Running a fleet is time consuming and very expensive. Before GPS and fleet telematics solutions, fleet managers had to manage and optimise their fleet operations blind and retrospectively, which resulted in cumbersome management.
With the introduction of telematics, it is easier to oversee daily operations and use telematics systems to make data-driven decisions in real time to improve the safety, efficiency, security, compliance, and sustainability of their fleets.
Telematics vs Fleet Optimisation
Telematics and Fleet Optimisation have very different functions and purposes, so it’s not really a competition.
Vehicle Telematics first and foremost was designed to manage the health and well-being of a vehicle. Telematics monitors Hours of Service (HOS), hard braking, speeding, preventative maintenance schedules, and many other vehicle health and usage measurements. This information is critical for maintaining the best use and maintenance of vehicles.
Another key component of Telematics is imbedded GPS tracking, which allows tracking of the real-time location of the vehicle.
Optimisation on the other hand solves a very different set of problems. It is a completely different technological solution. Route optimisation for example uses mathematical algorithms that take into consideration your specific constraints and objectives to come up with the best business alternatives for your company.
Optimisation is all about automating your resources to maximise your business requirements.
What is Fleet Optimisation?
A Google search will tell you that optimisation means “the action of making the best or most effective use of a resource or a situation”. Fleet optimisation therefore refers to the process of maximising the efficiency, productivity, and cost-effectiveness of a fleet of vehicles, whether they are used for transportation, delivery, or other operational purposes.
Essentially, fleet optimisation is all about maximising productivity, while minimising operational costs and reducing environmental impact.
When your mission is to optimise, you have to look at all aspects of your fleet, including:
- Staff contentment
- Vehicle utilisation
Proper optimisation of your fleet takes all these factors into account and devises ways to balance them across the board, to make your fleet operations as effective as possible. Most often, this is accomplished with the help of data and reports from a fleet tracking system.
The key components of fleet optimisation
- Route Planning: Utilising advanced route planning software to create the most efficient routes for drivers, reducing kilometres travelled, fuel consumption, and delivery times.
- Asset Utilisation: Ensuring that each vehicle in the fleet is used to its maximum capacity, reducing the need for additional vehicles and associated costs.
- Fuel Efficiency: Implementing strategies to improve fuel efficiency, such as regular vehicle maintenance, driver training, and adopting fuel-efficient vehicles or technologies.
- Maintenance Management: Developing a proactive maintenance schedule to prevent breakdowns and costly repairs, thus increasing vehicle uptime.
- Driver Performance: Monitoring driver behaviour and providing training to improve safety, reduce accidents, and minimise wear and tear on vehicles.
- Technology Integration: Incorporating fleet management software and telematics systems to collect data and provide real-time insights into vehicle performance, driver behaviour, and route efficiency.
- Environmental Impact: Implementing eco-friendly practices and technologies to reduce the fleet’s carbon footprint, including adopting alternative fuels or electric vehicles.
- Cost Management: Identifying and reducing unnecessary costs associated with fleet operations, including administrative expenses, fuel costs, and maintenance expenditures.
- Compliance & Regulation: Ensuring that the fleet complies with relevant transportation regulations and safety standards.
- Safety & Risk Management: Developing and enforcing safety policies and practices to protect drivers and the public, as well as mitigate potential risks and liabilities.
How can Fleet Optimisation benefit your fleet?
When you take the time to really optimise your fleet, you’ll see benefits across the board. In each area mentioned above, optimisation means better performance and a smoother-running operation. Here are a few examples of ways optimisation can make your fleet run like a well-oiled machine, rather than just a bunch of vehicles, each doing their own thing.
- Remote Monitoring: With a good fleet management solution, it is easy to monitor all your fleets using a single dashboard. Get real-time location tracking, geofencing, and route of your fleets.
- Reduce Operational Cost & Increase Productivity: With a fleet management solution, receive regular reports, identify shorter & best routes, know the unauthorised use of vehicles, and under-utilisation & over-utilisation of vehicles which also helps in increasing productivity.
- Maximise Vehicle Utilisation: Know the ideal time, over-utilisation and under-utilisation of a vehicle, fuel consumption, etc. and make decisions with regular reports.
- Geofencing:With geofencing, keep track on the vehicle route and know the exact location of your vehicle. In case of theft or unauthorised use of the vehicle, the operator can immobilise the vehicle using his remote access.
- Preventive Maintenance:Get automatic maintenance alerts ahead of time for servicing and maintenance. Also, always know the kilometres travelled and battery health.
- Timely Alerts:Notifications for issues like high water temperature, low oil pressure, low hydraulic oil level, etc. can be provided which helps the operator to address the issue on time, reducing the downtime & improving efficiency.
- Periodic Reports:Get daily/weekly/monthly reports for day-to-day monitoring, operator productivity reports, machinery productivity report, over speeding, fuel usage, etc.
- Operator Monitoring: Fleet management systems these days also have the provision of integrating RFID attendance card system which helps them to monitor the exact working hours of the operator. It also helps them to check if only unauthorised employees and operators are using the equipment with camera integration.
- Fuel Monitoring:Fuel is one of the highest incurred costs in the fleet business and fuel thefts result in a heavy operational cost to owners. With the implementation of a fleet management system, fleet managers can get daily reports on the fuel filled, fuel consumed, short-fills, KMPL, fuel thefts and vehicles consuming excess fuel.
By 2025, it is predicted that one in three light commercial vehicles and half the trucks on the road will be using a telematics solution. Forward-looking fleet managers who are keen to extend vehicle life and drive further efficiencies, are already realising the potential benefits.
Equipped with telematics data, fleet managers can find opportunities to save costs, avoid unscheduled downtime and boost productivity.
Telematics technology can help mangers identify trends in their business and provide information to help them navigate uncertain economic times.