Eduardo Allegre, Métrica Móvil: Mexico's race to digitize fleets
The evolution and digitization of fleet management in Latin America is on the rise, much of which is being influenced by cloud-based Big Data management and artificial intelligence (AI).
This is according to Eduardo Allegre who is Director of Métrica Móvil, a Mexico-based vehicle fleet management solutions company working hand in hand with multinational telematics and IoT company Geotab to provide fleet management solutions in Mexico.
In this brief interview, Mr. Allegre sheds light on the importance of safety, security, sustainability and curbing cost in fleet management, among other things.
Is vehicle fleet management mature in Mexico?
Allegre: Fleet management in Mexico has definitely evolved in recent years. Although a few years ago, the main objective of companies was to locate vehicles by using very basic tools, companies are looking for more comprehensive administration solutions today. They want to know about the most important KPIs in their operations and be able to control, measure and optimize them.
Today, large companies are racing to digitize their fleets, equipping their vehicles with telematics devices and creating departments which can take the appropriate decisions. This digital evolution is being brought on by multinationals following what they have already implemented in countries such as the United States, Canada, and those in Europe.
Due to the size of its economy and its fleets, we can say that Mexico has taken some of the first steps towards this transformation in Latin America.
Is fleet safety being addressed appropriately in Latin America?
Allegre: I believe that companies are quite dedicated to making the necessary investments in safety today, and a very clear example of this is driver cameras. Currently, there are cameras with artificial intelligence that can detect if the driver is fatigued or being distracted. There are even cameras that analyze the surroundings of vehicles, detecting possible elements of danger.
However, as these cameras are primarily installed in large corporate fleets, we need to highlight the relevance of these safety tools to all fleets and to society in general. Governments and private organizations need to spread the advance of the safety culture.
Currently, the Red Cross is promoting a certification for utility companies aimed at pushing safety standards recommended by the UN and it is also working on developing this same certification for the cargo transportation industry.
Besides safety, are there other aspects of fleet management we need to focus on?
Allegre: Without a doubt, safety is one of the most important issues fleet managers need to address. However, I do not think it is the main one. First, we need to focus on security, safeguarding both drivers and cargo, as a criminal occurrence could significantly impact company operations.
The second thing to focus on is reducing costs, specifically when it comes to fuel. Fleet managers also need to control the cost of maintenance and other fleet management aspects that directly affect operations.
Thirdly, focus on safety, and by this, I mean road safety. We need to make Mexico’s roads safer by using tools and implementing processes that help reduce the number of accidents along roads.
Lastly, I’d like to point out the importance of sustainability. Fleet managers, especially those representing large companies, need to cut down on their company’s carbon footprint by reducing harmful emissions that impact the planet.
As you mentioned, telematics is evolving. What can we look forward to in 2023?
Allegre: Yes, telematics in Mexico is advancing by leaps and bounds. When the commercialization of telematics began, we had a device that was connected to the OBD port of trucks which extracted information to be used. Today, that same device has additional ports that can be connected to sensors, cameras, and other truck devices, all of which have access to telematics.
In addition to reporting in real time, information can be stored into an open platform such as myGeotab. Today, there are multiple options for sensors which can capture data that can be stored in a cloud-based database. Large servers with various business analysis tools such as BI, RT, and others, are being used today.
Remember that these tools not only store information but they can be used to help create predictive models to optimize vehicle health, route management, and overall operation.
As for 2023, one very important evolution in telematics to observe very closely this year is the incursion of artificial intelligence (AI) into fleet management.
In our solution, AI analyzes fleet data in real time in connection with Geotab. The tool then detects events and creates parameters which define what is good, bad, normal, or not normal in your operations. Doing this would normally require many people.
A very specific example of this is identifying and then reducing or eliminating U-turns in heavy-duty trucks, a maneuver which companies do not want their drivers to do.
Remember that one key aspect of fleet management AI can optimize is preventative maintenance schedules (photo copyright: Shutterstock)
Finally, could you tell me a little about the mission statement as well as the coverage area of Métrica Móvil?
Allegre: We at Métrica Móvil are set on helping companies mature toward the digital evolution of fleet management. Although we started as a pioneer with GPS technology many years ago, it is much more than that today.
To disseminate knowledge of the latest technologies, we participate in expos, hold periodic webinars, and keep in constant communication with industry leaders so that they can implement all the necessary tools in their fleets.
With commercial offices in Mexico, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Torreón, and Mérida, as well as resellers in the main cities of Mexico, we cover the entire country with tailor made solutions.
We take the culture and needs of each company and then integrate it into a custom solution. For example, some companies request certain types of sensors or devices which help drivers physically check the entire exterior of the truck before starting it so that they can make sure there are no children, pets or anything that could cause an accident.
As for expansion plans, Métrica Móvil is focusing on dominating the Mexican market right now, completing our goal to mature and digitize fleet management in the country.
For more on the digitization of fleet operations in Latin America and abroad, register for the 2023 Global Fleet Conference occurring along the coastal region of Cascais in Portugal from 15-17 May.