Grey Fleet management — pros and cons

Grey fleet management — what new this times brought to it and how latest solutions may influence each fleet-dependent company?

A bit of explanation

Fleet management is commonly thought to apply only to transportation fleets like vans and trucks but it is also about management of all motor vehicles, cars, vessels, ships, rail cars and other machinery used in companies. This term describes direct and indirect situations related to organization and management of vehicles, a machinery and vessels in a company. But fleet management include a wide range of factors for example economy and financial, fuel consumption, driver’s and on the road safety, vehicle maintenance, vehicle tracking, diagnostics, logistics and formed couple of years also ecological factors. The mean purpose of fleet management function is to remove or minimize therisk of unnecessary investments and increase efficiency and productivity of the company which rely on this business factor.

How companies deal with fleet management

Fleet management solution may be provided by outsourced -fleet-management-system or in-house department of a particular company. Due to the high cost of implementation, the system itself, staff and maintenance the second solution is available and financial reasonable for corporations and World concerns. Smaller but still big companies usually decide to invest in outsourced fleet management system. So far the fleet management solutions penetration in the market is low — a few percent the highest is 30% in road transportation businesses. Unfortunately, so far there was no reasonable solution for fleet management among medium and micro-entrepreneurs where car fleet is becoming an important factor for company growth and when poor organized may generate high unnecessary costs. The percentage of fleet management software investments among entrepreneurs is close zero, because of entry threshold — price and required minimum quantity of company vehicles. Small entrepreneurs over bound those limitations with fleet management by using available and cheaper GPS trackers with less and more basic features.

What technology is used in fleet management systems

There are many components that are used in fleet management solutions by its providers. Fleet management system is a software, number of algorithms that analyze and verify incoming data and electronic devices with GPS, Glonass and GSM modules build in one working system. The most important component in fleet management system is vehicle tracking based on GPS, sometimes Glonass or cellular GPS and GPRS systems. Vehicle localization, speed, acceleration and height above see is determined from GPS or Glonass in the next stage additional component in the device transmit information to the fleet management software or application where data are verified, analyzed, transcribed and presented to the user. Data from the devices and trackers might be transmitted terrestrial or satellite. Newer and more advanced technology of communication is satellite tracking communication which is more expensive but critical if vehicle tracing is about to work in remote environment without disturbance. This solution is preferred by most of companies because it’s quick response, advanced features and unlimited range of use.

More specific but alternative for fleet management term commonly used is vehicle tracking but this applies only to automatic vehicle localization combined with software that collects fleet location data. Location information are gathered and can be viewed via Internet or using dedicated software. There are two kinds of vehicle tracking devices used in fleet management -passive and active tracking devices. The difference is in where the location and vehicle information is collected. In Passive devices it is gathered, stored on the device memory and downloaded when needed Active collects the same data as well but transmit it in real-time or near-real time via cellular or satellite networks to the server.

Vehicle tracking devices: + and -

Most of the fleet management systems combine specialized or massive produced universal GPS tracker, tracker software and server software. GPS tracker — box is installed in the vehicle, usually it is hidden from unwelcome removing and powered by battery or by vehicle’s power system. Of course, there are many types of vehicle trackers which combines all above options and technology so it can be installed inside the vehicle and collect all data or attached outside and just localize the vehicle. Another part of a good fleet management system is device firmware and server software that can increase the data value or just show it as it is. Most of the professional systems for fleet management is well refined for particular kind of business or customized on user demand. The thing is that software and hardware are interdependent, so the software features basic on features available in hardware, but some features may be provided strictly by good software with limited possibilities of a hardware. This applies to device software and algorithms that identifies each action and server software that analyze the gathered data and present it to the user.

Basically speaking, the more features is available in fleet management system the more complicated the device is. And the more features is available in tracking device offered by a manufacturer the more features might be available for the fleet management user. Unfortunately not many device manufacturers and system developers really cooperate and the result is that chances available are not used enough.

In simple GPS trackers there are GPS and terrestrial or satellite communication modulus, but to receive advanced data from the vehicle the device has to be connected to vehicle’s onboard computer and collect the data from the vehicle or gather this data on its own. But to gather this advanced information other way the device must have in-build all kinds of different sensors and modules like accelerometer, gyroscope, temperature, movement and pressure sensors.

The great advantage of internally installed trackers is that it collect data right from the vehicle’s computer, so the information presented to the user shows the actual vehicle situation and location. Unfortunately, most of this kind of trackers require proper installation and instant service. Trackers that do not require in-car installation cannot usually gather information other than GPS location, so they can’t be used as a part of advanced fleet management system.

Modern and the only right approach to fleet management industry focuses on working under the tracking device that would not require in-vehicle installation but still show the data in-real time and could collect information about vehicle usage or drivers behavior. This type of tracking device is going to combine the advantages of other kinds of tracking devices and eliminate drawbacks of these obsolete solutions.

The modern approach engineering goes further than creating a software which can calculate almost everything or a device stuffed with modulus without a purpouse and knowlage of use. Now, engineering combines software and hardware to work in cooperation for specific goals. The same group of engineers work under hardware and accurate software where is no place for not enough, too much or pointless features and components. Each peace of product and a service is accurately design, to bring the value offered and expected by users. This firstly started in area of personal computers, mobile phones, gadgets and now it is implemented to business area starting from fleet management. To learn more please go to Cloud Your Car Tour tab.

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