Fleet Management Apps: 6 To Achieve a Smooth Operation

by Vector | Sep 25, 2020 12:00:00 AM

Fleet Management Apps: 6 To Achieve a Smooth Operation

September 25, 2020
Fleet Management Apps: 6 To Achieve a Smooth Operation

A day in the life of a fleet manager is filled with ups and downs. To help smooth things out, there's currently an industrywide push toward logistics apps, paperless freight, and tech integration in general. Today, we're going to look at a few of the top fleet management apps helping to revolutionize freight. An effective app can be a lifesaver and help fleet managers score more wins every day.

Our goal here today is to highlight the key features attracting freight companies to the best apps. We'll answer:

  1. What problems do fleet management apps solve?
  2. Which features should you look for in a fleet management app?
  3. Who makes the best fleet management apps on the market?
  4. Which types of fleets can benefit from a fleet management app?

But before we dive into the apps, there's another important question you should answer: How do you celebrate a win at work? In my experience, no matter the job, there's always a victory dance. Let's face it, money aside, that victory-dance feeling is what drives us in our careers and in life! Am I right?

For example, two companies I worked at had a big brass bell that got rung only after you closed a big deal. Oh, how I loved ringing that bell! Currently, we have a thing called "million-dollar bagel mornings." I don't even eat breakfast...except when it's a million-dollar bagel! Obviously, at some companies the victory dance might come after a round of adult beverages. But if you just scored a big win at work, you could celebrate with tap water, and it would still taste great!

Smooth Operators Live for That Victory-Dance Feeling

The point is, sometimes after a win, you just gotta do a victory dance. I think you know what I'm talking about! For example, right after LeBron James and the Lakers won a playoff series, he danced a cha-cha and sang Sade's 1984 classic song "Smooth Operator" to teammates. But as James explained, "That's what you do after you close out a series!"

Now, before we go ballistic, let's take a moment to recognize that it's not enough to just work harder—we must also work smarter. Sure, that's a cliché. But it's also the philosophy behind all the apps and technology we'll review today.

Will Chu, the CEO of Vector, described it best in a recent interview with Road Dog Trucking. Chu explained that "the best technology involves a man-and-machine symbiosis."

In other words, the best tech doesn't replace humans in the workforce. Instead, it allows us to work smarter by eliminating repetitive tasks and minor, routine issues.

Which Fleet Management App Solutions Can Make You a Smooth Operator?

There's no doubt technology has swept the freight industry. App stores are full of software that promises to help fleet managers keep the victory dances going. But how do you decide which software is best for your company? Every fleet management app on the market has distinct features, options, and price points that can guide your decision. What are you looking for in a fleet management app? Most decision makers looking at onboarding an app will say they want the following solutions:

  • Overall improved company efficiency
  • Time management and cost management
  • Driver management
  • Vehicle management
  • Data management
  • Risk management
  • Integration with TMS and telematics

Fleet Management Apps: What Are the Tools of the Trade?

In general, you can think of fleet management apps and the software behind them as tools that perform a diverse set of management tasks. The apps accomplish these tasks through the following fleet management app features:

  • Mobile document capture
  • GPS
  • Document sharing
  • Data storage (for documents and pictures)
  • Digital forms, such as electronic bills of lading
  • Cloud-based storage
  • Searchable document filing and mobile accessibility
  • Real-time messaging capability

So those are the tools, or dance steps if you will, that we're looking for out of a fleet management app. Next, we'll see who's got the right moves.

Fleet Management App Overviews

This is a short list of high-performing fleet management apps. Among other things, these apps help control costs, improve efficiency, keep drivers accountable, and generally help companies understand how their fleet fits into the bigger picture of their business operations. If you need any of the solutions or tools noted above, this is where I'd start:

  1. Vector
  2. MyGeotab
  3. Fleetio
  4. Zubie
  5. Latitude
  6. Groundcloud

Let's take a closer look at the offerings of these fleet management apps.

1. Vector Mobile

First off, Vector is the leading mobile app for touchless, contactless, and paperless freight. With Vector, all your freight paperwork is within reach from a smartphone or computer. The Vector app allows drivers to scan and manage all their documents without resorting to paper. It also allows you to easily invite others to view or leave comments for your PODs, receipts, weight tags, lumper receipts, OS&D paperwork, and so on. The app backs up all files to the cloud, so you can't lose them.

Vector provides unlimited uploads of paperwork and images, which you can also view on the web portal. In addition, it allows quick access to all documents, which you can share with dispatch, brokers, customers, warehouses, and the folks in the back office. Vector's tools streamline not just drivers' workflow, but everyone's.

2. MyGeotab

MyGeotab considers itself to be a driver compliance solution. The goal is to streamline electronic logging device (ELD) compliance, driver vehicle inspection reporting (DVIR), and driver identification. The people behind MyGeotab want to help you meet compliance regulations, improve fleet productivity, and ultimately keep drivers safe.

MyGeotab tracks all your fleet vehicle performance and driver activity. You can do this on a mobile platform or a desktop interface. In addition, fleet managers can track a vehicle's real-time GPS location, see detailed trip histories for each vehicle, and help with fuel management. MyGeotab can interface with vehicle telematics and provide notifications on location, activity, speeding, hard braking, and even seat belt use.

3. Fleetio

The Fleetio app helps drivers manage daily fleet tasks. As a step up from spreadsheets or outdated software, Fleetio enables fleets of all sizes to manage day-to-day fleet operations, GPS integration, fuel costs, and vehicle maintenance. Also, Fleetio allows access to unlimited account users in addition to both online and mobile accessibility.

Next, Fleetio users can manage vehicle maintenance with helpful reminders, maintenance history reports, and photo attachments. And lastly, Fleetio also allows technicians to review vehicle inspection reports, see work orders, and manage issues from their device or desktop.

4. Zubie

With a Zubie subscription, you get location tracking, driver behavior analytics, vehicle health management, and information that helps you with fuel management. To use the Zubie app, you’ll need a Zubie device, which is easy to install. Basically, just insert Zubie into the vehicle’s OBD-II diagnostics port, as you would with a USB stick.

This will open Zubie's management features, which include live hours of service (HOS) tracking, detailed trip history, geofencing alerts, and driver tracking. Through this level of behavior analysis, the Zubie app allows fleet managers to track drivers and vehicles and catch problems before they snowball.

5. Onfleet

Onfleet is a delivery management app. Its software allows fleet managers to manage deliveries and analyze driver activity. In essence, Onfleet includes smartphone apps for drivers, plus a real-time web dashboard for dispatchers. In addition, Onfleet provides automated SMS notifications and driver tracking for customers. Lastly, Onfleet allows for integration and automation with other systems, such as your transportation management system (TMS).

6. GroundCloud

GroundCloud is an app billed as a single-point safety, productivity, and compliance platform. To summarize, the GroundCloud app provides route optimization, turn-by-turn navigation, safety training, fleet tracking, timekeeping, trip inspections, and maintenance reports.

GroundCloud requires a physical tablet device. The GroundCloud tablet easily mounts on your trucks' dashboards. The upside of a tablet is that fleet managers don't need to rely on their drivers' personal phones. Ultimately, that can help avoid costly issues.

Can Your Fleet Benefit From a Fleet Management App?

The short answer is yes. A fleet can take on many shapes and sizes across the logistics industry. In reality, when we talk about fleet management, we could actually mean any of the following:

  • semi-trucks hauling any kind of trailer, carrying any freight imaginable
  • other commercial motor vehicles, such as cars, vans, or work trucks
  • construction machinery, agriculture machinery, forklifts, and other specialty vehicles
  • aircraft, including planes, helicopters, and drones
  • ships, barges, and watercraft
  • locomotives and rail cars
  • all municipal, government, and military fleets
  • commuter transportation, like buses, street cars, and light rail
  • other assets, such as Dumpsters, shipping containers, tanks, and even generators

Regardless of the type of fleet you manage, the likelihood is high that it involves inefficient paperwork and busywork. The need to avoid these bottlenecks is how tech trends cross-pollinate from one branch of logistics to another. Likewise, more fleets will decide to work smarter (not just harder) by using a fleet management app.

That said, once you download one the apps, don't stop working on that cha-cha. Without a doubt, there are big wins coming in your future! You just gotta think like a smoooooth operator!

This post was written by Brian Deines. Brian believes that every day is a referendum on a brand’s relevance, and he’s excited to bring that kind of thinking to the world of modern manufacturing and logistics. He deploys a full-stack of business development, sales, and marketing tools built through years of work in the logistics, packaging, and tier-1 part supply industries serving a customer base comprised of Fortune 1000 OEMs.

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