Fleet Manager's Guide to IoT, part II: Addressing the 5 Challenges

William Sandoval, VP Location Based Services
22-Nov-2018 04:30:00

In Part I of our series on Fleet Management and IoT, we examined trends and challenges the industry must address, including logistical issues related to online shopping, driver shortages, driver safety and productivity, fuel price volatility and of course Brexit. In Part II, we will look at how IoT is helping to address these daunting challenges.

The challenge: Online shopping

The IoT solution: Vehicle tracking and diagnostics

IoT-based vehicle tracking can solve a wide array of transportation and supply chain issues, including high demand generated by the boom in online shopping. Tracking devices are installed on vehicles, which then transmit location and diagnostic data to the system via a cellular data connection so that Fleet Managers know exactly where their vehicles are at all times. By monitoring the vehicle’s location in real time, Fleet Managers can more accurately predict the estimated time of arrival, quickly devise new routes while juggling the impact of real-time trends in traffic and weather, and plan for other downstream supply chain activities.

Some businesses are also using tracking solutions to better communicate with customers and improve shopping experiences. Amazon, for example, recently announced the launch of its Map Tracking feature, which shares the real-time location of its delivery drivers with customers. This informs shoppers of how many stops the driver will make before reaching them, enabling buyers to more appropriately plan when they need to be home to receive packages.

The challenge: Driver shortages/safety and productivity

The IoT solution: Driver monitoring

While IoT cannot shrink the gap of available drivers, it can help make sure the drivers you do have are safer, thus keeping them on the road and working. IoT applications help Fleet Managers track driving habits – such as speed, blinker usage, and braking time – and identify areas where their drivers can be safer and more productive. Fleet Managers can set rules and alerts for when drivers exceed speed maximums, brake too hard, drive too many hours, or do not follow the prescribed routes. It is another way that digital technology is solving an analog problem. IoT-enabled solutions not only keep drivers safer, but make their jobs easier, enhancing employee satisfaction. Erik Jonnaert, secretary general of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) says “This is essential if intelligent transport systems and the connected car are to fulfil their potential to contribute towards societal goals such as facilitating traffic management, improving road safety, reducing fuel consumption and bringing down CO2 emissions.”

The challenge: Fuel price volatility

The IoT solution: Fuel sensors

Fuel price is a constant challenge for today’s Fleet Managers. To help manage costs, despite market fluctuations, IoT devices can collect data on how long vehicles idle, average speed, and gas mileage; providing a holistic view of vehicle fuel efficiency. That information can be used to determine the timing and level of required maintenance or vehicle upgrades. In addition, technology-based route optimisation capabilities help maximize efficiencies and further reduce fuel consumption.

The challenge: Brexit

The IoT solution: Driver training

It is imperative that fleet organisations, if they have not already, start preparing to on-board and train the next generation of drivers. The Royal Haulage Association is currently working with a telematics provider to develop a national training program, “Road to Logistics”. This programme has been built to attract new talent into these HGV driving roles and also help reduce the cost of recruitment, which is often a challenge for fleet organisations. In addition, smaller operators (less than 20 vehicles) can apply for funding to drive apprentice schemes that support recruiting and training of the next generation without the cost of a full-time employee.

Using IoT, Fleet Managers are gaining deeper insight into a wide range of important factors related to their businesses, giving greater visibility into what is currently going on, versus what was planned or anticipated. To learn more, download the KORE eBook, “The Fleet Manager’s Guide to the Internet of Things.”