Fleet management is a constant, delicate balancing act between vehicle acquisitions, maintenance, repairs, and disposals, all while ensuring compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and mandates both internal and external to an organization. In short, it is a complex process with a number of ever-moving parts.
Modern fleet managers, however, have a significant advantage that their predecessors in the field could have scarcely imagined even a decade ago. Big data has ushered in a new age for fleet management. How so? Consider the following ways big data has changed fleet management forever:
The Right Routes at the Right Times
Shawn Meredith, manager of telematics strategy for Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), notes: "We're already seeing our customers leverage operational data - how their trucks are routed, what drivers are assigned to them; it's happening today and will only increase."
Meredith further emphasizes that mining big data and then putting it into the proper context yields real, actionable insights for fleet managers.
Leveraging fleet management systems that collect and analyze comprehensive data helps fleet managers determine, not just the shortest routes, but the most efficient ones. This results in considerable savings for the entire organization, and makes fleet management a real stakeholder in improving overall operational efficiencies.
Improved Maintenance and Repair Scheduling
Big data also enables more precise maintenance and repair scheduling for fleet vehicles. Every fleet manager knows that not all miles are created equal in terms of wear and tear on vehicles. By capturing data specific to each vehicle in the fleet, a manager can quickly identify problem spots and schedule appropriate maintenance at the optimal time for both vehicle performance and overall fleet efficiency.
Improved Fuel Management
Fleet managers can also harness big data to help them manage their fuel costs more efficiently. For instance, EFS' Online Fuel Audit and Reconciliation tool can help carriers better navigate and manage their overall fuel expense using an Internet-based application that saves valuable time auditing and reconciling fuel purchases. By providing better transparency and visibility, this tool is invaluable for fleet managers looking to control fuel costs.
EFS' Fleet Management solutions include:
- Daily Fuel Reconciliation
- Fuel Price Verification
- Individual Transaction Verification
- Executive Management Reporting
- Mobile Fuel Price Discovery and Optimization Tools
Electronic Log Books
Another significant change in fleet management caused by big data is the increasing number of fleets using electronic log books rather than traditional paper book logs - which will become a federal regulation requirement in December of this year. A federal rule to require truck operators (of vehicles made before the year 2000) to use electronic logging devices to keep records of duty status is slated take effect in December 2017, giving carriers and drivers a two-year window to comply with the rule’s requirements. SmartDataCollective.com points out: "New programs allow for electronic logs that accurately track driver-specific statistics and prevent driver fatigue. It gives the company a better view of what's actually happening out on the highway."
The Bottom Line
As more fleet management professionals embrace big data for the insights it provides, it is expected that fleet management tools will continue to evolve to meet demand.
Commenting on the need for a more standardized way of analyzing data, Meredith observes of carriers: "They are pushing for more 'standardization' of data; to create single sources of data so they can more easily analyze it. Carriers are hiring people to make sense of the data and are starting to create such 'data pooling' on their own."
EFS has been leveraging big data for years to bring a more integrated approach of utilizing big data in order to help Carriers improve efficiency, performance and in most cases, generate additional revenue. No longer is it just enough to process a transaction or payment, big data is being leveraged to make decisions faster and smarter, automate processes, and ultimately gain what all businesses strive for – the proverbial edge over the competition. On example is EFS' Carrier TrendSourceSM solution which helps Carriers evaluate how capacity is doing in the marketplace and benchmark volume against peer groups. EFS’ Carrier TrendSource leverages big data to show Carriers how freight volumes are trending, and in turn, how that correlates to their volume. This powerful tool provides portfolio analysis to benchmark against peer groups, create actionable insights, and it emphasizes data visualization and dashboards to easily spot trends and exceptions across a wide variety of performance metrics.