Fleet Tracking Technology Made Simple: What Company Leaders Need to Know
When we talk about vehicle fleets, we are talking primarily about associated industries such as manufacturing, logistics, delivery, and services. All of these have a long history in this country, and, as with many established industries, are reluctant to change. However, change is happening whether we like it or not. There is more need for transport (it’s been projected that in 2021, ASEAN online shopping activity will be nearly double the $37.7 billion recorded in 2017) as well as more competition (as of March this year, there were 116 courier service operators licensed in Malaysia.)
Modern businesses need modern solutions, so let’s talk about the alternatives that turn laggards into leaders, enabling you to achieve your business goals now and in the future.
Open ‘secrets’ about fleet management technology
This article dives into the three key points business leaders need to know about business technology:
- It is absolutely necessary
- It is easy to implement and use
- It is affordable
1. It is absolutely necessary
Modern solutions plug the cash-haemorrhaging holes in your operations by providing unparalleled visibility and control over your fleet. In fact, the most comprehensive solutions have been compared to having a trusted human assistant in the passenger seat of every vehicle on every trip. This assistant would not only monitor, but actually improve driver and vehicle performance. They would alert the driver of any changes to the schedule or offer more efficient route alternatives. They would ensure that vehicle wear and tear be kept to a minimum. They would detect and prevent dangerous behaviour and other costly errors. They help you reduce fuel expenses and insurance premiums. They let you know where your vehicles are at all times and ensure that all deliveries, driving hours, and mileage is correctly logged.
Take a step back and reread that last paragraph, this time considering how much it costs your company to not do any of the things above. For instance, what are the risks of not being able to inform a customer when a delivery is going to be late? How much does your company pay for summons, fines or vehicle repairs? How many hours a day are spent cumulatively on repetitive administrative tasks? Are you spending way more than you need to on fuel? Finally, ask yourself what effect it means to have that money in hand rather than unnecessarily throwing it away. In other words, how much more could you do with a healthier bottom line?
This is what makes full fleet management solutions so valuable and, yes, so necessary.
If you know how to use a mobile app, you can handle any fleet management system.
2. It is easy to implement and use
Obviously, not all solutions are created equal and in Building a Connected Fleet: How to Choose a Solution for Your Needs, we will… well, do what it says in the title.
What you need to know now is that best-in-breed solutions are there to serve your goals from the very start. Therefore, these same solutions require very little downtime to implement, and in fact, some plug and play solutions require no downtime or expert installation at all.
You may already be familiar with the word ‘telematics’, a combination of the words ‘telecommunications’ and ‘informatics’. The trusted assistant we referred to above actually does ‘sit’ in your vehicle, whether plugged or wired in. It compiles and sends information to your mobile device or laptop, using IoT (Internet of Things) technology.
The best solutions – which also tend to be the ones that offer a full suite of fleet management support rather than single piecemeal capabilities – are easy to learn too. Anyone who has mastered smartphone apps will master it in no time at all. Unlike older solutions, newer solutions are cloud-based and run off existing devices, whether they be company or personal laptops, smartphones, tablets – whatever users are already comfortable with.
Any training is quick and targeted to key users, though a good system will take over a great number of tasks – such as route planning, logging hours, etc. – altogether. Once automated, the tasks will no longer require human input at all.
In other words, your solution can be ready to run almost immediately; collecting, compiling, and sending vital data to the necessary pre-determined managers, staff, drivers or even customers. The fleet management software should also be capable of arranging data in a way that helps you grasp situations at a glance. Simple interfaces tell you whether all vehicles are where they are supposed to be, whether there are delays, or what actions – such as preventative maintenance – are pending.
3. It is affordable
Traditionally, logistics and service companies have been reluctant to spend money on support technology. This was understandable when such technology involved hardware or other large capital expenditures. As mentioned above, that has changed with the introduction of cloud-based software, which has made top-of-the-line solutions affordable to companies of any size.
Not only do these by-subscription solutions work out to only a few ringgit per day, per vehicle, they also enable you to pay only for what you need, one month at a time, without requiring a huge initial investment.
Such solutions pay for themselves in savings, operational efficiencies, and lowered risks, as we will see in the next article: Slashing Operational Costs and Improving Efficiency.