Information Technology (IT) literate fleet decision makers are waking up to the fact that today's hi-tech vehicle management systems can seamlessly interact with other internal and external software to dramatically improve operating effectiveness and efficiency.
Sophisticated web-based software developments mean that fleet operators no longer need to manually input every item of fleet information from a drivers name to a cars number plate and from a fuel purchase to a vehicle service.
Instead, computers using a common language, for example .NET and XML, seamlessly populate systems in real-time ensuring up-to-the-minute accurate management information, according to Jason Francis, Managing Director of fleet software and occupational road safety experts Jaama.
"Fleet decision-makers are becoming increasingly software savvy and they understand the importance of choosing technology that can fully integrate with systems operated by external suppliers and other company departments, such as HR, payroll and finance, and can also be accessed by drivers," advised Mr. Francis.
"Only five years ago fleet managers still had to manually enter virtually every single piece of fleet relevant information. This was not only time consuming and administratively cumbersome, but could be prone to mistakes. Additionally, the way data was stored meant it was difficult to monitor, measure and compare and contrast the performance of individual drivers and vehicles effectively."
Today, data and information feeds from contract hire and leasing suppliers, daily rental companies, fuel management operators, fast-fit organizations and residual value suppliers, for example, can update fleet management systems along with information supplied by drivers - mileages, expense claims and working hours - and information from other departments on, for example, new starters, employee promotions and changes in driver circumstances.
"Historically, many fleet managers have believed that the advance of technology would leave them without a job. This is far from the truth as the technology revolution enables fleet decision-makers to be far more sttategic in their jobs and less process-driven."
Meanwhile, Mr. Francis has dismissed fears that fleet decision-makers could be sunk by the volume of data available and teports generated.
"It is ttue that data available to fleet operators have increased by a factor of 50 in the last decade and will continue to increase. However, they can decide what they want to monitor and measute by exception. They can customize the software to meet their own individual requirements," he added.