Learning Zone

Fleet Efficiency: get rid of the spreadsheet

By Will Wycks
08 February 2022

Is using a simple spreadsheet tool like Excel to manage your fleet holding your business back and dragging you down each day?

We look at why these programs aren’t the best way to improve fleet efficiency – and when you should consider making the move to specialist software.

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The problem with spreadsheets

Being efficient with fleet management means staying compliant with legal rules and regulations in a way that doesn’t take over your day to day responsibilities. Using spreadsheets to achieve this can be slow, cumbersome and prone to mistakes. Specialist software on the other hand can increase compliance while actually lowering your workload. That makes it the smart choice, even for smaller fleet businesses.

However, before we talk about the benefits of specialist software, first we have to understand just how problematic spreadsheets are. After all, highly efficient fleets don’t use spreadsheets for a number of reasons:

 

Compliance pitfalls

The number one problem with using spreadsheets to manage your fleet is that they’re passive record-holders – they won’t alert you when an important renewal date is approaching. That can lead to serious issues with keeping on top of compliance, and potentially put your business in peril if you miss an important milestone.

Increased manual admin

With a spreadsheet, nothing is automated – everything needs to come from an employee manually inputting data. That can not only be enormously time consuming, it can also open up your business to an increased risk of human error. Efficient fleet management means being able to trust the data that you’re using, and with spreadsheets there’s always that element of doubt – no matter how good your people are with them.

Wasteful paper processes and filing

Spreadsheet users are often forced to rely on paper forms to complete certain tasks. That creates the need for printing, filing and physical storage space – which sometimes go back years if not decades. It’s not only a resource drain, but a highly inefficient way to store such crucial information. It can also take a significant amount of time to find information as and when you need it. Nothing stifles fleet efficiency more than this.

Significant security issues

Storing spreadsheets on company servers (or even in the cloud!), can pose a security threat. Should your business be targeted by malicious attempts to steal information, finding your bank of Excel documents won’t be difficult for the hackers – and then your fleet company could be in a world of bother. Moving away from spreadsheets and towards a more integrated online solution helps to address this risk.

Inefficient collaboration

As well as not being particularly secure, spreadsheets weren’t built with collaboration in mind. They work best when a single user inputs data into them. A cloud-based spreadsheet program like Google Sheets that allow multiple simultaneous users can slow down enormously when several people try to use them. It can cause sheer confusion amongst your team as different employees delete and overwrite each other’s work – leading to lost time, and increased potential for errors. To improve fleet efficiency, a more efficient option is required.

Difficulties keeping track of important information

Your fleet data spans everything from vehicle details to maintenance schedules, license checks and much more besides. When all of that information is in a database that needs to be manually updated cell by cell, it can become a severe challenge to scale that admin as the business grows. Without an automated solution, you’re bound to run into problems.

Inefficient and slow-running spreadsheet software that’s a nightmare to navigate

We’ve already mentioned that multiple users can make spreadsheets slow to a crawl. Well, so can inputting vast amounts of data – the very thing you use them for in the first place! Spreadsheets have a limit to the amount of information you can put on a single sheet, and so forming complete records can become a case of having multiple windows open at any one time. From a personal perspective, that lack of usability can become infuriating for the user tasked with managing the company’s data. From a company perspective, it’s a highly inefficient way to occupy an employee whose skills could be put to much better use. Finding a better approach is key to improving fleet efficiency.

A lack of integrated and intuitive reporting

The more data your fleet outputs, the more crucial it is to have an intuitive reporting tool. Spreadsheets often require that you produce these reports manually. In some cases they may function with reporting software, but the variances in the way sheets are put together and labelled can cause incompatibilities that result in inaccurate or hard to read reports.

In essence, then, improving fleet efficiency means doing away with spreadsheets and seeking another solution entirely.

So what’s the alternative to spreadsheet management?

 

The benefits of specialist online software

Efficient fleets use efficient fleet management software to simplify the admin and record-keeping side of their business, speeding up data retrieval and making sure compliance regulations are met.

Our FleetWave Lite software is designed specifically to make life easy. FleetWave Lite lets you…

 

  • Keep your business compliant without hours of manual work or laborious administration tasks
  • Monitor vehicle usage, including key metrics like mileage, fuel consumption and vehicle downtime
  • See detailed maintenance records at the click of a button – and even set reminders for ones that need servicing
  • Manage accidents through incident reporting and status tracking
  • Organise your fleet drivers with checks for compliance, charges and fines
  • Track fuel usage and charges, streamline transactions and even help to reduce emissions with green initiatives
  • View all of your fleet’s costs in easy to understand reports.

 

As a result, FleetWave Lite helps you stay complaint, improves downtime, increases productivity, enhances asset visibility and eliminates the need for paper-based processes and physical backups.

Intuitively designed to be easier to use than Excel and scalable as your business grows, our cloud fleet tracking software lets you manage the most important aspects of your fleet’s day to day on a low-hassle subscription basis, for just £3 per fleet vehicle each month.

 

Learn more about how FleetWave Lite can transform your day-to-day fleet operations by arranging a free trial.

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