5 Reasons Fleet Managers Are Swapping Spreadsheets for Software

   

2020 was nothing short of a shakeup, and while some industries might have seen some radical changes in their workflows, models, and overall structure, the pandemic also paved the way for new challenges. Companies worldwide have begun to adapt to the new “normal” of remote workforces, bolstering their infrastructures with new and innovative technologies to further increase their efficiencies.

Chief among those players, an exciting number of trends has begun to emerge within the fleet industry, trends that are set to foster more collaboration, maximize overall efficiency, and provide better ways to connect across multiple teams. In this article, we’ll discuss five of the trends to look out for 2021, along with our recommendation for the perfect route management software to bolster your own fleet.

What is fleet management software?

As with any software, fleet management software is designed to optimize the tasks and efficiency of an organization’s commercial vehicle/fleet operations. As fleet managers are often in charge of vehicle maintenance, the oversight of fuel consumption and costs, driver management, route planning, etc., many of these tasks require immense amounts of time and accumulated data to stay on top of.

By using fleet management software, organizations and fleet managers alike are better able to optimize their resources, securing more opportunities to make sales, nurture customer relationships, and grow their business.

How does fleet management software work? What makes it better?

Defining the ins and outs of fleet management software is quite easy, and to start, we can break down the most basic ways in which it can and should replace any spreadsheets your business is accustomed to.

Improved Fleet Efficiency

Ask any fleet manager, and they’ll tell you that their days are filled to the brim with a variety of duties, random interruptions, and more. Calculations have to be made, data has to be keyed in, maintenance, inspection, and vehicle data has to be tallied, sorted, and prioritized year-round. As mentioned above, these duties take up valuable time, and manual entry on any type of data is far more prone to mistakes or miscalculations.

Thanks to mobile features built directly into fleet management software, users and drivers can input accurate maintenance, inspection, or vehicle data from anywhere, including out in the field. Likewise, many fleet management software packages integrate well to older systems, meaning updates and workflow requests arrive that much faster, improving overall efficiency in the process.

Accurate Data

Let’s face it – spreadsheets are only as accurate as the person who inputs the data. As humans, we’re prone to all the errors or miscalculations that come with long work hours, missed caffeine, or general absentmindedness. These kinds of errors can lead to poor decision making in the long run, meaning they need to be fixed quickly before a snowball effect can occur.

But what if you can’t pinpoint where the error(s) occurred in your spreadsheets? What if you then have to spend hours combing through the data? What if you realize you have to duplicate that data, checking and re-checking every entry along the way until you find the culprit?

Thanks to fleet management software, you’ll never again have to worry about these types of scenarios. Your data is not only error-free, but synced to your other systems as well, letting you spot and correct issues on the fly, wherever they occur.

Easier Data Analysis

One of the most frustrating aspects of fleet management is the sheer amount of data that has to be monitored and analyzed, with data ranging from repair and maintenance data to replacement and acquisition.

Given that spreadsheets are notoriously difficult to navigate, often requiring several macros or shortcuts to surf through tables, rows, and tabs, drawing meaningful conclusions becomes especially tedious. Thanks to fleet management software, all of this data is made easier to read, and easier to navigate. Gone are the days of wasting hours on running formulas, replaced instead with configurable dashboards, accurate, auto-generated reports, and new ways to spot trends and improvement opportunities. Fleet managers free up more of their time, and stakeholders are provided with cleaner, much more user-friendly data. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Real-Time Updates

Just as spreadsheets are prone to inaccurate data entry when done manually, so too are their updates subject to same issues. No one (especially fleet managers) can be expected to spend their entire work week updating spreadsheets, which means that as more data piles up, so too does the need to keep that data updated regularly. Days and data missed here and there can pile up quickly, and before you know it, your spreadsheets (and your data) are weeks or even months behind. For this reason, fleet management software is built with automated data entry assistance. Data is collected, organized, and analyzed from drivers and technicians in real-time, with a convenient, easy-to-read dashboard to provide fleet managers with a complete view of all fleet progress throughout the day. It’s truly that simple.

Cross-team Collaboration

Fleet managers and software developers know the importance of team insight, which is why fleet management software is also built to foster and improve cross-team collaboration between managers, drivers, technicians, warehouse personnel, and even stakeholders. As outlined throughout this article, this type of collaboration is made all the more difficult when relegated to spreadsheets. Spreadsheets eat up valuable time, are prone to human error, and should stakeholders or fleet managers need to analyze that data to make operational improvements, it becomes all the more likely that they are working off of wrong or outdated information.

Likewise, should field technicians have inaccurate information when studying maintenance trends, it becomes easy to understand how fleet operations can take a dangerous turn for the red. Your business needs a proper, uniform solution in place, one that lets you forego spreadsheets, piles of printed pages, and exhaustive back-and-forth emails.

What is the best fleet management software for my business?

So, there you have it – five reasons fleet managers are swapping spreadsheets for software. As for our pick for the best fleet management software for your business, we wholeheartedly recommend bMobile Route. Built for convenience from the ground up, bMobile is an easy-to-use, ERP-certified solution for distributors already familiar with QuickBooks, Sage, Syspro, NetSuite, Microsoft (Dynamics), and other popular ERP systems, with EDI and DEX integration that are second to none. Drowning in a sea of spreadsheets? bMobile eliminates the need for manual processing of invoice data with the click of a button. 

Likewise, bMobile’s customers enjoy all the cost reduction, data entry, and route optimization benefits outlined in this article, along with instant prioritization of delivery stops relative to distance, efficiency, and delivery time windows. With clear audits of warehouse-to-truck, truck-to-truck, truck-to-store, and truck-to-warehouse, your business’s end-of-day reports have never been cleaner, or more accurate. See what bMobile’s fleet management software can do for your business today with their free demo.

5 Ways Route Accounting Software Can Help You Stand Out in Bread and Bakery Distribution

The bread and bakery industry has been experiencing steady growth due to the rise in demand for bakery products. Due to the increasing influence of foreign culture and fluctuating eating habits, people have begun to prefer readymade bakery food for consumption.

The following statistics elaborates on the same. As a result of this demand, the global bakery product market size is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.2% from 2019 to 2025.

However, this industry heavily depends on the competency of the bakery distribution process. For example, if there is a consistent delay in the distribution of products and bakery retailers experience empty shelves or an overload of products, it may hit hard on your sales opportunities.  

So, as we understand, the bread and bakery distribution industry is extremely time-bound. It is important that you, as a distributor of bakery products, provide the right amount of products, with the appropriate shelf life, on time. This helps reflect your bakery distribution company as a reliable and trustworthy one.

On the other side, you also need to consider other aspects like your investments. This includes the fuel costs, labor costs, and maintenance at regular intervals.

So, how do you strike the productive balance between running a profitable bakery distribution company while meeting the demands of your customers (bakery retailers)?

Here is where a next-gen bakery inventory management system like the bMobile accounting software helps.

Let’s delve more into the intricacies.

What Is a Route Accounting Software?

A route accounting software focuses on the various facets of product delivery including accounting, invoicing, billing, returns, and route optimization.

Therefore, when you adopt a state-of-the-art route accounting software like bMobile route software, you can rest assured that your end-to-end product delivery is completely taken charge of.

With this information, here are a few ways your route accounting software can help you stand out in the bread and bakery distribution industry.

1. Improves Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is of paramount importance. When products of the desired quality are delivered on time, your customers are automatically satisfied.

How can bMobile route accounting software help you accomplish this? This bakery order management software enables you to obtain a holistic view of all the available routes to reach a particular destination. You are free to choose the best possible route to reach the customer. Furthermore, you can add/remove stops in the selected route. This enables you to cover maximum customers in a single route.

These capabilities help you to serve the maximum possible customers in the shortest possible time. This ensures timely delivery of products in their best condition, thereby resulting in satisfied customers.

2. Boosts Profitability

As mentioned in the previous point, route accounting software provides the shortest route to reach your customer. This not just saves time but also slashes down your fuel costs.

Furthermore, the individual load lists of every route are tracked and generated automatically from the route accounting software. As and when the delivery is done, the status of the inventory is updated. This is done throughout the day, across shifts, and in all the routes.

This way a complete view of the inventory status is obtained. Moreover, returns, episodes of spoilt/damaged products are duly accounted for. When these updates are done in real-time, you get a complete picture of deliveries that have happened. You can cut on losses and accurately balance stock for future deliveries. This ensures and boosts profitability. 

3. Reduces Costs

When the shortest route is selected to reach your customer and real-time updates feed your inventory status, the cost of fuel, wastage, and labor are drastically controlled.

Deliveries are done on time and customers are happy. So, instances of returns and refunds are reduced. The rate of customer acquisition increases. With the liberty to add/remove customer points throughout the route, your delivery staff can cover the maximum number of customers in the shortest time. This saves time and effort.

Furthermore, appropriate inventory control results in better prediction of products, thereby reducing costs on wastage of products.

4. Enhances Control on Field Activities

The communication flow between field and administrative staff must be bridged in a bread and bakery distribution chain.

This helps the field staff to be more accountable and enables them to make changes in real-time. This saves the administrative staff from re-keying information. Manual errors are eliminated and accurate information is preserved. Also, it opens opportunities for the field staff to upsell/cross-sell their products.

For example, if a customer wants to add another product at the time of delivery, instead of directing the customer to place the order again and wait for the product delivery, the bakery ordering software allows the field staff to obtain the payment and process the customer request spontaneously. Details about the additional number of stock units, inventory report, and payment details are automatically updated.

This visibility and control of processes help improve the efficiency of the delivery processes.

5. Shortens Billing Cycles

Bakery delivery software can simplify and shorten the time consumed by conventional billing cycles. The delivery staff can get the acknowledgment on any of the mobile devices and provide an e-invoice on the spot.

 

bMobile route accounting software also allows mobile printing and barcode scanning. That is payment can either be done online or by simply scanning the barcode provided by the delivery staff.

This eliminates the need for the administration to work on paper invoices, key the details, and send it to the customer. It reduces errors and the turnaround time consumed by the billing cycle.

Wrap Up

The bread and bakery distribution industry are highly sensitive and the slightest error may hit hard on your reputation. Spoilt/expired products, delayed delivery, and an overdose of products can leave your customers unhappy. Therefore, you should be able to meet your customer expectations while controlling your costs. Implementing route accounting software can serve this purpose and optimize your routes for you to reap maximum benefits.

If you want to check out the capabilities of our bMobile route accounting software, feel free to reach out to us.

5 Reasons to Consider Route Accounting Software for Water and Beverages Distribution

   

Companies within the food and beverage distribution industry face stiff competition. These companies strive to earn the edge by adopting innovative ways. The first challenge they face is controlling costs. With the spike in fuel prices, it has become important to cut costs on other expenses. Furthermore, the price of raw materials has steadily increased along with retailers pulling down the pressure on margins.

To add on, the food and beverages industry involves the manufacture and distribution of perishable products. These products necessarily have a limited shelf life. Therefore, it is cardinal that they are efficiently delivered on time. With customers demanding fresh products, accurate inventory management is the key to ensure product availability, eliminating chances of products going out-of-stock, and cutting down on wastage.

Here, food and beverage distributors rely on technology to improve order accuracy and account service time. When you, as a food and beverage distributor, adopt a route accounting software, you obtain sales forecasting capabilities, can slash down operational costs, and open up opportunities to upsell your products.

With this idea, let’s delve deeper into how a beverage distributor software can help you.

1. Broadens Sales Opportunities

When you implement state-of-the-art beverage software, you provide first-hand critical information to your salespersons and delivery staff. This helps them make real-time decisions on the go.

For example, if you are using the bMobile route accounting software, your staff has pricing data corresponding to the available stock units. Also, they are equipped with updated inventory data, sales history, and promotional information.

With all this information, your staff can upsell products and serve customers who want to add-on products. In the instance of a customer wanting to purchase an additional number of products from you, your staff on the field can check for the availability in the inventory, provide the price details, and complete the order spontaneously. Your staff will not need to depend on anybody back in your office to furnish these details. It helps your staff provide quotes, pricing information, order details, and also accept payment in the field.

These capabilities enable you to seize sales opportunities as and when they come your way.

2. Controls Delivery Costs

Optimizing the routes can hugely impact the bottom line of your food and beverage distribution. Your route optimization software, like the bMobile accounting software, helps you to delve deeper into the costs incurred by particular routes. That is, it helps you to calculate the fuel costs, analyze the service time, the amount to be spent for vehicle maintenance in each route, costs for fuel, and the labor cost for every route.

With this information, you can review the routes along with the expenditure, and decide on the most profitable route to reach a particular customer.

Furthermore, your food distribution software like the one from bMobile also allows the adding and removal of stops throughout the route as and when there is a need.

Moreover, you can also make changes in standing orders by customers in the field. This provides you an accurate picture of the product demand/supply. This information enables you to predict accurate production based on the latest customer orders and also maintain the inventory to control out-of-stocks.

3. Automates Route Settlement

The role of accounting software for food and beverage does not limit to optimization of the route and checking on product availability. A state-of-the-art route accounting software like bMobile can help you automate the complete route maintenance process.

The complete process of providing receipts, refunds, maintaining documents, and billing can consume a lot of time. Further, this may also be exposed to delay and errors if handled manually. With bMobile accounting software, all your documentation and daily route activities like returns, deliveries, cash, and receipts are taken charge of/reconciled spontaneously.

4. Reduces Paperwork and Eliminates Chances of Errors

bMobile accounting software slashes down the need to use paper forms. Your staff is easily able to reconcile documents at the end of every shift. With this systematic approach, you get more time to look for new opportunities.

Your accounting software takes improves last mile delivery by taking charge of inventory, orders, and invoices. Moreover, data entry errors are reduced because you don't manually enter any information. Your staff doesn't re-key details and hence their time is saved.

Your customers are also happy because these digital invoices can be signed on a tablet or mobile device directly.

These capabilities ensure accuracy, automates redundant processes, and expedites processes.

5. Offers Enterprise-Wise Visibility and Communication

How is a route accounting software beneficial? Not just field workers but supervisors and administrative staff can also benefit from it.

In the bMobile accounting software, changes or updates made by your staff in the field are reflected in your system. This way, your managers can view changes that have taken place in the route. They can also monitor the progress and performance of the staff. You can compile reports, compare routes, and analyze the profitability of each route, all on a single interface.

You can break through silos and facilitate the seamless flow of communication between the office administration and fieldwork. Changes made in real-time are reflected in the software. Your administrative staff can view these changes and perform updates in routes if required.

Furthermore, data generated in the accounting software can be integrated into other business systems of your organization. This eliminates the need to re-key information thereby saving time and effort.

Most importantly, when all this information is available on a single interface, visibility and transparency across the organization improve resulting in better business outcomes

Parting Words

A route accounting software helps you have a better hold on information thereby enabling you to improve route efficiency and seize sales opportunities. Your software also improves data accuracy and provides better visibility into the performance of each route. Equipped with this information, you can make better stocking decisions, reduce returns, cut costs, and boost the profit of your food and distribution routes.

For further details about our next-gen route accounting software, feel free to contact us!

5 Tips for Fleet Managers to Drive Impressive Results.

   

5% to 10% of the average annual budget of the fleet goes in vain. If you're not aware of how to save that money and redirect that into beneficial aspects of the business, this article will enlighten you with five time tested and highly proven methods for making a significant impact on your fleet management and boosting your financial stability.

Preventive VS Corrective Maintenance

The amount you spend for repairing your vehicle cuts an immense figure from your fleet budget in a year. It would be better to maintain your vehicle than to pay for the repairs. Generally, an unexpected vehicle breakdown on the road causes enormous money, four times what it takes for the same repair if done in the shop. Of course, certain repairs are expected, but the sudden breakdowns and unexpected repairs also cause a considerable loss in time. The most effective way to avoid these roadside breakdowns is the preventive method of maintenance. Proper maintenance of the vehicle regularly helps you prevent such unanticipated breakdowns and saves you time and huge money.

Neglecting maintenance is the primary cause of unforeseen breakdowns and expenses. In most cases, fleets do not maintain vehicles owning to the busy schedule, which causes an inevitable breakdown. Generally, waiting till something fails is the major mistake done instead of fixing it before it happens.  You intend to take the vehicle to the shop only when it breakdown or nearing a colossal failure. We choose " corrective maintenance" over proactive methods.

Investing in preventive maintenance is often considered to be beneficial in one way or the other. Preventive maintenance requires your effort and time. But it's better to spend this way rather than paying off for unanticipated expenses, which causes a massive rift of money and downtime. The other benefit of preventive maintenance is knowing the due time of service, which helps you plan accordingly.

Preventive maintenance is an approach that benefits you in numerous ways. It shortens the appalling expenditures and sudden breakdown. In turn, you'll be amused by the flow of income if you cut off these unexpected expenses by investing in regular maintenance.

Smart Vehicle Purchase

The value of a vehicle is decreased with their age and continuous usage. Though fleet managers believe that the value of a vehicle will eventually be zero once they ran out of their lifetime, it's not true.

Consider depreciation rates while purchasing new vehicles. If vehicles are brought by considering their residual value when they are out of the fleet. It drives some good money to the overall bottom line.

Investing in a vehicle that maintains its value is a great option. Choose your vehicle after checking the depreciation calculator, and also invest in the maintenance of your vehicle wisely.

After five to six years, your thoughtful approach will reward you by recouping 20% of the purchase price of your vehicle.  In some cases, if the maintenance is done right, you could reap more rewards. At least 10% of the purchase price of your vehicle even after ten years of service.

Optimising Your Fleet Route

Structured route planning is the best way to avoid significant causes of unbudgeted fuel consumption. The fuel consumption is caused due to excessive traffic, non-organized routes, and road blockades. We can restrain such causes by an automated route planning.

The constraints to be considered while route planning are

  • Time of the day
  • Sunrise/ sunset
  • One-ways
  • Traffic
  • Multiple turns
  • Load/ cubic volume/ height/ weight

The amount of time spent on manual route planning is exceptionally high. Compared to computers, there are numerous factors to be examined for humans to be better and faster. Most of the time, your route's proficiency may not be as excellent as it seems to be.

But before route planning, the appropriate information is necessary as it can minimize the usage of fuel, helps in understanding the miles driven, the time utilized for driving, the number of stops made, and even the profit. The more you know the information, the lesser time you will spend on route optimization.

With software-optimized routes, the destination, ETA, and traffic jams are predicted, ensuring the best routes every time. The comparison between the planned vs actual performance is another benefit of using the software. It also shows the next best alternative routes in case of any unpredicted traffics or delays.  

Constant Tracking of Driver Performance

Excessive wear and tear expenses occur due to unprofessional driving behaviors such as speeding, sudden braking, harsh acceleration, and idling. Consumption of fuels increases due to speeding, long idling.

These circumstances can be avoided by installing a tracking system in every vehicle to monitor and ensure safe driving and to keep in touch with the drivers and vehicle in real-time. It helps in foreseeing the erroneous and rectifying it beforehand.

Choosing a system with superb reporting and analytics is the best option. Mapping out the actual stops, speed, route, and fuel use helps in tracking vehicles in real-time and improvise fleet operations.

Electric Cars – Invest in The Future.

The ideology of electric cars is more expensive than those with ICE is a complete myth. Actually, the cost of electric vehicles is lesser than the cost of an average new ICE Vehicles in the US. 

According to the US department of energy in their latest survey, the average energy cost of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles is $50-80/ month, which is extremely less than those with ICE. In fact, that's easily 10 times the average fuel cost of ICE fleets.

Shifting from gas-powered vehicles to electric vehicles saves a huge amount of money annually.

The maintenance expenses of electric vehicles over ICE vehicles are comparably less. As for the ownership of the fully electric fleet, the cost is, in fact, less than the ownership of an ICE fleet.

To Summarize

The biggest obstacle for all the fleet managers is to minimize the cost, using the limited resources, and attaining more profit.  The right tools and methods are shared in this article, resulting in significant improvement in your fleet operation.

Evaluating Your Fleet Management KPIs: A Simple Guide

   

Fleet managers are under constant pressure to calculate the fleet's performance and devise methods to continuously improve the business's productivity and cost-effectiveness.  Knowing this, how do you truly calculate fleet performance? What metrics should you use?

There are lots of other micro factors that increase the fleet operation cost every year. If your fleet operation costs increase year after year, you need to act quickly to find innovative ways to optimize the cost.  One way to do it is by embracing technologies like fleet management software and DSD software.

The metrics to calculate the fleet performance should closely align with the strategic objectives of the organization. To develop the business-relevant KPIs, the organization should consider all the internal and external factors that affect the process, stakeholder objectives, and other supporting data. Position your performance calculating metrics close to your company’s core objectives like maximum performance, effective cost management, and sustainability. Also, try to set realistic targets for each KPI and provide your team with the relevant tools and educate them with the skillsets to achieve them.

Identify Your Performance Metrics

Your fleet performance measuring scale is called a metric, and It's essential to define your metric using three key factors:

  1. Your objective - What you want to measure or achieve
  2. Quantifiable change -How much you want to achieve
  3. Time- When and within what time you want to achieve.

For example, your KPI performance metric could be improving vehicle utilization (objective) by 10% (Quantifiable change) within the next 12 months (Time).

But you have to measure the supporting factors first to measure the overall KPI.

For Instance, your productivity goals and KPIs can be measured by evaluating factors like:

  • Average distance/vehicle/month
  • Revenue / mile
  • Number of delivery /vehicle

Your safety goals and KPIs can be measured by evaluating factors like:

  • Harsh braking events/ month
  • Average cost / completed repair
  • Accidents/ driver/ month
  • Number of repeated offenders /month

Identify KPIs and Thrive with Technology

KPI development and identification is not a one-time task. You must calculative progress and revaluate your fleet management KPIs periodically. Make sure your KPIs always align with your company's core mission and the long and short-term goals you thrive for. Also, the identified KPIs and measures should scale along with your business growth. The efforts and measures you make should evolve with your business objectives. And with the communication facilities and the exposure to data available now, fleet management can evolve faster than ever before.

Make Better Use of the Data

Fortunately, we live in a technologically advanced world with the ability to harness the power of data like never before. Investing in the right technology will eventually benefit your fleet management in the long run. Organizations and fleet managers should take advantage of the historical data and technology available. Beyond the tracking of fuel expenses and mileage of the vehicles, effective measures should be in place to track supportive data like speeding, harsh driving, idling, average time at customer's place and the number of stops along the designated route, etc. The telematics data of all these supportive insights along with your organization's well-defined goals will help you set clear KPIs that boost performance.  

How to Cut Fuel Costs with Fleet Management Software

   

Chances are that if you work in the transport industry as a fleet manager, you know how much of a concern fuel costs can be. The price of petrol continues to rise, and while you can’t do anything about it, you can protect your bottom line, limiting the effect of petrol increases through software and data analysis solutions to increase fuel efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions, and ultimately cut costs for your fleet.

In this article, we’ll show you how fleet management software is doing all of the above, along with our recommendation on the best fleet management software to leverage towards your own business’s success.

What is fleet management software?

Put simply, fleet management software is software designed to optimize the tasks and efficiency of an organization’s commercial vehicle/fleet operations. As fleet managers are often in charge of vehicle maintenance, the oversight of fuel consumption and costs, driver management, route planning, etc., many of these tasks require immense amounts of time and accumulated data to stay on top of.

By using fleet management software, organizations and fleet managers alike are better able to optimize their resources, securing more opportunities to make sales, nurture customer relationships, and grow their business.

How does fleet management software help businesses cut fuel costs?

To best explain how fleet management software works to help businesses cut fuel costs, it’s important to break down some key factors and benefits that come together to make this happen. These include:

Real-time Fuel Monitoring

Every fleet manager knows how time-consuming it can be to manually track fuel consumption across an entire fleet. Unnecessary miles can add up, and off-route stops or redeliveries have to be accounted for. Given that direct store delivery businesses are already working on thin profit margins, the need to monitor fuel usage becomes that much more vital.

For this reason, most fleet management software offers real-time fuel monitoring at a glance. Not only are you able to minimize driver idle time and maximize time effectiveness, but you’re able to clearly see how fuel is being used, trends and anomalies that might affect fuel consumption, and make changes or adjustments on the fly.

Driver Insights

Speaking of adjustments, no fleet is complete without its drivers, and those drivers are all prone to unique behaviors while on the road. For example, let’s say you have one driver who follows all the pre-assigned routes, but his shifts include a number of “unnecessary” stops, turns, idle time in traffic, etc. In addition, that driver doesn’t utilize cruise control nearly as often as they could, leading to far more fuel usage than expected.

Likewise, let’s say you have a second driver who drives the same route, but behaves a bit differently, using cruise control as often as they can. They naturally burn less fuel on their route, spend less time idling, and are generally seen as being more fuel efficient once the numbers are crunched. Thanks to fleet management software, the fleet manager can monitor both drivers in real-time, gaining useful insights to help Driver A improve their performance through feedback, advice, or additional training as needed. Furthermore, should the fleet manager decide they’d like to overhaul routes entirely, these driver insights grant him or her a much-needed leg-up on future training materials or ways to means to make their drivers’ jobs easier.

Accurate Traffic and Navigation Updates

No matter a person’s driving habits, anyone is prone to added fuel consumption or errors when at the mercy of unexpected traffic. Productivity and idle time go hand in hand, so accurate traffic and navigation updates are an absolute must in order to stay on top of driver and business efficiency goals.

Thankfully, fleet management software provides all of these benefits right out of the gate. Every route is optimized every day, leading to more efficient drivers, faster deliveries, and happier customers in the process. Fleet managers can continue to optimize these routes whenever the need arises, and all telematics are visible in real-time. No matter the scenario, your fleet is ready to handle whatever the road throws at you on a dime.

How can I add fleet management software to my business?

Adding fleet management software to your business is easy, and we recommend starting with bMobile Route. Built for convenience from the ground up, bMobile is an easy-to-use, ERP-certified solution for distributors already familiar with QuickBooks, Sage, Syspro, NetSuite, Microsoft (Dynamics), and other popular ERP systems, with EDI and DEX integration that are second to none. Drowning in a sea of spreadsheets? bMobile eliminates the need for manual processing of invoice data with the click of a button. 

Likewise, bMobile’s customers enjoy all the cost reduction and route optimization benefits outlined in this article, along with instant prioritization of delivery stops relative to distance, efficiency, and delivery time windows. With clear audits of warehouse-to-truck, truck-to-truck, truck-to-store, and truck-to-warehouse, your business’s end-of-day reports have never been cleaner, or more accurate. See what bMobile’s fleet management software can do for your business today with their free demo.

How 5G Will Improve Fleet Connectivity

   

Thanks to telematics, GPS technology, and the use of electronic logging devices, the trucking industry has continued to boom. More data is being produced than ever before, and the question about what to with all that data has entered the mindsets of businesses across the globe. Businesses ask themselves how they can make this data more valuable, and they search for ways to make it actionable towards continued improvements, innovations, and greater safety protocols.

All in all, these businesses are out to make smarter, more data-driven decisions through insights, and thanks to the power of modern-day smartphones, tablets, GPS systems, and more, these dreams are quickly becoming a reality. Faster connections allow them to better automate and manage their workflows, while innovations in technology (such as 5G networks) allow for newer, more optimized ways to keep their drivers safe, or ultimately change the way that they do business.

In this article, we’ll dive into the exciting ways that 5G could change the face of the fleet industry forever, as well as provide our pick for the ultimate, 5G-compatible fleet management software for your business.

How could 5G networks improve fleet connectivity?

Explaining how 5G networks could improve fleet connectivity is actually quite easy, with the first step being to talk about how cost-savings, greater safety initiatives, and better vehicle connectivity play major roles.

For starters, enhanced 5G technology automatically moves data at a much faster rate (up to 100x faster) than the current 4G standard. Likewise, the latency of most 4G networks is typically about 50ms (millisecond), while 5G networks see that latency shrink down to as low as 1ms. When you consider the amount of hardware being used by or added to fleets on a yearly basis, as well as the computing power and data required to move through that hardware, it becomes easy to understand that every millisecond counts. More data is being moved through more data points, and the frequency at which that data is being collected, if faster, can have a significant, positive impact on overall business insights. In short, fleet managers and fleet business owners get more useful data at up to 100x the speed of what they’re accustomed to.

How could 5G networks reduce costs for my fleet operations?

Every fleet manager knows how time-consuming it can be to manually track fuel consumption across an entire fleet. Unnecessary miles can add up, and off-route stops or redeliveries have to be accounted for. Given that fleet businesses are already working on thin profit margins, the need to monitor fuel usage becomes that much more vital.

For this reason, most fleet management software offers real-time fuel monitoring at a glance. Not only are you able to minimize driver idle time and maximize time effectiveness, but you’re able to clearly see how fuel is being used, trends and anomalies that might affect fuel consumption, and make changes or adjustments on the fly. Thanks to 5G networks, that information could travel faster than ever before, giving fleet managers much more opportunity to make those adjustments before they become a problem.

How could 5G networks improve fleet driver safety?

On the same token, 5G networks could do a lot towards improving overall driver safety within a given fleet. Many fleet managers use fleet management software to gain valuable driver insights on how their drivers behave while on the road. Idle times, fuel usage, and proper delivery rates can be tracked, giving fleet managers the opportunity to coach drivers, re-train them, or overhaul their routes completely should the need arise.

Likewise, the data accumulated through fleet management software often falls into a few standard metrics, and GPS technology, when paired with fleet management software, can highlight some important KPIs as well. Managers and drivers can see their tracked mileage and after-hours mileage at a glance. They can see how often they’re hard breaking vs. hard accelerating, and the technology also highlights excessive speeding and/or seat belt utilization depending on the truck’s hardware.

As more cities adopt newer, faster networks (like the 5G network) to their infrastructure, this type of information can be mapped much more quickly between drivers, their managers, and all interested parties. No matter what, the overall goal remains the same: provide a safe driving experience to all fleet drivers and all vehicles that share the road, while at the same time promoting faster, more efficient fleet mobility.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, it’s clear that when it comes to fleet operations, fleet management, and fleet connectivity, information is power. Likewise, businesses that are able to acquire that information at faster rates put themselves at a distinct advantage. Faster data means faster insights, and faster insights contribute towards faster growth, innovation, and greater efficiency.

As we come into an age where 5G becomes the new standard, ask yourself if your fleet has already begun to adapt to this exciting, rapidly changing landscape. Are you set up with proper fleet management software to handle all aspects of your delivery, route optimization, or eCommerce portals? Are you interested in seeing how your fleet operations could improve through direct integration with 5G?

If you find yourself curious about the possibilities, we encourage you to check out bMobile’s easy-to-use, ERP-certified solution for distributors already familiar with QuickBooks, Sage, Syspro, NetSuite, Microsoft (Dynamics), and other popular ERP systems.

Likewise, bMobile’s customers enjoy all the cost reduction, driver-safety, and route optimization benefits outlined in this article, along with instant prioritization of delivery stops relative to distance, efficiency, and delivery time windows. With clear audits of warehouse-to-truck, truck-to-truck, truck-to-store, and truck-to-warehouse, your business’s end-of-day reports have never been cleaner, more accurate, or more in tune with today’s technology. See what bMobile can do for your fleet with their free demo. 

5 Reasons Fleet Managers Are Swapping Spreadsheets for Software

   

When it comes to direct store delivery sales, most especially those in the food service industry, top-tier product management and tracking is needed to ensure quality products and services at all times. Spoils and returns have to be accounted for, pre-sales orders need to be considered, and routes have to be streamlined to keep already thin profit margins in check.

In years past, many fleet managers (those in charge of this process) have grown accustomed to tedious, time-consuming spreadsheets to collect and keep tabs on all their data. Not only does this limit real-time visibility of their fleet operations, but it limits productivity as well. In this article, we’ll explain why many fleet managers are now turning to fleet management software as a solution, along with our pick for the best fleet management software for your business.

What is fleet management software?

As with any software, fleet management software is designed to optimize the tasks and efficiency of an organization’s commercial vehicle/fleet operations. As fleet managers are often in charge of vehicle maintenance, the oversight of fuel consumption and costs, driver management, route planning, etc., many of these tasks require immense amounts of time and accumulated data to stay on top of.

By using fleet management software, organizations and fleet managers alike are better able to optimize their resources, securing more opportunities to make sales, nurture customer relationships, and grow their business.

How does fleet management software work? What makes it better?

Defining the ins and outs of fleet management software is quite easy, and to start, we can break down the most basic ways in which it can and should replace any spreadsheets your business is accustomed to.

Improved Fleet Efficiency

Ask any fleet manager, and they’ll tell you that their days are filled to the brim with a variety of duties, random interruptions, and more. Calculations have to be made, data has to be keyed in, maintenance, inspection, and vehicle data has to be tallied, sorted, and prioritized year-round. As mentioned above, these duties take up valuable time, and manual entry on any type of data is far more prone to mistakes or miscalculations.

Thanks to mobile features built directly into fleet management software, users and drivers can input accurate maintenance, inspection, or vehicle data from anywhere, including out in the field. Likewise, many fleet management software packages integrate well to older systems, meaning updates and workflow requests arrive that much faster, improving overall efficiency in the process.

Accurate Data

Let’s face it – spreadsheets are only as accurate as the person who inputs the data. As humans, we’re prone to all the errors or miscalculations that come with long work hours, missed caffeine, or general absentmindedness. These kinds of errors can lead to poor decision making in the long run, meaning they need to be fixed quickly before a snowball effect can occur.

But what if you can’t pinpoint where the error(s) occurred in your spreadsheets? What if you then have to spend hours combing through the data? What if you realize you have to duplicate that data, checking and re-checking every entry along the way until you find the culprit?

Thanks to fleet management software, you’ll never again have to worry about these types of scenarios. Your data is not only error-free, but synced to your other systems as well, letting you spot and correct issues on the fly, wherever they occur.

Easier Data Analysis

One of the most frustrating aspects of fleet management is the sheer amount of data that has to be monitored and analyzed, with data ranging from repair and maintenance data to replacement and acquisition.

Given that spreadsheets are notoriously difficult to navigate, often requiring several macros or shortcuts to surf through tables, rows, and tabs, drawing meaningful conclusions becomes especially tedious. Thanks to fleet management software, all of this data is made easier to read, and easier to navigate. Gone are the days of wasting hours on running formulas, replaced instead with configurable dashboards, accurate, auto-generated reports, and new ways to spot trends and improvement opportunities. Fleet managers free up more of their time, and stakeholders are provided with cleaner, much more user-friendly data. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Real-Time Updates

Just as spreadsheets are prone to inaccurate data entry when done manually, so too are their updates subject to same issues. No one (especially fleet managers) can be expected to spend their entire work week updating spreadsheets, which means that as more data piles up, so too does the need to keep that data updated regularly. Days and data missed here and there can pile up quickly, and before you know it, your spreadsheets (and your data) are weeks or even months behind. For this reason, fleet management software is built with automated data entry assistance. Data is collected, organized, and analyzed from drivers and technicians in real-time, with a convenient, easy-to-read dashboard to provide fleet managers with a complete view of all fleet progress throughout the day. It’s truly that simple.

Cross-team Collaboration

Fleet managers and software developers know the importance of team insight, which is why fleet management software is also built to foster and improve cross-team collaboration between managers, drivers, technicians, warehouse personnel, and even stakeholders. As outlined throughout this article, this type of collaboration is made all the more difficult when relegated to spreadsheets. Spreadsheets eat up valuable time, are prone to human error, and should stakeholders or fleet managers need to analyze that data to make operational improvements, it becomes all the more likely that they are working off of wrong or outdated information.

Likewise, should field technicians have inaccurate information when studying maintenance trends, it becomes easy to understand how fleet operations can take a dangerous turn for the red. Your business needs a proper, uniform solution in place, one that lets you forego spreadsheets, piles of printed pages, and exhaustive back-and-forth emails.

What is the best fleet management software for my business?

So, there you have it – five reasons fleet managers are swapping spreadsheets for software. As for our pick for the best fleet management software for your business, we wholeheartedly recommend bMobile Route. Built for convenience from the ground up, bMobile is an easy-to-use, ERP-certified solution for distributors already familiar with QuickBooks, Sage, Syspro, NetSuite, Microsoft (Dynamics), and other popular ERP systems, with EDI and DEX integration that are second to none. Drowning in a sea of spreadsheets? bMobile eliminates the need for manual processing of invoice data with the click of a button. 

Likewise, bMobile’s customers enjoy all the cost reduction, data entry, and route optimization benefits outlined in this article, along with instant prioritization of delivery stops relative to distance, efficiency, and delivery time windows. With clear audits of warehouse-to-truck, truck-to-truck, truck-to-store, and truck-to-warehouse, your business’s end-of-day reports have never been cleaner, or more accurate. See what bMobile’s fleet management software can do for your business today with their free demo.

5 Fleet Management Trends to Look Out For in 2021

   

2020 was nothing short of a shakeup, and while some industries might have seen some radical changes in their workflows, models, and overall structure, the pandemic also paved the way for new challenges. Companies worldwide have begun to adapt to the new “normal” of remote workforces, bolstering their infrastructures with new and innovative technologies to further increase their efficiencies.

Chief among those players, an exciting number of trends has begun to emerge within the fleet industry, trends that are set to foster more collaboration, maximize overall efficiency, and provide better ways to connect across multiple teams. In this article, we’ll discuss five of the trends to look out for 2021, along with our recommendation for the perfect route management software to bolster your own fleet.

1. Telematics and Tracking

While previous years have seen a huge technological jump in telematics and tracking of fleet vehicles in the field, 2021 will be the year where even further improvements emerge. Fleet management software will likely integrate a host of new AI capabilities, and these will likely include added voice technology, more robust data analytics, and possible machine-learning functionality. 

If this all sounds like something out a science fiction novel, think again. While some of these features might be years off before they’re fully implemented, the truth is that despite being in early stages of development, they remain a very real sign of things to come. Fleet management is built on the premise of accurate, in-depth data at all times, so any technology that can speed up that process or automate the transfer is going to be of great interest to fleet owners. Fleet owners need to be able to quickly communicate with managers, customers, and employees, so it’s not too out of left field to imagine their interest in technologies that make that communication more seamless

2. Improved Data Insights

Speaking of data, it’s no secret that improvements to data analytics software pique the interest of fleet managers as well. Fleet efficiency and return on investment (ROI) are interconnected, so any dashboard that allows you to track, analyze, and view key sales metrics is a major game-changer. 

Likewise, being able to view important KPIs in real time (such as top paying customers, top-selling products, total revenue, expenses, etc.) improves business strategy and decision-making, with the added bonus of giving an accurate picture of your company’s performance at a single glance. Throw in an easy-to-use interface of graphs, line charts, and gauges, and you’ve got the recipe for some seriously impactful software. As more and more fleets adapt to newer technologies, software like this will become almost mandatory in industries where thin profit margins create an already fierce, competitive atmosphere. 

3. The 5G Network

We’ve all seen the commercials and advertisements for 5G networks, so as we move into 2021, we can likely expect many of our favorite devices to make the immediate jump from the current 3G and 4G networks to the latest generation. As a major tech revolution, it also becomes the next logical step for a large number of cars and trucks as well.

5G is already 100x faster than 4G, and its lower latency gives it the ability to simultaneously connect a larger number of devices at even more ridiculous speeds. From boosts in bandwidth, to greater capacity limits and reliability, the truth is that 5G will open a lot more doors than its predecessors in terms of technology, device capabilities, and data streaming. Faster data means faster metrics, and faster metrics mean faster refinements or improvements on business strategy. In other words, it’s like being handed the keys to a well-oiled machine.

4. Automated Vehicles

Speaking of machines, while 2020 was a bit too soon to see autonomous vehicles rolled out in full force, 2021 is looking to change that up a bit. With many of these vehicles being tested all over the world, a number of exciting, new features continue to be advanced. Data sorting, analyzation, and data management continue to see improvements, with the biggest upset for fleet managers to come from a shift in focus from cost-savings, to one of revenue generation.

Because the DSD (direct store delivery) business is so dynamic, fleet owners are already accustomed to rapid changes in technology and demand. Adding more autonomy to their fleets will bring a host of new challenges, and fleet owners will have to take a number of factors into consideration. For starters, how do you successfully transition from having a crew at the wheel of your vehicles to drive, deliver, maintain, and fuel your operations? Likewise, how do you handle idle time management, the shift to pure electricity, and a more centralized “hub” for your vehicles vs. a dispatcher relaying information on where the next pickup is?

The answer lies within artificial intelligence, and as those capabilities increase, so too will the opportunities for fleet owners to leverage them towards newer services such as updates to delivery, subscription services, ride-sharing, etc. In the same vein, many of these services will likely become more personalized, giving users and customers a host of new reasons to embrace the changes. This leads to more customers, new customers lead to higher revenue, and the cycle ensures greater expansion, prosperity, and ingenuity.

5. Cybersecurity Advancements

With all of these advancements in data insights and artificial intelligence, it seems only logical that improvements and renovations to cybersecurity will follow. Modern automobile software is absolutely loaded with code, so any improvements to tracking, AI, and data streaming will require further measures to protect that data. Flaws and breaches aren’t just bad for the system, they’re safety hazards as well. 

More information will be passed more quickly, and that information will go through more hands than ever before. Privacy will remain a pivotal concern, so route software developers will really have to be on top of their game. 

Overall, these are but a few trends that 2021 will showcase, and as the year progresses, more companies will look towards capitalizing on them via software packages and trials. As for our pick on where to start looking, we wholeheartedly recommend bMobile Route for your fleet management needs. Built for convenience from the ground up, bMobile is an easy-to-use, ERP-certified solution for distributors already familiar with QuickBooks, Sage, Syspro, NetSuite, Microsoft (Dynamics), and other popular ERP systems, with EDI and DEX integration that are second to none.

Likewise, bMobile’s customers enjoy the data insights and technological advancements outlined in this article, along with instant prioritization of delivery stops relative to distance, efficiency, and delivery time windows. As 2021 continues to ramp up, so too will their engineers likely add new features, keeping your business on the forefront of the future. See what bMobile and DSD fleet management software can do for your business today with their free demo. 

How Implementing Route Optimization Increase ROI? Everything You Need to Know.

   

Successful fleet management is not all about delivering the maximum orders and keeping all your vehicles on the road. It's about how you are doing it—maximum deliveries at the best possible cost through the shortest routes.

All thanks to technology. Fleet management software with route optimization features assists you in getting the best out of your resources. So how does it reduce cost and increase ROI?

Reduce Downtime

Fleet management companies work with lots of complex factors while strategizing for fleet operations. These factors include inventory observations, vehicle management, fuel management, dispatch and loading time, driver availability, delivery time windows, etc.

Manually scheduling operations considering all these factors take much time that could affect the whole fleet operation and result in increased downtime and underutilization of the workforce.

With a route optimizations software in place, all you need to do is a few clicks to feed the data on the influencing factors, and it instantly gives you the best route plans and allocates vehicles. This saves you much time and also eliminates possible mishaps leading to resource wastage.

Perfect Deliveries Every time.

Customers love quick deliveries. To do that, the fleet management companies should increase the frequency of deliveries to a particular region, increase fleet size and stick to the ETA. But ever-fluctuating fuel price, driver unavailability, and so many other factors influence the operations.

To stay ahead of the curve of today’s requirements, manual or inefficient route planning techniques and software won't be enough. This can lead to lots of errors in routing and deliveries resulting in monetary loss to the organization.

A proper route optimization software can solve this problem for you. As mentioned earlier, it accounts for all the factors and constraints in route planning and delivers optimal route plan every time. Yes, every time. No errors of any sort.

Better Route Planning

The route optimization software designates each deliverable load to a particular vehicle and works out an ideal delivery succession plan with the best possible shortest route plan for every vehicle. This means you efficiently manage your workforce and deliver the load on time and save a lot of money on fuel.

Modern-day route optimization software calculates the best route based not just on the distance but also on real-time traffic situations. All thanks to GPS. Traffic is predicted every hour, every day, all year. This highly helps in avoiding traffic congestion and late deliveries. 

Reduce Fuel Expense

Fuel expenses are the major contributor to your fleet operations cost. It would be best to put extra efforts into bringing down the cost by putting your vehicles on the most optimal roads. The lesser your vehicle stops on the roads, the lesser your vehicle idling, the lesser your fuel consumption.

The more planned and optimized your vehicle runs on the roads, the more money you save every kilometer.

Improved Productivity

With the best route optimization software in place, all your deliveries are perfectly optimized, considering the best route possible, the most efficient vehicle for the job, and the best available workforce. Hence you utilize your fleet in the best possible way, increasing your ROI. The more time and money saved, the more you can deliver and the faster your business expands.

Optimize Fleet Size

With the best route optimization software in place, all your deliveries are perfectly optimized, considering the best route possible, the most efficient vehicle for the job, and the best available workforce. Hence you utilize your fleet in the best possible way, increasing your ROI. The more time and money saved, the more you can deliver and the faster your business expands.

Improved Customer Satisfaction

Business these days are driven by analytics, and fleet management is no exception. Modern fleet and route optimizations tools provide valuable insights on multiple aspects of delivery management. Apart from analyzing the real-time data, the applications also perform predictive analytics studying the impact on vehicle capacities, delivery routes, customer locations, and ever-changing climatic conditions. With data-driven decisions, you can be on top of your business and always expect sound and steady growth. Also, every data regarding your drivers, vehicles, and customers are fed right back into the system for improved analytics. 

Thrive of improvements all along

Route optimization can guarantee timely deliveries on ETA, and that's the most critical customer satisfaction factor every delivery business should emphasize. As a result, satisfied customer means increased customer retention, a positive impact on the company, and a solid foundation for your brand reputation. 

To Conclude

The perfect route optimization software can drastically improve fleet performance and immense impact on operational cost, profits, and performance.  Why wait? Get in touch with our experts for a free demo and transform your fleet management capabilities.

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