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Technology for Fleet Management

– Contributed content –

Old truck cab

(Jaymantri, Pexels.com)

15 Jan. 2020. You will be hard-pressed to find an industry that technology hasn’t shaped and changed in the last 40 years. However, now the advancements are coming thick and fast – and some of the larger, and most profitable industries in the world are seeing huge benefits. One of those industries is the shipping and fleet industry.

So let’s take a look at the technology and changes we can see.

Recruitment 

One of the most important changes that have been seen across all markets is the ability to widen the recruitment net. And with that wider net, comes more applicants. Which is even better for the companies who are hiring as they increase the requirements. Meaning that you can get the most skilled operators, and the people with the most experience more easily.

However, that also means that all other fleet management and shipping companies can do the same. So in order to retain those staff, and entice them to apply in the first place, there are often signing bonuses, in-house bonuses, training and development and more.

Telematics and tracking

Vehicle tracking is about so much more than knowing the location. It can give you deep insight into driver behaviours, maintenance, parts inventory and more. Often a company will implement the best fleet management software to enable them to make data-driven decisions in the future.

ELD devices have recently become a requirement. These electronic logging devices enable drivers and companies to adhere to the strict hours-of-service limits. However, although there was some kick-back about the regulation, it can help give detailed insights into the track and dispatch process.

Real-time location tracking means that you can give warehouses, containers or last-mile delivery companies the most up-to-date information possible. Ensuring that the shipping is as smooth and streamlined as possible.

What makes this an invaluable addition is that a fleet manager can look at the information, and consider if there needs to be a reassignment in order to fulfill obligations or arrange an earlier delivery. The streamlining here can save thousands.

Data visibility

The more data you have access to, the better decisions you can make. This puts the power and the information directly into the hands of a fleet manager, which means there can be more proactive decisions and approaches taken.

A great example of saving time and money, through data collection, is vehicle inspections. An operator can input a range of data into electronic inspection forms. That data can be analyzed and produce real-time information about the maintenance of the vehicle.

The speed and the process reduce the required man-hours upfront and give a more precise look at what needs to be taken care of, and what doesn’t.

Mechanical issues can be handled quicker, and more conveniently this way.

Cost

Having access to information about the vehicles, real-time location, weight and tracking mean that you can cut costs. The highest costs for a fleet tend to be fuel, insurances, wages, vehicle replacement and maintenance. The more you know about each area, the more you can plan ahead.

When you are manually inputting accountancy numbers, there is a lot of room for error. When things are automated, and cost tracking software is implemented (often with fleet management software packages), data entry is a much less time-consuming task.

The calculations are made automatically, for the cost of each vehicle and job.

Insurance and wages

The rising cost of insurance and wages can put significant pressure on general operational costs. However, all fleets must have an insurance policy that meets the needs of the business, the staff and the state or country in which they operate.

When you bring telematics in to play, you have more detailed information to give insurance companies. Insight into driver behavior can help decrease insurance premiums. The safer the driver, the less likely accidents will occur.

Another thing to take into consideration is the rise in wages, In December 2018 there was a 3.3% wage growth for works in non-supervisory roles and production level. The previous year only saw a rise of 2.4%. So this is a cost that will need to be taken into consideration and planned for in coming years.

Data protection

One of the key challenges that many fleet companies have faced in previous years is the sheer vast amount of data that was needed to be stored. All of the new connectivity and technology abilities has meant that companies need to ensure that they have the right data protection and security in place.

The more vehicles that are connected to a system, the more vulnerable they will become overall. Due to this fleet, managers face the added issue of IT-security issues and privacy concerns.

The implementation of GDPR has meant that many companies are reconsidering how they use and store data. Which is a great thing. The data that a fleet manager holds can be one of the most valuable assets of the company. So taking the right steps to secure it, is in the best interest of everyone.

In order to protect telematic data, a proactive and comprehensive approach needs to be taken. Looking at where the vulnerabilities lie, who has access to the date and what resources need to be allocated to storage and upkeep.

Safety

Something that all vehicle operators, fleet managers and production level staff can be happy about. Is the impact that technology has had on their safety. Accident-prevention solutions and predictive maintenance (as mentioned above) are both key elements in increasing safety for drivers.

Emergency warning systems that send real-time details, GPS navigation, radars, sensors and automatic driving assistance systems are all the great tech that focus on the safety of the driver and the cargo.

All of this adds up to one thing – a reactive approach to fleet management doesn’t cut it anymore. In order to cut costs, keep your staff safe, hire well and make the right decisions (data-backed) technology is a must.

Not only that, but implementing new technology early, will put you ahead of your competitors and increase your staff retention rates.

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