Managing one vehicle for your business is enough of a task, but a whole fleet is hard to manage without assistance. Keeping track of registrations, regular vehicle maintenance, driver break time, and service hours can be burdensome, and many other requirements can easily slip through the cracks. That's why fleet management software can be a benefit to your company.

An FMS solution, automates tasks related to registrations, maintenance, schedules and routes to free up time for other tasks and save businesses money.

The fleet management solutions market is expected to be valued at $15.4 billion by 2024, up from its current rate of $5.12 billion.

Source: Mordor Intelligence

Operating costs for fleets incrased in 2018 due to higher fuel prices and maintenance costs.

Source: Automotive Fleet

About 30% of a fleet vehicle's fuel efficiency is directly impacted by driver behavior.

Source: Fleet Financials

FMS Buyer's Guide

What is Fleet Management Software?

Fleet management software is used by businesses that need to manage a fleet of vehicles. It performs many automated duties necessary for managing a fleet, such as keeping track of vehicle registrations, improving efficiency by monitoring driver performance and making sure vehicles are seen for routine maintenance.

Fleet management software uses telematics to communicate with vehicles in remote locations. The communication device is usually a small box installed in the Controller Area Network (CAN) port under the vehicles' dashboard. This device is what captures GPS location and the diagnostic reports of the vehicle and communicates them to the software.

Common Fleet Management Software Features

Centralized storage of contracts

Route planning

Fleet management software can help your business make logistical decisions about the route a driver should take. This function uses the GPS position of the vehicle, the stops a driver makes and what speed they can travel to help users predict the best possible route.

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Vehicle maintenance

Remote diagnostics allow a business to know when a vehicle is due for maintenance. They can also assist in detecting problems with the vehicle that may be unnoticed by the driver. Since its telematic device plugs directly into the vehicle, businesses can be sure they're getting the most up-to-date maintenance information about their fleet.

Drafting contracts

Driver management

The driver tracking feature included in some fleet management solutions helps businesses understand the behaviors of their fleet drivers. This includes information such as rest time and driving habits. The information is stored within the driver's profile and can be accessed to determine which driver best suits the needs of the trip.

Drafting contracts

Fuel monitoring

This fleet management feature creates reports about fuel usage and tracks vehicle idling laws. Idling costs businesses lots of money, especially when considering that many trucks will idle up to eight hours a day during their routes. Over time, this will help drivers plan the best possible route for the lowest cost.

Compliance monitoring

Shipment management

This feature helps a business manage its orders and deliveries. The artificial intelligence features within this module can assist with delivery schedules, compliance management, cost analysis and the management of quotes and rates. A more advanced feature within shipment management is the cost analysis feature; this will track key metrics your business defines in order to manage total costs.

Negotiation of contracts

Safety and security

Most FMS solutions have some ability to control fleet vehicles remotely, allowing businesses to monitor speed levels. This feature allows users to reduce the speed of a vehicle, if necessary, from anywhere they access the FMS portal. This is useful in returning stolen vehicles by stopping the vehicle altogether so that it can be retrieved.

Negotiation of contracts

Accident detection

Along with other safety features, FMS also has accident detection. This helps companies to collect data from the incident for insurance purposes and predict the costs of repairs. After repairs are started, businesses can also monitor the progress of repairs and the estimated time it will take to get back on the road.

Top Benefits of Fleet Management Software

Automates tasks

Automates tasks

Automating tasks such as route planning, vehicle maintenance, monitoring of driver behaviors and compliance saves a lot of time – especially when it comes to accounting. Some fleet management solutions can integrate with your payroll and accounting system so you can track employee breaks, rest periods and hours all in one spot without having to manually calculate pay.

Saves money

Saves money

The automation of tasks such as fuel management, driver management, route planning, and remote maintenance monitoring saves businesses money by calculating the best routes at the lowest costs. An idling vehicle can be costly in many ways. For example, one hour of idling is equal to having driven 25-35 miles, putting unnecessary strain on the engine. Planning the best route can cut the costs of extended idling periods. Additionally, the maintenance monitoring system can help predict when a vehicle will need service – before there's an actual problem.

Enhances safety for drivers

Enhances safety for drivers

Safety and security features built into FMS, such as roadside assistance, accident detection, remote control and road hazard alerts keep the driver and cargo safe. Companies are notified when a driver needs assistance and can send help right away, and drivers are alerted of any potential road hazards, so they are able to look out for them. The remote control feature can deaccelerate vehicles and can be useful in returning a stolen vehicle to its proper owner.

Compliance

Keeps your business in compliance

There are many regulations commercial drivers must follow that govern safety, hours of service and more. Fleet management software takes the guesswork out of maintaining compliance with these state and federal regulations by tracking them automatically.

How to Choose a Fleet Management Software Solution

There are many fleet management software solutions available, all with different features, purposes and levels of customization. Before you purchase fleet management software, it's important to research what's out there to see what option is best for your business. We've outlined a few important steps below.

 
1

Know your company's needs

Before you start shopping for fleet management software, determine your company's specific needs. Audit your current fleet management process to see where it could be improved and create goals you'd like to achieve based on your findings. From there, you can create a list of fleet management software features that are “must-haves” and features that are “nice-to-have.”

You'll also want to make sure your IT department and top executives are on board with implementing a fleet management software solution.

2

Create a Shortlist

Once you've established your goals and objectives for a fleet management software solution, create a shortlist of vendors that best fit your needs. We recommend using your must-have features as well as your nice-to-have ones to help you select vendors with solutions that best match what you need.

In addition to features, you'll need to consider the vendor's deployment options (e.g., on-premise, cloud), implementation processes and customer support.

3

Contact vendors

Once you've established your shortlist of vendors, it's time to reach out to them. Explain what your objectives are and what features you require in a solution. You'll also want to request a demo of the software with real-life scenarios if possible. Vendors offer virtual demonstrations, but ask if a vendor is willing to meet with you at your office. Another way to test the software is to participate in a free trial, if there is one. Most vendors offer a 14-day or 30-day free trial.

You'll also want to compare different price quotes you receive. We explain more on pricing in our section below.

4

Conduct due diligence

Once you've selected your top two or three vendors, ask for references from their current or previous clients. While the vendor will give you the clients with the most glowing recommendations or experiences, ask to speak to clients that are in the same industry or are the same size as your company. You'll want to get not just the positives of the solution or vendor, but any issues the client has experienced, as well.

Pricing

One of the most important factors in selecting a fleet management software solution is pricing. Prices can vary depending on company size, customization, implementation and deployment.

Here are a few questions you should consider about pricing:

  • Is there a clear plan to judge return on investment?
  • What is our budget for implementing/hosting/purchasing fleet management software?
  • How many fleet management software features do we really need?
  • How many users will need to access the software?
  • What compliance and security features are included?

Fleet management software vendors typically use subscription hosting plans (cloud). This type of plan allows users to access the solution from anywhere: smartphones, laptops, desktops and tablets. The nature of fleet management means that most users won't be on-site when they need to access the software.

Subscription hosting (cloud): Businesses that don't have the time or resources to host their own solution can consider deploying fleet management software in the cloud. They will only need to pay a monthly or annual subscription cost based on the number of accounts. Subscription costs can include the number of features the company needs, as well as any support and maintenance.

Subscription hosting is attractive for businesses of all sizes that need a fleet management solution. Users can simply log in through a web browser, allowing them to access the software from anywhere. Subscription-based fleet management software solutions are priced per user and include tech support and help for implementation.

Costs can range from about $15 per month to $80 per month depending on your business' exact needs. Some vendors offer rates at a per-user fee and some at a per-vehicle fee. Keep in mind, you'll also need to purchase or rent the hardware required, such as the telematics communication device you'll need to install in each vehicle.

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Challenges of Fleet Management Software

Getting buy-in

Adoption of your new fleet management software is crucial to its success. Concerns from top execs and IT might include the cost compared to the return on investment and security concerns if the software is hosted by a third-party vendor.

Only needing a few features

After figuring out its goals, a company may decide it doesn't need an all-encompassing fleet management software solution. Perhaps it only needs a few features like route planning and GPS functionality.

Linxup
VENDOR NAME: Linxup
READ REVIEW

GOOD

Ability to diagnose engine codes, customizable alert settings, safety report card and other tools to monitor driver performance.

BAD

Occasional glitches with GPS tracker, issue with battery draining on hybrid vehicles, extensive driver performance monitoring features.

BOTTOM LINE

Real-time GPS tracking solutions that help companies streamline their fleet management processes.

READ REVIEW
Lytx
VENDOR NAME: Lytx Inc.
READ REVIEW

GOOD

DriveCam device uses machine vision and AI to identify risky driving, continuous video recording of up to 100 hours, efficient fleet-tracking processes.

BAD

Better search functionality is needed, vehicle maintenance features aren't offered.

BOTTOM LINE

Fleet management provider that uses video telematics to help companies improve safety, productivity and compliance.

READ REVIEW
NexTraq
VENDOR NAME: NexTraq LLC
READ REVIEW

GOOD

Comprehensive tools to improve driver safety, full-featured mobile apps for both drivers and fleet managers, integration with many third-party back-office systems.

BAD

Robust features present learning curve for new users, tracker can occasionally give off inaccurate speed readings.

BOTTOM LINE

Cloud-based platform that helps fleet managers efficiently manage their vehicles and assets.

READ REVIEW
Omnitracs
VENDOR NAME: Omnitracs LLC.
READ REVIEW

GOOD

Flexible routing features, configurable navigation system with audio and visual directions, actionable analytics data to help companies make better business decisions.

BAD

Slow ELD connectivity at times, learning curve for new users.

BOTTOM LINE

Customizable fleet management platform that helps companies stay on top of productivity, safety and compliance.

READ REVIEW
Samsara
VENDOR NAME: Samsara
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GOOD

Built-in preventive maintenance features, AI dash cam that records driver behavior and detects collisions, ability to comply with ELD mandates.

BAD

Dedicated mobile app for fleet manager isn't offered, inability to retrieve video that's longer than 60 seconds.

BOTTOM LINE

Integrated fleet management platform that helps businesses increase the safety and efficiency of their drivers and vehicles.

READ REVIEW