“Technology is an enabler that can ease the burden of administrative tasks.”
Fleet administration is a very busy place to be in, and the amount of time and cost it handles makes it a high priority area for efficiency improvements. The wide variety of tasks associated with the day to day running of the fleet such as paperwork, compliance checking, managing fines, tax and MOT duties, invoicing costs with suppliers, analysis of data for trends and costs is critical to the operation of the fleet. As a consequence, there are three areas where technology can have a significant impact on fleet administration, and these are: task automation, workflow improvement, and collaboration.
Automating tasks is a highly beneficial area to consider when selecting a fleet management system and the functionality and capability they offer. Interfacing or Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) help to fetch and return data in real-time with other data sources such as suppliers systems or other internal systems (e.g. HR for driver information) allowing you to increase internal efficiency through quicker integration and reusability.
For example, if for instance you want to analyse supplier data from fuel cards, creating an API with the fuel supplier or importing data from the fuel card company can allow your fleet management system to automatically compare mileage and fuel consumption for any particular vehicle in the fleet against the fuel card transactions to highlight any anomalies and potential invoicing cost errors. This saves time and overspend. In turn, this method can be used for your leasing contracts with leasing suppliers. In this example, you could compare supplier offers prior to approving any new leased car requests or renewals to ensure that you are selecting the most competitive offer against cost, term duration and any hidden terms and conditions that perhaps would not be preferential to your company’s fleet policy.
Using automated workflows drives an organisation to become more efficient by helping remove wastage, such as becoming paperless, cuts out unnecessary work like duplicated data entries, better use of human resources which overall saves money and will help an organisation to grow and improve.
Workflows also achieve this by identifying and removing the unnecessary steps/processes within any task. Modifying the order of the steps can make the process more efficient. For example, some steps could run simultaneously as opposed to sequentially. Tasks can be assigned to the people with appropriate skills to perform the task, rather than allocating to anyone who needs work to do avoiding compromising quality. Fleet managers can concentrate on strategic business oriented activities, rather than the day to day operational tasks, such as task allocation and monitoring progress.
Workflows can answer questions like: What actually needs to be done?, Who am I doing this task for?, How long should I take to perform this task?, Who else is involved in the process?, What will happen after I action this? Workflows improve visibility by tracking and allowing a staff member to instantly check the status of an item/task. It allows the key people to see the critical processes at every point, identifying problems, bottlenecks and monitor end to end performance throughout.
In addition to workflows, collaboration features are key to gelling all the communication together. Collaboration is the experience that integrates people, processes, and technology and improves the connections between people and the information they need to share to produce results.
Collaborative fleet management software works by offering a range of extended features such as access anywhere at anytime, apps for mobile workers and suppliers to integrate in near real-time, optimised for a range of devices like smartphones and tablets, direct apps access from suppliers or using real-time alerts and notifications to control tasks, highlight concerns, errors and missed events.
Technology is an enabler that can ease the burden of administrative tasks. Thus, a fleet management system should aim at automating repetitive tasks, facilitating the retrieval and visualisation of data for decision-making. Also, it should provide transparency and clarity to business processes and their workflows. Finally, a fleet management system should make it easy for people across the business to collaborate and share information in a timely manner.