10 jan 23

How to achieve fleet savings through technology

At least three in four global fleet managers feel vehicle connectivity is important, half of them want to be connected by 2025, and practically all are seeking a single harmonized data solution which would help achieve fleet savings in their operations.

With that said, among the keys to cutting cost in fleet operations are data management and other tech-based solutions such as telematics, and artificial intelligence, all of which helps to control inefficient fuel usage, excessive accidents, and other faulty operations.  See more about what experts have to say below.

When it comes to fleet management savings, the first thing that really comes to mind is data, according to Patrick Mitchell (pictured left) who is North America fleet manager for Italian energy multinational Enel.

You first need to understand where you're starting from so that you know what needs to be done to achieve savings. Start by acquiring fleet information such as fuel usage and the number of accidents, and then evaluate this information and recognize the trends at hand. 

“For us, we work on developing a pathway towards savings (e.g. optimizing routes, reducing fuel consumption, preventing accidents) by recognizing opportunities, creating baselines, and knowing the areas that we really should be focusing on,” says Mr. Mitchell.

One way data is compiled is through telematics. It is key to measuring things like fuel purchase data, trip data, miles traveled by employees, and others. "What we do is bundle this data and then identify if the right vehicles are being used in the right places," says the fleet manager.

For international telematics firm Geotab, their scope also includes web-based analytics and IoT. According to Geotab VP Sean Killen (pictured right), although TCO-control is key to fleet operations, fleet managers with complex logistics operations should look beyond their TCO and really pay attention to overall data.

“Remember that fleets sit in the middle of the supply chain so pay attention to what data is being collected. You should know if it is relevant to the overall supply chain and logistics team and if the data can be shared outside the fleet team,” says Mr. Killen.

Telematics not only enables you to evaluate driver performance such as hard braking and abrupt acceleration, but it also helps you diagnose engine performance, according to Tom Coffey (pictured left) who is Senior VP of Fleet Sales and Consulting for North America fleet solutions company Merchants Fleet.

However, make sure you have up to date tools. Although you can see driver speed, you don’t really know if they were above the speed limit on some more outdated tools so keep track of driver routes.

“Fleet management companies can supply their clients with Device Enabled Vehicles or through LIS (Laboratory Information System) Connectivity. For us, nearly 50% of all the vehicles that we lease or manage are set up with LIS, so no device is needed,” says Mr. Coffey.

When it comes to LIS, information is coming directly from the automakers, or to say vehicles emitting telematics data to the vehicle using cellular data. It is the same as a Device Enabled vehicle except that you don’t need to plug in a third-party device. 

Last, but not least, another key to achieving cost savings in fleet management is utilizing Machine Learning through Artificial Intelligence (AI). It can save your company money by optimizing safe driving and reducing accidents, managing your fleet reserves, cutting down on spending, and much more.

Today, vehicle data is being collected and displayed on dashboards, but many companies do not have the capacity to monitor the data in real-time, and this results in inefficiencies, according to computer scientist Anatoly Volkhover (pictured right).

Some of the most common hidden inefficiencies in fleet are those associated with the use of fuel, the utilization rate of equipment, and improper use of vehicles, thus leading to more frequent service calls, increased tire wear emissions, and reduced longevity of equipment,” says Mr. Volkhover who is CTO for international business intelligence platform Prophecta.

So, with these things considered, make sure you know the ins and outs of using technologies such as telematics, AI, and data management and processing, so that you can turn them into fleet operational savings. 

For more on fleet and mobility management on a global scale, attend the 2023 Global Fleet Conference taking place 15-17 May. Entitled Sustainable Procurement, the event will take place in the coastal city of Cascais in Portugal. For more information and registration, click here.

Photos (source: handouts)

Authored by: Daniel Bland