Start at Telemetry, then think Connected Systems for Logistics
Over the last two years, pressure has increased for fleet managers, their teams of drivers and maintenance staff, the vehicles themselves, and, of course, for the businesses that employ them. To see where some of the stress points happen, we examined Verizon Connect’s Fleet Manager Report and look to technology as a highly effective way that operations can be improved right across the business: lowering costs, meeting customer expectations better, reducing CO2 emissions, and making overall operations more profitable.
What the report shows is that over and above the political uncertainty that continues to dominate the thoughts of fleet managers post-Brexit, it’s a combination of staffing issues, fuel efficiency and customer expectations that are keeping professionals awake at night.
During COVID, furlough schemes at least partially alleviated some companies’ immediate cost concerns, but outside of that area, respondents in the haulage and delivery sectors continue to cite “general administration” as their biggest time drain, with 30% stating that is their most common activity.
It’s interesting to note that joined-up technology deployed in delivery operations can reduce the repetitive tasks that dominate many working lives: driver and vehicle allocation, for example, is high on the list of daily activities (19% of time) alongside scheduling vehicle maintenance (15%). Backend systems that work in conjunction with vehicle tracking technologies address the amounts of time both these activities take up.
Data-based integrated systems give business owners and operations directors in the transport sector the ability to see patterns that develop over time and therefore create the context for their future. A simple example might be a rise in the occurrences of vehicle damage on specific routes regardless of the driver. These can be caused by taxing road conditions, and therefore scheduled maintenance for the vehicles on the route can be made to a slightly faster cadence.
Recognising patterns that are thrown up by data is just one advantage to integrated technology systems in operations. Company decision-makers use the same information extrapolated from joined-up systems to see where and how SLAs might not be being met — and identify why. In daily routines dominated by admin, it’s all too easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and simply feel that SLAs are set too high. With connected tech, overall performance can be improved across the board, giving companies significant differentiators over the competition in the market.
Note that in the preceding paragraphs, we’ve been at pains to state “joined-up” technology or “integrated systems”. Vehicle-tracking is the technology that comes to mind most readily in this industry at the first mention of tech, but to fully utilise its power, supporting smart platforms need much more than a real-time, map-based dashboard.
Decision-makers’ concerns from the survey with regards drivers’ health and safety included that one-third of respondents most worried about mobile phone use by drivers when travelling, with another third citing driver fatigue. Data systems capable of recognising both problems can be used not just as the starting point for disciplinary actions. Driver education and support percolates down into lower costs (less maintenance, lower fuel bills), a reduction in carbon emissions and a more engaged workforce.
Nearly as high a figure (28%) stated that collision and injury or damage to a third party was their top concern. The survey results said 77% of UK fleets were affected by theft alone, with recovery costs reaching the low five figures in some cases. Obviously, the nature of accidents is such that these concerns are valid — the issue is that some problems can be avoided: tired drivers — or staff anywhere in the business — make mistakes. Administrative staff in the company engaged in repetitive tasks make mistakes through boredom. Both on the road and in the office, joined-up technology helps alleviate both problems.
Resistance to fleet management technology often comes from ambiguities and misconceptions about the purpose of the tech. The deployment of systems needs to be done in consultation with end-users (drivers, maintenance technicians and back-office alike) therefore. While TMSs are proven to lower theft and fraud, the integrated platforms of today can help tell the story in ways that transform every part of the business in positive ways.
To learn more about Verizon Connect’s platforms and solutions for businesses of all sizes, you can request a free free demo of the technology today.
15 September 2021