Smartphones have drastically changed how we live and do our work. Some estimate that there are about 3.2 billion smartphone users worldwide. That's 42% of the entire population of the world! And in regions like the US and Europe, the percentage of smartphone users is as high as 70%.
Thus, the advent of smartphones has impacted every industry in every part of the world. And the fleet management and trucking industries are no different. Mobile phones have become a crucial part of life for truckers as well as fleet managers.
In this post, we're going to look at how mobile phones are helping businesses improve their trucking fleet operations. We will also briefly discuss the various benefits that smartphones and mobile apps bring to fleet management systems.
But it's not just the omnipresence of mobile phones that's transforming the trucking industry, and the world. It's also the technological capabilities of modern phones. Remember the Apollo 11 computer that landed man on the moon? The technology behind your iPhone is 100,000 times more powerful than that computer. And with great power, comes great responsibility (thanks, Spiderman)—and more functionalities.
As evidence of this, we've seen a rise in the development of industry-specific mobile apps. It's almost impossible to imagine our work and life without apps now. They've immensely empowered what we can do. For example, apps have made IT transportation management solutions much more powerful and easy to use. Features that now seem obvious were barely dreamed of just a decade ago. They help you, as a fleet manager, reduce costs, improve efficiency, and increase productivity.
The other major factor driving the adoption of fleet management mobile software is the increasing affordability. In the olden days, tracking driver activity and planning optimized routes required implementing expensive, high-tech equipment.
However, new smartphone fleet management apps now provide a more cost-efficient option. You don’t have to invest in expensive hardware or buy proprietary software. All you need to do is get some apps installed on your phone and get your drivers to install them as well.
And this is all possible on existing phones using cheap, or even free, apps. You can then track your fleet, plan the best routes, and have all the required data at the tip of your fingers. Hence, businesses of all sizes can now leverage mobile software to improve their trucking fleet operations.
The prevalence of powerful smartphones with affordable applications opens a plethora of possibilities.
Now, both you and your drivers can access all relevant information they need on the performance of their fleets and associated assets. The drivers can also provide real-time feedback and live data back to the fleet management system.
This helps improve overall operational efficiency and increases company productivity. Empowering the drivers will also optimize driver time management to help reduce administrative processes during a delivery. Such a collaborative effort between you and drivers maximizes how the organization uses vehicles to reduce the costs associated with transport.
Today, it's easier than ever to operate efficiently in the transportation industry. And if you're a fleet manager who isn’t leveraging mobile phones to do so, then you'll fall behind very fast.
So how can mobile apps help improve fleet management?
A smartphone brings portability. It's not feasible for you to be at their desk all the time looking at the computer screen. Integrating the fleet management system with their mobile will enable them to be on top of operations at all times. They can continuously track drivers' locations via a map on their phone. They can also have a dashboard with critical global metrics anytime and anywhere. A smartphone will also enable you to stay notified of any event as soon as possible.
Modern phones come with accurate GPS locators that can provide real-time location. By connecting your drivers' mobile devices to the fleet management system, you can see in real time where each vehicle or asset is located. This data can help calculate the most efficient and optimized route for each vehicle. Hence, your trucking operations will get much more efficient that will save considerable costs.
The planning algorithms also take into consideration factors such as the size of the vehicle, weight of the load, restrictions along the route etc. It can also fetch nearest parking locations to minimize time lost finding spots. All this helps plan a customized, safe, and reliable route for every single delivery, and even identify the best routes for multi-stop deliveries.
Having the real-time status of your fleet empowers your company to make changes in real time. This helps you deal with potential problems before they become issues. And proactive management increases the likelihood of meeting target metrics and reduces delays.
Top sophisticated fleet management solutions monitor data related to fuel, maintenance, and routes. This fuel usage data, coupled with vehicle performance data and efficient route planning, leads to optimized fuel consumption. Even the smallest of savings can add up, especially for businesses that consume hundreds of liters of fuel every week.
Real-time location tracking also enables you to plan refuel locations. Drivers can be provided with information about nearby stations with the cheapest fuel prices. Fuel is usually the highest variable cost component in fleet operations. Hence, taking steps to reduce its consumption and price has a massive effect on the business's operational costs.
Customers want to stay informed about their deliveries. Mobile software on the driver's end helps you provide real-time information to the customer about the location of their assets. You can predict expected delivery times much more accurately, and you can truthfully convey this information to your customers. In case of any delays, customers can be promptly informed. This improves overall customer satisfaction. A high customer satisfaction leads to higher retention. And all of this results in higher revenues for the company.
By integrating drivers' phones with fleet management systems, it's possible to provide them with critical information constantly. You can send images, maps, weather forecasts, and more to coordinate with drivers. Moreover, it enables you to contact drivers directly with precise orders. This reduces the possibility of human error.
For example, drivers can avoid low-clearance and weight-restricted roads. They can also receive information about upcoming rest spots, traffic, and efficient route profiles. Certain apps also provide easy video calling options to make sure you and the driver are always on the same page.
Smartphones can help reduce and even eliminate paperwork. Drivers can scan contracts, invoices, permits, payrolls, and other documents easily with their mobiles. This moves all paperwork to the cloud, which saves a ton of time. Drivers also won't need to manually log their activities. These can be collected automatically, cutting down on human error. Online storage also provides 24/7 access to important documents.
The benefits discussed above, such as digital documentation, providing critical information, optimized routes, etc., enables drivers to be much more relaxed in their jobs. Their work is optimized by reducing manual tasks. They also feel empowered, more productive, and better informed.
Moreover, real-time information helps improve security and safety while driving, leading to a lower likelihood of accidents occurring. All of this increases employee satisfaction.
A fleet management system can collect a wide variety of information for each vehicle. This includes routes taken, number of trips, and event details such as when a vehicle is stopped, moving, or speeding. The system can verify driver accountability to ensure that they are not wasting time on the road.
Daily summary reports are also created for the vehicles. Information such as fuel consumption, average trip times, distance covered, and engine performance can help provide important alerts. This can help identify vehicle issues before they cause serious trouble. Moreover, this information can also help save on maintenance costs.
Mobile fleet management software provides real-time critical information to both you and your drivers. They track driver movements and location, optimize their routes and schedules, and provide key information on their surroundings. This empowers a fleet operations team to be more productive, reduce operational costs, save time, and manage drivers more efficiently. And with the prevalence of smartphones, it's now easier than ever to set up mobile software to optimize fleet operations.
This post was written by Aditya Khanduri. Aditya currently handles product and growth at Cryptio.co, and he's also built a couple of B2B products. He's proficient in data analysis with Python and has worked with multiple startups in the blockchain and artificial intelligence sector.