Can I manage my fleet using spreadsheets?
You would be surprised how many large fleets out there are still using spreadsheets and paper-based management.
Why? Well, some say ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ alongside a consensus of ‘we’ve always done it this way,’ which often brings with it resistance to change.
While those managing smaller fleets of say, 10 or so vehicles, may be right in thinking that the cost would outweigh the benefits, there are fleet managers with larger numbers of assets that continue to miss out on the advantages of fleet management software.
So should you stick with a spreadsheet or take the plunge into software?
Managing a fleet with spreadsheets
Fleet management spreadsheets such as Excel do have some benefits:
- Low implementation costs
- Easy to create and manage with limited knowledge
- Good general employee knowledge of using spreadsheets
- Relatively easy to input data
But there are some serious flaws. These include:
- Limited functionality and reporting capabilities.
- Records are reactive rather than proactive.
- Data input delays can result in dated information being circulated for decision making and reporting.
- An increased risk of data inaccuracy due to input errors, illegible writing and missing or incomplete paperwork.
- Tendency for spreadsheets to be designed and created ‘in-house’ which can limit reporting functions.
- Limited ability to integrate with external providers and services.
- Time-bound task of manually inputting, scanning and filing paper-based forms.
- Increased administration time to complete processes such as driver license checking.
What are the advantages of using software?
Fleet management software manages all aspects of a fleet from procurement through to decommissioning. And this management process doesn’t stop at vehicles either; some systems can manage all assets within a business including trailers, machinery and containers.
Specific software keeps information relating to your fleet within one central system. This can include:
Vehicles, assets and equipment:
Record, assign and manage any vehicle or asset within your operation.
Fuel and emissions:
Manage your fleet’s fuel transactions, spend and use tools to identify the best type to reduce both costs and CO2 emissions.
Improve the visibility and management of your drivers to reduce risk and ensure compliance.
Reduce additional downtime, track vehicle availability and manage costs. Vehicle maintenance is further supported through the application of the Workshop Hub – a technician app to help improve efficiencies and reduce administration.
Ensure fleet compliance by making sure that essential paperwork and documents are completed and stored for auditing purposes in real-time.
Systems integrate with other providers such as parts suppliers and accounts to carry out tasks including re-ordering and managing invoices and payments. Many processes and reporting procedures can be automated which reduces administrative tasks and boosts operational efficiency.
System capabilities go further beyond that of spreadsheets to help meet with compliance procedures and managing risks such as identifying bad driving behavior or reducing idling time. Advanced fleet management reporting structures coupled with the ability to integrate with governing bodies and authorities help to support a fully compliant and legal operation.