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A complete guide to fleet management solutions

February 15, 2024

With the right fleet management solution fleet managers can dissolve burdens typically associated with manual processes and workflows involved in overseeing a fleet of vehicles. Furthermore, deploying the right solution can provide greater visibility into fleet operations, helping managers make more informed decisions to save time and money and improve driver safety.

This is everything you need to know about effective fleet management tools, including some brief refreshers, important features to look for, and the benefits of partnering with a provider that has an expertise in fleet fueling, charging, and related expense management.

A brief refresher on fleet management

Fleet management involves overseeing and coordinating one or more company vehicles to ensure efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness across an organization — from small businesses to large enterprises.

These days, the range of off-the-shelf products available to fleet managers sometimes leads small business owners — especially those with just a handful of vehicles — to side step what would ultimately be a far more effective, time-tested solution specifically designed for effective fleet expense management and operational efficiency. 

Larger businesses and those at the enterprise level likely have one, if not multiple, fleet managers who oversee operations. Still, fleet management solutions and systems augment fleet managers’ jobs by streamlining data collection, tracking, fuel management, and more.

Typically, to be an effective fleet manager, you need visibility into various aspects of driver behavior, vehicle health, etc. — and tools that can provide it. In most cases, this means having the capabilities for:

  • Vehicle tracking: GPS technology helps monitor vehicle location, route efficiency, and overall fleet movement to help keep tabs on drivers, mitigate fraud, and reduce vehicle misuse.
  • Fuel management: Monitoring fuel consumption and optimizing routes helps to reduce fuel costs and the environmental impact of your fleet.
  • Driver training/management: Monitoring driver behavior, ensuring compliance with regulations, and providing training when needed contribute to overall fleet safety and efficiency.
  • Safety and compliance: Ensuring that vehicles comply with safety standards and regulatory requirements helps avoid legal issues and enhances overall safety.
  • Data analytics and reporting: Utilizing data analytics to gain insights into fleet performance and generating robust reports helps in myriad ways, from enhanced decision-making to better driver training and more.
  • Telematics: Integrating telematics technology into your fleet operations makes it easier to collect and analyze data related to vehicle performance, driver behavior, and other relevant factors that fleet managers oversee.

What kind of organizations require robust fleet management?

Fleet management and related solutions aren’t reserved for multi-million dollar enterprises. Small businesses, even those with just one or a handful of fleet vehicles, can still benefit from well-integrated management solutions.

The following industries are examples that commonly have a dedicated fleet manager, whose job it is to ensure operations are running smoothly, as expected, and as efficiently as possible:

  • Transportation and logistics companies
  • Delivery companies
  • Public transportation services
  • Utility companies
  • Government and municipalities
  • Waste management
  • Car rental companies
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Small business owners

Challenges that fleet managers face

Across all industries and business sizes, fleet managers face challenges that can be difficult to overcome without the right tools and insight:

  • Vehicle downtime: Unplanned downtime, which sometimes leads to unscheduled maintenance, can increase your operating costs. While it’s tricky to nail down the average cost of unplanned downtime, you can make an informed guess by summing the hourly cost of a driver and hourly profit loss. If the vehicle also needs maintenance, you’ll have to spend even more.
  • Regulatory compliance: Fleet vehicles are held to a litany of standards and regulations set forth by federal and state authorities, which can be tough to maintain without proper visibility into operations.
  • Fleet maintenance: Another large — and expensive — hurdle in fleet management, maintenance bills can add up quickly and unexpectedly. Using tools like GPS tracking and telematics, fleet managers can keep their fingers on the pulse of their vehicles to know when they need service.
  • Driver behavior: Poor driving habits increase the chances of collisions, injuries, and even death. Not only do poor habits like harsh braking and idling wear down vehicles faster or consume more fuel than necessary, but they can also lead to lawsuits and increased insurance premiums that your business will be responsible for paying.

Fleet management solutions: Overview and benefits

Fleet management partners have the expertise and tools to streamline and optimize the various tasks associated with effectively managing a fleet of vehicles — big or small. Typically, a robust fleet management solution offers a centralized platform for monitoring, controlling, and analyzing all aspects of your fleet operations, from driver behavior to fuel usage and more.

When searching for a fleet partner, there are several integral offerings you should be on the lookout for:

  • GPS tracking and telematics
  • Maintenance scheduling tools
  • Fuel card programs
  • Driver performance monitoring

GPS vehicle tracking

Premium GPS tracking for your fleet provides real-time visibility into the location and movement of each vehicle. Fleet managers can use the information gathered via GPS to discern poor driving habits and take corrective action, monitor and mitigate instances of fraud and vehicle misuse, and drive down fleet operations spending across the board.

Maintenance scheduling and alerts

Fleet management solutions that offer GPS tracking and a centralized dashboard for vehicle analytics make scheduling and tracking regular maintenance tasks easier to reduce the risk of breakdowns and extend the lifespan of vehicles.

Fuel management and fuel cards

Fuel cards are an invaluable aspect of fleet management — especially for growing businesses. With the right card, you should get automatic fuel expense tracking, a robust set of employee controls and alerts, rebates that create a brand-new revenue stream, and more.

An effective fleet fuel card should offer features such as:

  • Transaction monitoring: Real-time tracking of fuel transactions allows for better oversight, helping fleet managers identify irregularities or unauthorized purchases.
  • Customized reporting: Generate detailed reports on fuel usage, spending patterns, and other relevant metrics.
  • Access to a large fuel station network: 95% of all retail fuel locations in the United States accept the WEX fuel card, providing drivers with convenient options.
  • Usage controls: Set restrictions on card usage, such as limiting the type of fuel purchased, the number of transactions, and spending limits to prevent misuse.

Integration: Seamlessly integrate WEX fuel card data with GPS and telematics analytics for complete visibility into driver performance, transactions, vehicle usage, and more.

Driver performance monitoring

Using a combination of data gathered from onboard GPS telematics and an integrated fuel card, you can keep tabs on driver behavior, from driving performance to spending habits, to help improve safety and reduce fuel fraud.

Premium tracking features should provide insight into driver behavior, including speed, idling time, and harsh braking. On the payment side, get clarity and alerts based on spending so you know when drivers may be exhausting limits or stealing fuel.

With the right fleet partner, you’ll be able to promote safer driving practices and may even lower your insurance costs over time.

Compliance and regulatory management

Compliance requirements abound in the fleet business and a fleet management solution can help keep you and your operation in check.

For example, in the event of regulatory audits, fleet management solutions provide accurate and organized data via telematics systems. Stored and easily accessible historical information makes it easier for organizations to demonstrate compliance during audits.

Furthermore, many regions have strict regulations regarding the maximum hours a driver can operate a vehicle within a specific timeframe. GPS tracking and telematics monitor and log driver hours automatically, ensuring hours of service (HOS) compliance.

Telematics integration

Telematics opens a window into vehicle performance, which is essential for monitoring engine diagnostics and assessing overall fleet efficiency.

Using the data gathered from vehicle telematics, fleet managers can complete route optimization and keep a finger on the pulse of vehicle health. As a result, a proactive approach to maintenance and scheduling helps reduce downtime and prevent costly repairs.

Customizable dashboards and reports

Allow users to create customized dashboards and reports based on their specific needs, providing a comprehensive overview of fleet performance.

By partnering with the most effective fuel card company, organizations can achieve increased operational efficiency, reduced costs, improved safety, and enhanced overall productivity. Fuel cars provide valuable tools for making data-driven decisions and maintaining a competitive edge for your small business, large fleet, or government fleet.

Everything you need in a fleet management solution

From fuel cards to premium fleet tracking capabilities, WEX fleet management is a complete solution designed to help you reduce operational costs, earn rebates on fuel purchases, streamline data analytics and reporting, ease the burdens of manual fleet management processes, and more.

By providing real-time tracking and monitoring capabilities, organizations can gain valuable insights into the location, status, and performance of their vehicles, leading to improved decision-making. 

What’s more, WEX enables preventive maintenance scheduling to minimize downtime and reduce overall operational costs for your fleet. With the easy and free integration of fuel cards and telematics data, fleet managers can more easily analyze driver behavior and fuel consumption to foster a culture of responsible driving.

WEX speaks the language of small business operators. Whether you’re looking to modernize your insight and reporting efforts, save on fuel costs or take advantage of the latest GPS tracking technologies, WEX offers solutions to simplify the business of running a business. To learn more about WEX, a dynamic and nimble global organization, please visit our About WEX page.

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