Fleet managers reap benefits of web-based IT revolution - Courier Direct September 2006

Fleet managers reap benefits of web-based IT revolution

IT literate fleet decision­ makers are waking up to the fact that today's vehicle management systems can seamlessly interact with other software to improve operating effectiveness.  Web-based software means that fleet operators don't need to manually input everything from a driver's name, a number plate, and a fuel purchase to a vehicle service.

"Fleet decision­makers are becoming increasingly software savvy and they understand the importance of choosing technology that can integrate with systems operated by other company departments, such as HR, payroll and finance, and can also be accessed by drivers," said Jason Francis managing director of fleet software and occupational road safety experts Jaama .

Five years ago, fleet managers had to manually enter every piece of fleet information. This was not only time consuming but was prone to mistakes. Additionally, the way data was stored meant it was difficult to monitor the performance of individual drivers and vehicles effectively.  "Today, data and information feeds from leasing suppliers, rental companies, fuel management operators and fast-fit organisations, can update fleet systems along with information supplied by drivers - mileages and expense claims - and information from other departments on, for example, new starters and changes in driver circumstances.

One beneficiary is Claire Walker, compensation and benefits manager at mobile phones provider Caudwell Holdings, whose subsidiaries include Phones 4u. The company operates a fleet of over 1300 cars and has 300 cash allowance drivers. She said: "Technology has transformed the management of our fleet as we have moved online from a paper-based system. We are saving hours in administration time every month as well as thousands of pounds in costs and have cut invoice queries from 150 a month to zero."We used to have more than 30 spreadsheets covering every aspect of the fleet. It was a nightmare inputting fleet data and updating staff changes from HR. Our move to web-based software has reduced an impossible workload and all departments are benefiting.

"The technology is enabling us to capture more information on our fleet so we can be more proactive in our management. That will reduce costs still further."Jaama's Vehicle Management systems are at the centre of the technology revolution, Mr. Francis said: "The technology is now available and today's fleet operators can utilise it to their advantage to maximise fleet effectiveness regardless of the fleet size. In turn, the information they can supply to their bosses on every facet of fleet functionality has never been more detailed.