Reducing fleet costs through technology

TODAY’S sophisticated vehicle tracking and integrated fleet management systems enable fleet operators to reduce fleet costs by streamlining maintenance processes and procedures, reduce vehicle downtime, make informed maintenance decisions and manage driver behaviour.

In Eqstra Fleet Management’s latest White Paper, designed to keep fleet operators aware of latest developments in the industry, Murray Price, MD of Eqstra Fleet Managements says: “Keeping a fleet of vehicles efficiently maintained requires attention to detail and a systematic approach, both of which are provided by integrated fleet management reporting and tracking systems. This technology helps fleet operators address operational challenges through a comprehensive array of vehicle performance and engine diagnostic capabilities.”

Together with maintenance history trends down to component level, these combined systems enable fleet operators to eliminate paperwork via on-line service monitoring and intuitive data maintenance management features; set proactive reminders for oil changes, tune-ups and other preventative maintenance activities; control repair costs and extend vehicle life by automatic access to service records; monitor automatic engine diagnostic alerts to identify minor problems, helping reduce expensive roadside repairs; and analyse comprehensive service record reports to improve fleet health and lifecycle maintenance management.

Some key elements to efficient fleet maintenance management using technology include:

• Engine Alerts – the system continually tracks the health of engines, and automatically notifies fleet managers of potential engine problems by sending alerts. These alerts enable them to take necessary steps to ensure that the vehicle functions properly and as a result reduces downtime.

• Maintenance Scheduling – Preventative maintenance procedures are based on manufacturer’s specifications which are directly linked to mileage travelled. Regular odometer updates enable fleet owners to pro-actively manage scheduled maintenance, ensuring all warranty specifications are adhered to. This reduced unscheduled maintenance and unnecessary downtime.

• Unnecessary driving –low mileage reduces the wear and tear on a vehicle, extends its operational life and reduces labour and repair costs. A fleet tracking management system helps monitor both unnecessary and unauthorised driving by routing vehicles more efficiently, tracking their locations, and monitoring off-hours usage. Many tracking systems come with GPS connection capabilities, which can further reduce vehicle mileage by providing drivers with accurate directions.

• Reducing idling time – one of the key fuel burners in fleet operations. By monitoring vehicle idle times, operators can set thresholds which identify vehicles with excessive idle times and automatically shut down the vehicle. Customizable alert notices and reporting features provide data to set goals for reducing idling times and coaching drivers to achieve the desired results.

• Integrated fleet management systems provide a complete online service history of every vehicle in the fleet. Records are easily captured and updated and the system provides comprehensive reports which provide the data required to analyse fleet maintenance problems and identify areas for improvement.

“As these effects kick in, less time will be spent on emergency or unexpected repairs and more work will involve scheduled maintenance,” concluded Price. “As a result labour overtime will decrease as vehicle breakdowns and unexpected repairs decline. Fleet technology systems provide the tools required to improve the entire maintenance process and to operate a fleet safely, efficiently and cost effectively.”

For further information please contact Murray Price at (011) 458 7555.