|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 Software
Having long been a key tool for large companies and specialized delivery services, fleet management software is becoming more common among small and medium companies.
Thanks in part to cloud-based services and more affordable devices, companies of all sizes can take advantage of the many potential advantages fleet management software offer small businesses.
By providing business owners and supervisors with detailed information about how their vehicles are being used, fleet management software can help a small business optimize its vehicle performance and reduce operating costs while, equally as important, improving customer service.
Fleet Management Basics
Fleet management services come in different levels that provide varying degrees of information about a company's vehicles. At a basic level, designed for companies with a vehicle or two, low-cost smartphone or tablet apps provide information about a vehicle's operations that can be relayed to a web portal.
For more powerful services, an integrated GPS receiver can be plugged into the vehicle's OBD-II port (located near the driver's footwell) or mounted permanently behind the dashboard.
These devices will either transmit real-time data over cellular networks, or can send data via a wireless link when the vehicle returns to the workplace. With some inexpensive devices, data is stored on a memory card and downloaded manually.
Vehicle management software can provide valuable insights to help companies improve vehicle use and reduce costs. Some of the most common metrics companies manage include:
Services can also provide detailed reports to help companies understand and improve the efficiency of their vehicle use. Data about miles driven, fuel consumption, costs and other metrics can be sorted by specific vehicles or drivers to provide important insights and identify opportunities for improvement.
As the level of sophistication increases, so does the cost of fleet management services. Real-time tracking services that let companies see vehicle locations and send routing information to vehicles can cost about $30 per month per vehicle, while services without real-time location data can cost as little as $1/month/vehicle.
Some fleet management services offer additional services such as employee time tracking, integration with fuel cards, roadside assistance and others.
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