Why Fleet Tracking is Your New Best Friend
Fleet management has quickly become one of the fastest growing trends in the food and beverage industry, and it’s easy to see why. With a list of benefits ranging anywhere from improved route planning to real time routing alerts, fleet tracking gives a sort of visibility that was unimaginable a decade ago. Having the ability to analyze these planned versus actual route statistics not only gives you a heads up on any unforeseen issues, but helps tighten the feedback loop between your business’ delivery people and merchandisers.
We know that sometimes life happens and things don’t go as planned. Whether a delivery person just showed up to a new location only to be greeted by a daunting set of stairs, or can’t get to a local pub in the expected time because of a new construction zone, fleet tracking keeps you up to date. Using On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) like GPS location, speed, temperature, trip odometer, acceleration, harsh braking, hard cornering, idle time, and engine code readouts, you get fully customizable updates that can be sent straight to your phone so you know what’s happening with each vehicle as it happens. This way if a driver runs into the sort of unexpected scenario just mentioned, your people can immediately see it and take the steps to resolve it as quickly as possible. Having a bird’s eye view like this really lets your team and yourself communicate with suppliers and merchandisers like never before, leading to tighter support for drop-and-runs and improved route driving times.
Making The Change
Okay, so all this fleet management stuff sounds great, but you’re still not sure which tracking and routing system will work best for your company? Well don’t fret, even though there are a ton of options out there, each software/hardware suite has their own special way of being set apart from the others. For hardware, some tracking units use GPS while others prefer a form of cellular triangulation to transmit their data. If you’re in an area that gets really bad weather, do some research on what works best for some of the companies around you already using fleet and routing systems. Some regions have harder times finding good GSM cell towers nearby, so GPS is preferred.
A good portion of fleet tracking devices will easily be plugged into your vehicle’s computer, but some still require a more in-depth installation. Once hooked up, some hardware will only be reading check engine lights while others will be keeping track of the telematics, maintenance, driving speed, fuel management, etc. of the vehicle. Finding out all you can about the hardware you want to use with your vehicles will make choosing your fleet tracking system that much easier.
Once the hardware deliberation is done, it’s time to think about what you want out of your software. Your new handheld GPS fleet trackers will only go as far as the software allows them to. Look for software with route planning to kick things off. This gives you a starting measure to not only track your planned versus actual routes, but can suggest quicker routes than your crew may have been driving for the past several years. If you run a larger scale operation where planning is essential, don’t stop at route mapping. Some software suites (like ours) offer customizable load planning for each vehicle using drag-and-drop bay space management. This lets your people pick and place orders quicker so you can start maximizing your trucks’ loads and save everyone time. Finally, look for a software that is mobile-friendly. Choosing a fleet management system that can be checked when you aren’t by your computer gives you the freedom to actually do what your job requires without feeling constrained!
Where Encompass Steps in
We’ve built our Fleet Tracker and Routing system with you in mind. Encompass integrates our Route Accounting Software (RAS) with our fleet management system so everything can be accessed in one place. This means you can seamlessly maneuver between the Encompass Warehouse Management Software (WMS), Warehouse Control System (WCS), Fleet Tracker, mobile sales, and RAS in one easy to use cloud based software. You’ll have the entire business at your fingertips, and live mobile updates will keep you informed better than ever. If a delivery person is behind, they can instantly show a salesperson or merchandiser when they plan to be on location, and you’ll be kept in the loop. With Encompass Technologies you get more than just fleet management, you get real-time access to your product, your people, and the ways everything can work together to maximize your business.