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Fleet Management

Fleet Management Dashboard: Benefits And Best Practices

Any business with vehicles on the road can benefit from using a fleet management dashboard. Learn how and discover the best practices that make it work.

Fleet Management Dashboard

Any business with vehicles on the road can benefit from incorporating a fleet management dashboard into their workflow. But what exactly is this essential piece of technology, how can it help, and what steps should managers take to make it as effective as possible?

In this article, we answer those questions and discuss the benefits and best practices of the fleet management dashboard.

Table Of Contents

  • The Purpose Of A Fleet Management Dashboard
  • Fleet Management Dashboard Benefits
  • Important Stats To Track
  • Fleet Management Dashboard Best Practices

The Purpose Of A Fleet Management Dashboard

Fleet Management Dashboard

Fleet operations are a major cost center for any business with vehicles on the road. Managed incorrectly, fleet activities can cost a business thousands of dollars or more every year depending on the number of vehicles in use.

That’s where a fleet management dashboard and other essential technologies come into play.

A fleet management dashboard is a reporting user interface (UI) that displays key metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) relating to various aspects of how a business uses its vehicles.

For most fleet-based businesses, those metrics and KPIs include:

  • Vehicle location
  • Fuel costs
  • Performance data (e.g., deliveries made, miles traveled, etc.)
  • Vehicle utilization
  • Driver safety
  • And others

Fleet management dashboards often serve as a central hub for operations and as a way to track maintenance, monitor drivers, plan routes, and receive real-time data and insights about a company’s vehicles on the road.

Vital Fleet Management Tools

One of the key aspects of fleet management dashboards is that users can customize them to display only the information that will further the purposes of their fleet.

Data will likely be flowing in from any number of sources, including core technologies, such as:

  • Fleet management software — a suite of tools that helps monitor and organize important details about fleet vehicles and drivers
  • Telematics — installed applications and services that provide near real-time data about fleet vehicle activity, location, and condition
  • Fuel cards — payment cards and software that helps fleet managers streamline fuel purchases while drivers are on the road

A dashboard can help collate all of this information so that owners and operators can monitor and adjust the total cost of ownership for each vehicle and the fleet as a whole.

Fleet Management Dashboard Benefits

Man checking his Fleet Management Dashboard

1) Quick Access To Important Data

In many cases, an advanced dashboard can provide quick access, and even real-time access, to essential fleet data.

Armed with that data, owners, operators, administrators, and managers can make more informed decisions about a variety of variables, including routes, fuel stops, driver performance, vehicle use, and vehicle operating condition.

Each of these variables can then be further analyzed in order to reduce operating costs, streamline total cost of ownership, and adjust vehicle cost per gallon (two of the most important factors that affect a fleet-based business’s bottom line).

For example, dispatch may monitor a fleet management dashboard for real-time updates on traffic conditions along the preferred route of travel.

If the route should become inefficient (due to traffic, an accident, or some other issue), dispatch can reroute a vehicle to avoid unnecessary idling and the increased fuel costs that come with it.

2) Past And Present Performance Information

Many fleet management dashboards provide an overview of the fleet’s past and current performance.

This allows fleet managers to compare day-to-day information about the fleet in order to improve productivity and increase profitability.

For example, if a vehicle takes a shorter, more traffic-heavy route one day and a longer, less traffic-heavy route the next day, administrators may discover that the longer route actually saves money in the long run because the vehicle isn’t idling for long periods of time without moving.

With that in mind, they make the choice to direct all vehicles along that route in order to reduce the variable vehicle costs that have a significant effect on the total cost of ownership.

3) Efficient Analysis

With a flexible dashboard that allows for a customized display, all data and information about fleet vehicles is located in one location. Fleet administrators no longer have to hunt through reams of numbers to find what they’re looking for.

Instead, they will be better equipped to access and analyze the details of things like fuel use, vehicle mpg, tire inflation, and engine condition (just to name a few).

And, not only will they be better able to find this information, but they’ll be better able to do so quickly and efficiently without delays that can cut into work time.

4) Wide Or Narrow Focus

Another benefit of incorporating a fleet management dashboard into a business workflow is that the software may allow users to analyze vehicle information individually or in groups.

This ability to switch between a wide or a narrow focus can be useful for comparing and controlling vehicle and fleet activities with an eye toward reducing — or eliminating completely — the variables that can lead to a higher total cost of ownership.

For example, by looking at the total cost of ownership for all the vehicles in a fleet, managers can then calculate the average vehicle cost per mile and implement ways to reduce the expenses that can inflate this number.

To learn more about the average vehicle cost per mile calculation, check out this article from the Coast blog: Car Fleet Management: A Guide For Fleet Owners And Operators.

5) Real-Time Alerts

Some advanced fleet dashboards also supply real-time alerts for everything from vehicle location and average miles per gallon to speeding and heavy braking.

These types of alerts can inform dispatchers and crew managers of factors and behaviors that dramatically impact spending within the fleet.

Administrators can then design and implement programs to address these issues so that related expenses don’t spiral out of control.

Important Stats To Track

Man checking his Fleet Management Dashboard

A robust fleet management dashboard can be configured to track a wide variety of stats, and administrators may get bogged down in the analytics that come rolling in when fleet management software, telematics, and fuel card software come online.

To reduce the confusion that can come with too much data, start with the metrics and KPIs that apply most directly to fleet-based businesses, including:

These data points can have the largest effect on fleet spending and a business’s bottom line.

For more information on metrics to include in an initial analysis, check out this article from the Coast blog: 16 Crucial Fleet Management KPIs Managers Should Track.

Fleet Management Dashboard Best Practices

Biofuel Filling Station

1) Monitor Compliance

Compliance is a big issue for all fleet-based businesses and failing to abide by local, state, and federal rules and regulations can cause real problems for an operation.

With a fleet management dashboard, owners and operators can combine compliance data from fleet management software, telematics, and fuel card software into a single view that can make understanding the information much easier.

2) Set Up Preventative Maintenance Notifications

Regardless of the number of vehicles in use, managers should take advantage of automatic notifications for all preventative maintenance needs.

Set the system to notify the proper team members (e.g., drivers, dispatchers, fleet mechanics) so that service and repairs get done in a timely manner.

3) Track Everything To Do With Fuel

Fuel is one of the largest expenses that most fleets will face. And, it goes without saying, that a business can’t control what it doesn’t analyze.

That’s why it’s important to track everything to do with fuel, including often-overlook variables such as:

Changing how a business handles these variables can have a large effect on the total cost of ownership calculation and the business’s bottom line.

4) Take Advantage Of Integrations

While a modern fleet management dashboard can benefit the business in many ways, it can’t do it all. But that doesn’t mean the software shouldn’t work well with other tools and technology within a fleet.

For example, the dashboard feature provided by fuel card software should integrate with common fleet management software (e.g., Fleetio), telematics software (e.g., Samsara, Geotab, and Azuga), and accounting programs (e.g., Intuit Quickbooks).

With all of those tools working together in one place, employees at every level of a business will be able to quickly and easily access the data they need to help the operation run smoothly.

One Place For Everything

Coast fleet card

With the Coast fuel card — and its powerful fleet management dashboard — managers can track expenses, save time, and boost profits throughout their business.

The tools built into both the Coast card and software suite will give administrators at all levels the power to:

  • Manage spending
  • See purchase details
  • Control every aspect of each card’s activity
  • Centralize fleet expenses in one place
  • Coordinate and control maintenance costs on the road
  • Provide drivers with access to open-loop convenience
  • Access real-time reporting
  • Receive activity alerts
  • Track costs
  • Protect against theft and fraud
  • And much more

For more information on how the Coast fuel card and fleet management dashboard can help businesses control fleet costs, visit CoastPay.com today.