Cost control is the main benefit of fleet management software, according to fleet operators.
Ed Hyland runs JLA’s fleet of 130 vans and 75 company cars and has been using fleet software since November last year.
“With fleet software every cost, including accident costs, SMR, fines and fuel, is centralised,” Hyland says. “This way we clearly see fleet expenditure every month giving me greater cost control.
“The software can also generate graphs and charts so you can see spend trends over a certain period.”
Kelly Communications operations director Dermot Coughlan, has used fleet software for the past 18
years. The company runs 1,600 vehicles and Coughlan does not believe it is possible to run a large fleet without fleet software.
“Control is the key factor,” he says. “Fleet software allows you to have all the information in one place and gives you the ability to budget.”
Anthony Franklin, group fleet manager at Roger Bullivant, which has a fleet of 450 vehicles, agrees: “It helps with budgeting. You can put budgets into the system and get exception reports.
“I also use it to benchmark vehicles. For instance I could type in ‘VW Golf’ and it will allow me to see all of the Golfs on the fleet and see the pence-per-mile cost.
"I can then see how this compares to manufacturer data and if drivers have a high pence-per-mile cost I look into the causes of that.”
Marie Jarrold, fleet manager at BCA, uses software to monitor pence-per-mile costs and identify potential savings.
“Fleet software enables me to realise full operational control of our fleet of 400 vehicles,” she says.
Gary Black, group fleet manager at Inspired Gaming Group, says: “Everything that happens with the fleet from purchase through to disposal is loaded onto the software.
"Because our fleet is run in-house I couldn’t manage without software and I don’t see how you would have accuracy if you used spreadsheets.”
Fuel spend is one area identified by fleets where software can bring greater control.
Data from fuel cards can be uploaded to show where fuel is being purchased, the cost, whether drivers are purchasing expensive fuel and drivers’ mpg.
Jarrold, for instance, encourages drivers to fill up at supermarket forecourts and uses software to monitor fuel purchase and usage.
SMR can also be monitored more effectively.
Hyland says: “The system allows us to build up data on the cost of various parts and services and then flags up any overspend against previous invoices.
“With the mileage data and historical maintenance information for each vehicle you know when the next service is due.
1 Understand the benefits of different systems. Providers include CFC Solutions, Jaama, Chevin, Civica and Mycompanyfleet but they won’t all have the same functionality.
2Upfront or pay-as-you-go pricing is available but costs vary hugely depending on the number of users and software modules.
3Have an implementation plan. “Testing is important – don’t rush implementation,” says Coughlan.
4 Discuss who owns the data so that if you switch providers you retain it.
5 Make full use of the software. “Once you use it every day you learn how to get the most out of it,” says Coughlan.