How to Build Fleet Management Software
Imagine you’ve hired a new driver, assigned a car for him and now he’s out on the road. After a month, however, he tells you the car works poorly, the acceleration is sticky, and the steering wheel requires maintenance. How could that be possible? After all, when you assigned it to him, the car had passed the technical inspection.
In order to avoid any miscommunication with drivers and properly organize, manage, and coordinate your work vehicles, you should use fleet management software.
Fleet tracking is a combination of GPS trackers and a software system. For businesses that work with commercial vehicles and want to keep all assets in order, it’s worth considering investing in a fleet management system.
What Is Fleet Management Software and How Does it Work?
Let’s begin by identifying what is fleet management software and how it can help your company.
A fleet management system is used for controlling various kinds of motor vehicles: cars, trucks, vans, planes, ships, etc. It performs such functions as vehicle tracking and diagnostics, fuel management, vehicle maintenance, and driver management. Fleet management software is becoming indispensable for businesses that rely on transportation. It allows improved efficiency and reduced transportation and human resources costs, and extends the lives of fleet vehicles. It also provides compliance with government legislation.
With the help of fleet management software, dispatchers can track all vehicles from a single location. Tracking systems allow controlling the way a vehicle is used, its safety, as well as the driver’s behavior. Some fleet management softwares also include remote control facilities (e.g. speed limiting).
Now let’s see how fleet management systems work.
GPS (Global Positioning System) fleet trackers use a satellite-based navigation system with the help of a GPS receiver that can define vehicle positions anywhere in the country. Using data in several areas for transmitting information, you can connect your vehicles with your office in order to receive processed information about the state of the vehicles. Advanced GPS tracking devices use additional satellite systems to ensure the location is even more accurate for your needs.
Want to know more about fleet management software development? Continue reading our article.
Fleet Management Software Market: Statistics and Main Challenges
Recent years are witnessing broad adoption of this technology. According to a Zion Market Research report, in 2017 the global fleet management systems market accounted for $11.9 billion. By 2024 it is expected to reach $43.5 billion globally, at a compound annual growth rate of around 20.3% between 2018-2024.
The North American and Europe regions will dominate the market due to their growing innovations in fleet management technology development.
The Asia-Pacific region will be the fastest growing region. The rapid adoption of web and mobile based business services in China and India is considered to be the key driver in this region.
The key factors that push the growth of the fleet management market are:
- Increase in international trade
- Wide adoption of wireless technology
Fleet managers face the same problems that all managers do, including managing staff effectively, saving on costs, and getting results. However, along with these big-picture problems, fleet managers have to deal with the following real-time issues.
1. Driver safety and productivity
When it comes to fleet management, driver safety should be a priority. It is crucial to organize regular safety training programs and regulation updates to ensure the safety of drivers, vehicles, and cargo. Preventing accidents also helps keep down costs for repairs or downtime. Fleet management software helps monitor speed and driving habits. Using GPS or speak-to-call technology help drivers work in a more efficient manner.
2. Cost efficiency
Costs naturally increase every year, so managing a fleet is becoming more expensive. While new tools or resources may account for some of these costs, unpredictable factors like an increase in fuel prices may significantly affect the financial aspect of the business.
However, when it comes to a fleet, fuel is not the only price concern. The more vehicles that are in the fleet, the higher the expenses. Other expenses such as insurance, tires, labor expenses, training staff, etc, grow exponentially with fleet size. There are several solutions that can help overcome this challenge.
- Reduce the number of vehicles in your fleet
- Regularly check the maintenance of your vehicles
- Invest in and train your employees, so that you don’t have to search for new workers constantly
3. Fuel costs instability
Prices for fuel are usually volatile and are difficult to forecast. Fuel constitutes almost 35% of costs for companies with large fleets.
Fuel prices greatly influence the profitability of the fleet. Many companies constantly struggle between predicting the price for fuel as well as how to reduce fuel costs. The best solution will be to reduce fuel consumption. But how can you do this? There are several ways:
- Track drivers’ performance by using fleet management software
- Train drivers on how to drive in a way that preserves fuel
- Calculate the average mile per gallon traveled and how much it costs your fleet
Very often fleet managers underestimate fuel costs and can’t forecast the future prices for fuel. Instead, it is possible to refer to a GPS vehicle tracking system that can predict the driver’s behavior and route, and therefore the fuel required.
Hopefully, technology will help the industry to overcome these challenges. According to a MarketsandMarkets report, the fleet management software market will reach $28.66 billion by 2022, meaning lots of potential for addressing common issues.
Main Features of a Fleet Management System
Almost every fleet management company offers solutions for businesses of any size. However, what really distinguishes one business from another is the scope of these solutions. Some companies’ software has a certain feature set that will be useful in a specific niche, while others serve a wider range of customers.
Nonetheless, there are certain features that are common for all fleet management companies. Let’s take a look at them.
GPS Vehicle Tracking
One of the primary features to consider is GPS vehicle tracking. With this feature, it is easier to track information about the vehicle state, mileage and fuel consumption, as well as the vehicle’s route, stops, and speed. GPS Insight highlights several ways GPS tracking can help manage a fleet.
GPS technology can definitely improve service and accountability, and reduce fuel and labor costs as well as improve overall vehicle maintenance. However, to avoid micromanagement, it’s worth establishing guidelines and policies regarding technology and tracking data usage.
Fleet maintenance helps keep vehicles in good condition, meaning they are safe and serve longer. Fleet maintenance software works as preventative maintenance. In a nutshell, it allows businesses to reduce operating costs and downtime and improve the results of vehicle inspection.
Dispatch and Scheduling
To improve your business’ cash flow and overall performance, consider job scheduling and dispatching. This feature makes scheduling and resources allocation much easier. For instance, if a vehicle suddenly breaks down, you can check the schedule online and immediately replace the vehicle with another driver who is closer to the customer. This feature makes work more efficient, helps avoid delays, and also helps you be aware of the current situation your fleet members are in.
It’s important to remember there is no need to initially build a complex system. Start with the minimum viable product (MVP), include only critical features and then gradually add new ones. Even if you only partially automate processes, it will bring your business significant improvements and benefits.
Challenges in Custom Software Development
The actual process of building fleet management software can become a significant challenge in itself. That’s why it’s important to understand and forecast the problems that can emerge during software development. Let’s consider challenges that you might face during the fleet management development process as well as how to overcome those particular challenges.
A Lack of Expertise and Communication
Unfortunately, quite often an in-house software development team starts realizing that they lack competencies and technological know-how during the development process. As a result, the in-house team that delivers the product may deliver one full of bugs.
Needless to say, communication plays an important role in the software development process. Whether you go for an in-house team or a reliable outsourcing partner, make sure you’re involved at each step of the process to promote communication.
An Unclear Vision
Custom software development can be a time and resource-consuming process. For this reason, having the right plan and strategy as well as a clear vision is vital for successful project delivery.
The main goal behind custom software is to help the business generate revenue, provide a valuable service, attract more customers, and make the life of employees easier.
Often, companies don’t fully understand what they want from a custom software solution. How their MVP will look, what the core features are, how to create a friendly UX design, and so on. To receive answers to these questions and have a clear path from the very beginning, consider working with a custom software developer, who will translate your idea into a full-fledged product.
How to Build Your Own Fleet Management Software
“By 2040, the fleet industry could transform almost beyond recognition. Virtually all smaller vehicles are likely to be electric. Larger long-haul transport will transition to renewable and low-emission fuels. Many vehicles will be self-driving, with routine maintenance via software download and artificial intelligence enabling individual fleet vehicles to take themselves to an optimal location for refueling and overnight parking – ready for their allotted tasks the following day.”
Katya Atanasova, Vice President, Shell Fleet Solutions
Technology will push fleet management software development, and you should be ready for the changes. If you are considering building your own fleet management software, here are a few tips to follow.
1. Choose a software vendor with previous expertise in developing and supporting fleet management software. Using web-based technologies, software developers can estimate the functional requirements of creating a fleet management software in just a few days or even hours and test it in a working environment. To check the software developers’ level of expertise you can ask for references from previous clients to find out about the implementation experience. Also ask your chosen software vendor how they plan to gather requirements and implement software development with a detailed estimation.
2. When you start estimating the real cost of building a fleet management solution, take into consideration the planning, specification and software development, testing, server administration, and maintenance. You should establish a budget for each stage of product development.
3. Make a list of all the features you need and write down in detail what function each feature should perform. You may ask a fleet vendor to review your list and ask if it is complete or should be modified.
Capterra suggests that the cost for developing a fleet management software may vary from $15 a month to $80.
The cost of building a fleet management software depends on several factors:
- Size of the fleet
- Feature set
Let’s rewind and remind ourselves, “Why make your own fleet management software?”
It will help you to monitor the accurate location of the vehicles in your fleet, send you updates regarding fuel consumption, and grant you analytics that will help you reduce costs and improve the entire working process.
Get in touch with Archer, to receive more information about web-based fleet maintenance software.