Fleet management can be defined as the tracking of a company's vehicles; this can include ships, vans and cars. It is becoming increasingly viable with the advances in GPS technology for all manner of companies. The uses are diverse and for the manager who likes to know the whereabouts and functions of their fleet it can provide a comprehensive solution. But what predictions can be made for the fleet management industry in the next twelve months?
One issue that is becoming increasingly important in the world of fleet management is the rises in the cost of fuel. This has become a major concern as expenses for fuel seem to be escalating at record levels. It is estimated that the hardest hit will be those involved in the management of truck fleets. Fleet managers this year will attempt to lower their fuel costs; this however will be difficult. The only way they will be able to reduce the fuel costs of a fleet is to look at tyres and maintenance of vehicles to ensure higher levels of efficiency.
One benefit for those involved in fleet management is that last year's new regulation in engines is not having as great an effect as previously thought. Seemingly efficiency has not been greatly diminished. One way in which fleet managers will be trying to increase efficiency is to limit the time vehicles are spent idling. Introducing management procedures that forces drivers to turn off engines whenever stationary will definitely become common practice this year. Once again technology is aiding these procedures by producing devices that measure idling time and cut the engine off if this period is too long.
The world of fleet management may also see the increased use of alternative fuels. We are already seeing bio-fuel becoming a popular alternative to diesel as it is cheaper and better for the environment. There are even transportation companies sprouting up that are specialising in bio-fuelled vehicles; it is believed that this approach will lead to environmentally conscious customers utilising their services. An alternative to bio-fuel has been the use of propane in fleet management; this comes at a time when the entire motor industry is trying to find more viable fuelling solutions.
GPS tracking will become an even more important element to fleet management in 2008. While these systems have been developing since the late eighties it is now that they are becoming a truly appealing option. While installation costs are still relatively high the dividends can be huge. They can improve fuel efficiency, increase delivery space and more generally raise levels of productivity.
GPS tracking or telematics can improve fuel efficiency by creating routes that are the most fuel efficient fleet management solution. By planning driver routes in advance it is possible to maximise the deliveries made in relation to the fuel used. In the same way, by making accurate route plans it is possible to reduce the number of trucks on the road by filling each to their maximum before departure. Hopefully this technological advancement will make the one pallet delivery a non existent occurrence.
The use of GPS systems can also measure the activities of drivers in detail. This may seem as an invasion of privacy on the part of the fleet management team, but as the drivers are effectively working, their whereabouts should be known at all times. By having procedures in place to deal with drivers who take excessive detours it is possible to maximise efficiency and reduce the time wasted.
The world of fleet management is rapidly changing. This is mainly due to inclusion of GPS technology in many fleets and the subsequent benefits. As stated previously the increase in fuel prices worldwide means that the major concern of fleet managers this year will be to increase fuel efficiency and hence profitability.
Industry expert Thomas Pretty looks into ways fleet management solutions are changing and predicts trends for the coming year.