Fleetsoft Blog And Latest News

Fleetsoft Blog and Latest News

Knowing When to Replace an Asset

March 17, 2014


Tracking the Total Life Cycle Cost for each piece of equipment or vehicle in your fleet at point of purchase to sale date is essential in making key fleet management decisions. Fleet Managers need to determine the optimal time for asset replacement, establish replacement models and determine resale value for all assets. If a vehicle or piece of equipment is replaced too early or too late, money is wasted. FleetSoft’s Truck Tracker helps the Fleet Manager record and compile full details on the asset’s costs in one simple Vehicle Total Cost Report.

The ideal time for replacing an asset is calculated using Resale Value, Fixed Costs, Variable Costs and the costs associated with a new replacement unit. To get the most favorable resale value on an asset, replacement should occur when the unit is reasonably depreciated and maintenance costs are still moderate. Truck Tracker provides the ability to accurately track each asset’s Fixed and Variable costs to help you with the replacement calculations.

Fixed Costs - Tracked in Truck Tracker’s Expense Module

Depreciation

Interest

Insurance

Leasing

License & Permits

Variable Costs – Recorded in Truck Tracker’s Work Orders, Services Performed, Parts Inventory and Fuel Modules

Labor/Service

Parts/Tires

Fuel

Truck Tracker compiles these costs into simple reports (Vehicle Total Cost and Vehicle Cost Per Mile) that management can use to get an overview of their fleets costs by unit or unit group.




When calculating whether to keep the same asset or replace the asset with a new model the following comparisons should be made.

New Equipment v.s. Old Equipment

Purchase Price Current Market Value

Service Life Remaining Service Life

Resale Value Fixed Costs

Future Fixed Costs Variable Costs

Future Variable Costs Loss of Productivity (Revenue)

Reviewing a few years or more of Vehicle Total Cost records in Truck Tracker provides enough data to assist you in building a replacement model. The units replacement models will vary based upon the asset’s location, unit type and operation. The data Truck Tracker provides to the Fleet Manager assists in determining what point in an asset’s life cycle the maintenance and repair costs escalate, downtime increases and usage time decreases impacting profitability and productivity. By reviewing the Total Cost data of assets grouped with similar unit types, location and operation, a fleet manager has the information to define a replacement standard for each group.

Implementing these replacement models allows the fleet manager to get the most out of his assets at moderate cost while maintaining resale value.

Items to Consider When Selecting a Fleet Maintenance Software Solution...

2/12/2014


VENDOR BACKGROUND

  • Years Company and product has been around? FleetSoft has been offering Truck Tracker as a fleet maintenance solution since 1996. FleetSoft currently has two locations in the United States; Plano, Texas and Elgin, Illinois.

  • What is client base size? FleetSoft has over 2500 customers worldwide.

  • What does company do? FleetSoft provides software solutions, custom programming, training, customer support, computer hardware and bar code solutions.

CUSTOMER SERVICE & SUPPORT

What type of service and support is available to the customer?

FleetSoft outshines other software vendors with the quality and quantity of support we provide.

  • Documentation provided to customer at time of purchase.

  • Easily accessible support materials published on FleetSoft website Knowledgebase.

  • Video Aides to learn the Truck Tracker Software.

  • Support Request Tickets on the FleetSoft website may be submitted to receive assistance.

  • E-mail FleetSoft Support directly to obtain help with an outstanding issue.

  • Utilize FleetSoft’s Toll Free Phone Support line to speak directly with a representative to answer your questions.

With FleetSoft , customers are our #1 priority. We want to ensure that our customers have a clear understanding of the Truck Tracker software and the ability to use it completely to benefit their operations. FleetSoft realizes that the best way to improve our products and services is by listening to our customers. We welcome any comments or suggestions submitted by customers, the experts, on how we may improve our offerings and relations. With FleetSoft, the customer is not forgotten after the software purchase.

The customer has easy access to us by…

SOFTWARE SUPPORT

How well is the software supported?

  • Truck Tracker Software has Major Version Releases on an average of every two years. These major version releases include enhanced and new features suggested by the users.

  • Bug fixes are released soon after they are reported. Maintenance Releases and Updates to the software are made to keep the software current and fully functional.

  • FleetSoft notifies customers of easily downloadable Major Upgrades via e-mail.

  • Convenient pop up messages will appear as the Truck Tracker application is launched notifying the user of recently released Maintenance Updates that can be downloaded.

SOFTWARE TRAINING AND LEARNING CURVE

What type of training is offered with the software and what amount of time should be allowed for learning the software?

  • Truck Tracker is easy to useand has a low learning curve due to the consistency of every window’s functional command buttons and the logical data flow process. People with little computer experience can easily learn the system.

  • FleetSoft offers Online Web Training as well as Onsite Training for an additional charge for those who have multiple users and more complex operations and would benefit from personalized sessions.

  • Documentation, Power Point Presentations and Videos are made available to all users from our website Knowledgebase.

SOFTWARE FUNCTIONALITY

What data can be inputted and extracted from the software? Will it fit our needs?

  • Truck Tracker has the ability to effortlessly extract keyed-in data, which has been keyed in, in a useful and meaningful way.

  • Export Data to .csv files

  • Export utilizing Spreadsheet Wizard to selected Excel file format

  • Report Wizard allows user to build reports using selected data table fields

  • Over 90 canned reports to choose from with the option to build queries by date and/or other criteria

  • Email, Print or Save lists in a PDF, HTML, Excel, CSV or XML file format.

  • Truck Tracker is a dynamic and flexible software application that can grow or be modified to meet the changing needs of the customer.

        • Easily increase vehicles, concurrent users or site licenses

        • Add on packages to provide additional modules and performance

        • Versatile installations

          1. Stand alone

          2. LAN

          3. WAN

          4. FleetSoft Hosted Solution

  • Customizable User Security Permissions

  • Truck Tracker provides detailed accountability for costs and usage to help manage the fleet operations. The user has the ability to track Vehicles, Labor, Parts, Customers, Fuel and Vendor Costs along with usage history of Parts and Fuel by Vehicle, Employees, Customers and Vendors. Preventive Maintenance is tracked as well so nothing escapes notice.

  • Determine your software requirements by taking a quick survey (Identify Your Fleet Maintenance Software Requirements) to help you in evaluating the functionality of the software meeting your needs.

SOFTWARE COMPATIBILITY

How compatible is the software with our current network infrastructure and applications?

  • With Truck Tracker’s Hosted Solution the only requirement is to make sure you have a good internet connection allowing you the ability to log in remotely to the server that hosts your Truck Tracker database.

  • System Requirements will vary depending upon the type of installation (LAN, WAN or Standalone) you are interested in. Truck Tracker is a Windows based solution utilizing Microsoft SQL Server database.

  • Importing fuel data from a third party software solution or exporting Truck Tracker data to a third party system is possible when the data is in an ASCII Comma Delimited file format (.csv).

SOFTWARE BACKUPS

Does the software make it easy to perform manual backups and/or schedule automatic backups?

  • Truck Tracker has an automated backup feature. The customer can set up the schedule indicating…

      • how often data backups should be performed

      • what time they should be performed

      • how long to retain the backup

      • the location where the data backup should be stored

Automating the data backup makes it convenient for the customer and secures the data.

Choosing a fleet maintenance software package is a long term investment. You want to be sure you do your homework and select the best fit for your company. By reviewing the Vendor Background, Vendor Customer Service and Support, Software Support, Software Training and Learning Curve, Software Functionality, Software Compatibility and Software Backup Functionality you will have the information to make an educated decision that will benefit everyone in the long run.




To Have Maintenance Performed In-House or by Outside Vendors?

12/5/2014

There is no question that performing routine maintenance regularly and emergency repairs efficiently for your fleet are critical to maintaining safe operations and timely customer service. The real question is whether to have the maintenance performed in-house, by outside vendors or both. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these solutions. Which one you choose should be based on the one that provides maximum fleet up-time with the lowest overall costs.

There are several advantages as well as a few disadvantages to servicing your fleet In-House.

    ADVANTAGES
  • Control costs
  • Quality control
  • Customized service procedures
  • Quicker vehicle turnaround
  • Lower parts cost
  • Familiarity with vehicles
  • Maintain own records with unlimited access
    DISADVANTAGES
  • High technician training costs
  • Not focusing on core business
  • On-hand parts inventory investment
  • Facility and human resource costs

The benefits of controlling costs and quality would need to outweigh the costs to maintain a shop and staff for the in-house option to be favorable.

Outsourcing your fleet maintenance provides you with certain advantages but not without a cost. It goes without saying that if benefits out way the costs, having your fleet serviced by outside vendors would be the best option.

    ADVANTAGES
  • Technicians trained on latest technologies
  • Fixed cost agreements
  • Work completed within warranty specifications
  • Expensive computer programs and diagnostic equipment
  • Emergency roadside repair service
  • Fleet maintenance is core business
  • Reduced capital investment required by company
    DISADVANTAGES
  • Poor quality control
  • Parts and service markup
  • Extended downtime
  • Unnecessary repairs

The American Trucking Association (ATA) Technology Maintenance Conference (TMC) Service Provider Committee had organized a task force to establish recommended practices for fleet maintenance vendors to address the following issues...

  1. Warranty handling
  2. Repair order approval
  3. Customer notification
  4. Successful practice for shop
  5. Recommended Standard Repair Time (SRT)
  6. Quality control


The intended goal was to reduce if not eliminate the obstacles that arise when employing outside vendors to maintain fleets by providing suggested practices making this option more desirable.

By utilizing both outside vendors and in-house technicians to maintain your fleet, you gain the advantages from both options.

  • Keep low on-hand inventory
  • Save costs on simple repairs and routine PM's performed in-house
  • Large and emergency repairs performed by outside vendors
  • Warranty work completed by outside vendor according to specifications
  • Vendors have training, technology and knowledge of uncommon or comprehensive repairs

Smaller companies performing fleet services in-house face the high costs of maintaining a shop, diagnostic equipment, trained technicians and on-hand inventory. If they employ outside vendors, they are faced with longer vehicle turnaround time. Repairs for smaller companies tend to be treated as less urgent by vendors.

Larger companies' fleet services needs tend to be placed at a higher priority by vendors. The vehicles have a shorter downtime. However, by performing service in-house they have better control over costs unless a service agreement is arranged.

Whether you are a small or a large company, the overall choice depends upon your available resources, costs and ability to fulfill the fleet maintenance service needs. Many companies choose to employ both options to receive the best of each.

No matter which source(s) you select to perform your fleet maintenance, Truck Tracker can record all work performed and associated costs. Truck Tracker is a versatile application allowing you to track the work performed by outside vendors and in-house technicians. The specific mechanic, vendor, service labor rates, parts costs and services performed are recorded and stored in the database allowing easy access. By utilizing Truck Tracker's extensive reports and Report Wizard, information can be retrieved to track mechanic performance, preventive maintenance, repetitive repairs (quality control) , parts replacement and escalating costs by vehicle or vendor. This information helps ensure that you are running a safe fleet at a low cost with the best customer service possible.

With The High Costs Of Running A Trucking Company, Why Add Unnecessary Fines To It?

11/8/2013

Every carrier's goal is to avoid the hefty fines served by not complying with the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Association (FMCSA) regulations. In 2011, $30,674,218 in fines were paid by companies who failed to meet regulations. The average penalty per incident was $5050. These additional costs can be easily waived by...

  • Scheduling and conduction random driver drug and alcohol tests to meet the minimum annual percentage
  • Ensuring all drivers are operating with a valid driver's license
  • Making certain proper material handling procedures are followed
  • Verifying all necessary vehicle licenses and permits are acquired and current
  • Keeping detailed driver trip logs
  • Performing routine inspections and preventive maintenance on vehicles

Failure to conduct random driver drug and alcohol tests can cost on an average of over $2000. Failing to have a current commercial driver's license can result in an average fine of $3750. Truck Tracker Software has an Employee module that assists in keeping detailed historical and current employee licensing, physicals, certifications, training and violation records. Reminders are built into Truck Tracker to prevent any employee from operating equipment illegally due to an expired license, physical, certification or improper training. With these measures in place you can evade being caught unaware and slapped with large penalties.

Every carrier wants to ensure that their on the road vehicle's licenses are up to date and have the correct permits to operate in various municipalities or to haul specific materials. Truck Tracker keeps records of each vehicle's licenses and permits and notifies the user either by e-mail or reports when they are approaching expiration. Using Truck Tracker's Licensing & Permits module you can avoid penalty costs due to operating a vehicle without a valid license or permit.

A driver failing to record or falsifying their Hours of Service and trip details can be fined on an average of $8000 or greater. Utilizing Truck Tracker's Daily Log module helps you document the driver's trip details; trip date and time, departure location and destination, total miles, customer, freight and miles driven in each state. The Daily Log also records the driver's Off Duty, On Duty and Driving Hours per Trip. Tracking trip and driver details will help ensure that you are operating in compliance with the Hours of Service regulations.

Neglecting to perform annual, monthly or daily inspections on commercial vehicles to make certain the vehicles are safe to operate and meet all safety regulations set by the FMCSA can result in extensive costs. Not only is the risk for large fines a strong possibility but also the chances of law suits due to personal injuries and property damages as a result of poor maintenance are increased. Truck Tracker contains a comprehensive PM Scheduler and PM Reminder module that not only records all preventive maintenance and inspections performed but also reminds you before they are due so nothing escapes notice.

Fines are not the only costs associated with non-compliance of DOT FMCSA regulations. Costs are also incurred with the increased frequency and preciseness of DOT inspections, elevated insurance rates, loss of business and reductions of rates due to low CSA scores. By maintaining detailed records on driver's logs, physicals, certifications and training as well as vehicle repair and maintenance the majority of fines can be averted.

How Your Initial Investment in Fleet Maintenance Software Can Bring About A Quick Return

Implementing a fleet maintenance system comes with an initial investment cost. However, the Return on Investment can be realized in a short time period just by tracking services and preventive maintenance. Tracking maintenance services performed on your fleet helps...

  • Monitor and improve employee productivity
  • Reduce reactive (emergency) repairs
  • Keep scheduled maintenance up to date
  • Increase safety of units and decrease liability risks
  • Indicate a possible problem with the unit or abuse by operator
  • Predict future maintenance and costs
  • Provide knowledge of expected life span for a part or service
  • Determine when to replace a unit
  • Improve fuel consumption

All of which helps reduce waste and lower costs in your fleet operations. Truck Tracker simplifies the process of documenting services performed and PM scheduling for your fleet.

Recording each service performed in detail provides information on not only the labor hour cost for each employee, each asset and the entire fleet but also allows you to track the employee (mechanic) performance. As each service is performed the actual mechanic hours are entered. The actual hours per service can be compared to the standard hours for the same service bringing attention to shop inefficiencies, low employee productivity and necessary training improvements. Truck Tracker fleet maintenance software has a "Mechanic Performance" report that brings all this information together and displays the cost value.

Tracking your Preventive Maintenance and becoming proactive with your fleet helps reduce costly emergency repairs and increases the safety of your assets. Keeping your assets maintenance services up to date puts your assets on the road more often with less down time. Regularly scheduled maintenance prolongs the life of your assets and may reduce fuel consumption. Truck Tracker makes it easy to create a maintenance schedule for your assets and reminds you when the maintenance is coming due. The PM reminders feature and PM Scheduling feature in Truck Tracker helps to keep preventive maintenance current and minimizes unexpected and expensive repairs.

Besides documenting labor hours and preventive maintenance, Truck Tracker also records all services performed on each asset and parts used along with their associated costs. This information is stored in the Truck Tracker database to provide historical data that may be used to predict future fleet maintenance and costs for budgeting. Analyzing this data, a pattern can be detected to determine the expected life of parts and assets along with possible abuse by the driver or operator resulting in multiple repairs or parts replacements.

Detailing the total service and parts cost of assets in Truck Tracker alerts management to an asset's growth in repairs or parts usage. This information may be used to determine the replacement time for an asset.

Investing in a fleet maintenance program to track your fleet's maintenance and repairs results in a reduction of operation costs and an increase in productivity. Fleets have less downtime while increasing the safety, in service opportunity and improving customer service. The benefits outweigh the initial costs, considering all of the advantages received by implementing a fleet maintenance software program.

Is Your Parts Inventory Efficiently Managed?

10/14/13


Do you have...?

  • obsolete parts in stock
  • parts that are needed but not on the shelves?
  • inability to count for every part checked in and checked out of inventory?
  • no knowledge of parts turnover?
  • no knowledge of the exact part location in the stock room?
  • unidentified reorder points for parts?
  • unknown parts on hand levels and value?
  • no routine physical inventories conducted?
  • no formal procedures in place for parts reordering, receiving and usage?
  • experience with inventory shrinkage?
  • no way to compare competitively priced parts from various suppliers?
  • delayed repairs due to part back orders?

If you answered "yes" to some of the above questions, then you most likely do not have control over your parts inventory. This lack of control could be causing you to lose a significant amount of money each year.
Organizing your parts room, developing a formal process for parts reordering, receiving and usage along with implementing Truck Tracker's parts inventory management solution could help you in gaining control over your parts inventory and reduce waste.
FleetSoft has developed a guide for the preparation to successfully set up your parts room, "Parts Inventory Site Preparation Guide". This guide leads you through a step by step process to get you up and running.
However, once the parts stock room is set up, formal procedures need to be established and put in place in order to keep the parts stock room organized. Specific processes need to be implemented for parts reordering, receiving and checking out. Through every step each action needs to be documented for accountability. Truck Tracker's parts inventory modulecan help with this.

Truck Tracker's Parts Inventory Module...

  • Provides detailed information for each part in your inventory; location, reorder points, on hand quantities, on hand values, last usage date and last cost.
  • Warns user when parts have reached reorder points and quantity to be ordered to avoid stock outs.
  • Generates reports to determine which parts have not been used in a specified time frame and can be returned to supplier for credit.
  • Produces detailed accountability of all parts received into inventory and being checked out, diminishing the shrinkage of inventory.
  • Gives the user the ability to determine quantity and cost of any given part on hand along with total value of on hand inventory instantaneously.
  • Displays parts suppliers, costs from each supplier and last paid cost enabling user to comparison shop for the best price.
  • Provides a step by step guide to walk user through the daunting task of physical inventory.

Utilizing these tools, made available by FleetSoft, makes it easy to manage your onsite parts inventory competently while reducing the investment. Your fleet will be serviced in a shorter period of time with the avoidance of part stock outs, gaining more time on the road and more productivity from your fleet and shop team. Use FleetSoft's Parts Inventory Management Cost Savings Calculator inputting your own numbers to determine the return on your investment.