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FLEET SOFTWARE: Is it the solution?

Date: 29 May 2009

Controlling cost is the key issue facing businesses right now, but is spending hard cash on fleet software the answer? Paul Barker speaks to the top names in the software industry to see how they can help operators

The fleet software market, which appears as buoyant as ever, feels it has plenty to offer the business car manager. And all for very little operational cost, claim the sector's leading players.

According to one of the latest entrants to the market, Mycompanyfleet, 40,000 fleets with 10 or more cars are still managing their vehicles using nothing more complex than Excel, mainly because it's essentially free.

However, the software firms say their products will pay for themselves in terms of savings across your fleet.

"We have always maintained that software used to even a relatively small part of its potential can justify its investment in a matter of months," says Neville Briggs, MD of CFC Solutions.

Toomey Opticar's Peter Eldon agrees: "If software can be implemented and net savings made in year one, why wouldn't the FD be prepared to sign off against it?"

While cost saving is a major benefit, the companies we spoke to said the ability to analyse and then process the data provided by their products shouldn't be overlooked, and that even fleets that have progressed from Excel to a dedicated fleet management programme need to make sure they're using the data on offer.

"All fleet operators spend many hours collecting lots of information on costs, but few really analyse it effectively and see the trends and therefore cost savings that can be made," says John Hood of Civica,

the company behind the Tranman brand. "Many of our new customers are amazed at how much they are spending on their fleet when the analysis Tranman provides is presented to them on screen."

The recession makes the fleet software market an increasingly influential one, and if you're not utilising the technology, perhaps now is the time to consider it seriously. As Chevin Fleet Solutions sales manager Stuart Jardine says: "It has never been more important for fleet managers to have a full picture of their fleet costs, size, shape, depth and utilisation, and to gain that insight, a fleet manager needs the right business intelligence and reporting at their fingertips."

CFC Solutions - Neville Briggs, managing director

How is the market coping with the recession?

Good fleet software provides control over costs, and this is clearly a very popular quality during the recession. Companies are looking to ensure that the cost of running their fleet is minimised while all legal and environmental obligations are fulfilled - so there remains a buoyant level of demand for our products.

How can you help fleet managers justify the cost?

Recently, we have made some of our software available on a pay-as-you-go model. This has reduced the initial acquisition price considerably.

What are the benefits of using fleet software?

If you have a sound, written fleet policy, software gives you the infrastructure to implement it.

What developments are you working on for your system?

Licence Link, which allows online driver licence checking directly with the DVLA, was launched in January and has been adopted by a number of major fleets.

What is your key message for 2009?

Fleet software remains the best and perhaps only route to control costs effectively, fulfil your risk responsibilities and meet environmental concerns.

Chevin Fleet Solutions - Stuart Jardine, sales manager

How is the market coping with the recession?

From Chevin's perspective, it's very much a case of 'business as usual'.

How can you help fleet managers justify the cost?

Our MilePost tracking interface identifies accurate private and business mileage splits, allowing managers to eliminate claim 'creep'. So if drivers overstate mileage claims by 10 miles per day, multiplied into an annual figure and across a fleet of 100 vehicles, that excess claim is more than 250,000 miles. Considering the standard whole-life cost of a typical fleet car is 45ppm, the potential saving would be over £100,000 - significantly more than the cost of any investment that may be needed.

What are the benefits of using fleet software?

Saves time, saves money, ensures legislative compliance.

What developments are you working on for your system?

As the true industry pioneers of web-based fleet management software we are always committed to the development of further innovative new solutions.

What is your key message for 2009?

Use Chevin's fleet software as a data consolidation 'hub' to gain total visibility over every aspect of the fleet.

Civica (Tranman) - John Hood, MD, housing & asset management

How is the market coping with the recession?

Customers are investigating more fully the software they are purchasing, and relying more on proven solutions from established companies. The vast majority of fleet operators are still willing to invest in systems to reduce overall costs year-on-year.

How can you help fleet managers justify the cost?

The true value provided by software is the management information and reporting features on key performance indicators, which quickly and simply highlight areas for improvement and efficiency savings.

What are the benefits of using fleet software?

Benefits include reduced fleet and whole-life operating costs, improved accident and risk management, better control over fuel usage, increased workshop productivity, minimised vehicle downtime and reduced stock holding.

What developments are you working on for your system?

Tranman Fleet Info centre provides an at-a-glance view of the status of the fleet updated in real-time. Tranman Express delivers all the features of Tranman 7 on a smaller scale and at a fraction of the cost.

What is your key message for 2009?

Managers need to analyse the data to get the most from the collected information.