When starting in business, particularly in an area which requires the use of a commercial fleet, making your available funds go as far as they can is vitally important. It is easy to imagine that as a start-up needing to operate a small number of commercial vehicles, in busy times, a shortage of drivers and vehicles could cause severe problems for the business.
The most obvious way to combat a driver shortage is to hire more drivers and add vehicles to the fleet. The main issue with this, however, is that it can be extremely costly for start-ups or small businesses, as the additional costs associated with hiring a new driver can rise very quickly. Not only is there a new salary to budget for, another vehicle to purchase, additional insurance costs but added vehicle maintenance and fuel costs to account for financially.
Because of the high additional costs with adding further drivers, start-ups may look for other areas to target which could overcome driver shortages. One way in which it is possible to increase the productivity of an existing fleet is to employ fleet tracking technology.
These systems work by installing telematics devices within vehicles and transmitting highly accurate data to fleet managers. Through this data, there are several ways in which start-ups can increase productivity and overcome driver shortages.
When aiming to overcome driver shortages, having your existing drivers sitting stationary in traffic does not help the problem. By producing accurate live location data, which can be viewed by fleet managers, drivers can be alerted to issues they may be about to encounter, such as severe traffic congestion and adjust their route accordingly. This allows drivers to arrive at locations without experiencing significant delays. Furthermore, historical route data can be stored and viewed by fleet managers to determine if there are routes which could be improved such as avoiding specific areas at certain times of the day which have been shown to cause problems and delays.
While fleet tracking can impact the routes and scheduling of existing drivers, it can also improve the efficiency with which they operate their vehicles, resulting in significant savings for the business. Firstly, in-cab coaching systems are available which provide audio and visual feedback to drivers throughout the day based on their driving performance. Drivers are made aware of such actions as harsh braking, accelerating and cornering, all of which increase the fuel usage of a vehicle along with increasing the risk of having an accident on the road. By alerting drivers to dangerous actions or a driving style which is contributing to high fuel usage, the safety and efficiency of the businesses commercial vehicles can be significantly improved.
Secondly, through the ability to more closely monitor the usage of the vehicle and therefore how much wear is occurring on parts such as brake pads, fleet managers can more easily plan for scheduled vehicle maintenance. Without vehicle tracking systems, it is much harder to plan for maintenance work, as accurately keeping track of the miles accumulated on specific parts is difficult. However, the detailed reports produced from vehicle tracking allows fleet managers to know exactly when a maintenance check is needed and plan accordingly. Unscheduled maintenance, which unexpectedly takes vehicles off the road, can significantly impact the efficiency of a fleet. When that fleet is already dealing with driver shortages, this could be disastrous. Also, planning for maintenance helps businesses control the costs, as they can budget for that month accordingly, rather than potentially having a surprise vehicle maintenance bill which they didn’t account for. Ultimately this can help save a company money, and for a start-up, this is critical.
Finally, as mentioned above, vehicle tracking produces a large amount of useful data for fleet managers to help improve the efficiency of a commercial fleet. One area which can also be improved however is the administration side of operating a commercial fleet. Through computer programmes which operate alongside vehicle tracking, traditional administrative operations can be streamlined. Automatically generating digital reports and driver timesheets can save your start-up time and money in addition to moving your operation towards a paperless workplace. This allows for time and resources to be better spent in other areas, such as investing in more efficient commercial vehicles.
Overall, fleet tracking has many key benefits which can help companies of all sizes. For start-ups specifically, not only does fleet tracking improve the efficiency of their current commercial vehicles, but can make significant financial savings in other areas to help the business invest in additional vehicles later down the road.