What is fleet management?

Any organization that needs commercial vehicles to function engages in some form of fleet operations and fleet management. The purpose of fleet management is to oversee all fleet performance and fleet maintenance in order to increase productivity and help a business run as smoothly as possible.

Fleet managers are in charge of fleet operations and might be tasked with responsibilities that include vehicle maintenance, overseeing fuel consumption and fuel costs, driver management, asset utilization, route planning, and the implementation of any programs that increase company productivity and decrease instances of waste.

Fleet management companies often use vehicle telematics or fleet management software, like Samsara, to increase fleet efficiency and help reduce operational costs.

What does a fleet manager do?

In essence, a fleet manager takes care of the following tasks:

1. Driver safety

A major challenge for fleet companies or any fleet manager is keeping drivers safe. Ensuring safe driver behavior can be difficult, particularly when fleet managers are hundreds of miles away from the moving vehicle. There are helpful tools fleet managers can use -- like dash cams or vehicle tracking systems -- that bring real-time visibility into an otherwise remote vehicle and provide evidence or materials to implement driver training.

2. Driver retention

Driver shortages are a growing issue in the trucking industry. Stabilizing and increasing driver retention is something fleet managers need to always aim for. By creating mentorship programs, improving workplace conditions, or simply building stronger trust between driver and manager, fleet managers look to different approaches to ensure drivers are happy at work.

3. Fleet tracking

To ensure driver safety, fleet managers need to know exactly where individual vehicles are at any given time. Although this might seem simple enough, tracking vehicle location can be a challenging feat whether a fleet includes 5 vehicles or 5,000. Fleet managers often rely on GPS technology and other GPS tracking systems to know where their vehicles are and increase visibility into their fleet operations and vehicle safety.

4. Electronic Logging Device (ELD) compliance

The ELD mandate is a congressional mandate that went into effect December 2017 that requires commercial vehicle operators to record Hours of Service (HOS) electronically. The mandate intends to replace paper logging and reduce instances of dangerous driving caused by fatigued drivers. For fleets that are subject to the mandate, fleet managers must implement ELD compliant systems to ensure they have an accurate recording of drive time.

5. Total cost reduction

Whether it's fuel management or lowering operating costs, fleet managers are expected to identify and weed out any unnecessary expenses to help create more cost-friendly and efficient fleet operations. Operational, fuel and maintenance costs can quickly add up. Whether it’s instating fuel efficiency programs (no matter if fuel prices are high or low) or asset tracking, it's the fleet manager's responsibility to determine cost-saving solutions and help a company increase productivity.

6. Vehicle acquisition

In order to effectively manage a fleet, a fleet manager needs to forecast how many and what type of vehicles a fleet will need in order to operate efficiently. It might seem straightforward to purchase new vehicles when the need arises, but correctly understanding and forecasting fleet vehicle utilization is paramount in correctly determining a purchase strategy. Employee eligibility for a vehicle class, vehicle lifecycle, and even market timing are all significant factors that contribute to a sound vehicle acquisition strategy.

What are the benefits of fleet management?

Managing a fleet of vehicles can be challenging, no matter the fleet size. That's why over 75 percent of fleet managers rely on fleet management software or vehicle telmatics to help support day-to-day operations in at least some of their vehicles, according to data from Government Fleet’s annual benchmarking survey.

Fleet management software can help fleet managers gain real-time visibility into their operations while increasing driver satisfaction and decreasing fuel usage through predictive analytics and accurate reporting.

What is the best fleet management software?

Samsara is a system that helps businesses improve efficiency, safety, and quality of their fleet operations with internet-connected sensors and software. From transportation and logistics to food production and construction, Samsara’s fleet management system can help you stay compliant and streamline your fleet operations. Reach out to us for a demo and free trial today.

Learn more about Samsara's fleet management software solution