Honestly, owners and small and mid-sized fleet businesses have endless daily to-do lists.
● Support and training
● License checking
● Compliance and safety
● Vehicle breakdown and recovery
Especially for small- and medium-sized fleet businesses, it goes on and on and on. Now add on top of that Fleet Telematics and Tracking (i.e. running and managing the software to track every vehicle and driver across your entire operation).
"But shouldn't software save me time?"
The answer is yes, but only if you deal with the right provider.
This is where outsourcing to a managed service provider starts to look like a more attractive option.
What are Fleet Tracking Managed Services?
The term "managed services" refers to the practice of outsourcing responsibilities to a third-party. In this case, telematics responsibilities.
This growing demand for managed services comes mostly from fleet SMBs who rely on technology to maintain their competitive advantage.
The good news is that outsourcing to managed services lets fleet SMBs compete with mid-market and enterprise levels without having to do everything in-house — one of many benefits we’ll cover in this article.
In a typical engagement with an MSP, if you went with a managed service provider, you'd have someone else remotely monitor and manage your fleet tracking software for you.
You'd pay a flat monthly rate for access to your provider's expertise with the software. The idea is so you can get back to focusing on your core business, rather than spending your time tinkering with the solution yourself.
For most, it's a no brainer. But it does require a thorough understanding before you decide if it's something you want to pursue.
1. Receive Support Whenever You Need It
Here's direct quotes from customer reviews of large Fleet Tracking Software companies:
● “I don't like having to deal with several people to get something done”
● “When you call with a problem, all they want to do is upsell you
● “Feels like they don’t care about small businesses”
● “Confusion between their departments might be why it takes them so long to respond”
● “I'd like to end our contract with them and find a company that can provide us with a software that is just as functional but that actually has consistent and accessible customer service”
If you're an SMB, large software providers generally expect you to manage and monitor the solution yourself
Which is why many people find that outsourcing to MSPs is a much better fit for them.
Most MSPs have around-the-clock, on-call customer support options. So you don't have to angst if someone will answer your call or not. Help is available whenever you need it.
Plus, most of the time you'll have a designated point of contact (rather than dealing with a rotating cast of characters). MSPs pride themselves on understanding your business inside and out and usually provide you with a Customer Success Manager.
Your CSM serves as the middleman between you and your vendor and triages problems on your behalf.
2. Avoid Expensive Downtime
If your truck isn't working, it isn't earning.
Unplanned downtime is one of the biggest revenue killers for fleet SMBs.
But how can MSPs help you avoid it?
Rather than sitting and waiting for something to go wrong, MSPs take a proactive approach to maintenance using remote monitoring to identify and troubleshoot potential issues before they have a chance to start costing money.
Obviously downtime costs will look different for each fleet business. But if your truck is missing work days from unplanned M&R, you're dealing with both the repair item cost as well as the lost revenue that truck should've been making if it was working.
So, while your expense report will only show the $300 repair bill, your revenue column will be short $2,250.
3. Focus on Core Objectives
As you grow, so do your needs related to fleet tracking and telematics.
Growth is already overwhelming workload-wise for your internal team. And you'd like to spend your day-to-day dealing with customers, not troubleshooting with software or delegating not-in-their-job-description tasks to your busy team.
Managed services frees up your team to do the jobs you hired them to do — but still lets you fill in the gaps of your business as needed. Qualified MSPs offer a flexible service model, one based on how much service you actually need. That could mean simply keeping the software running or outsourcing your entire tracking operation.
4. Get the Expertise You Need (While Keeping Costs Low)
The main reason SMBs flock to the managed services model is that they can hire an entire team of operational technology professionals for a flat monthly rate — much more affordable than the astronomical cost of hiring and training new employees.
Some MSPs even have a "shared" approach, meaning you can add or remove specialists from your team on an as-needed basis depending on the project. These specialists include functional, technical and training consultants who help you install, monitor and manage your systems. Plus, they'll help you squeeze every last drop of value out of them.
The potential to eliminate new staff hiring costs is incredibly compelling for most fleet SMBs. MSPs allow you to widen your resource base as much as you'd like to at any given moment.
Look for an MSP that lets you sign a service-level agreement that's tailored to your unique needs. That way you'll never worry about unexpected service costs.
Founder, CEO, RAN Wireless
Marc DeCarlo is the CEO of RAN Holdings, LLC a builder, developer and manager of wireless data companies that service large scale enterprises.