Some of us still remember a time when a hardbound ledger, a filing cabinet, a telephone, and a legal pad were the only things you needed to run the back office of a small- or mid-sized fleet in the trucking industry. Things have gotten more complex – and sometimes complicated – but the tools that are available to us have become more powerful in response. Integrated software solutions deliver data integration and that allows us to make better decisions faster.
How can data integration benefit your fleet? In the current business environment, analog just isn’t an option. Even if you’re able to keep all of the balls in the air without the help of technology, it’s almost certain that you’re missing opportunities while you devote time and attention to getting that done. Software provides the tools to make fleet management more efficient and effective and integration makes those tools work together.
You’ve probably heard the expression: “the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing”. It’s not the sort of thing that you would want your customers or employees to say about your organization. But unless you’re doing everything that you can to make it easy for your team to share information and communicate about important decisions, you’re leaving your operation exposed to the risk of embarrassment or worse.
The Case for Data Integration in Fleet Management
Every fleet in the trucking industry is different. We all focus on providing a particular core service to a particular niche or sector of the economy. But we all face similar challenges. We have to operate safely, efficiently, and profitably in an industry that is highly competitive and changing rapidly.
From the CRM that our sales team uses to the fleet management software that helps our dispatchers and the ELDs that help with driver compliance—technology plays a big role in how we do what we do. There are some key points to consider early in the process to make software integration smooth, efficient, and cost-effective.
Some trucking software attempts to bring all of these functions together in a single product but those products can be extremely expensive and leave us with limited options. An alternative is to choose the right product for you in each area of your business. This allows you to tailor your solution to your needs but leaves you with the challenge of getting different applications to work together without requiring additional work from your staff.
Building a customized solution for your fleet out of the best product options that are available makes a lot of sense. It allows your organization to stay flexible and adaptable in a challenging and changing environment. Data integration can make all of your software solutions work together and data integration software can make that happen.
There is more to running a fleet that backing under a load and putting the rig on the road. Your small- or mid-sized fleet has to worry about sales and marketing, human resources, accounting, dispatch, scheduling, and maintenance—just to make sure the drivers and equipment have work to do and what they need to get the job done. Chances are good that you use a software solution to make work more efficient and effective in each of those critical areas.
Getting data integration from integration software eliminates bottlenecks in your workflow process. It also has the power to reduce miscommunications, errors, redundancies, and inefficiencies.
The fact that the software as a service (SaaS) model has made it possible for small businesses to take advantage of big technological tools without having to expand their footprint in staff or hardware has been key to helping businesses stay competitive. It has made it possible for small teams to get big things done without giving up their ability to be nimble and adaptable in response to customer demands and market conditions.
The wide range of software solutions makes it possible for businesses to attack the specific challenges they are facing with tools that fit their exact needs. SaaS is scalable and customizable but it takes software integration to make it all work together. Sometimes it takes integration software to make software integration happen.
When your business is confronted with a new challenge, it’s important to find ways to respond to that challenge without undoing the parts of your operation that are achieving success. Why throw the baby out with the bathwater? When you use integration software to secure data integration across your business processes, you can add new pieces without starting over at square one.
Don’t rebuild—reload. Don’t replace your business software when you can reconfigure with data integration software. Keep building until your team has what they need to do their jobs and the parts work together as a fully functional hybrid integration.
Innovate by Design
Organizational change doesn’t have to be something that you and your team see as a challenge or obstacle. When your team has the tools, it needs to get the job done and the freedom to embrace change as an opportunity, your entire organization can get on an innovation footing. When your team reports to work excited about finding better ways – it’s better for your bottom line.
Being innovative requires your team to identify and improve upon weaknesses. But it’s just as important that they are empowered to define and amplify their strengths. Software integration gives your team the means to communicate across departments and business units to work together at getting better.
Data integration gives fleet managers valuable insight into their operations. When all of the technologies that are used across multiple departments and business units are brought together with integration software, tracking and reporting deliver clarity, depth, and nuance that is difficult to achieve in any other way. Better analytics means more informed decision making and better decision making means a better bottom line.
Data integration empowers your staff making it easier to delegate critical business functions. It enables cross-functional teams to find better solutions to specific challenges in light of the big picture.
Every fleet manager has the option of going with a comprehensive software solution. But for small- and mid-sized fleets, the expense of these products typically means that they have to settle for an off-the-shelf version rather than something customized to their exact needs. Implementing such a sweeping wholesale change can disrupt normal operations. Choosing to go in a different direction if you find a better option can be an overwhelming prospect.
Finding the right software solution for each of your critical business functions is an alternative that allows small- and mid-sized fleets to use their flexibility and adaptability to their advantage. It’s a great way to turn a size disadvantage into the strength of being nimble. Data integration software allows small businesses to customize their own solutions and scale as their business grows.
Data integration software can make a huge difference in the day-to-day operations of a small- or mid-sized fleet in the trucking industry. Software integration makes it possible for different business units to do their own jobs better at the same time they do more to help the team work together toward a common goal. When you choose software solutions based on what they can do for the business, you get tools that are tailored to your specific needs. Integration software is what you need to make it all work together.
FleetPal Connect brings together important business processes like inspections and maintenance, warranty information, third-party service, and equipment cost reporting in a powerful, customizable, and user-friendly platform. Contact us today to learn more about what our software solutions can do for your fleet and how we can integrate with other critical business software.