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How to select a fleet management solution for essential goods transport

How to select a fleet management solution for essential goods transport
The recent advancements in technology have prompted many companies to enter the fleet management solutions market. This does make things better for the customer as competition is always good. A combination of healthy competition and affordable technology will help the industry. But it does make the process of buying decisions stressful. How do you know what the right solution is for you?
 

Key features 
 

An ideal fleet management solution should improve the performance of your fleet by enabling tracking and maintenance while prioritizing cost-efficiency. It should enhance the safety and security of the personnel, vehicles, and the goods transported. Broadly speaking, these benefits come under six major categories. 
 
  1. Location tracking and alerts 
  2. Reduces the expenses associated with the vehicle life cycle
  3. Optimizes fuel usage with an integrated fuel management system 
  4. Makes the process of vehicle replacement and budgeting simpler and easier
  5. A dashboard that is customizable to support workflows
  6. Helps in complying to regulatory requirements 

Requirements for COVID-19
 

When it comes to integrating this with freight, Ric Bedard, CEO of Cetaris, adds that fleet maintenance, EAM, or CMMS connected to a freight management solution are integral. This allows you to notify internal stakeholders about pending required regulatory inspections, predictive maintenances, and other repairs necessary to keep the asset compliant
 
“In the COVID situation, also important to make sure essential products moving through the supply chain, the assets, tractors, trailers, etc. are all maintained when a load arrives,” Bedard said. “If the asset released to move the freight breaks down, we can intercede to correct the issue. Also, should consider, hours of service (HOS) – compliance with HOS, or the whole thing can blow up and impact the supply chain.”
 

Not written in stone


Besides these, the factors to consider would largely depend on the nature of the customer’s business, according to Terrence Wang, Head of Marketing at FreightPath. 
 
Terrence Wang,
Head of Marketing, FreightPath
“Obviously, the most important thing is to consider the size of your company,” Wang said. “The needs of a large customer, for instance, someone who does about 3000 to 4000 shipments a month, are very different from someone who makes about 50 to 100 shipments a month. For smaller companies, there should be options to do things manually at a fast pace. But for larger customers, customizability, integration, and automation becomes the most important factors.”
 
Basically, it’s a sliding scale. First, you want to manage the difference between cost-effectiveness and ease of use. Second, you want to maintain a balance between flexibility and automation. 
 
“The other aspect that you need to consider that the information you get is collaborative,” Wang added. “Collecting all this freight visibility data and dispatching them well is of no use if you cannot share that information with your stakeholders and customers. So you must make sure your software is collaborative and has easy sharing options, for tracking, for order visibility, etc.”
 

The role of cameras and sensors 
 

Monitoring what’s going on involves the use of cameras. Freight visibility is an important factor to consider when purchasing a solution. Beyond the location sensors, there are cameras and shock sensors to monitor the security and well-being of the freight. The nature of the goods transported also decides the kind of sensors involved. For instance, pharmaceutical items and perishable foods would require unique temperature thresholds that sensors need to monitor. But a carrier transporting facemasks don’t really need such sophisticated sensors. 


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