Case studies about fleet management strategies and solutions often focus on large companies, such as telecommunications carriers that need to maintain lines or cellular towers, or global delivery providers that rely on thousands of vehicles for their livelihood.
But far smaller companies can also use this sort of technology to improve efficiency, save gas, or to just keep tabs on driver locations for customer service reasons.
Consider the example of United Worldwide, a small 12-vehicle private car service based in Boston that has invested in a solution from Fleetmatics, a company that offers a range of fleet management technology spanning the needs of both smaller companies and massive enterprise accounts.
"We can clearly see when someone has arrived at a client, or where the car is located at a given time," said Jason Dornhoffer, co-owner of United Worldwide. "We have proof that someone has been there, along with when and where they were. We can also use [the information] to track idling and fuel consumption."
The company's other co-owner, Terry Murtaugh, said the Fleetmatics solution pays off in customer service, helping his dispatch team address issues more proactively. The Fleetmatics solution also pays off in more efficient fuel consumption, since management can address habits or route choices that might be wasting fuel.
The Fleetmatics technology, which is aimed at businesses with 10 to 12 vehicles to manage, includes a small black box about the size of two decks of playing cards that is installed under the dashboard of the car, van or truck, said Todd Ewing, director of product marketing for Fleetmatics Group.
That device reports information including location, ignition status, acceleration trends, braking, cornering and so on every 90 seconds over a cellular network. That data is processed in the cloud using Fleetmatics' software, and small business owners can log into a dashboard to view reports.
"We have a saying here that the truck is the truth," Ewing said.
Unlike many of the other companies that offer fleet management solutions, Fleetmatics offers its SMB option as a service. It rolls the installation and the wireless service needed to communicate the data into a monthly fee of about $45 per vehicle per month (depending on the length of the service contract), Ewing said.
It isn't just car service companies that could benefit from Fleetmatics. The technology could also have application for any business that relies on fleets for services, such as home improvements companies, florists or small-scale delivery operations.