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The Nature of a Best of Breed
Fleet Management System

with Mike Brawley, Product Manager & Joe Healey, CEO

The term Best of Breed (BOB) comes originally from the realm of dog shows and competitions where the title is given to the canine who has been judged the best representative specimen of his/her breed as a whole. In the software world, the term has come to stand for much the same thing. Don’t worry, we aren’t saying Rover comes with your software package.

Best of breed software is the best software system and provider in a given industry or area of focus. There are providers who provide software that requires significant and costly customization. And there are ERP providers that are largely providing financial, procurement and work order solutions.  But FASTER as a best of breed system excels at researching and meeting the needs of a very specific group of users - such as the fleet industry. And the benefit is that best practice processes are built-in. And while FASTER can be customized to meet any unique need you have; most of a fleet’s operational needs can be met by configuring the FASTER system. The key here is that configuration does not cost anything and customizations do.

Therefore, a BOB system like FASTER, is designed with fleet best practices in mind making it easier for users to do their jobs and for the fleet operations as a whole to run efficiently and successfully. We’ve all used a piece of software at some point in the past that was not designed with best practices and the user in mind. If you have to jump through unnecessary hoops and perform overly complex and inefficient actions it quickly becomes obvious that the software is more of a burden than a tool. One of the key reasons why FASTER is BOB is since it is built around industry best-practice processes, it naturally fits with good work flow processes and is easy for users to learn. And those strong work flow processes are key to increasing efficiency.

This leads to a critical term when you are looking for a software system: COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf). This means that you can implement, train and operate much more inexpensively.  More and more organizations are identifying in their RFPs that they want a COTS system that needs specific customizations. And the result is they end up with a highly flexible system that meets all their needs at a far lower operating cost over time. And implementations are far easier and less risky.

From a user’s perspective the advantage and importance of finding a best of breed provider like FASTER is that you can be sure your specific challenges, practices and processes are well understood because there is already a large group of users who have validated and proven them.

For Fleet Professionals, seeking best of breed software means buying based on value, rather than seeking either the lowest or highest bidder or a do-it-all system that may seem great on first glance but misses many of your unique needs as you look further. The value of BOB software comes from the core functionality in the system that enables the fleet to improve processes, gain efficiencies in the operation, and make sound business decisions based on the quality and relevance of the data in the system. The key is that your ability to manage the massive amounts of data that a fleet operation must handle is designed in from “cradle to grave.” This means that professionals from fleet operations, finance and other departments as well as end-user customers can really have business intelligence that is usable.

We have all heard of the horror stories of vast amounts of money being spent on systems where the result is it still takes hours to get data out of the system.  A hallmark of a true BOB system is that  it comes with the ability to produce all the Business Intelligence everyone in your organization needs:

  1. Dashboards for every professional role in your organization that needs to glean information from the system.
  2. On-the-fly (ad-hoc) reporting that lets users produce complex reports and export them in a professionally formatted way to various file types (PDF, Excel, Word, etc.) and pass them on via email or at presentation.
  3. Standard and custom reports that provide Business Intelligence on your fundamental processes and operating priorities.

Are there other systems with which you want to integrate your fleet system? Part of being a BOB system is building that system on cutting edge technology that makes it easier and more cost-effective to integrate it with other systems. And this is another key differentiator between FASTER and its competition. No other system on the market today has the ease of integration as FASTER Web. It was designed on newer technologies to permit simple and inexpensive flat-file integrations as well as robust, even real-time web services integrations.

To truly be BOB fleet software, a system must stay current in both the latest technology available and evolving processes and practices in the fleet industry merging the two into a solid foundation of core functionality that meets your needs. And it is by keeping pace in both technology and fleet that a BOB system inherently allows for seamless system integrations while never losing focus on your most important goal - running an efficient, successful operation.

Author’s Note: At FASTER, as the only remaining US-based major provider of fleet management software, we feel that we have an obligation to provide a robust best of breed system for the fleet community. Our development staff strive to stay abreast of the latest technology. FASTER also employs more former fleet professionals (including fleet managers)  with real-life experience than any other fleet system. These fleet professionals are involved in in the design of our BOB Fleet Management System as well as all the customizations we build.