The different types of fleet software, explained

Confused by the differences between fleet information and telematics software? Let us help you…


If you’re looking for fleet management software, there’s a number of different application types that you will come across in your search.

Unfortunately, at first glance, it’s not always clear which will one will best suit your specific fleet management challenges.

To help you understand, we have created this short guide to explain the differences between the two main types of fleet software, how they can complement one another, and which – if not both – might be the best fit for you.

What is fleet management software?

Fleet management software is an umbrella term for any software application that has functions related to managing one or more vehicles belonging to an organization.

Definitions

There are two main types of what is often referred to as “fleet management software”, and a number of functionally-specific applications beneath them.

Differentiating between the main two types is relatively simple….

Fleet Management Information Software

Think of this as a giant database of information – a place you can store records of everything to do with your fleet, listing what vehicles your organization has purchased or leased; their specifications; details of maintenance schedules, parts and service histories; drivers and related compliance documents such as fleet insurance, licenses and tax; information on fuel transactions; operating expenses and other financial data, and much more.

fleet management information system

The main purpose of these systems is to reduce the administrative processes involved in managing all of this fleet lifecycle information, then help make sense of it in terms of operating costs, total cost of ownership, whether you are operating legally and meeting compliance regulations, and effectively maintaining assets.

As such, these systems usually have quite comprehensive reporting tools, can set alerts and send emails, and have lots of integrations with third party systems such as financial and ERP solutions.

Telematics and GPS tracking Software

These systems are more about dots on a map rather than rows and columns. They send data from devices (black boxes) installed in the vehicle itself, to primarily track the location and performance of the vehicle, and the behavior of driver.

telematic software

They can also provide a load of useful information from the vehicle’s on-board computer, such as real-time odometer readings, operating (start/stop) times, real-time fuel economy, fault codes to support preventive maintenance, and much more.

Telematics software can be used for real-time tracking, helping to organize dispatch of the workforce and predicting when drivers might reach their destination, but it also measures how vehicles are being driven by an individual, and how well the vehicle is performing.

So which one is right for my challenges?

If you need to decide which software best matches your requirements – and can’t have both – then the below chart may help you to understand…

Integrations

You may have also wondered how these systems work together to improve fleet efficiency and productivity …and it’s important to understand the relationship between the two to gain even further benefits.

By integrating the two systems, you can:

Create more comprehensive risk analyses by combining driver behavior information with driver details on accident rates, medical histories and fines
Attach engine fault codes to work orders to speed up repairs and enhance preventive maintenance
Use real-time odometer reading to do predictive maintenance and improve service scheduling

In today’s interconnected world, integrating telematics systems with your fleet management software is key if you are to meet all of your fleet management needs.

So they work together, but what are the benefits?

Fleet management software can be integrated with almost any type of telematics solution as well as third party software applications; web services; data providers; and internal systems, and there are a lot of good reasons to leverage data across multiple systems. By doing so, operators can:

Streamline processes by eliminating administrative time
Ensure accuracy by eliminating redundant data entry
Lower investment and operating costs across numerous business areas

And the list goes on…

Missed opportunities…

There are a growing number of telematics systems on modern vehicles that are feeding information to your fleet management software and, with the right provider, integrations can be seamless. There are, however, some missed opportunities.

In fact, if the only thing you’re using telematics to do is to track the location of your vehicles and monitor drivers, you’re missing big opportunities to not only improve fleet management, but also lower operating and ownership costs.

For instance, telematics data can:

Be the source of very valuable information – presented in real time – to address diagnostic fault codes before they become costly repairs, or to reduce downtime when a repair needs to be made on the road

Enable smarter decisions about assets and service. For example, knowing the severity of an issue can help decide if an immediate repair is needed, or if it can wait until the next scheduled maintenance interval.

If the problem is urgent, knowing the nature of the repair that is needed and the location of the asset can provide the means to the most efficient choice of service facility, at the same time alerting the provider so required parts are ready and the repair is expedited.

Different, but definitely relatable

Fleet management information software and telematics systems are different, separate solutions, however, when used collectively – and if effectively integrated by an FMS provider – they can vastly enhance your management capabilities.

All other points aside, telematic systems provide your FMS with actionable information, which in turn helps to increase the productivity of your fleet.

A single fleet management system combined with telematics – and other integrations – seamlessly and automatically makes the software more valuable, and your operation more efficient.