How IoT-Enabled Fleet Monitoring Solutions Can Tackle Four Top Business Challenges
May 17, 2021
Fleet managers have a lot on their plates. Fluctuating fuel prices. Constantly changing (and increasingly confusing) regulatory mandates. Out-of-whack supply chains that complicate the already complicated task of scheduling.
In this environment, insight into the granular details of operations is essential. Specifically, managers need to understand where vehicles are at any given moment, where they will be at the end of the day and what route they should take to get there. They need to know that drivers are operating their vehicles safely – and they definitely need to know if that’s not the case. And, they need to track the cargoes that their vehicles are carrying. That can mean monitoring the temperature of a shipment of frozen vegetables, or tagging expensive electronics equipment in case it gets “lost.”
The Internet of Things (IoT) can help. By integrating data-collecting sensors with Cloud-based analytical platforms, emerging IoT solutions for fleet management deliver comprehensive, real-time data around vehicles, assets and drivers. The result: enhanced vehicle performance through predictive maintenance, on-demand asset monitoring and oversight of driver activity.
Here’s how IoT-enabled fleet management solutions can address four critical business challenges.
Driver Recruitment and Retention
A survey by FleetOwner magazine found that 86 percent of fleet managers say that finding and keeping drivers is “important” or “very important.” So does this mean there’s a shortage of drivers seeking employment? Or that fleets struggle to keep drivers from seeking greener pastures? Either way, incentivizing good drivers – while weeding out the bad ones – is essential. An effective fleet management solution, meanwhile, provides the capabilities to monitor driver behavior, instill safe and efficient practices and enhance retention.
By tracking criteria such as vehicle speed, harsh braking and acceleration, crash events, idle ratio and duration, fuel efficiency and route history, fleet management software can provide granular insight into driver behavior. Coupled with video monitoring, solutions can detect fatigue or distraction to further improve safety. While some may object to the “Big Brother” aspect of oversight, IoT solutions create an opportunity to incentivize and reward drivers for safe practices.
Intense competition is a fact of life for any business. But mid-sized fleets with limited resources face a particularly daunting landscape. In addition to larger competitors with deeper pockets, smaller players must contend with disruptive behemoths such as Uber, Tesla and Amazon that are fundamentally redefining the transportation and logistics industry.
In this context, IoT-enabled fleet management solutions can level the playing field. By delivering real-time data and in-depth insight into every aspect of operations, fleet managers can optimize efficiency, scheduling and vehicle performance. Any-time visibility and reporting into the status and timing of deliveries, meanwhile, is critical in an environment of soaring customer expectations.
While the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate deadline at the end of 2019 has attracted the most attention and headlines in recent years, fleet managers face a wide range of regulatory compliance requirements from the Department of Transportation and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration FMCSA. The Fleetowner survey reports that 62 percent of fleet managers view regulatory compliance as “very important.” Essential data points that smart fleet solutions can help track and monitor include:
- Hours of Service (HOS) data/Records of Duty Status (RODs)
- CDL expiration (Class A, B and C Licenses)
- Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs)
- Vehicle Maintenance Reports & Schedules
- IFTA Mileage Reporting
- Industry-Specific or Goods-Specific Data (such as Hazardous Materials or Medical Supplies)
Sustainability & Efficiency Concerns
An increasing emphasis on sustainable transportation is pushing the transportation and logistics industry towards efficiency, transparency and safety. IoT-enabled solutions can help fleets achieve sustainability through enhanced reporting around fuel usage, vehicle utilization, idle ratio and duration and maintenance intervals and route mapping.