Internet of things, artificial intelligence to enhance business value for fleet management companies

The pandemic has underlined the importance of commercial vehicle fleets, amid restrictions on movement and limited supplies of essentials. It also highlighted the need for technical solutions to efficiently manage the movement of goods. Fortune Business Insights says the global fleet management software market will grow 3.7 times between 2022 and 2029, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.3%. Fleet-tech is no longer about efficiency alone, it’s about harnessing the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI).

At the heart of merchant fleets are the drivers and their “breeders” (navigators), fleet managers and fleet owners. Drivers work day and night to cover treacherous roads facing serious threats such as hijacking attempts. But for a vehicle equipped with the appropriate fleet-tech, the story is quite different.

Developed markets are already reaping the benefits of fleet technology built on intuitive next-generation technologies, while emerging markets are still slow to unlock this opportunity as they see the combination of a “device dashboard” as an additional cost. How can we help them see it as a long-term investment?

Better Profits in a Competitive Environment:

Emerging nations still depended on primitive fleet management methods. Furthermore, access to modern technology is limited due to the exorbitant pricing of new age products built in developed markets that require premium hardware for high-end software, along with data/network issues. Add to that fluctuations in fuel costs and fewer drivers. However, fleet technology provides ways to not protect and improve the bottom line.

For example, AI-powered fleet management solutions enable managers to automate administrative tasks and eliminate human errors, enabling accurate business insights. Commercial vehicles are a great investment for every fleet owner.

On a very basic level, fleet technology consistently helps protect this vital asset from theft by providing a constant view of the vehicle’s location and aiding in recovery in the event of theft. With the appropriate IoT device, fleet managers can remotely install the vehicle when it is parked. Inadequate use of a commercial vehicle is like leaving money on the table, and the latest fleet management technology helps optimize routes and schedules, allowing owners and managers to quickly reallocate resources to take full advantage of their capabilities.

Having a complete, real-time view of operations allows fleet operators to mitigate the impact of external disturbances and maximize cost-saving potential. An example of this is the logistics arm of a food and beverage company that managed to save R400,000 per year per vehicle for a fleet of 170 vehicles, just using fleet technology smartly – that’s almost R7 crores per year.

Driver Community Protection:

Fleet safety is critical to the health of the business and the health of the entire ecosystem in which it operates. Due to the nature of the industry, the assets of vehicles and drivers themselves are at inherent risk. Modern hardware and software delivers the safety of assets and the lives of drivers by helping them manage complex situations such as sudden natural disasters, weather, unexpected road conditions, frontal collisions, and attempted hijackings of vehicles or cargo.

Putting safety at heart saves lives and helps companies achieve greater efficiency. Visibility combined with advanced information technologies creates a complete driver activity profile. Managers can leverage these metrics to quickly issue alerts and warnings, resolve problems, and allocate or reallocate resources in real time. Data is stored and accessed on a single platform that enables managers to report errors and train drivers on safer practices on the road. Pioneering technology to make fleets safer also solving high insurance premiums and driver attrition issues. Solutions such as a document management system, SOS alerts, electronic locks, fuel rails, and the comprehensive Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) protect drivers from penalties, driving through dangerous areas, theft, and general road safety.

Today’s environment offers strong capabilities for fleets to put their operations on high alert and make a positive, sustainable impact on the lives of drivers. With such far-reaching benefits for business profit and for primary stakeholders, the fleet ecosystem has to fast track technology adoption.

Vidit Jain is the co-founder of LocoNav, a technology-driven fleet management company.

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