While they sound nearly the same, fleet maintenance and fleet management are two separate functions that ensure your fleet is run as efficiently and effectively as possible. Whether you’re tracking a couple of dozen company cars or hundreds of semi-trucks, you’ve got a fleet on your hands–which means your upkeep list is most likely miles long.
These two software–fleet maintenance and management–collect, store, and provide information on things like maintenance schedules, driver safety, engine efficiency, and DOT compliance. A general rule of thumb is that fleet maintenance software is concerned mainly with vehicle health, while fleet management can cover just about everything but tends to focus on physical safety and tracking.
While just implementing one of these software’s is still helpful, what truly takes fleets to the next level–and takes the weight off your shoulders–is using both software in tandem.
What is Fleet Management Software?
Fleet management software is a term that encompasses all sorts of software and services, so it’s best to do your homework on any specific brand you may be considering. However, most brands tend to offer a similar round-up of amenities, including things like GPS tracking, routing, and employee management.
Fleet management can be just software, or it could be an app. Some companies, like Samsara, will utilize additional tools or technology like dashcams to provide data. Not only does fleet management software aim to keep drivers safe and vehicles efficient, but by doing so it also ensures that your fleet is meeting DOT standards.
Fleet management can go by a few different names, like fleet tracking or vehicle management, but it’s distinguishable by its features. The exact features offered by software can change depending on which company you’re buying from, so make sure you’re getting everything you need before you purchase. Even when features are shared by multiple companies, the way they’re offered can be different.
For example, Samsara offers GPS tracking that allows for tracking “by the second”, and provides multiple views of the vehicle’s location. There’s a helicopter view, which provides an overview of the trip as well as a marker to indicate where the vehicle is. There are optional overlays, like weather and traffic visuals, to keep you informed and ahead, and live notifications to alert you to unsafe driving or driving conditions and potential hazards.
In contrast, some companies may offer GPS tracking that only allows you to view an updated location, and even then, the location may only update every few minutes. A simple location may be useful to track stolen property or ensure the vehicle arrives at the planned location, but it does nothing to keep your fleet proactive.
Keep in mind that this chasm in the quality of the features provided exists for each and every feature you’re shopping for. This includes things like fuel and vehicle diagnostics, driver reporting, and compliance tracking.
While fleet management or maintenance software can seem expensive, remember that it truly is an investment. Purchasing fleet management software should feel similar to purchasing insurance–sure, it costs money, but the peace of mind that comes from avoiding costly catastrophes is necessary and well worth the cost.
The benefits extend beyond saved time and money, a truly advanced software should alleviate stress and free up time and energy.
While there are dozens of fleet management companies, only some provide the full spectrum of services available, and fewer still provide those services at an advanced level. Samsara is a company that makes the cut, every time. From top-of-the-line geotracking, to automated workflows, to an intuitive compliance dashboard, and advanced fuel diagnostics–Samsara has every tool necessary to ensure your company is performing at its highest level.
What is Fleet Maintenance Software?
Fleet maintenance software, as mentioned above, is aimed at increasing the longevity of vehicles and the safety of drivers. This is achieved through tracking the maintenance and upkeep of each individual vehicle, and reminding you when any sort of maintenance or repair is due.
Tracking the required preventative maintenance on just one vehicle can be a hassle, but when you’re dealing with a fleet it can feel impossible. Routine maintenance is an exhaustive list, including things like tire rotations, oil changes, odometer checks, part upkeep, tread and track inspections, and oil health checks.
Keeping up with dozens of vehicles with outdated methods is not only a huge loss of time, but it can also lead to financial losses through failed compliance or damaged vehicles.
Fleet maintenance software allows you to build an automated system that tracks maintenance for you, and alerts you to upcoming maintenance needs. This allows multiple people to access a vehicle’s records–from mechanics updating maintenance history to drivers alerting management to potential hazards.
It also ensures that drivers are staying informed on any vehicle they’re placed in, instead of needing to track down physical copies of records or access a confusing spreadsheet.
It doesn’t matter what kind of fleet is being managed–compliance is the ever-present beast rearing its head. The even trickier part of compliance is that it truly does resemble a beast–seeming like any time you cut off one head, two more problems take its place.
This is where fleet maintenance software truly shines, as the simplified, automated nature of reporting and inspecting takes the headache out of compliance.
Aside from meeting compliance standards, a few other components are necessary for truly beneficial software as well. For example, Whip Around offers multiple software formats: there’s software for tracking maintenance, software for filling out and uploading inspections, data reports available for reporting, and, of course, compliance software that alerts you to potential liabilities.
As was mentioned with fleet management software: whatever cost is associated with your software package should truly be treated as an investment. Failure to meet compliance standards, avoidable repairs or replacements, and outdated documentation methods are all extremely costly–sometimes resulting in the loss of the company itself.
Investing in tools like maintenance software not only keeps your business competitive, it helps keep it in business.
While the rewards of investing in fleet maintenance software are well worth the cost, just how rewarding that investment is depends greatly on the brand. No matter how much you’re looking to pay, doing research on brands and software types is vital to ensuring you get everything you need–and making sure you’re not paying for something you won’t use.
For a brand that offers just about anything you could need or want, without charging an arm and a leg, take a look at Whip Around. Their intuitive software works with you to ease your load and get the job done. It’s important to remember that while some software companies may boast increased vehicle longevity or a simplified approach to compliance, they won’t actually help unless they are user-friendly.
It’s possible to track maintenance and compliance without the use of any software–it’s just time-consuming and frustrating, which can be said for difficult software as well.
This is what makes Whip Around so appealing–their software is not only leading the industry, it’s extremely user-friendly and easy to manage. This has been proved by their long list of satisfied customers, who have utilized Whip Around’s maintenance software to produce amazing results.
How to Integrate both Softwares into Your Business
Smith & Jennings is a great example of best practices for utilizing both platforms. They’re a prominent full-service contracting and grading company that has been serving North Carolina for several decades. Because Smith and Jennings provide an on-demand service, it’s important that their vehicles are well-maintained and ready to go at a moment’s notice.
This means that they need software they can rely on, not one that will slow them down. They’ve found that integrating both fleet maintenance and fleet management software has yielded the greatest results, using Samsara for fleet management and Whip Around for fleet maintenance.
Problems Before Integrating Software
The main issue Smith and Jennings faced prior to working with software was a lack of efficient communication, which led to inefficient maintenance. They had been relying on word-of-mouth communication when errors would arise, leading to confusion and misunderstanding.
The end result was a disorganized system that, at the end of the day, did not meet company standards. They emphasized that organization is necessary for staying on schedule with routine maintenance and staying on budget.
How Streamlining both Software Improved Operations
After streamlining both software, Smith and Jennings saw a vast improvement in their communication between departments. This led to scheduled maintenance being conducted on time and quick solutions to problems reported by drivers. They also incorporated Samsara’s dash cams, which helped keep drivers safe and accountable.
They noticed that parts were able to be repaired or cleaned before truly breaking and requiring a replacement. Proactive care has saved them time and money and keeps their business on its “A” game.
Any sized fleet can reap the same rewards as Smith and Jennings after utilizing fleet management and fleet maintenance software. If you’re ready to pull the trigger and check out pricing options, you can find that here. Your fleet needs to be ready to roll every day, so invest in software that keeps you on the road and out of trouble.