Mike Hemming, UK director of Catalytix at Masternaut, talked to Annie Turner about the roles fleet management can play now and their as yet untapped potential in the near future.
AT: Could you provide three instances of how IoT is helping logistics companies to compete in these tough times?
MH: Firstly, telematics enables logistics companies to track core metrics such as speed, location, arrival and departure times, carbon dioxide emissions, miles per gallon/litre, harsh driving events and idling. Once installed and activated, telematics also allows more focus to be placed on drivers’ safety and reducing risk by allowing organisations to monitor drivers’ behaviour remotely.
Secondly, IoT can help with cost savings in areas such as fuel consumption, vehicle maintenance, overtime requirements and training drivers are all areas that offer opportunities to improve performance. These, in turn, will improve cost efficiency. Regular management of telematics data will often result in lower insurance premiums, less fleet-related wear and tear, and fewer accidents.
Thirdly, although happy that their investment had delivered improvements in fuel efficiency, reduced emissions and driver behaviour, the most highly-regarded, trusted and well-known logistics companies need to keep current and apply best practice to fleet management, even when they are already using telematics extensively to manage their fleets.
Migrating to the right platform is, therefore, key to taking full advantage of functionality, ease of use, better user experience and reporting capability. It is crucial that the team behind the technology remains engaged throughout the deployment process to ensure a timely and risk-free migration, as these can often be technically complex and require detailed planning and project management to execute efficiently.
AT: Is the combination of the different technologies more powerful than each one individually? If so, how?
MH: The idea is to create a seamlessly connected business. As an example, real-time vehicle tracking delivers instant fleet visibility. This enables organisations and fleet managers alike to plan more efficiently, simplify scheduling, reduce overtime, monitor CO2 and lower fuel spend. Furthermore, the addition of in-cab coaching devices and analysis of driving behaviour empowers employees to improve their road safety and fuel economy.
When used correctly, fleet data can then be called on to nullify disputes, provide evidence for key performance indicators and highlight best practice: it can even help reduce insurance costs as it is recognised by many leading insurers as both an investment in safety and a sound strategy for managing claims. A simple extract from the data can provide a strong case, efficiently, to any insurer.
AT: Do APIs have a role?
MH: Open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are a must-have for any enterprise-grade telematics player. They improve operational efficiency by sharing selected fleet data across the organisation. A variety of operations can be streamlined with the use of APIs, including Customer Service, Finance and HR business processes. Examples of what can be achieved with the right platform include:
- real-time optimisation of jobs via the enterprise resource planning system;
- manage mileage expenses and overtime directly in the payroll system; and
- synching vehicle and employee databases.
Last but not least, companies are using fleet data and operational insights to improve business processes and customer engagement. Would you like to charge your customers in real-time based on the effort it took to complete a job? What if your customers could schedule jobs themselves, via an app, without contacting you? All of this – and much more – is possible with telematics in place.
AT: What will be the next big thing in fleet management and logistics?
MH: Today, organisations are concentrating on fleet efficiency, driver safety, operating costs, greener solutions and associated costs. Though these issues will still apply to logistics firms in the future, tomorrow’s fleet managers will also have to consider mobility as a service, electric vehicles [which of course need to be charged], autonomous vehicles, clean air zones, and much more.
For more information, see Masternaut
Mike Hemming, UK director of Catalytix at Masternaut was interviewed by Annie Turner, editor of IoT Now Transport