Digital technologies have a number of key advantages that can benefit your fleet’s efficiency and your business’ revenue.
Technologies provide businesses with an ability to sense both internal business factors and external market forces – such as the fluctuations and spikes in company demands and resources. Teamed with quicker analysis and adaptation, technologies can give real-time results that have big benefits for a business.
Don’t stay in the slow lane. Future proof your business with these technologies to take you into the next decade.
Telematics and GPS
A Motorola study showed that company fleets save an average of $5,484 per employee per year by using GPS fleet tracking technology. (1)
By optimising the routes your fleet uses with real-time awareness of conditions you can reduce the likelihood of accidents as well as increase efficiency of delivery.
GPS also pinpoints exactly where your vehicles are. This can help show if they’re not being used for business purposes and also shows you when vehicles are idle.
Telematics can also gamify driving by creating scoreboards and competitions as long as there is a realistic end point to the competition. You could give cash prizes or simply recognition.
Advanced telematics such as Trakm8 (https://www.trakm8.com/) can also identify vehicle problems before they cause the vehicle to break down, allowing you to carry out the required maintenance without losing productivity. (2)
Smartphone technology and apps
As well as providing information on locations and routes, smartphones offer a digital timestamp of events. For example, if you need to monitor vehicle condition, a smartphone provides an image which can be easily documented and tracked. This is also useful for documenting accidents or proving the condition of items on delivery or pick-up.
Apps such as TrackUnit (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.trackunit.trackunit&hl=en_GB) which includes a GeoFence alarm to help reduce theft, and Truckcom, (http://www.truckcom.co.uk/ ) which includes instant proof of delivery, are aimed directly at the fleet management industry.
There is also a lot to learn from apps such as Zipcar and Uber. Through these apps, the cost of trips drops as more people using the same vehicles spreads depreciation and financing costs.
Shell TapUp makes it possible to order your petrol through a fuel app which will be delivered to you on an electric-powered vehicle. Your drivers can request where and when the car needs to be refuelled, and they don’t need to be there at the time. This is currently being piloted in Rotterdam. (5)
Fill Up & Go works by removing the need for people at petrol pumps. The app works by being connected to the petrol pumps via QR codes. The money is taken off your connected account rather than having to queue inside the petrol station. (http://www.shell.co.uk/motorist/shell-fuels/fill-up-and-go/how-it-works.html)
Cloud computing is the storing and accessing of data and programs from the internet as opposed to your computer’s local hard drive. As a business model for fleet management, the arguments for using cloud computing are compelling.
Having an on-demand model means fluctuating demands can be met and there is less cost and time wasted during quieter times, while resources during busier times can be stepped up. Remote resourcing also reduces the cost of servers and other equipment, while sharing server infrastructures with other businesses can also drive costs down.
In 2016, Uber moved part of its infrastructure to cloud storage, in a bid to provide its facilities in as localised a way as possible.
By using the cloud, Uber drivers have instant connectivity from wherever they are – allowing Uber to instantly deploy drivers and respond in real-time to demand from customers.
Although we might need to wait a little longer for driverless vehicles, this is one of the most exciting developments in digital technology.
Fully autonomous vehicles could operate for more extended time periods than a human driver and cover longer distances with lower labour costs.
These self-driving vehicles are still a way off, but platooning is nearer to being realised and currently being trialled and developed. Platooning involves a chain of lorries driven by smart technology who mutually communicate to maintain a close distance between each other. The truck at the head of the platoon acts as the leader, while the vehicles behind react and adapt to changes in its movement, requiring little or no action from drivers. It’s believed platooning will lower fuel consumption and improve safety.
Technologies are already making their presence felt in the world of fleet – changing business models, driving down costs and improving safety. Navigating the suite of technologies on offer will help you get the best from your drivers and for your business.