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Optimize Fleet Management with Smart Solutions

As IoT continues to transform sectors like retail, manufacturing smart homes and automobiles, fleet management is the latest to join the revolution, connecting vehicles and drivers to the enterprise system in real time.

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Editor’s Note: Avnish Kumar, Vice President, IoTNXT Labs at Incedo Inc.

It’s easy to romanticize the idea of driving around with a paper map, being lost in a new city, and immersing yourself within the strange feeling that comes with being in an unfamiliar environment. However, it’s 2017, the era of efficiency – and this is no longer a reality for most people.

As technology has evolved, paper maps have been replaced with GPS-equipped vehicles and this is a prime example of how technology has changed the face of fleet management. However, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. The blend of connected devices, networks, and its consequent by-product of big data, creates a compelling impact on fleet management. The traditional way of operating the fleet industry – its productivity and its efficiency – have been disrupted as a result.

Smart mobility & intelligent fleet

Enter the Internet of Things. As IoT continues to transform sectors like retail, manufacturing smart homes and automobiles, fleet management is the latest to join the revolution, connecting vehicles and drivers to the enterprise system in real time. It is transforming the way traditional fleets were managed with new and innovative technology. With intelligent fleet, it isn’t only the operators but construction, automobile, cargo companies and every other industry that employs drivers and delivery personnel. As the vehicles we drive get smarter, previously labor-intensive or manual processes have become automated, adding efficiencies that can be seen in asset utilization.

IoT and telematics connect vehicles and drivers like never before. While more devices, people and data are connected, the opportunities in fleet management are also expanding exponentially. Companies that manage fleets have started using fleet telematics to collect real-time information such as vehicle location, fuel usage, speed, mileage and insights into driver behavior. Telematics is a broad term used to describe on-board systems that combine GPS sensors with wireless communication, computer capabilities and sometimes even video recordings. Fleet owners and operators can obtain extensive information and intelligence from these systems including vehicle location and performance, driver behavior and a wide range of other data points.

To what extent has technology modernized fleet management? Let’s consider some of the key use cases of IoT that have brought greater efficiencies and improvement to businesses that manage their fleet:

  • Gain Better Visibility: Real-time visibility of the fleet allows managers to be aware of the location of their vehicles, while ensuring compliance with established routes and schedules. This wasn’t a possibility with legacy fleet management providers and technology. Now, managers gain an unprecedented level of insight into fleet performance and driver behavior with automated fleet management solutions.
  • Reduce operational expenses: Regardless of what the goals are, reducing costs is on everybody’s mind. Each day, fleets generate relevant information like fuel consumption, miles logged, speed tracking and vehicle utilization.
  • Analyze and understand collected data, but act on it. Connected vehicles will help to minimize wasted miles and cut costs - whether its vehicle maintenance, product delivery, route planning, or dealing with traffic congestion and weather disruptions.
  • Preventive Maintenance: Apart from providing better insights into driver behavior, an enterprise can monitor the health of your fleet remotely from any place, using any device. One can ensure a vehicle’s longevity by providing preventative maintenance with alerts for service needs like low battery, coolant temperature, check engine, inspection reminders and other such factors. Alerts will notify maintenance managers with early warning signs of trouble, whether it’s an overheating engine, low fluids or declining oil-life. In addition to improving the efficiency of the maintenance cycle, costs can be reduced by diagnosing problems and minimising downtime as well. Maintenance is one of the biggest expenses that the fleet business incurs and its efficiency has a key impact on the profitability of the organisation.
  • Greener Operations: Unnecessary wear and tear is caused by factors like excessive idling time, taking longer routes and driving over the speed limit. This is more common than we’d imagine and results in extra fuel costs, apart from creating significant damage to the environment. For instance, developments in fleet management can provide effective routing options to help vehicles transporting large, heavy loads or oil and gas. Often, oil and gas loads involve transportation of hazardous materials and accidents can lead to expensive pollution claims. Fleet intelligence will help provide quick diagnosis of a spill and allow for a faster clean up. Smart fleet management solutions play a role in lowering the number and effect of such severe crashes.
  • Enhanced Safety and Security: Fleet safety should be made a critical business value. Safety on the job should be instilled as a mandatory practice – not a convenience – especially for businesses with fleets. Driver behavior is attributed to more than 90 percent of accidents according to the US Department of Transportation and the US Department of Energy. This often results from fatigue. When an accident occurs, a business is vulnerable and can be held liable for negligence and hefty workers compensation claims. This can even lead to a potential civil lawsuit. Rather, an intelligent fleet management system can help to notify abuse of vehicle and hazard notification by collecting data such as speeding, harsh braking, vehicle maintenance scheduling status and vehicle location from a hardwired GPS receiver and prevent disasters beforehand. This data helps to reduce work-related risks and comply with health regulations, all this while ensuring the safety of employees, passenger vehicles and goods.

The need for smart fleet management has never been more vital and the evolution of technology has played a key role in adding efficiency to this sector. The growing demand for intelligent fleet systems will help save fuel, increase efficiency and reduce traffic fatalities. The level of control kept in-house is also changing as many enterprises choose to outsource fleet management, freeing up time to focus on strategy. Nevertheless, implementing systematic fleet management technology can help you ensure smooth operations and an overall healthier organization.

 

 


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Latest Whitepaper
Third Party Risk: Too Close for Comfort
You’ve got a handle on many of the potential supply chain "disrupters" that can paralyze your business. But the real risk is embedded in areas you may have overlooked.
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From the December 2017
This is a comprehensive guide to services, products and educational opportunities targeted specifically to supply chain professionals. As with years past, we’re also featuring several articles we trust will offer food for thought in your supply chain throughout the coming year.
Transportation Trends: The last mile, history repeating
Economic Outlook: A Complex and Uneven Scenario for Global Supply Chains
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