Are You the One for Me? 6 Questions to Ask Your Fleet Management Software
Posted 25 July 2016 by Stacey Papp
There are two kinds of people in the world: the ones who try to make their lives easier, and the ones who make things way, way harder than they need to be.
Let’s call the second group of people the Clark W. Griswold, Juniors of the world. For those of you not familiar with that name, it’s Chevy Chase’s character in the “Vacation” series of comedic films that were big in the late ‘80s to late ‘90s. The plot of every movie is based around Clark’s desperate attempts to make sure a family vacation goes perfectly, which always completely backfires. Not all of the chaos that ensues in these movies is directly Clark’s fault, but some things really are just him making everything 10 times harder than it needs to be.
For example, in the original “Vacation,” he plans a family road trip from Illinois to a theme park in California, despite his long-suffering wife trying to talk him into flying. During this fateful car trip, they end up lost in St. Louis, accidentally killing a dog, hauling a dead body to Arizona and more – only to find, when they finally arrive, that their vacation destination is closed.
In “Christmas Vacation,” Clark’s insistence on having a “fun old-fashioned family Christmas” goes rapidly downhill, beginning with a frigid trek out to the middle of the woods (after almost killing his fun old-fashioned family in a car wreck) to cut down the perfect tree – and forgetting the saw.
Most people who are not CWG, Jr., however, usually aim for the goal of making life less difficult. One way to do this is through technology – one of the perks of the modern world is all of the cool tools we have at our disposal to help save time and effort.
It’s important, of course, that the technology is intuitive and easy to use – otherwise you can feel like you’re channeling Griswold by making things harder on yourself in the end.
This is as true for fleet management software as any other technology. When you’re looking at software options for your fleet, answer the following questions to help ensure a user-friendly experience:
- Is it cloud-based? The cloud is just a fancy name for a way to store files without a flash drive or hard drive, giving you anytime access to your business’s info from any computer or mobile device without tethering you to a desk.
- Does it have a mobile app? A fleet business is constantly on the move. Make sure you find something that can move with you and your employees throughout the day, helping you to update or assign job orders without a single phone call, and allowing field workers to send invoices and take payments from anywhere.
- Does it integrate with other programs? This is important for things like accounting and scheduling. Your software should be able to talk to standard programs like Quickbooks and Google Calendar so the same information doesn’t need to be entered multiple times – which can lead to errors.
- Is it customizable? There shouldn’t be anything one-size-fits-all about fleet management software – it should be able to customize to your business and grow with it in just a few clicks.
- Does it require you to be a genius to use it? There’s a learning curve with anything new – think about the first time you drove a car with a manual transmission, or the first time you used a computer – but you should feel relatively comfortable with fleet management software after some brief training and a bit of playing around with it.
- Do the benefits outweigh the cost? A good fleet management program won’t be free, but if you’re able to measurably improve the business by saving time on things like paperwork and scheduling, and saving money by being able to track vehicles, fuel consumption, unplanned trips and more, then it’s well worth the investment.
Like plenty of other movies made before the 21st century, many of the sticky situations Clark Griswold gets his family into would have been moot with now-commonplace technologies like the Internet or smartphones – and someday managing a fleet without software will seem as quaint and outdated as the Griswolds using a paper map instead of GPS to drive across the country.
Check out how Fleetmatics is different from Clark Griswold and helps make life easier for our customers!
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