Whether you're running and maintaining a fleet of just road vehicles or a combination of vehicles, plant and equipment, new fleet software is now available to help improve efficiency, explains George Webb

Most local authority fleet managers appreciate that software provides you with the ability to analyse activities across your entire fleet operations, enabling you to highlight 'rogue' vehicles, minimise downtime, monitor fitter productivity, enhance utilisation and availability of vehicles and provide better budget control for areas such a fuel.

George Webb, Managing Director of RAC Software Solutions, told LAPV: “It's true. One of the largest expenditures for fleet managers is fuel; most fleetsystems can import data from major fuel card companies and fuel systems, preventing the need for time consuming manual entry of data. This information can then be used to compare mpg and costs per mile across model types and users to identify 'non-cost-effective' vehicles.”

RAC Software Solutions has been in the transport market for 20 years, previously trading as Tranman Solutions. The Tranman system is used by around 200 local authorities and government organisations in the UK. Its public sector client list includes 65% of police forces and 40% of fire brigades.

Major benefits

“One of the major benefits of using fleet management software is the capability for much more pro-active driver and vehicle/plant management. Fleet software is designed to help improve the efficiencies of running and maintaining a fleet whether this is strictly vehicles or a combination of vehicles, plant and equipment. Essentially it will provide you with a single point of reference for all your fleet data,” George Webb explains.

In general, fleet software packages should include the following:

- Vehicle records including purchase & disposal details;

- Vehicle allocation history, both to drivers and/or cost centres;

- Driver records including licence details & training courses attended;

- Accident recording & claim progression;

- Accurate cost/budget control, broken down by whole life, yearly & monthly costs;

- Critical date reminders, i.e. MOT and tax expiry dates;

- Service scheduling;

- Workshop job control;

- Stores management facilities;

- O' licence management;

- Fuel card data import facility including fuel pence per mile figures;

- Powerful management reports on key performance indicators;

- Integration with Microsoft desktop products & accounting software for invoicing.

Managing your fleet

Any organisation which owns or contract-hires a fleet of vehicles should employ fleet software. It is a management tool providing cost and performance information which allows management decisions to be made to control these costs.

Comments George Webb: “Fleet software brings a level of professionalism to a fleet; it speeds up the auditing process, and adds credibility. It also brings continuity to a business especially if you have a high turnover of staff, a lot of important information that would otherwise have gone with them is held within the system, such as supplier information”.

The accessibility and reputation of a potential supplier should also be a consideration, along with a longstanding history in the transport market.

With the increased number of software providers since 2000, it may also be worth checking a company's financial position. Simply because you want to know that you are partnering with a supplier who can provide long term support for the product that you are investing in, he says.

Training & software reports

George Webb concludes: “It is important to ensure your fleet software supplier has the ability to develop and update systems. An example of this is the proposed Health & Safety legislation that will require you to provide auditable records of driver licence checks and driver training courses, these should now be included in most systems as standard.

“Ensure your supplier can offer training and software support. Check to see if the company offers a choice of support that suits your business needs. For example, by telephone or on-line via the website. This is useful for checking the progress of any outstanding technical calls.

“Bring your company up to speed with a product that is designed to make your life easier, and may protect you from potential corporate manslaughter charges. The software will regularly save you money and through service reminders, will extend the life of your vehicles,” he says.

For further information regarding the range of Tranman fleet software visit www.racsoftware.co.uk or call the sales department on 01454 874002.