Fleet management software, also referred to as FMS, is a software solution designed to help various companies and organizations efficiently manage their mobile/field service assets. It serves as a central platform where fleet operations are conducted, including the planning of delivery routes, maintenance scheduling and fuel tracking.
For most businesses, their main reason for using fleet management solutions is to ensure the smooth operation of vehicular assets by way of reducing operational costs, improving performance through regular preventative maintenance and ensuring proper compliance with various government regulations.
However, the core purpose of fleet management software is to collate, store, analyze, keep track of, report on and provide critical information to fleet managers. The data users obtain from FMS systems allow them to manage, organize and coordinate fleet operations, ensuring all work vehicles and mobile assets are well-maintained, handled correctly and accounted for at all times.
Fleet management is the process of managing mobile assets such as service vehicles, taxi cabs, rental cars, construction equipment and buses using software solutions, tools, applications and other technologies that help companies maximize the use of their work vehicles from a singular and centralized platform. This is what premium and most free fleet management software systems offer.
FMS is also referred to as a fleet telematics solution. Telematics is a category in IT that facilitates long-distance communication of computerized information. The system is applicable in fleet operations as data is being collected from different external sources, including vehicle specification databases, mapping systems, financial and insurance firms and government agencies that manage vehicle registration.
Your fleet management software also functions as a vehicle management solution, driver management, incident management and vehicle tracking system. It helps to manage and streamline core processes, tasks and events pertaining to vehicle fleets and other mobile assets. This includes vehicle maintenance, registration, licensing, inventory and tax processing. The vehicle management function also covers vehicle insurance, restrictions and calendar due dates, cost analysis as well as vehicle disposal.
The driver management function allows you or your fleet manager to manage licenses, driver behavior and performance, driver booking and scheduling, while incident management covers anything and everything associated with fines, accidents and apportioning costs to drivers and operators. Vehicle tracking includes telematics, work times, route planning, tracking fuel consumption, data entry and other pertinent information that can be monitored by the system.
The type of businesses and organizations that will find fleet management solutions quite useful are those operating in the field service industry, transportation, financial institutions, cargo and delivery services.
Small businesses, startups, individuals and freelance professionals in any of these industries will find great use of free fleet management software platforms, including free and open-source systems. Even the free version of premium FMS solutions, which can be limited in feature and capability, is a reasonable and cost-effective solution for companies with limited budget.
One of the most ideal free solutions is Kuebix, which is more than your typical fleet tracking and management system. It is a cloud-based transportation management system (TMS) developed specifically for shipping and carrier businesses that handle both inbound and outbound logistics.
Kuebix serves various carriers and modes of transport, which include less than container load (LCL), less than load (LTL), intermodal and heavyweight air.
If you’re interested in using a fleet management software solution to facilitate your day-to-day operations, there are a number of key features you should expect from this kind of platform, regardless of whether you’re using premium/paid software or a free version.
Most top-tier solutions in the market offer various tracking capabilities, including incident tracking, vehicle, mileage and GPS tracking system. They utilize telematics and the most advanced tracking technology to provide real-time information about vehicle location, distance or miles traveled and incident/accident reporting. Most platforms also allow for tracking fuel consumption to help improve fuel management and efficiency.
Fleet maintenance tools allow you to make important decisions based on reliable data and automated reporting. This helps to optimize preventative maintenance schedules, minimize unnecessary work and rework, identify potential high-cost assets, figure out the optimal time to conduct vehicle inspections and make calculated decisions on parts and unit replacement.
This module is responsible for the automation and streamlining of specific tasks in order to optimize how and when company vehicles and other mobile assets are dispatched, which routes should the drivers take and to improve the scheduling process, including arrivals, departures and travel times. This should ensure greater efficiency and that more jobs are done, goods delivered and picked up on time.
When it comes to free fleet management software, there are many benefits of using free solutions for businesses that require a solid TMS platform:
There are plenty of software solutions in the market that offer a wide variety of features and capabilities at no cost to the user. Although the free version of the majority of premium fleet management solutions is normally intended for smaller businesses and organizations, they are fully functional with only a few restrictions, meaning you can use them and upgrade them if you need further advanced features.
Free software programs are designed to easily scale with your business. While opting for free fleet management software is a reasonable first step for smaller businesses, they are designed for scalability. As your business continues to grow, your customer-base increases and you are able to afford more assets; your fleet management system can easily be scaled up to meet the growing demands of your operation.
You will have the ability to manage virtually every aspect of your fleet operations. With the various tools and applications a software solution like this has in store, you will have complete control over your work vehicles and other mobile assets, from the administrative side of the spectrum; such as licensing, insurance and tax filing, to the operational side like maintenance schedules, driver assessments, and vehicle inspections.
When used effectively, free fleet management solutions can provide users with intuitive features, minimal costs and greater visibility of their operations through one centralized platform.