The future with data-driven fleet management
Industry transformation often occurs at the nexus of innovation and necessity. Nowhere is this more evident than in the transport sector. The industry is leaning toward digital solutions as it faces increased customer expectations, environmental concerns, and demands for operational efficiency. A significant development in this context is the introduction of fleet management systems, which leverage data-driven insights to revolutionize operations.
In our recent interview with Sean Killen, Vice President – Latin America, Asia and ANZ for Geotab, he explains that the transportation industry, much like others, has begun to understand the power and potential of data. Operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness are two of the transportation industry’s most significant challenges. Fuel, one of the primary controllable expenses for fleet managers, is now under scrutiny, especially with the increasing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and the global rise in fuel prices that’s not expected to slow until Q4 2023.
Leveraging fleet management systems for operational efficiency
As Killen outlines, in Southeast Asia, the focus is gathering data insights on fuel wastage and pilferage to reduce fuel expenses and understand which fleet vehicles are suitable for electrification. “Geotab offers its Fleet Electrification Knowledge Center to help fleet managers on their journey to fleet electrification. Equipped with an EV Suitability Assessment (EVSA) tool, fleet managers can identify which of their existing vehicles could effectively be transitioned to electric.”
Intelligent vehicles collect vast amounts of data, providing a gold mine of insights. Modern fleet management systems like Geotab’s transform this raw data into actionable business insights. By using telematics technology, which utilizes GPS and onboard diagnostics to track vehicles in real-time, systems provide information on vehicle location, driver behavior, fuel consumption, and more.
Killen emphasizes the value of this data: “Quality data insights from telematics enable transportation companies to reduce costs and carbon emissions, optimize routes and schedules, improve productivity and compliance, increase efficiencies and manage drivers’ safety.” By addressing these items, businesses can reduce travel time, proactively detect vehicle maintenance issues, and increase fuel efficiency.
For instance, Geotab customer Shaziman Transport reduced fuel consumption in one line of vehicles by 9% by using Geotab’s GO9 devices. The devices helped Shaziman reduce costs with automatic maintenance notifications, monitoring of unsafe driver performance, and combatting long idling times.
As the transportation industry navigates regulatory compliance challenges, fleet management systems can offer crucial support. They can track and report on data, making it easier for businesses to meet regulatory requirements and avoid hefty fines.
Evolving practices for electric vehicle fleet management
Killen also sheds light on how using technology in fleet management, specifically in the context of electric vehicles, improves operations, decision-making, and business outcomes for transportation companies. He states, “Data intelligence is key to making progress on sustainability goals and effectively onboarding or managing an electric fleet. Adopting a fleet management system can better position your company’s operational usage and its environmental footprint.”
There are critical differences to be aware of when transitioning a fleet from fossil-fuel to electric vehicles. Metrics such as watt-hours per mile (Wh/mile) are unique to EVs and must be understood to optimize fleet operations and monitor performance. Practices such as utilizing one telematics platform, rightsizing the fleet, streamlining charging, and route optimization become crucial.
However, the adoption of tracking technologies can be challenging due to potential suspicion from drivers. Killen suggests communicating the value to them; driver performance evaluation using gamification or demonstrating vehicle/driver safety are a couple of methods that can be used.
By implementing data-driven fleet management systems, businesses can streamline operations, reduce costs, enhance customer satisfaction, and contribute to sustainability efforts.
Geotab provides performance-related and predictive analytics that empower transport companies to improve fleet management capabilities and achieve sustainability goals.
The green transformation: A win for the environment and companies
In an increasingly environmentally-conscious marketplace, green transformation is beneficial for the environment and a company’s reputation. Fleet management systems can lower fuel consumption by optimizing routes and improving driver behavior, and so reduce emissions.
Looking to the future, Killen emphasizes the importance of continued learning and adaptation as companies transition from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. He suggests developing a roadmap for ICE to EV conversion, analyzing which ICE vehicles could transition to EV using tools like Geotab’s EV Suitability Assessment (EVSA), and measuring and controlling CO2 emissions to improve the operation of a fleet.
Geotab’s ebook, The Complete Fleet Electrification Roadmap, is a valuable resource to assist fleet managers on their way to electrification. This roadmap and Geotab’s other tools and resources demonstrate the potential of data-driven fleet management systems to revolutionize the industry.
Yet implementing a fleet management system is challenging. Key considerations include data privacy, cybersecurity, and the need for digital skills training for staff. Killen emphasizes the need for communication and transparency, particularly when introducing new technologies to drivers.
“The best way is to communicate the value to them; driver performance evaluation using gamification or demonstrating vehicle/driver safety are a couple of the methods,” he says. “For good drivers, the incentive could be recognition, and for those identified for improvement, an opportunity for training.”
The future of the transportation industry: More connected, efficient, and sustainable
In a more connected, efficient, and sustainable transportation industry, the role of data-driven fleet management systems is to become more significant. The continued evolution of systems, and the development of new technologies & strategies, will undoubtedly shape the future of the industry.
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