FMC Versus Third Party Provider

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With third party telematics providers, data is sent from a device that sends it to the provider. Photo ShutterStock

Whether it’s fuel and maintenance, licensing, or accident cost, fleet management software can not only track trends but make recommendations.

“We’re already getting data sent through to us when a customer is enrolled in the program,” says David Thornton, V.P of Sales and Client Services, Foss National Leasing. “The more data that goes through, we can allow it to track trends and make better recommendations than getting it from different sources.”

With third party telematics providers, data is sent from a device that sends it to the provider. That can provide information on issues such as speeding, idling, hard turns, and diagnostic issues, but it’s not getting the spend aspect. “What is it truly costing?” asks Thornton.

In this case, cents per kilometre calculations are probably either estimated based on vehicle consumption, or third party data. “Since it may come from so many different sources, you could be losing some integrity in the data,” says Thornton.

Heavy duty assets

Some companies promoting fleet management software are often more directed toward heavy duty assets. “They’re built more for tractors and trailers than they are for light duty,” says Thornton. “Could they handle light duty? Probably. But when it comes to analyzing it, their expertise is for heavy, not light.”

Service fleets of up to one ton vehicles, including tractor trailers, dump trucks, and box trucks that are heavier, have a different set of analytics.

For sales type fleets, a fleet management company is probably a better choice. “Many will not typically service customers where the core business is heavy duty,” says Thornton. “The expertise is more around larger national fleets or even smaller local fleets that have 20 to 200 light duty vehicle, with maybe five or 10 trucks to move around equipment.”

Fleets that require reporting for tax purposes have a completely different set of tax credits and tax reports for heavy versus light. “Fleet management companies tend to partner with third party compliance parties to make sure that information is still being tracked,” says Thornton.

Full cost benefit

Fleet management companies can provide a comprehensive solution that includes various services accumulating information direct from sources like fuel and maintenance vendors, government agencies, vehicle manufacturers, telematics companies and more. “The combination of services like leasing, fuel and maintenance management, remarketing, telematics, taxable benefit and license management is a perfect example of a whole being greater than its parts,” says Derek Grover, V.P Technology and Operations, Jim Pattison Lease.

“Combining the information from various services in one system enables many efficiencies that would not be possible if these services were run from different systems or providers.”

When making the decision between a fleet management company or a third party fleet software provider, a manager should consider the size of the fleet, vehicle makeup or preference, how the vehicles will be used, operating environment and when they aim to cycle their vehicles. “They should also think about how they want to maximize the resale of their vehicles, services for enhancing the fleet, insights from analytics, and how hands-on they want to be in the day to day management,” recommends Grover.”

“Third party providers may work for fleets with specific needs, but fleet managers analyse the full cost benefit of each solution.”

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