Fleetpal Fleet Maintenance Software

How Can Fleet Owners Use Digitization To Improve Efficiency, Reduce Costs

The most efficient fleet is one that is operating at maximum productivity with minimum cost. Here are some digital strategies fleet owners can leverage to achieve optimum efficiency.
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The most efficient fleet is one that is operating at maximum productivity with minimum cost. Here are some digital strategies fleet owners can leverage to achieve optimum efficiency.

What’s in the article:

  • Introduction to trucking price dropping and why digital is the way forward
  • Why is digitization important for fleet operators?
  • What can fleet owner-operators and small fleets do to digitize?
  • How can digitization help fleet companies improve operations?
  • Conclusion – Plug to Fleetpal

What Can Fleet Companies Do To Run Efficient Trucking Operations

If you are a fleet operator or trucker, the holiday season starting this Halloween has probably not been very rewarding for you thus far. The trucking industry is running hot and cold, with prices rising and falling erratically, leading to uncertainty for 2023. As consumer spending cools, cargo volume being shipped across the US is also coming down. Even the large freight companies have not been spared – UPS (United Parcel Service Inc) average daily package volume in the US fell 1.5% in the third quarter from a year earlier and is likely to decline even more in the fourth quarter. 

Experts fear there may be no peak holiday season for fleet owners and trucking companies as warehouses are stuffed with inventory and lack storage space. Rates in the spot market are plummeting, down 40% from a year earlier, according to Cowen & Co.

Despite the positive outlook this Halloween, with NRF reports estimating total spending expected to hit $10.6 billion, the latest data from S&P Global Intelligence shows a shrinking demand for goods, leading to falling shipping rates globally. One could argue that easing supply chain disruptions have also contributed to falling trucking rates. Still, it is difficult to predict further demand trends and debacles with black swan events like the Russia-Ukraine war, a looming recession, and the lingering COVID-19 pandemic in the mix. 

While large carriers are better positioned to weather a market downturn, their smaller peers that operate 10 or fewer trucks, which account for about 97% of companies in the $875 billion trucking market, may find it difficult to stay afloat. The big operators have more cushion to deal with rising costs for drivers, trucks, maintenance, financing, and insurance that are dragging on profit as spot prices drop.

As a result, trucking companies and fleet operators may be on the verge of losing profits without accurate data visibility, regardless of the size and scope of their operations. Digitalization is an important aspect of growth that fleet owners need to focus on to minimize losses in this time of uncertainty.

Why is digitization important for fleet operators?

Traditionally, fleet managers would have toiled in offices overflowing with documentation, painstakingly sorting through data to make optimal use of information gathered from their trucks. But these times, they are a-changin’. Now, the role has been simplified and streamlined by digitization, made possible by the development of technology and the growing influence of the digital world. As a result, managers can spend less time combing through information and more time making critical decisions.

What can fleet owner-operators and small fleets do to digitize?

How Can Fleet Owners Use Digitization To Improve Efficiency

1. Using telematics to automate shipping processes

If you have heard of RFID tags, sensors, GPS tracking, and vehicle diagnostics reports, you have probably experienced the power of telematics. Shipping processes can run much smoother when fleet managers can automate these tedious manual processes. With data from smart devices like GPS trackers and RFID tags, fleet managers get real-time visibility into their fleet’s daily operations and can highlight areas of improvement.

Here are some benefits fleet owners can get from telematics:

  • Get alerted when drivers are idling and speeding
  • Access real-time data and vehicle tracking
  • Increase productivity with better routes and increased stops or deliveries
  • Improved scheduling to reduce overtime

Using telematics can automate fleet processes and help fleet managers, owners, and operators save a lot of time. That way, they can keep every employee accountable for their job responsibilities.

2. Enable paperless compliance for your drivers

Drivers struggle to keep up with paperwork, making compliance processes time-consuming and frustrating. ELD (Electronic Logging Device) data or data from paperless devices can be automatically set to gather driving and HOS (hours of service) data, making inspections quicker and more efficient.  

Additionally, DVIRs (Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports) can be automatically generated to make compliance and inspection processes smoother. DVIRs can be completed electronically, with smartphones to capture photo evidence if needed, making fleet management more efficient. This data can be automatically uploaded, which means vehicle maintenance can be scheduled and new parts ordered sooner. HOS logbooks and DVIRs improve reporting, maximize uptime and reduce admin costs for fleet owners. 

With an effective fleet management solution like Fleetpal, fleet owners can access all their data in one place in the form of a sleek, streamlined dashboard. With Fleetpal’s Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), owners can get insights into vehicle inspection reports, enabling predictive vehicle maintenance if required.

3. Enable BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) At Work

For small fleets digitizing their vehicles may be a costly operation. A simple solution to this problem is taking the BYOD route. Drivers can use their smartphones and tablets to log in to relevant apps that gather data and track important metrics.

GPS vehicle tracking services include a variety of mobile apps for Android and iPhones or iPads. These apps cover compliance navigation, driver behavior and safety vehicle inspections, working hours, as well as order management. Drivers can easily install these apps on their phones without additional hardware requirements.

BYOD allows fleet owners to operate with lowered hardware costs, minimized training requirements, zero software licensing costs, and improved user adoption. This is an effective method to digitize your fleet and improve the on-the-job experience for drivers.

How can digitization help fleet companies improve operations?

Fleet management is significantly impacted by digitization. Along with many other advantages, it leverages data analysis to streamline procedures, improve communication, increase fleet efficiency, and improve vehicle safety. Some positives of using digital fleet management solutions include the following:
  • Improved vehicle safety
  • On-time and predictive vehicle repairs and maintenance
  • Improved driver safety and efficiency
  • Optimized fuel usage
  • Accurate, real-time route planning
  • Reduction in running costs
  • Visibility into TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)
Managing fleet vehicles often presents unique challenges. Fortunately, fleet management solutions like Fleetpal continue to develop solutions customized to the specific needs of trucking fleets. For fleet owners-operators, Fleetpal provides visibility into operations, helping companies streamline processes and leverage the power of data for efficiency.
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