Software offers big benefits for even smaller fleets

While some small and mid-sized fleet owners may assume the latest transportation technology is only beneficial and affordable for the largest companies, this common misconception couldn't be further from the truth. Small-business owners work hard to ensure their businesses are profitable and running smoothly, but they sometimes fail to take advantage of the latest technology that could benefit their companies. Various transportation software programs can offer significant benefit to smaller firms with fifteen or more fleet vehicles and ultimately help any fleet enterprise better manage information, efficiently route drivers and help control or reduce operating costs.

Even small transportation companies deal with plenty of information in regard to driver safety, vehicle maintenance, orders and business requirements. Keeping track of all this data and utilizing it properly can be a real challenge for firms running as few as 20 over-the-road trucks that rely on paper-driven manual processes to manage business information. Technology can help management teams operate more strategically and run operations more efficiently.  Streamlining processes can help increase client satisfaction, make the most productive use of available resources and grow the enterprise in the long run.

Cost-cutting potential
However, smoother operations aren't the only benefit new technology can bring smaller businesses. Routing software can help fleets plan the shortest, most efficient paths for drivers to execute multiple stops in a daily or weekly schedule. Failing to optimize routes for more efficient execution can lead to wasted fuel, excessive vehicle wear and higher operating costs with lower productivity. With energy prices continually rising, smaller fleets must manage their out-of-route and excess mileage aggressively to control diesel or gas expenses. Planning an optimal sequence of stops for lowest total mileage and execution cost, while still meeting delivery schedules, involves more than plotting the most direct route. It can also help fleets respond to pickup or delivery needs faster, boosting client satisfaction and enhancing a firm's reputation.

Routing and scheduling software can help smaller fleets reduce fuel costs, but the addition of web-based fleet tracking systems can add a whole new level of competitive advantage and business improvement. The rapidly expanding market of vehicle tracking systems, even GPS-enabled smart phones, means that virtually any size fleet can afford to implement a mobile resource management system. The benefits of these systems, especially when integrated with routing and scheduling software, include better driver monitoring and management, the addition of track-and-trace services for customers, faster response to daily order changes and improved data for preventive maintenance management.