Regardless of which sector you operate in, if you use vehicles in your value chain there will be challenges when it comes to how you evolve your fleet. As organisations continue their investment in digital technologies, how can fleet managers use data to make their fleet more effective? Here are our top tips.
Firstly, corporations often run disparate fleet management systems. This is bad news because incoherent software can seriously waste fleet managers’ and drivers’ time. Data has to be entered multiple times or manually transferred between applications, and different products need to be learned and understood.
The solution? Move towards a platform, rather than disparate point products. And if it’s not holistic, then make sure it can integrate with other software systems through APIs, allowing developers to quickly and easily let existing systems communicate with the new fleet management software.
Filter your data
Secondly, it’s important to understand that you have copious amounts of data at your fingertips. For example, GPS devices usually update their position every two minutes - if you have a fleet of say 50,000 vehicles, that’s roughly 36 million packets of information a day.
You can drown in this data, trying to focus on what matters. Look for valuable insights rather than spend all day scrutinising detailed reports by defining business rules that govern the movement of your fleet. Want to improve fuel efficiency by limiting speeding and braking? Want to ensure driver safety by monitoring idling? Some telematics solutions can trigger alerts that prompt managers to instantly receive an email to their device if rules are broken.
They can also let you implement a KPI dashboard that allows monitoring of how the fleet is performing overall, with specific areas of concern colour-coded for easy identification.
Fleet managers are not always able to monitor all assets effectively. This might lead to misuse of company assets, such as using vehicles outside of work hours or dangerous driving, which can result in additional cost as well as potential litigation risks.
Telematics technologies can be configured to monitor all company assets around the clock. Information such as vehicle speed, location and usage, as well as driving behaviour, like hard acceleration and swerving can be reported on. The data can be broken down by teams or divisions to identify unwanted trends, and can assist managers with deciding how to address persistent problems.
In a big fleet, assets can ‘disappear’ or become under-used, both of which represent a significant loss to the company.
GPS tracking enables you to account for all vehicles and to make sure they are being used efficiently. It also provides fleet managers with the accurate information they need to make profitable decisions on purchasing additional vehicles, what sort of vehicles to buy, or deciding if they can dispose of existing vehicles.
Fix small problems fast
Small problems in large enterprises can often go unnoticed for prolonged periods; sometimes they are only discovered after a major incident which can have serious ramifications for the company, not to mention the losses caused by revenue leaks.
This need not be the case. Large fleet management can be as detailed as you need by setting up real-time alerts, which trigger an email as soon as a specific business rule is broken, allowing fleet managers to address the issue there and then.
Commercial fleet management not only involves mobile resource management, but also the management of assets across a wide area. Fleets that operate across large regions, or even internationally, face difficulties communicating with remote drivers; locating vehicles in a given area may require endless zooming and scrolling across a map.
Clearly, you need to be able to zoom in and out of your fleet map quickly and efficiently. Telematics uses advanced mapping and spatial clustering to provide managers with the ability to go from viewing their entire fleet to viewing one specific vehicle anywhere within the GPS network. Spatial clustering creates more meaningful maps, grouping thousands of assets intelligently and providing clean and organised data on your fleet in real-time.
Sergio Barata is General Manager EMEA for fleet telematics and mobile workforce management solutions provider Telogis (www.telogis.com)
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