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Fleet Maintenance Software Buyer’s GuideUpdated: Jan. 16th, 2019
Fleet maintenance software is a subset of fleet management software that gives fleet managers control over all aspects of the maintenance process. Companies of all sizes that manage fleets of vehicles use this software — including car rental services, limo and bus charters, government agencies, shipping companies, companies who offer a vehicle fringe benefit, and even small air fleets. Use fleet maintenance software to track and plan for regular maintenance, oversee the vehicle lifecycle, document and track vehicle and drive forms, and streamline inventory and supply ordering.
The popularity of fleet maintenance software has grown in recent years due to federal regulatory standards that require filing and accessibility of vehicle registrations and individual driver’s licenses. Federal and local restrictions based on fuel efficiency and emissions have also contributed to the rise of these systems, as companies can more easily track and plan for maintenance to pass emissions and related tests. On a business-process level, fleet maintenance software is used to increase corporate efficiencies in fleet-driven industries, including analyzing cost savings and vehicle lifecycle estimates.
This guide breaks down the common features and benefits found in the best fleet maintenance software, explores a case study, and provides advice on choosing the right system for your company’s needs.
- Cost Tracking: Cost tracking features can either come within the system or connect to an outside accounting program. These features track debits and credits due to parts and labor, work orders, purchase orders, and fuel costs. Tracking costs across the organization means reining in costs and expenditures that could otherwise slip through the cracks.
- Asset and Vehicle Tracking: Asset and vehicle tracking features can include logs of preventive maintenance and repairs, GPS locating, and organizing material assets that augment your fleet. Asset management can help reduce waste in the parts department by locating surpluses, identifying outdated parts for return, and streamlining ordering.
- Licensing and Registration Tracking: In order to stay compliant with local and federal regulations, you must keep organized files of driver licensing and vehicle registrations. A proper fleet maintenance solution organizes these files in a central location where they are securely stored, and management can access them for auditing purposes.
- Insurance Claims Management: Insurance claims require careful documentation and rapid updates. Most fleet management tools will provide a place to keep records regarding the relative health and preventive maintenance performed on a vehicle. Add to that insurance claims once an incident has occurred to complete the lifecycle of a vehicle. Analyze claims to track and reward your safest drivers, or retire any vehicles that don’t meet safety standards.
- Client Request Portal: Especially useful for large organizations, a client request portal gives your customers and employees a way to request work and maintenance without using important work time. Fleet maintenance software that includes a client request portal may automatically generate a work order and trigger the scheduling systems without the involvement of your team.
- Purchase and Work Order Tracking: Whether through a customer request portal or requiring admin access, the top fleet maintenance software will include the ability to build, track, organize, and analyze purchase and work orders. Many systems also provide mobile and tablet access to the software to allow employees to view work orders from the repair shop, rather than requiring a printed copy. This saves time and resources and allows for a more streamlined invoicing and accounting process when work and purchase metrics can sync with accounting systems.
Benefits of Fleet Maintenance Software
Reduction in Paperwork
Fleet maintenance software, like many other SaaS platforms, aims to reduce the paperwork associated with maintaining your fleet. The movement from carbon-copy and handwritten quotes, work orders, and purchase orders to electronic records greatly reduces the time spent organizing paperwork and filing orders. Team members can audit and search records easily with full-database and text search features. The software becomes a single source of truth for the team, instead of having to chase down paper copies.
Preventative Maintenance Schedules
Fleet maintenance software helps teams schedule and plan for regular preventative maintenance that keeps fleets moving. This software helps fleets move from reactive to proactive maintenance, solving problems before they become catastrophes. Features like maintenance notifications and calendars keep more vehicles on the road, as you can set the average lifetime of parts to reflect the expected wear and tear.
Vehicle Lifecycle Tracking
Adding vehicle lifecycle tracking to any fleet maintenance strategy reduces costs as your company can repair or sell the vehicle before it dies unexpectedly. Pertinent information regarding repairs, parts replacements, and fuel economy can all determine the value of the car as an asset or liability, and inform decisions regarding upgrades.
Unexpected repairs and parts replacements, inventory bloat, and audit liability can all contribute significantly to a company’s overhead. Fleet maintenance software aims to cut costs in each of these departments and help a fleet run lean. The preventative maintenance model and inventory features reduce the waste and reactive mindset that can cost fleets thousands of dollars a year. Adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms with cloud storage can further reduce the cost of doing business, as they incur lower implementation and maintenance costs.
How to Compare Fleet Maintenance Software
- Integration with Fleet Management Tools: Fleet Management tools are larger, more complicated systems at often include vehicle tracking, driver and vehicle safety, and individual vehicle diagnostic systems. These systems help large and distributed companies track their vehicles and reduce downtime, lost time, and other losses due to vehicle repairs and replacements.
- Mobile Capabilities: Fleets stay on the move, and your team needs to communicate pertinent maintenance and repair information to distributed drivers. Mobile-ready fleet maintenance systems put records and scheduling in the hands of the drivers where they work. These systems work well for company car programs that require mileage tracking. Employees can receive maintenance updates on their mobile devices, reminding them to come in for routine service visits.
- Cloud Deployment: Cloud-based software provides the security of dedicated support teams, regular updates, and the ease of a monthly or annual subscription. Many companies have switched to software-as-a-service instead of buying a large expensive system that requires an internal IT team. Just make sure your organization’s security policies don’t require an on-premise system.
- Fleet Size: Not all software is created equal; look into the average and optimal fleet sizes for each platform you research. Some light-weight software will provide a significant improvement for smaller fleets without a lot of extras you won’t use. More vehicles bring more problems, and a more fully-featured system should come equipped to streamline the nuances and demands of a larger fleet.
- Multi-Site Fleets: Fleets with two or more maintenance and driver outposts deal with particular problems. These sites will benefit from the specific features of a multi-site fleet maintenance software. Look for products that provide features like multiple users and user permissions, the ability to set custom fields, and integration with midsize to enterprise accounting systems.
SMH Fleet solutions provides vehicle management and logistics services to four locations across the UK, with each location running up to 100 job cards per day.
Challenge: Reduce overhead costs and lost time due to improperly tracked job cards, parts, invoicing, and payments.
Solution: SMH Fleet implemented FleetMinder fleet maintenance software in three of their four locations.
Results: Within the first three months of use, SMH increased sales revenue “on a like for like basis” of eight percent. The annual payments through FleetMinder were over £2 million. Over 90 percent of the previous losses were attributed to lost job cards, incorrectly ordered or matched parts, and over-ordering of inventory. Increased efficiency and built-in workforce analytics also led to SMH reducing their worker headcount, and they could make these key decisions precise.
FleetMinder is one of many fleet maintenance software solutions available on the market today. Check the listings above to read reviews and compare more options.
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Choosing the Best Fleet Maintenance Software
With so many options, it’s hard to know which fleet maintenance software solution will work best for your team. Understanding your fleet’s needs and the issues that your team currently faces will help you make the right decision.
Use the questionnaire above to narrow down fleet maintenance software choices by features, industry, and company size, or contact one of our Technology Advisors for a free, five minute consultation.