Fleet Management Systems for Small Distributors?

fleet management systemsDistribution companies have the daunting task of keeping delivery routes optimized, efficient, and running on-schedule. Of course, to do this, distributors must also oversee a fleet of trucks. They may have 10 trucks or they may have 100!  Regardless of the size of the fleet, this is still no small undertaking. 

In fact, to help them achieve this goal, distributors big and small harness the power of fleet management systems (FMS).

Fleet management systems are much more than just simple scheduling software, though. These platforms keep track of scheduled vehicle maintenance, registration, driver statistics and much more. Users often bundle additional software tools for specific fleet types, sizes, and monitoring other fleet equipment with the platform. Of course, the primary purpose of FMS solutions is to help improve organization, keep and maintain vital records, and improve fleet management efficiency.

There are multiple ways a smaller distributor can benefit from implementing an FMS. In this blog post, we’ll explain a few of the biggest reasons why distributors of all shapes and sizes should consider adding an FMS to their arsenal!


What is the Job of a Fleet Management System?

There are several logistics-specific software solutions out there. For those with multiple pieces of equipment in their inventory, one of the best tools to use is the fleet management system. Contrary to popular belief, they are not just for vehicles. In fact, many distributors or construction companies use them to inventory and keep track of maintenance for manufacturing equipment, construction equipment, forklifts, and more. 

The primary purpose of the FMS is to provide users with a simple to organize and access platform that keeps track of all commodities. Regardless of whether it is a truck or a piece of equipment, each commodity is assigned a number by which the platform monitors its movement. Specific files host these numbers as a way to further organize things on a micro-level. These files can be organized by equipment type, departments, or any other custom configuration.

This flexibility to really break everything down to such a specific level is exceptionally helpful for distributors that not only have delivery vehicles, but forklifts, or even manufacturing equipment that require routine maintenance. 

Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, most of the more advanced FMS solutions are cloud-based. This means that the platform is completely virtual, allowing it to be accessed remotely from authorized devices. Users can connect to the FMS from their desktop, laptops, and if allowed, their mobile devices. Some FMS solutions also include route optimization software, or the ability to sync a GPS tracking system to it. This permits the user to monitor all their drivers and delivery vehicles in real-time.


How an FMS Benefits Smaller Distributors

One of the realities that smaller distributors face is the need for increased efficiency across the board. In most situations, the same employee tasked for keeping track of vehicle maintenance is also responsible for shipping and receiving invoices.  And when we are talking about a company with a much smaller team but large volume of shipments, one person doing multiple things can bring efficiency to a screeching halt.  This is obviously not the ideal situation but it is a reality nonetheless. 

Fortunately, this is where a well-built FMS can help streamline your supply chain processes. 

Below are a few of the more practical applications of fleet management systems. 


Service Records  

Most insurance companies and even state safety agencies require any company that operates a commercial fleet to maintain accurate service and maintenance records. A fleet management system is a helpful tool that helps distributors with limited delivery trucks or cars in their network keep these vital records secure and easy to access. 


Scheduled Maintenance

Frequently maintained vehicles tend to last longer, drive smoother, and conserve more fuel when maintained properly. This is massively beneficial to smaller distributors, as it helps to offset expensive repairs. A fleet management system enables users to set up scheduled maintenance checklists. The system can then automatically alert the user about a pending service.


Keep Track of Registration and Insurance

Every year, distributors and companies with a fleet of vehicles must renew registration and insurance information. It is even more frustrating for smaller distributors who struggle to find the time to focus on keeping their trucks registered and on the road. The FMS is able to sync up and connect to DMV facilities and insurance companies. This allows you to complete the registration process remotely. 


Final Thoughts

Regardless of your fleet size, robust FMS solutions can save you money, time, and valuable resources. The best attribute of new FMS solutions custom configured by Redwood Logistics is scalability. This permits growing distributors to upgrade their FMS with very little effort, as their fleets grow, or business accelerates. 

If you’re interested in learning more about fleet management systems for small distribution companies, contact Redwood Logistics today.