 9% improvement in workforce productivity

Select the right technology for your business needs

When looking for the right fleet management solution it is recommended to select a full service, end-to-end fleet management provider that will offer you an ‘a la carte’ menu of options, so you can start with what you need now and scale up later.

Such a solution provides all the hardware, software and services that a business needs to:

  • Manage the mobile worker: Track work status, time, location, speed, fuel use and driver safety
  • Manage the mobile worker’s work: Automate service scheduling and dispatch
  • Manage the mobile worker’s assets: Keep vehicles running in good condition and maintain inventory, equipment and other field assets

Take control of fuel efficiency

Rising fuel prices are seen as the number one concern in meeting field service priorities, so it is imperative that businesses improve the efficiency of their fleets by reducing operating costs tied to fuel use.

Challenges include excess fuel consumption from:

  • Vehicles travelling outside of planned routes
  • Unauthorised side trips or after hours vehicle use
  • Speeding or excessive engine idling time
  • Lack of proper maintenance/inefficient engine operation

Fleet management technologies can tackle these challenges.

Once deployed, the technology generates real time data of each vehicle to help fleet managers accurately ascertain where fuel is being wasted.

It reports on faults and performance behind the wheel, which can help to lower vehicle idling times (by 50-90%), curb excessive speeding and highlight those drivers which are guilty of poor driving, so their behaviour can be addressed.

Take control of the vehicle

Efficient management of vehicle fleets is of the utmost importance as it can have a major impact on your bottom line.

By following a best practise approach, fleet managers can maximise the performance of their mobile workforce and extend vehicle life whilst, at the same time, saving on running costs.

Vehicle diagnostic solutions take routine maintenance checks a step further by providing real-time data so information can be drawn directly from the vehicle, helping improve vehicle maintenance, service scheduling and uptime by getting fault codes and alerts about engine difficulties before they become a major problem.

Taking steps to proactively service underperforming vehicles not only significantly reduces on the road risk but minimises vehicle breakdowns or unscheduled downtime which could considerably mitigate fleet costs.

Take control of driver safety

Promoting a safe driving culture is essential.

A safe driver is a cost-effective driver. They have fewer accidents, they are more productive and they tend to drive more efficiently, reducing the fuel bill.

Careless driving can cost companies thousands or even millions of pounds each year. Figures from Fleet200 members indicate that their drivers have 174,000 accidents a year, resulting in a single Fleet200 company spending £1.3 million on accidents per year.

Driver safety solutions available today monitor driving behaviour, offering real time feedback to the driver and providing complete back office analysis of aggressive manoeuvres, such as hard acceleration, braking, turns and speed.

With this data at hand, drivers can instantly change their driving style and recommendations on training can be made for individual drivers, resulting in lower accidents and liability therefore helping to manage the risks associated with work-related driving.

Summary

A fleet management solution can be a great asset to your business, helping you lower fuel costs, maintenance while improving customer service and maximising the productivity of your drivers and field technicians.

For further information on taking control of your fleet visit the new-look Trimble Field Service Management website to see our video of Joyce Tam, Product Marketing Director talking about fleet management. Visit:  www.trimble.com/fsm.

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