Fleet Management in the Cloud: The Sky’s the Limit
The last two years have been difficult for many businesses. For logistics and supply chain companies, challenges have come with added complexity in the forms of greater demand and fierce competition. While many logistics providers have been able to keep running and absorb these challenges, that has sometimes been at the expense of efficiencies, customer care quality, and strict adherence to government-mandated compliance.
The challenge for operations professionals is keeping the lid on costs day to day yet improving efficiency by developing and refining better business processes and logistics practices. Technology can sometimes be seen as a quick fix to achieve those multiple goals but choosing the right provider in the logistics and transport management technology sector is a critical decision that bears some scrutiny to get the best outcome.
Even with a limited budget, companies can save on cost, improve customer service, and hit governance targets. The right provider will also scale its offerings with a growing company — a modular platform allows extra functionality to be added as and when needed in a company’s future.
The first issue to address is to what degree a company must have a comprehensive IT infrastructure. There’s no need for dedicated IT staff or significant investments in hardware or upgraded infrastructure in most cases. Simple monthly payments give access to high-end and powerful solutions that need — literally — no maintenance or specialist care. Software-as-a-service is a model that most companies today take advantage of, from the accounts department’s solutions like payroll to the Office suite that forms the tech basis of the vast majority of businesses. Transport management solutions are no exception and as SaaS, are safe, secure, continually updated and protected by the vendor. All logistics companies need is access to the internet.
That situation remains true even as a business expands — a modular foundation to the core means add-ons just plug in and work as they are felt to be required. Companies can start with vehicle telemetry capability or add it sometime down the line, along with (for example) industrial plant asset management capabilities field service management modules or integrated dashcam technology.
However, the main issues of the day continue to press on operations directors and fleet managers, and addressing spiraling costs as businesses grow is a big concern for many. Complete fleet oversight is the starting point for positive change — the 1,000-foot aerial view of activities. Seeing daily operations in (near) real-time helps managers see where bottlenecks are causing issues and how resources can be better used to solve immediate problems. From there, it’s clearer where new processes need to be placed to keep costs down in the medium and long terms.
The company that we’ve linked to a couple of times in the text above is Verizon Connect. In North America, it’s the biggest player in the fleet management market (it tracks the most fleet vehicles in the US, for example). Thanks to several acquisitions over the years, it offers a robust subscription-based cloud offering for transport and logistics companies in the UK and mainland Europe. It’s a platform that helps companies tackle day-to-day issues like driver/workforce payroll & safety with practical solutions that start saving money and the planet from day one.
As companies take on more clients and customer service standards rise, vehicle telemetry and tachograph management systems help companies stay in line with governance and improve driver performance and overall efficiency. As costs (and carbon footprints) shrink relative to revenues, and savings snowball, the software platform’s capabilities can be expanded as required — it effectively scales with the company.
Dashcams, for example, might not be a priority in the first six months, but as systems bed in, driving styles might be considered a significant part of a reward scheme, for example, and Verizon Connect has the technology to fully support this type of initiative. There’s also a large marketplace via Verizon Connect for further integrations and optimisations, so companies can add elements like fuel cards, pump-based technologies (preventing misfuelling), monitor equipment and on-site assets , and the ability for drivers to take payments on handhelds — to call out just a few examples. Without getting too deep in the weeds of technologies, most existing systems can be interfaced with the Verizon platform, linking the different parts of the business’s existing IT systems for maximum effect.
Whichever way a business decides to grow, the cloud-based software supports and enables, and it’s all available at the click of a mouse inside the same web-based interface that gives in-the-moment updates to managers as the day progresses.
Whether it’s identifying where costs are being accrued or finding ways to improve fleet operations at any level, the Verizon Connect system helps identify problems, fix them, and optimise around future issues too. In the next article in this series, we’ll look at some of the more advanced options open to users of the platform. But getting the basics right is the mandatory first step for any logistics company with a growing fleet to manage. With an extensible and flexible platform from Verizon Connect, UK and European logistics companies can start improving daily operations, creating an environment in which managers are freed to look up and plan for how the business might expand or pivot in the future.
To get more information from the world leader in the technology of fleet management and more, head over to Verizon Connect’s website. If what you read rings any bells with regards to your company, why not reach out to a representative for a demo and see the detail of what problems Verizon Connect’s technology might help you solve?