Fleet Management Changing with Mobile Technology
Businesses which own and operate fleets of vehicles will usually use a system for tracking vehicles in their fleet. Tracking vehicles in a fleet will tell a dispatcher which vehicles are on schedule and allows for efficient planning and spotting locations when the unexpected happens. Fleet tracking makes sure that drivers are where they are supposed to be and will let dispatchers know which driver is nearest to a pickup that is called in. This helps fleet management in the long run by cutting costs related to employee slacking but also helps regulate a fleet’s fuel by showing a dispatcher which vehicles are best suited for certain tasks based on location.
There are two types of fleet management: passive and active. With passive fleet management, sensors in the vehicle store information about the vehicle throughout the day and the data is transferred to a computer when it returns to the home office. Passive fleet technology can store a lot of different information about the vehicle throughout the day but is not usually connected to the rest of the fleet and data is reviewed after the driving has already been finished.
Passive monitoring systems can not only replay locations throughout the day, but they are usually supplemented with sensors to determine just about anything about the vehicle throughout the day. Passive monitoring can track speed from the speedometer, airflow to the engine, oil pressure, water temperature, any time headlights, wipers or brakes are used and even things like tire pressure, battery level, outside temperature, altitude and a host of other embedded gauges and features. Passive monitoring is good for gaining information after the fact, but it does not typically provide the large amounts of data it collects while on the road on demand.
Active fleet management works with cell phone networks to provide information in real time. An active fleet management system will relay data back to the home office and will also allow the home office to send information and commands to vehicles as events unfold. An active fleet management system can be as simple as providing a smartphone with specialized software for each vehicle or as complex as connecting various sensors from the vehicle to a smartphone which relays more detailed information to the home office.
Smartphones and tablets are well suited for many company related tasks. In addition to providing each employee with calculators and ways to save notes, smartphones can relay their GPS location at any time and are suited for storing customer information and signatures. A smartphone or tablet can suggest routes for the driver and provide maps, and drivers can access the Internet for research purposes while in the field. Active fleet management gives businesses an idea about which drivers are operating in a timely fashion and which ones are available or near another location. With active management, drivers and dispatchers can communicate and coordinate tasks successfully in such a way that allows companies to get jobs done quicker and more productively.
Mobile technology has evolved tremendously in ways which benefit companies and their fleets of drivers. For the cost of a smartphone or tablet, companies can employ active fleet monitoring without the need to buy additional equipment. Companies who use passive fleet monitoring may want to use radios to communicate and forgo monthly cellular costs, but passive technology can be ineffective for real-time situations. As technology evolves, expensive passive technology will become obsolete as those same sensors will be able to connect to a smartphone or tablet as part of a complete active monitoring package.