Market growth in fleet-management systems is projected to remain flat in the short term, but should stage a return to healthy growth starting about 2012, according to recent analysis by consulting firm ABI Research.
As the market dynamics shift from finding fuel savings to enhancing overall fleet efficiency and productivity, demand will strengthen for broader fleet management capabilities – with overall market revenues expected to reach $9.5 billion in 2015, according to ABI.
“As the recession began, costs – particularly fuel costs – became increasingly important, with failure to reduce them fatal for some smaller businesses,” said Dominique Bonte, ABI telematics practice director. “Survivors squeezed every penny out of a fleet management service, focusing on small things such as driver behavior, route navigation efficiency, routing, vehicle diagnostics, and preventive maintenance.”
Yet most of those functions were the result of pure “machine-to-machine” applications that have very little to do with human beings. “As recovery kicks in, emphasis will shift from cost-reduction to workforce productivity,” Bonte pointed out. “Now, the industry is moving towards empowering humans to drive profits rather than machines to reduce costs.”
Among the barriers to fleet management system growth are the absence of standardization, market fragmentation, and the lack of differentiation between operators. “Most fleet management operations are doing pretty much the same thing,” noted Bonte. “Given that, the industry is ripe for consolidation. What the market needs in the long term is a standard platform portfolio of features from which firms can pick and choose those that best suit their size and operations.”