Fleet management

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Fleet management is the management of a company's transportation fleet. Fleet management includes commercial motor vehicles such as cars, aircraft (planes, helicopters etc.), ships, vans and trucks, as well as rail cars. Fleet (vehicle) management can include a range of functions, such as vehicle financing, vehicle maintenance, vehicle telematics (tracking and diagnostics), driver management, speed management, fuel management and health and safety management. Fleet Management is a function which allows companies which rely on transportation in business to remove or minimize the risks associated with vehicle investment, improving efficiency, productivity and reducing their overall transportation and staff costs, providing 100% compliance with government legislation (duty of care) and many more. These functions can be dealt with by either an in-house fleet-management department or an outsourced fleet-management provider. According to market research from the independent analyst firm Berg Insight, the number of fleet management units deployed in commercial fleets in Europe will grow from 1.5 million units in 2009 to 4 million in 2014.[1] Even though the overall penetration level is just a few percent, some segments such as road transport will attain adoption rates above 31 percent.

Vehicle tracking[edit]

See more: Vehicle tracking system The most basic function in all fleet management systems, is the vehicle tracking component. This component is usually GPS-based, but sometimes it can be based on GLONASS or a cellular triangulation platform.[2] Once vehicle location, direction and speed are determined from the GPS components, additional tracking capabilities transmit this information to a fleet management software application. Methods for data transmission include both terrestrial and satellite. Satellite tracking communications, while more expensive, are critical if vehicle tracking is to work in remote environments without interruption. Users can see actual, real-time locations of their fleet on a map. This is often used to quickly respond on events in the field.

Principle of geolocation based on the GPS for the position determination and the GSM/GPRS or telecommunication satellites network for the data transmission.

Mechanical diagnostics[edit]

Advanced fleet management systems can connect to the vehicle's onboard computer, and gather data for the user. Details such as mileage and fuel consumption are gathered into a global statistics scheme.

Driver behavior[edit]

By combining received data from the vehicle tracking system and the on-board computer, it is possible to form a profile for any given driver (average speed, frequency of detours, brakes,etc.).

Fleet management software[edit]

See more: Fleet management software

Fleet management software enables people to accomplish a series of specific tasks in the management of any or all aspects relating to a company's fleet of vehicles. These specific tasks encompass all operations from vehicle acquisition to disposal. Software, depending on its capabilities, allows functions such as driver and vehicle profiling, trip profiling, dispatch, vehicle efficiency, etc. It can provide remote control features, such as Geo-fencing and active disabling. Current vehicle diagnostic information can also be related to a management site, depending on the type of hardware installed in the vehicles. New platform, based on Fleet management software, is fleet controlling with higher amount of information available for both drivers and dispatchers of a fleet. At this time (2012) online software platforms are very popular: users no longer have to install software and they can access the software through a web browser..

Management of ships[edit]

Fleet management also refers to the management of ships while at sea. Shipping fleet management contracts are normally given to fleet management companies that handle aspects like crewing, maintenance, and day-to-day operations. This gives the ship owner time to concentrate on cargo booking.

Fleet Security and Control[edit]

Recent advances in fleet management allow for the addition of over-the-air (OTA) security and control of fleet vehicles. Fleet Security and Control includes security of the vehicle while stopped or not in operation and the ability to safely disable a vehicle while in operation. This allows the fleet manager to recover stolen or rogue vehicles while reducing the chance of lost or stolen cargo.[3] The additional of Fleet Security and Control to a fleet management system gives a fleet card manager preventative measures to address cargo damage and loss.

Remote Vehicle Disabling systems[edit]

Remote vehicle disabling systems provide users at remote locations the ability to prevent an engine from starting, prevent movement of a vehicle, and to stop or slow an operating vehicle. Remote disabling allows a dispatcher or other authorized personnel to gradually decelerate a vehicle by downshifting, limiting the throttle capability, or bleeding air from the braking system from a remote location. Some of these systems provide advance notification to the driver that the vehicle disabling is about to occur. After stopping a vehicle, some systems will lock the vehicle's brakes or will not allow the vehicle's engine to be restarted within a certain timebound.

Remote disabling systems can also be integrated into a remote panic and emergency notification system. In an emergency, a driver can send an emergency alert by pressing a panic button on the dashboard, or by using a key-fob panic button if the driver is within close proximity of the truck. Then, the carrier or other approved organization can be remotely alerted to allow a dispatcher or other authorized personnel to evaluate the situation, communicate with the driver, and/or potentially disable the vehicle.[4]

Fleet replacement and lifecycle management[edit]

The timely replacement of vehicles and equipment is a process that requires the ability to predict asset lifecycles based on costing information, utilization, and asset age. Organizations prefer to use new fleet as a strategy for cost reduction where the used fleet is sold so that a new fleet is maintained.

Funding requirements are also an issue, because many organizations, especially government, purchase vehicles with cash. The ad hoc nature and traditional low funding levels with cash has put many operations in an aged fleet. This lack of adequate funding for replacement can also result in higher maintenance costs due to aged vehicles.

Duty of care[edit]

In the UK, in April 2008, the Corporate Manslaughter Act was strengthened to target company directors as well as their drivers in cases of road deaths involving vehicles used on business. The Police have said they now treat every road death as ‘an unlawful killing’ and have the power to seize company records and computers during their investigations. They will bring prosecutions against company directors who fail to provide clear policies and guidance for their employees driving at work.[citation needed] Directors and business owners may not be aware that privately owned vehicles used for business journeys are treated exactly the same as company owned vehicles. Directors have an equal responsibility under the law to ensure these vehicles are also roadworthy and correctly insured. It is vital that every company has a ‘Driving at Work’ policy in place covering every element of their business vehicle operation, no matter how few vehicles are involved and who owns them. Every employee driving for business is required to sign up to the policy. In this way the directors can reduce the risk of being prosecuted and a possible custodial sentence.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ About.com, What is vehicle tracking?
  3. ^ Expert Market, Security benefits of using a fleet management system
  4. ^ Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Vehicle Disabling Systems.