This summer, all eyes were on the Olympic athletes in Tokyo. From fencing and gymnastics to swimming and tennis, these world-class athletes all brought their A game to represent their countries, honor the Olympic spirit and compete for who reigns supreme in their respective sports. But whether it’s sheer willpower or natural talent, there’s always a certain something that gives the gold medalists an edge over the competition.
In the commercial fleet world, fleet owners likewise are in competition—not for medals, but for new business and contracts. Yet what can give a fleet owner an edge is more definable in our digital age—and that’s data. Through the convergence of the Internet of Things, cloud and edge computing, today’s fleet management solutions can provide owners real-time telematics data about their individual trucks and entire fleet. With access to this actionable intelligence at the right time, it’s possible to make more strategic decisions, optimize operations and improve customer service to gain an upper hand over industry peers.
Here are four ways that telematics data can provide a competitive edge for fleet owners:
Real-time vehicle location tracking
Telematics devices can capture and share real-time vehicle location data with a fleet management solution, giving fleet owners and operators full visibility into the location of all of their vehicles via a desktop or mobile device. Through these insights, you can provide more accurate ETAs for customers, ensure drivers arrive on time, and make smarter route planning decisions to reduce travel time. Moreover, if a truck has an issue on the road, you can quickly identify the nearest vehicle in your fleet and redirect them to provide assistance and minimize delays. You gain better control over your fleet for superior efficiency and service.
Telematics data can inform utilization reports to help you understand what vehicles are being over- or under-utilized. Namely, overutilized vehicles may indicate that you need to purchase more of these types of vehicles to keep up with future jobs and minimize wear and tear on your current fleet. But if a vehicle is underutilized, it may mean it doesn’t fit the needs of your fleet or customers, and is therefore wasting money. Utilization reports are useful for informing these buying and selling decisions to right-size your fleet for your business and logistics operations.
Improved safety and accountability
Customers want to know that their cargo is in safe hands. Fleet owners can affix smart sensors in their cargo to track their location and collect other environmental sensor data, such as ambient temperature. The latter is beneficial to ensuring the quality and integrity of goods in cold chain transport.
Road safety requires proactively addressing unsafe driving behavior such as speeding, harsh braking, hard cornering, tailgating, and distracted driving. These types of behaviors not only pose a danger to other lives on the road but also increase your fuel and maintenance costs. But through driver reports—along with video telematics that can show you exactly what drivers were doing behind the wheel—you can review instances of dangerous behavior with your drivers and coach them on best safety practices. In the event of an accident, telematics data and video can assist with accident reconstruction to help insurance investigators determine liability and exonerate drivers who aren’t at fault.
The best athletes know that rest and self-care are critical to preventing injury and performing at your best-come game day. Similarly, regular maintenance enables your trucks to run at their best during transport. Fleet owners need to keep abreast of scheduled maintenance, as well as mechanical issues, to know when to pull vehicles off the road for service. Telematics data like odometer readings and real-time alerts to engine fault codes enable you to take timely action to address issues before they become more expensive repair jobs, leave a driver stranded or negatively impact customer service. You ultimately reduce downtime, maximize productivity and value derived from each vehicle, and optimize the lifecycle of your fleet.
This year, the International Olympic Committee updated the Olympic motto to “Faster, Higher, Stronger—Together.” It’s a fitting way, to sum up how real-time telematics data provides a competitive edge for fleet owners. You can make faster, more intelligent fleet management decisions to manage operations, vehicle health, and safety. You can deliver a higher quality of service to stand a cut above the rest of the competition. And, your entire fleet is able to run stronger and better together with connected intelligence linking your trucks, cargo and people.
Bill Westerman is VP of product management at CalAmp, a connected intelligence company helping businesses and people track, monitor, and recover vital assets with real-time visibility and insights. Bill is responsible for leading and executing the strategic direction of CalAmp’s portfolio of telematics and emerging Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions. Westerman joined CalAmp in April 2019 and brings over 25 years of experience in product management, sales, and marketing.