Changing perceptions of fleet technology: the multiple wins from one platform
History is full of happy coincidences. The microwave oven was invented by accident when a certain Percy Spencer in the 1940s used vacuum tubes to create very short-wave radio emissions using devices known as magnetrons. He decided to investigate why the candy in his pocket seemed to be melting when the machines were turned on. The rest is, as they say, history.
The history of technology is rife with similar incidents. The reliability of the internet (on which every business today runs) is underpinned by technology that ensures information travelling from A to C can route around point B, if necessary.
At a much smaller scale, deploying technology in your business can create long chains of coincidental “wins” that manifest as benefits to parts of the business that were never intended as the recipients. When a sales department replaces static spreadsheets of customers with, say, a CRM system, the entire company benefits. Suddenly, everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet, and most departments can start to take advantage of the information stored there. In very rare cases, even the Finance Director can maybe be seen with a smile on their face.
The latest technology for logistics, delivery and supply chain companies is designed specifically to bring multiple advantages over and above a core purpose. Vehicle telemetry, for example, has moved on significantly in the last couple of years, being now capable of fulfilling multiple remits. That’s in part down to the realisation by software programmers that joining up data creates more than a sum of its parts. A simple example that will be familiar to Fleet Managers is the combination of telemetry data with customers’ addresses. Two discrete pieces of technology (customer database plus GPS positioning) combine and create highly efficient route plans for each vehicle out on the road. When circumstances change in real-time, route updates can be automatically pushed out using a third technology – SMS, for example – to affected drivers.
As technology evolves, it’s sometimes important for users to reassess their initial interpretations of what the tech does and did, and what it’s capable of. To use fleet telemetry again as an example, placing tracking hardware in each vehicle might have originally been done to prevent drivers from speeding, for example. But using the solution solely for HR and disciplinary matters misses out on enormous potential, which is realised when data sources are combined. Mileage data can be combined with route information to fine-tune maintenance schedules: road conditions have a significant impact on vehicle wear and tear. When brought together, discrete sets of data can save more than their individual worth.
Even without integrating technology platforms, the fleet management software of today produces multiple wins for users. Better driving habits not only cut down on speeding tickets but also lower maintenance costs, and in the longer term, insurance bills. Drivers competing to win bonuses for good road manners creates better working environments, and staff turnover drops. The instigator of change is today’s tech and a generous portion of managerial creativity.
Technology today is also malleable — it can adapt and scale. When circumstances change overnight, as they have done on a huge scale over the last couple of years, technology helps bring in multiple cost savings and ensures the most efficient use of finite resources. Efficiency gains in fuel, for example, help pay new drivers’ wages when demand peaks. And in the longer term, fleet procurement and leasing decisions around electrification can be determined on where the biggest savings can be made, and telemetry data will show the routes that will benefit most.
There are several knock-on effects from deploying technology to better manage fleets, especially at scale. One deployment of fleet management technology such as Verizon Connect’s creates multiple smaller savings as data flows into the business. When those savings are multiplied over time and over large fleet sizes, even potential crises such as a third of a workforce having to isolate at home can be mitigated. Perhaps not solved overnight, but the impact lessened significantly.
Savings that are not happy coincidences but come engineered into technology and they can be your company’s too. Speak to a Verizon Connect representative to discover how.