While upcoming restrictions on driving time for truck drivers are aimed at creating safer roads for the drivers themselves and for the public, many smaller fleet companies are worried that the restrictions and the e-logs that come with them will drive them out of business.
Many older drivers are annoyed with the new regulations and are talking about retiring once they go into effect. Since there is already a shortage of drivers, bringing in new ones with increased salaries and signing bonuses will prove costly. So, as a fleet manager, you might see the e-logs as another cost stretching your already tight budget. Not only that, but you might think the mandated use of e-logs will cause your drivers to be less efficient, cover less ground, and ultimately drag the company down. However, with the right fleet management solution, this doesn’t have to be the case. Let’s take a look at some of the ways a fleet management system can actually help smaller fleets be more efficient and help keep your company in the black.
1. More efficient routes and deployment of vehicles
It may sound simple, but you want your drivers to take the best routes, right? A fleet management system provides fleet managers with location data so you can ensure your drivers are taking the best routes on each assignment. It’s one thing to just tell them which way to go, but with GPS tracking technology, you’ll be able to see them following the instructions. And, if any of your fleet gets stuck traffic, you’ll have the information you need right there in front of you to give them an alternate route. Whereas without GPS tracking technology, your driver might have been stuck sitting in traffic for hours, with a GPS system, you can take charge of the situation and get them moving again. A more efficient journey means less time spent on the road and more revenue coming in for your business.
2. Keep vehicles on the road for longer
If you’re managing a small fleet, you need all your vehicles on the road as much as possible. Just having one vehicle out-of-action because it needs maintenance work could have a big impact on your revenue until it’s back in service. With a fleet management system, you can stay on top of your vehicle’s health. By knowing exactly how long they’ve been out on the road without inspection and being able to monitor performance, you can catch maintenance issues ahead of time and take steps to get the vehicles back in good shape before they break down. Nothing is worse for a fleet manager than having a vehicle unavailable with no backup plan in place. With GPS tracking, you can be sure your fleet will be running at 100%– keeping your vehicles on the road.
3. Helping drivers be more efficient on the road
GPS tracking technology can also help with the performance of the most important part of your company: the drivers. Though they may feel like they’ve gotten the hang of it after many years on the job and many thousands of miles behind them, the fact remains: every driver can get better. This doesn’t just mean driving defensively, driving at a safe speed, and avoiding accidents– it also means driving efficiently.
GPS tracking technology lets you track the fuel consumption of your drivers as they make their trips. Though gas prices have been pretty low in recent times, they still represent a significant cost in fleet management. With a GPS tracking system, you get valuable information on their:
- Rate of acceleration
- Breaking patterns
- Distance driven between fuel stops
- Time spent idling
All of these factors can have a big effect on the efficiency of your driver– not only with their fuel consumption but also how safely they’re driving. Think about it: if you have drivers driving aggressively, this means they’re more likely to get into an accident, which means downtime for your fleet and a delayed delivery for your client. Communicating with your drivers using the data you’re tracking should help them drive more efficiently and safely. And, because you’re keeping a record of all of their driving activity, it’s something you are able to track and monitor for improvements over time.
As with any implementation of additional regulations in any industry, it’s easy to look at the new rules as a burden that will have a negative impact on businesses, especially smaller ones. By using the technology required by the e-log mandate, however, small fleet managers can and should look for ways which it can help them be more efficient, keeping their fleet on the road longer and their drivers working more efficiently.
Learn more ways to be efficient with your fleet. Download the free Using Vehicle Data to Improve Driver Performance E-Guide.