22 Sep 21

Pillars of efficient fleet management strategy unveiled at Fleet Latam 2021

Fleet LatAm Conference 2021 proved to be a great learning experience for fleet managers as expert presentations served as a guide for efficient fleet management. The expertise emphasized the power of telematics, and most importantly, the new challenges Latam will face in the coming years. 

What are the elements of a solid fleet strategy? 

What are the primary elements of an efficient fleet strategy and the indicators of efficiency? This is what Raphael Muller, Fleet Specialist, South America, Zoetis Pharmaceuticals talked about in the first presentation of the afternoon. 

Fleet managers must see what is going on in their operations through diagnosis, while clear policies should specify the rules of every aspect of operations. The next step is telematics, in which fleets in Latam are becoming more experienced. For Muller, telematics is critical for reducing accidents and increasing safety through the accurate information they provide. The last element of fleet efficiency is to control operations and seeing what is going on and how. 

Effective management does not solely depend on a few successful steps. Muller emphasized the importance of data management, which he believes must be gradually integrated into corporate culture. Thus, a fleet manager will be able to answer a crucial question: how to maintain sustainability? Other than improving all aspects of fleet management, standardization may be required along Latam countries to achieve sustainability, which is another challenge for fleet managers. 

Latam faces difficulties in EVs and sustainability 

In the second presentation of the afternoon, Andres Fernando Bohorquez, LatAm Fleet Coordinator, Applus mentioned the improvements in telematics in Latam but also underlined the weak position of the region in terms of EVs and sustainability. 

According to Bohorquez, most fleets have GPS, telemetry devices, chips or fuel cards to better monitor the vehicles and avoid fraud. For standardization in the Latam region, Bohorquez emphasizes the importance of defining policies for each country. Building strategic partnerships with suppliers and routine reporting for each country or region is also critical for maintenance and sustainability. 

There are also challenges for the future. These challenges are sourced from the lack of technologies available for EVs and also the poor infrastructure (particularly charging infrastructure) in the region. Despite this, fleets are performing cost/benefit analysis for adopting EVs and asking themselves how much of their fleet can be replaced by them. Bohorquez said currently 4% of their fleet is using alternative fuels. 

Why is telematics critical for reducing costs? 

According to Marton Kiss, fleet manager Diversey Brasil, 30% of the Latam corporations are still not using telematics, and as a result, fuel consumption is higher. On the other hand, telematics reduces fleet management costs by around 30%, increases productivity by 40% while distance travelled decreases by 11%.

Kiss takes note that there are many telematics providers in the Latam region but fleets must consult their partners and service providers when choosing one. After choosing a platform, the most important step is customizing the platform to company policy and requirements. Fleet managers can set up every alert in the system to activate any notification - from safety to fuel consumption or pick and choose alerts that matter to them. 

Adding transparency to telematics platforms is critical according to Kiss, enabling everyone to see the areas to be improved. Transparency can help avoid risky behaviours and increase safety measures with partners. 

Latam fleets use data for efficient cost reduction 

Are fleets in Latam efficiently using data to reduce costs? Vice President of Geotab Latin America, Sean Killen thinks so. Killen says that most of the companies realized the cost advantage of telematics in the last few years. Most importantly, while most of the safety groups of fleets in North America skip the essential telematics data, Latam fleets analyze all of the data to reduce costs. 

High adoption of telematics has increased safety, optimization of fleets and productivity improvement of fleets in Latam. Killen provides the example of the consumer packaged goods industry as they use telematics data in predictive maintenance to avoid delivery trucks breaking down. 

So, where’s the industry going? Killen witnessed a significant dynamism towards EVs in Latam in the last two years. As underlined by almost all of the experts in the conference, data will drive Latam in the next 5 years. Considering that Geotab handles 40 million data points daily, fleet managers must understand where they can derive insight from this vast amount of data. 

Video telematics reveal the true scale of risks on the road

One of the most innovative aspects of telematics is surely the visual data gathered by cameras. Adam McCarty, Senior Vice President, Channel and International Business of Lytx, says that they’re receiving data from 700,000 vehicles every day. The question fleet managers shall be asking is “how can I make video an efficient proactive tool?” 

McCarty underlined some statistics from the Global Fleet Survey 2021: 60% of the fleet managers want to improve vehicle security, driver safety and behaviour. The video takes all essential data out of the telematics black box and offers it to the fleet manager to achieve these goals. 

Lytx data shows that for every single major collision, there are 29 minor collisions, 300 near misses, 3,000 high-risk behaviours and 300,000 risky behaviours. Lytx teaches the AI to analyze driver behaviour and can successfully differentiate behaviour patterns. Thus, the true scale of dangers on the road and the necessity to take action reveals itself. 

Latam is determined to change

Fleet LatAm Conference 2021 drew the current picture of the fleet management strategies in Latam and the challenges waiting ahead. Latam reacted to all new developments and trends in fleet management in the past few years, gaining new skills and adapting telematics to increase efficiency. While there are some inefficiencies due to traditional methods and lack of technologies, Latam fleet managers can see what is coming up and what to do. 

Armed with telematics, increasing experience in data analysis and utilizing new tools such as video cameras, Latam is putting a step towards fleet electrification slowly but surely. 


Authored by: Mufit Yilmaz Gokmen