Companies invest in fleet management tools for a variety of reasons, whether to better route vehicles, reduce fuel consumption, prolong vehicle life with better maintenance, or a laundry list of other benefits. Yet, to achieve the end goal, there are several features fleet managers should look for in fleet management solutions:
Reliability — Some systems' GPS tracking devices have a 10%, 20% and even 30% failure rate. Look for a failure rate of under 1% to ensure that all GPS data is captured for analysis and reporting. Also look for hardware warranties that cover the life of the contract, not just one year. The length of the warranty is a direct reflection of the vendor's confidence (or lack thereof) in their product performance.
Reporting scope, usability and updates — The better the reporting suite, the more potential for improving your operations. Beyond standard features like real-time maps and speed, idling and geofence reports, look for solutions with more advanced capabilities like maintenance scheduling, route compliance and forms-based field reporting. Be sure that system views can be tailored to the needs of different users such as dispatchers, fleet managers and CEOs. And check to see how frequently new reports and other upgrades are released. That will show whether the vendor is investing in R&D that will benefit you down the road.
Value-added accessories — Beyond GPS tracking devices and back-office software, look for solutions that offer accessories developed by the vendor to deliver true business value. That includes in-vehicle GPS/messaging devices that are natively integrated with the fleet tracking software (so that dispatchers can send job details, location and customer information to drivers without typing or making a phone call) and mobile applications that allow dispatchers, fleet managers and company executives to see fleet activities from their iPhone or other device (for easy monitoring and troubleshooting).