Go beyond getting your cargo from A to B with Invatechs’ fleet management guide.
New technologies are making fleet management systems more robust and effective than ever. There’s a growing need for more advanced software. By 2030, estimates show the market value will triple in its size.
For customers and developers alike, it’s an exciting time to seize this new technology. If you work in logistics or transportation, you’re in the right place. If you’re looking to develop and sell software as a service (SaaS), you’re in the right place.
In this step-by-step guide, Invatechs will give you the low-down on everything you need to know. From the basics to the benefits. The challenges to FAQs. We’ll also introduce you to Invatechs own solutions. As well as our impressive collection of projects and our InvaBlogs.
What Is Fleet Management Software – The Basics
Fleet management covers a range of logistics management for vehicles and staff across a supply chain. It gives transportation companies the tools they need to get cargo from A to B. More than that, it provides advanced diagnostics and vital information. The software can include GPS systems, satellite monitoring systems and vehicle maintenance systems. That’s just the beginning. In our blog here, we detail the impact tech has had on logistics and transportation.
Fleet management apps put everything companies need into one place. They streamline processes and store information. They’ve helped to make roads safer and sharing information more accessible. Still, there are some challenges you’ll need to consider along the way. Managers and developers alike will want to think about:
Cost-effective – managers need a way to measure their consumption and spending. Fleet management software can do just that. By monitoring fuel purchases, producing real-time reports and much more.
Drivers’ safety – your drivers’ safety is a top priority. This means managing the safety of the vehicle, assessing their behaviour and ensuring there’s efficient training. That’s why fleet management software is crucial. GPS systems and telematics are an effective way of monitoring drivers’ speeds and habits.
Fuel costs – the cost of fuel is a considerable expenditure. Tracking factors such as drivers’ performances, routes, and the condition of their vehicles will help you forecast future spending.
Now, there are major players providing software and solutions. These include Cisco, FleetCheck and Fleetio. The benefits of installing a fleet management system software are unlimited. Not only are you improving your operations, but you’re also installing software that assists with your regulations and compliance.
For example, the software can monitor drivers’ Hours of Service (HOS). This will be helpful for your payroll and to ensure your drivers are working within a legal working timeframe.
This is why fleet management software is a must for any logistics company. Other benefits include:
Real-time tracking – anyone in the supply chain who needs to know the vehicle’s whereabouts can find them with real-time GPS tracking. This gives you the power to redirect routes, accurately locate cargo and get an estimated time of arrival.
Better vehicle maintenance – everything from fuel consumption to miles travelled, the vehicle’s inspection history and health can be displayed visually with fleet management software. This simplifies all the information you need into one place.
Better driver safety – the software can track drivers’ performance and habits. This means any speeding or harmful practices are monitored on the system. With video surveillance, drivers can get a 360 view of their vehicle and its surroundings.
Must-Have Features & Software
First of all, you’ll want to consider all the different types of software. This will give you a picture of what’s needed for your company. Alternatively, if you’re a developer, it’ll give you an idea of potential software you can target and develop. These are helpful for managers and drivers alike. Popular software includes:
GPS fleet tracking – this is one of the most popular and vital pieces of software for logistics companies. We covered the benefits of real-time tracking above. Whether you work in logistics or your developing, GPS tracking is a must-have.
Alerts & notifications – a must-have! Whether it’s for temperature alerts, battery alerts or upcoming traffic problems. Automated alerts keep everyone in the supply chain in the loop.
Mileage log – not only will this give you a historical log of your company’s mileage, but it’ll also provide you with behavioural data and the information to reclaim tax deductions on mileage.
VIN lookup - quickly access vehicle details. A vehicle identification number (VIN) decoder provides specific insights on vehicles. It saves you time inputting lots of information when you're looking for a specific vehicle.
Step-By-Step Guide On How To Build Fleet Management Software
So, fleet management software is a must-have. Now, we'll break down how you can go about developing your management systems. Whether you're building in-house or outsourcing, this guide is a great place to get started. We'll also give you an insight into the Invatechs experience. With Invatechs, we can custom build bespoke fleet management software and solutions. More on that later.
Step One - Your Company's Bottlenecks
One of the first things you need to consider is why you need a software update. By now, you might have an idea from the points we've touched on. Perhaps you need to improve your communication channels with your drivers. Your estimated time of arrival schedule is frequently wrong. You need enhanced security. You need to measure fuel consumption. This foundational work is critical. It allows you to identify what needs to improve and change. Furthermore, it sets the parameters of your development. Maybe some of your systems already work well but could be enhanced with an app or video surveillance upgrade.
Step Two - Infrastructure & Key Features
When you've identified your bottlenecks, you can consider key features for your software. These will include the features listed above: GPS tracking, vehicle maintenance support, alerts etc. Before you can think about functionality, you also need to think about infrastructure.
For example, you'll improve route-tracking with Geofencing features. You need a mobile and desktop friendly interface. Both ensure all your staff, no matter where they're working from, have an optimal app. For advanced communication tools, you'll want to consider developing chat, video and audio communications.
There are other critical components of the software solution too. Telematics provide GPS and diagnostic information. It allows the software to locate a vehicle's whereabouts and provides more detailed insights such as braking and tailgating behaviour.
Automated vehicle maintenance keeps your schedule in check. Instead of manually scheduling vehicle maintenance, you can get automated notifications. This means you won't miss any upcoming legal and safety checks.
If you want to learn more about how this technology works, check out our blog over here on the Internet of Things. It delves into the devices and tech that shares and connects information and users.
Step Three - Choosing Your Software Developer (Custom vs SaaS)
There are plenty of development models on the market. Your company might benefit from a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. This licenses the software on a subscription basis. However, your operations might require a custom, bespoke solution. Factors such as your company's size, operations and budget will determine your development model. Both have their pros and cons, so let's break them down.
1. Cost-effective and cheaper option.
2. Potentially good option for a small project.
1. Cheaper services can equal compromised quality.
2. Consider factoring in maintenance cost and if your third party can provide support.
1. Wider pool of developers to choose from.
2. More flexibility with contracts and pricings.
3. More custom-development options.
4. More scope to build a bespoke solution.
1. Potential time-zone differences.
2. Language barriers.
3. Difficult to manage and monitor.
4. Freelancers' workload could compromise the priority of your software development.
1. Freelancers need to build a reputation. The better the implementation process, the better their reputation.
1. Implementation could be compromised by freelancers' schedules.
2. The size of the team could impact the length necessary for the implementation process. I.e, longer development.
1. Expand your team and workforce.
2. Develop your company's internal IT software and infrastructure.
3. Long-term good return on investment.
1. Large expenditure.
2. Cover the costs of hiring.
3. Cover the costs of holiday and sick-pay.
4. Potential training.
5. Investing in your company's IT equipment.
1. Good potential for cross-departmental communications.
2. Easier to manage and oversee.
3. In-house team can learn about your company faster.
1. More staff to manage.
2. Integrating new team with existing team.
1. Easier to manage and set realistic deadlines.
2. Easier to manage internal communication channels.
3. Address any issues at launch in-house.
1. Deciding if you need to retain your team after implementation is complete.
Software as a Service
1. Consistent subscription price.
2. Different subscription packages.
3. Upgrades available.
1. Limited return of investment compared to custom/in-house development.
2. Fluctuating prices.
3. Tools and software external to company's assets.
4. Difficult to change if you’ve signed a contract.
1. Choose a package and software that's right for your company.
1. Less flexibility to address specific issues compared to custom solution.
2. Less control over the solution's scalability.
3. External company might not be able to provide you with the customer support you would get from a bespoke software developer.
1. Fast installation and on-boarding.
1. Vendor is overseeing multiple accounts and businesses.
If you decide to go for a custom development model (whether it’s outsourced or internal) there are some more steps to consider.
Step Four – Custom Development
In-house teams and software developers, pay attention. This user-flow is great for both parties.
Analyse your current software and management system. Whether you pass your software onto your software developer or analyse it in-house. Auditing and reviewing your current system is a necessary first-step. You can collate the information you need and identify what systems need improving. Use this data to set goals, brainstorm ideas and find out what your staff need to succeed.
Prepare wireframes with UI/UX designer. When you have all the information you need, you can plot the user-flow with wireframes. These mockups will allow you to assess the flow and functionality of the app. Share it with your team, client and their staff to get feedback.
Development stage and design sprints. Once you have your mockups, you can begin designing. One of our favourite methods of development is The Design Sprint methodology. The Design Sprint suggests working in intervals 5 days but you can afford to take longer. Why not check out our blog on how to develop a mobile app. It goes into more detail that you can use as part of your process.
Create Minimum Variable Product (MVP). This step isn’t crucial, but it’s useful to gauge how your workforce or client feel about the proposed software and system. Quality Assurance check. This will give your engineers the opportunity to fix any potential bugs. After tests are completed, the information can be re-used when any future maintenance or bug issues occur. Release your software. A few final polishes and you’re ready to go. Once everything is designed, approved and tested, you can release it to your client or within your company.
Post-release maintenance. It’s vital you have software and system supports in place. Whether this is your internal team or the company you outsource to, they need to be equipped to fix any issues and install upgrades.
Like most software development, pricing will come down to a number of factors. These will include your location, the size of your business and the complexity of the software. Tech.co have a good starting reference here. Alternatively, you can contact Invatechs and we’d be happy to give you a pricing estimate of our services.
The Invatechs Experience
If you’re looking for a third-party to develop your software, look no further. At Invatechs, we strive to create data-driven solutions. We work with your company and discover what products and services you need for optimal, cost-effective operations.
We’ve created a satellite tracking system. Tax payment gateways. A parcel tracking system and app. Beyond that, we specialise in IoT solutions for transportation and logistics. Our team of experts are more than equipped to provide you with the best fleet management system possible.
What are the responsibilities of a fleet manager? The fleet manager will be integral to the software development. They oversee the safety of drivers. They ensure the integrity of Electronic Logging Device (ELD) compliance. They forecast potential fleet shortages. You’ll want them heavily involved in the development process.
How do fleet management systems work? Data is gathered across multiple networks and devices. This is disseminated across your users’ applications. This data ensures compliance and gives you the information to plot and strategise for the future.
What’s the best way to keep drivers safe? Fleet management software is one of the best tools you have to keep your drivers safe. It provides them with routing information. Vehicle updates. Traffic and weather updates. More than that, it keeps them in check, monitoring their behaviour and habits.
How can I get a system that’s right for my company’s future? Look no further than Invatechs.
In this article, we’ve given you some practical steps to develop the best fleet management system for your operations. We know it can be a daunting task. Nevertheless, the industry demands the best software for your company. If you lack the expertise or team to build the perfect solution, we can help.
Invatechs will partner with your company and get into the fine detail of your demands. We can build a cost-effective solution that’s specific to your demands. After your system is built, we can keep its maintenance ticking over. With our licensing fees, you can commit to a lump-sum payment. No subscription fees or fees for upgrades.
How could you make your transportation operations the very best they can be? Contact Invatechs today and we’ll elevate your business’s capabilities to the next level.