The logistics and distribution industry looks to be growing, with almost 180% growth projected in the next five years. With that in mind, is your team prepared to embrace upcoming innovations in truck fleet management? Are you looking for ideas on how your dispatch team can improve efficiency and be one of the best fleet carriers in the industry?
Here’s our quick guide on truck fleet management, innovative tools in the industry, and key performance indicators that your team should be tracking to beat out the competition.
Innovations in Truck Fleet Management
With the complexity of managing a large fleet, we are long past the days when you could plan for its movement manually, on paper. These days, you need a large interactive system that can improve every aspect of your fleet. For example, there are TMS systems that can automatically optimize loads and routes, track fleet assets, and facilitate competitive bidding on routes.
Through modern fleet management software, you can ensure that you do not fall behind in any specific area. You can also make use of data-driven logistics to ensure that you detect problem areas before they occur.
Does your team currently invest in fleet management software? If not, it’s a tool that you may want to consider.
Cloud-Based Truck Fleet Management Software
By investing in a solid fleet management system, you can allow the various aspects of your fleet to work together with less friction. By having cloud-based software to help with fleet management, your team is able to ensure that employees can access it from anywhere with the right credentials.
Fleet management software provides several features that help dispatchers and freight carriers quickly plan the most efficient routes and load combinations.
Additionally, there are software solutions available to fleet operators and dispatchers that provide reverse freight bidding. How does it work? Your team can post freight that needs to be delivered and online notifications will be disbursed to drivers in the region looking for work.
When interested drivers see your posted job, they can bid rates to make the delivery for your team. The result? More driver connections, faster booking, and less expensive deliveries.
The benefits of truck fleet management software go on and on, but one of the main benefits of the software is the data provided.
With a proper TMS system that provides source-level data and solutions, truck fleet management teams can quickly identify opportunities for improvement in day-to-day operations that save the company money and ultimately improve its status in the industry.
Key Performance Indicators to Track
It’s important for all dispatchers to ask when managing a large fleet: what data should be tracked and monitored consistently to measure great performance?
While there are several metrics to assess, there are a few key performance indicators that dispatchers and logistics management teams should be aware of when strategically planning:
Average Loading and Unloading Duration
The unloading times for a particular delivery could double if it’s found towards the back of a truck or improperly loaded in a way that makes it hard to access. Yet, what if the delivery was properly planned in line with other deliveries, and that cargo was ready to be unloaded at the front? It could save plenty of unloading time and help the driver proceed with the next delivery a lot quicker, speeding up the cash cycle. These are exactly the kinds of planning and decision-making problems that TMS systems can automate and address.
Average Asset Utilization
With the potential for empty miles and extended wait times at delivery locations, it’s important that your team tracks average asset utilization. Average asset utilization in truck fleet management is helpful in determining what the bandwidth is for your freight carrier company.
For average asset utilization, your team must be able to quickly access data for:
- Max weight capacity for each truck
- Daily time limits for drivers
From there, you can quickly assess how much weight your vehicles are shipping daily to see what capacity they’re currently at. For example, if the max capacity of one of your trucks is 50,000 pounds but you only ever ship 25,000 pounds for that truck, then you’re operating that asset at 50% capacity.
The same logic applies to daily time limits for drivers. Based on whatever a certain driver’s time limit is, you can quickly see if you’re hitting 100% daily capacity for a particular driver.
While a 100% average asset utilization is the dream for dispatchers in the world of truck fleet management, it’s generally impossible. But by tracking asset utilization over time, teams can make justified and informed business decisions to help improve fleet efficiency and profitability.
Having fleet management software that accurately tracks route times, load weights, total mileage, and other KPI metrics can help streamline the data research. With a quicker means of obtaining data on average asset utilization, dispatchers and fleet management teams can stay ahead of the competition.
Out-of-route mileage is another important factor to consider when managing and dispatching a truck fleet. Fleets will experience out-of-route mileage for numerous reasons:
- Drivers will think they know better than the software in terms of how things should be delivered
- Drivers will travel outside of their route for personal reasons (ranging from something as harmless as going to a favorite restaurant or fuel stop to something as untoward as visiting a mistress (seriously, we’ve heard this story more than once).
With proper truck fleet management software in place, teams can efficiently track routes and quickly calculate out-of-route mileage for specific trips, identify out-of-route excursions in real-time, and address them before they become a problem.
If this KPI is properly tracked, dispatchers can properly prepare for any on-the-fly adjustments that need to be made to processes and hold drivers accountable for their work.
With the benefits of truck GPS tracking and automated route and load planning, dispatchers are able to easily track driver performance.
While it seems like a less important factor, driver performance plays a huge role for companies that manage fleets. Do your drivers complete all requested deliveries in a timely manner? Are they easy to work with? Do customers report great experiences when receiving freight from your drivers?
These are questions that your team should constantly be assessing.
If your team notices a substantial dip in driver performance, it may be time to look at the truck fleet management processes in place, to explore new tools like the ones discussed in this article, or even consider identifying new candidates through resources like bidding platforms where your team can connect with new drivers can gather load rates quickly and automatically.
Truck fleet management systems can help your team properly track driver performance over time and even track driver ratings. Regardless of what resources your team uses, tracking driver performance can help the bottom line in more ways than one.
What Else Might I Need to Know?
Now you understand why you need a comprehensive truck fleet management solution. Understandably, you may still have questions, and we are more than happy to answer them. To help with that, we can schedule a demonstration of what we can provide your fleet to help you understand why we are your best option moving forward.You only need to sign up today and we will be ready to help you.