Fleet management can often be a complex and time-consuming process, filled with a variety of challenges that can stand in the way of efficient and effective operations. Data entry errors, incorrect vehicle tracking information, and logistics issues can all affect how a fleet is managed, leading to possible delays further down the supply chain.
In this guide, we’re going to uncover what fleet management’s top problems are today and why telematics is the ideal solution to these problems. We’re going to explore ELDs and discuss how a telematics solution paired with automated polygon geofences can help managers identify and track vehicles with increased precision, helping them troubleshoot problems and improve efficiency.
If you’re a fleet manager or owner-operator who wants to take your business to the next level, read on to learn more about how emerging technologies such as polygon geofences can significantly improve your fleet management work quality.
What are the Top Challenges Fleet Managers Face?
Fleet management and telematics are becoming increasingly important in the transportation, freight, and logistics industries, with fleet managers being consistently tasked with the responsibility of ensuring efficient and safe fleet operations around the clock.
As technology continues to advance rapidly, fleet managers are faced with increasing challenges, including the lack of data visibility, insufficient real-time analytics, and difficulties in tracking and managing assets. As a fleet manager, you must be able to forecast maintenance needs accurately, manage driver safety and compliance requirements, and ensure your fleet is meeting environmental targets if they are imposed.
Some of the most significant challenges faced by fleet managers today include:
- Accurate Fleet Tracking and Monitoring – Without accurate fleet tracking and monitoring technology, fleet managers aren’t able to monitor vehicle usage, location, speed, and other real-time data that could aid decision-making.
- Cost Management – Controlling the typical costs associated with managing a fleet, such as fuel, repairs, and insurance, can be challenging in the long run, especially if a fleet is growing and rapidly scaling in size.
- Fleet Optimization – Optimizing common operations of a fleet, such as routing, and ensuring that everything is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible can be challenging without precise data and data-driven optimization strategies.
- Regulatory Compliance – Fleet managers must regularly monitor and keep up to date with changing laws, regulations, and standards related to fleet management operations.
- Dwell Time – In the trucking and shipping industry, dwell time is when a container sits in its respective port, railyard, or bay awaiting either drop-off or pickup. Rising dwell times are typically caused by complex orders and loads, with shipping transfer points and ports often charging daily dwell fees. Reducing dwell times is a significant challenge for fleet managers.
- Detention and Demurrage Fees – When cargo containers remain in port for longer than their allotted free time, detention and demurrage fees are charged. Fleet managers are tasked with ensuring smooth fleet operations while ensuring there are no excessive fees being charged for containers that stay in port for excessive periods of time.
- Tracking Vehicle Overuse – To stay compliant with DOT regulations, Hours of Service (HOS) tracking and other telematics solutions should be monitored to ensure drivers aren’t overusing their vehicles or going over daily work limits.
By understanding some of the most common challenges fleet managers face, you’ll be better equipped and prepared to tackle these challenges in your own organization and understand which technology solutions you could potentially utilize to ensure efficient fleet operations.
In the next few sections, we’re going to dive into these technologies in greater detail and show you how you can utilize them to improve your fleet efficiency right away.
What is an ELD?
An Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is a device designed specifically for recording a driver’s Hours of Service (HOS) to ensure compliance with Department of Transportation (DOT) rules and regulations.
The purpose of ELDs in shipping, freight, logistics, trucking, and the transportation industry as a whole is to record and store information related to a driver’s duty status, keeping precise logging data related to their number of miles driven, location status, hours worked, and current duty status.
There are a wide range of advantages to using an integrated ELD in fleet management, such as safety improvements, compliance with DOT regulations, accurate time tracking, and the ability for managers to optimize their operations directly by recording traveled routes, speeds, and locations of their vehicles. ELDs can be used to automate record-keeping tasks, making them more efficient and effective compared to alternative manual recording methods.
The typical operation and logging cycle of an ELD would include:
- Collecting information from a vehicle’s Engine Control Module (ECM) and storing this information in the ELD’s memory directly. ELDs may record ECM information such as the time of day, when the driver started and stopped their vehicle, the route they’re traveling on, and the vehicle’s current speed and location.
- Tracking and storing a driver’s HOS information by working in conjunction with an approved record-keeping system, such as an electronic logbook.
- Allowing fast and efficient retrieval of logged information. ELD data is admissible in court to be used as evidence of a driver’s compliance with DOT regulations.
Fleet managers can see remarkable benefits from implementing ELDs in their fleet vehicles, specifically due to the data and visibility they provide. They can improve safety and record driver compliance with DOT regulations by tracking hours worked. Furthermore, ELDs can be used to optimize fleet operations by using location, speed, and route data to run analyses, projections, and simulations to optimize efficiency. ELD integration and ELD software management vary by manufacturer, but overall, shouldn’t be difficult to learn and implement in your own organization.
As the demand for sustainable and efficient transportation rises, fleet managers are turning to telematics solutions such as ELDs to help them manage their fleets more efficiently.
Even though ELDs are an excellent choice for automated data entry, reduced manual reporting, and cost reductions associated with fleet management, automated polygon geofences can take fleet managers even further by providing even more visibility and automation in their workflows.
The Value of Geofencing for Owner-Operator Trucking Companies
There’s no question that telematics solutions such as ELDs and automated tracking methods are incredibly valuable to fleet managers, logistics providers, and owner-operator trucking companies, but geofences that integrate directly into ELDs with ELD telematics can be even more effective in the long run.
Owner-operator trucking companies are constantly searching for the most efficient solutions that allow them to maintain their daily operations without facing a steep learning curve, a difficult implementation, or challenging problems along the way.
Fortunately, geofences that are paired with other telematics can be a simple way to allow owner-operators to create virtual boundaries that can be used to track driver performance, monitor vehicles, and increase safety. By utilizing fleet management software and telematics, paired with state-of-the-art geofencing solutions, these trucking companies can gain insight into driver behaviors and immediately identify areas that need improvement.
Polygon geofencing delivers the ability to report on vehicle locations and alert operators of any unauthorized movement or use. With properly implemented geofences, companies can both reduce their risks and maximize profits, providing a win-win situation for everyone involved.
How Robust, Automated Geofences Save Resources for Owner-Operators
We’ve already covered some of the benefits geofences provide for owner-operators, especially when paired with additional complementary telematics solutions – what about the impacts of automated geofences for saving resources and maximizing efficiency?
Standard geofences must be drawn and redrawn by hand, while automated geofences can automatically redraw their boundaries and make changes based on real-time inputs.
Some of the ways owner-operators can save resources using automated geofences include:
- Enhanced driver security – Geofencing can help your organization prevent vehicle theft. If you know that your vehicles should be stored at a specific location at specific times, any anomalous movements can be immediately spotted and reported.
- Cost reductions – By automating processes such as driver performance monitoring and data entry, you can focus on other areas of your business operations and reduce costs and expenses.
- Optimized scheduling – Geofences can be used by owner-operators to plan routes and optimize scheduling for better customer service all around.
Move Your Business Forward with Automated Geofencing and Telematics Solutions from Kestrel Insights
Kestrel Insights’ fleet management solutions provide the technology and support you need to move your business forward and stay on the cutting edge of transportation and logistics technologies.
With automated geofencing and telematics solutions, you can improve efficiency and reduce costs by increasing visibility into your operations. This will allow you to monitor driver behavior, receive real-time alerts and notifications, track vehicle performance, and access real-time GPS location data on demand. With intuitive reporting capabilities and flexible pricing, Kestrel Insights is the ideal choice for businesses looking to streamline their fleet management processes.
Contact Kestrel Insights today to learn more about our fleet management solutions.