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Autonomous and IoT connected vehicles: how fleets can be impacted by automotive research

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 21, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Autonomous and IoT connected vehicles: how fleets can be impacted by automotive research

Being connected is now an option for almost everything and technology plays a major part of our everyday lives, not only when it comes to work but also when carrying out simple tasks such as ordering a meal, paying for a service or booking your holidays. The automotive industry is no exception to this modern trend, and fleet managers should understand that remarkable changes caused by rapid shifts in automation technology are happening sooner rather than later.

 

Autonomous and IoT (Internet of Things) connected vehicles have been the subject of intense research in recent times, with experts scrutinising sensors, circuits, communication possibilities as well as vehicle control systems, software, artificial intelligence and data collection. While autonomous vehicles, also known as driverless vehicles or self-driving vehicles, are literally capable of sensing their environment and moving without human input, connected vehicles are equipped with integrated systems able to connect to a network like a cloud system, to other vehicles or devices and infrastructure by means of an Internet connection.

 

When thinking about self-driving cars, people imagine a future in which they get a new vehicle with a button that once pressed takes them wherever they want to go, but the impact of autonomous vehicles is going to be much broader than that. There will be roads exclusively for self-driving vehicles which will be host to a new vehicle category different from the existing ones and might change the way we are used to seeing things, with remote operators rather than drivers as such who manage the vehicles safely and efficiently. From this perspective, it’s reasonable to suggest that fleet tracking is certainly not going to diminish in importance. Arguably, it will be more vital when there is no human driver at the steering wheel.

 

What is probably happening faster—and is already a reality—is the growth of connected cars. It has been estimated that around 381 million connected cars will be on the road by the year 2020; and in the US alone, fleet vehicles employing connected car technology will reach 12.7 million units by the same year, 2020.

 

Some of the benefits of connected car technology for fleets are already evident, even if IoT systems and artificial intelligence is not yet widespread. Connected vehicles technology might in the future allow fleet managers to monitor nearly every aspect of the vehicle operation in real time, from speed to location and route travel, to fuel usage if this applies, from driver distraction to global efficiency and safety. IoT permits such parameters (and probably many more) to be measured and their data transmitted.

 

The global ecosystem is changing rapidly into a more complex environment, and the shift to what are known as ‘ACES’ fleets (autonomous, connected, electric, shareable) will require the appropriate expert management and research. IoT, artificial intelligence, big data, and connected car technology have already demonstrated they have the power to revolutionize the fleet management industry. We know the potential of this and are working towards the future thanks to the help of our dedicated research team. If you are looking for a reliable partner for your IoT connected vehicles project or automotive OEM, why not contact us today...

 

 

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Topics: automotivetechnology, News, Stats & Facts

SMR costs (Service, Maintenance and Repair): how to cut your annual spend

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 19, 2018 9:00:00 AM

SMR costs (Service, Maintenance and Repair): how to cut your annual spend

Every fleet operator, whether a fleet manager or a company owner that is acting as director of the fleet, knows just how important it is to get SMR (Service, Maintenance and Repair) right for a number of reasons: from global safety to compliance, from fuel savings to global savings.

 

If you are able to save money on your annual SMR spend, it will of course give you additional resources to be used for other fleet needs and expand your business, but be careful, this does not mean you should fall into the temptation of slipping into unsafe practices as a method to make “savings”. You never have to compromise on safety and compliance or quality of your service, and saving on SMR costs does not mean lowering maintenance interventions, in terms of frequency, by default. There are actually a few strategies that you can implement to lower your annual SMR costs, and you will probably see the difference very soon after their deployment. Let’s have a look at what they are!

 

#1 - Carefully examine vehicle choice—nothing is right per se or by default, but the right vehicle for your fleet or company is the one that meets your job’s requirements according to the operating conditions. This means you should probably not choose what your drivers would like to have as a matter of course, though they would still need to be educated on how to deal with a valuable company asset like a vehicle. Checking out warranty period before selecting a vehicle can also make the difference in terms of costs, as well as looking at maintenance packages that might be included for that same vehicle, if compatible with your desired maintenance system (not necessarily your current one).

 

#2 - Evaluate different options before choosing a maintenance vendor—again, there is no one-size-fits-all approach with fleets; the challenge is rather more in finding what works best for your company and process. Some fleets rely extensively on franchises or have external maintenance contractors, while for others it is better to stick to a group of different suppliers in order to get better value for money. According to recent numbers, 82% of SME fleets declare that they do not get any discount from their maintenance suppliers. This should probably encourage fleets to look into different maintenance options, decreasing their maintenance needs with regular vehicle inspections and better SMR strategies, in order to monitor the overall health of their fleets and identify patterns to safeguard against future issues.

 

#3 - Driver management—getting to know dangerous driving patterns that might impact on SMR costs through fleet data and making your drivers know that they have a duty of care to look after their vehicle and are responsible for risk management is also part of the secret. Vehicle manufacturer recommendations about maintenance intervals should be followed and well known by drivers as well as vehicle features and warning dashboard lights, in a way that drivers respond swiftly when necessary and lights are not ignored until something inevitably worse happens.

 

#4 - Using fleet maintenance software—65% of SMEs admitted they manually approve all SMR work and do not have a digitalised system in place to take care of fleet maintenance. Having such a tool can help fleet managers keep track of SMR costs, make forecasts for future costs and act on a savings strategy point of view. Using fleet maintenance software is no longer a prerogative of big fleets, our options are definitely accessible and you will never go back to manual work after you try our solutions. Contact us for a demo or a free trial of our maintenance and compliance software to learn more.

 

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Topics: fleet maintenance

3 features of the SynX suite that help companies achieve the paperless office

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 14, 2018 9:00:00 AM

3 features of the SynX suite that help companies achieve the paperless office

The SynX by Transpoco suite, with all of the different packages and features available, can definitely benefit small or large organisations and make fleet managers’ lives much simpler—or anyone’s, actually, who happens to manage vehicles commercially.

Fleet Management software as a service (SaaS) helps companies in many ways—needless to say that some features might be more important and relevant to one business more than another; but when it comes to achieving the paperless office, this is actually a big step towards a more sustainable, secure and less error-prone business.

But what can the concept of a paperless office do for you? If you use a digitalised system, you will not only benefit from less time spent on typical admin tasks, constantly printing and copying, but actually you can, most importantly, access the information you need very efficiently in just a few clicks.

Have a look at 3 features of the SynX suite that might help you achieve not only the paperless office, but also deliver all the relevant fleet data quicker than ever!

#1 - Walkaround checks app and dashboard

Our maintenance inspection software allows you to run walkaround checks according to the standard checklists or to build up different vehicle inspection processes that can be customised for the specific needs of your fleet of vehicles. An easy-to-use app records the checks done by your drivers, and the Walkaround Dashboard collects checks done and defects recorded by your staff in a safe way…. Forget about paper checklists and copies, everything you need in the event of an inspection can be instantly found in SynX. This feature is available for all SynX Maintain and Perform packages or as a stand-alone—do not hesitate to contact us to learn more or kick off with a free trial!

 
 
 
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#2 - Service Management—where you can manage your fleet maintenance

Defect recording via daily or regular vehicle checks done by your staff is essential to run a smooth maintenance system and get the most out of your fleet, but it is certainly not the only thing needed. All defects should be made actionable and promptly addressed by your servicing provider or preferred garage. This is actually made possible via the Service Management section, which offers the possibility of creating a service directly from a defect within the Walkaround section. Your maintenance partners can instantly see defects in image format uploaded by your drivers, quickly recognising the issue and providing a time estimate for its resolution. If you are dependent upon external maintenance providers, the Service Management tool will greatly assist in communicating with them.

3 features of the SynX suite that help companies achieve the paperless office_2You can upload defect pictures from the Walkaround Checks App feature in a very easy way!


3 features of the SynX suite that help companies achieve the paperless office_3All the defects and the servicing milestones are actionable from the Service Management section.

 

#3 - Driver documentation in driver settings

3 features of the SynX suite that help companies achieve the paperless office_4

The settings section, available for all SynX Move and Perform Packages, gives you complete control over the different fleet settings with a dedicated section for drivers. From there, you can not only establish access to the different app features, but also upload all the relevant driver documents, all available in just a matter of clicks.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking, fleet maintenance

What3words (W3W): an innovative new way for your fleet drivers to find an address?

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 12, 2018 9:00:00 AM

What3words (W3W)—an innovative new way for your fleet drivers to find an address

What3Words is a start-up based in London that has come up with a new system to pinpoint locations in an original and innovative way by dividing the world into, as they claim, 57 trillion 3mx3m square grids, and every square has been assigned a unique and fixed set of 3 words that identify an address in an easy-to-remember way.

It is hardly breaking news that a lot of people, including professional drivers, salespeople, couriers or delivery drivers, sometimes struggle finding their destination for a number of reasons: it could be the inaccuracy of proper addressing systems (as an example, addresses sometimes lead to the main door of a building but not to a specific entrance, so drivers are forced to make phone calls to get additional directions); some places do not have an address at all (or at least not a postal, a street one or a recognized address); or even that when it seems you have finally reached a location thanks to your GPS navigation system, it disengages without you having found the precise place you need. The consequences are often negative for logistics and postal companies, as poor addressing is especially an issue now after the e-commerce boom: it seems every year in the UK, 25 million pieces of undeliverable mail are destroyed due to addressing errors, while in the USA, mail classified as undeliverable as addressed costs the US logistics industry around $20 billion.

The London start-up claims that with the help of the square grid system, each of which has a 3 word signifier, it is much easier to remember an address and precisely find it in a non-ambiguous way as it works the same the world over and is not dependent on postcode or zipcode conventions. According to the w3w team, it would also be easier to share the address in this way, as it doesn’t seems to be common practice to share, for example, GPS coordinates. The service is available in multiple languages.

How did the w3w team come up with this system? The story is quite a fascinating one and could quite easily be the theme for a book or a movie. Chris Sheldrick, the company founder, is also a musician; he identified the problem of vague addresses when he very often saw bands and musical equipment getting lost and wished for a more efficient addressing system. He then met two mathematician friends, Jack Waley-Cohen and Mohan Ganesalingam and, together with them, eventually came up with their first wordlist and later the app creation, and finally the system as it functions today.

We tried to ‘play the game’ ourselves and discovered that our Irish headquarters, based in DCU Alpha, would have the 3 words props.broom.riches. It is then possible to share that location in a number of apps—currently, you can enter that destination straight into Google Maps to get directions or also get it converted into GPS coordinates:

 What3words (W3W) an innovative new way for your fleet drivers to find an address

Only time will tell whether this new concept will be successful and incorporated into other systems...

 

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Topics: GPS & Tracking, News, Stats & Facts

Pothole damage: a frequent source of road risk and fleet downtime

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 7, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Pothole damage a frequent source of road risk and fleet downtime

If winter driving should definitely be taken seriously by fleets and drivers, even when the coldest spells of winter are often less busy and give us some respite, other safety issues may still crop up, particularly when pothole season starts. Pothole damage can easily turn into a major issue, and the insurance claims made for the first four months of 2018 already equal those placed for the whole of last year, according to data published by the AA.

The data provided by the AA estimates that there have been more than 4,200 claims for pothole damage by the end of April and that the average repair bill in the UK is £1,000 (€1137). A recent article published on Independent.ie underlines the fact that potholes are quite a common and serious issue on Irish roads as well, particularly in rural areas where traffic volumes might be relatively low, but people still need and deserve a decent, safe surface on which to get around.

Possible vehicle damage due to potholes is not the only issue—though it might physically affect the tyres, rims, wheels and suspensions of your vehicle, safety can also be seriously compromised when even the most seasoned drivers can suddenly swerve to avoid a pothole. The AA advises professional drivers and fleets to keep their distance from cars in front, in case they swerve or brake suddenly due to a pothole, so as to maintain a clear view of the road surface ahead. If a driver sees a pothole, the best thing is to slow down and manoeuvre around it if possible. Driving behaviours such as sudden swerving or harsh braking are not recommended at all as they could potentially lead to accidents.

Fleets can take steps to limit the impact of pothole damage on operating costs. Drivers can be coached on how to approach a pothole or other poor road conditions, and if they hit a pothole, they should know how to visually inspect tyres, wheels, and the vehicle for obvious damage (when and where it is safe to do so). If in doubt, or if there's a new noise/sound/vibration or the vehicle steering 'pulls,' they should have the vehicle inspected as soon as it is convenient.

The risks as well as the situation—defined as a “pothole epidemic”—has urged the AA to start a campaign named #FlagitFunditFillit. The AA encourages road users to flag potholes by safely photographing them and sending them off to the relevant highway authority and the Department of Transport. The AA is calling on the government to create a pothole fund by ring-fencing 2p per litre of current fuel duty for local councils, so that they can “fill it” and make roads safe for everyone.

Ireland had launched a website allowing people to report problems such as potholes, which was initially available only for South Dublin County Council area but then rolled out to all local authorities—it is currently available for the whole of Ireland via a combined phone app. Fixyourstreet.ie is a publicly accessible web site with associated mobile technologies on which issues such as road defects, street lighting, water leaks/drainage and others can be reported.

 

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Topics: Road Safety, fleet safety

Different Ways You Can Optimise Your Fleet Life Cycle

by Kevin Hill on Jun 5, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Different_ways_you_can_optimise_yiur_fleet_life_cycle

As fleet owners, it must be your priority to maximize uptime and reduce costs while managing the fleet. However, if you have a diverse range of vehicles and equipment, optimizing the fleet life cycle may get challenging.

An optimized lifecycle strategy must be based on specific operational needs and understanding maintenance requirements, historical data analysis and potential resale value. It eliminates guesswork and helps you save money in the long run.

Here are some tips you must follow.

  • Measure Everything

You need metrics to monitor progress, but they will just be a series of numbers if you don’t measure anything useful. In order to ensure effective fleet operations, you have to measure everything that matters. Once you know the measurements, you will have a good understanding of what needs to be improved. Some metrics that provide good insight into vehicle and fleet performance include cost per kilometer/mile, total cost trend and operating cost summary. Measuring and monitoring relevant data can directly impact your fleet.

  • Digital Documenting

Storing piles and piles of folders is a thing of the bygone era. Now you can store everything in a digital format, that too at minimal cost. Every single document such as invoices, receipts, work orders, photos, product manuals, employee records, etc., can be stored in one central digital location. This allows you to instantly access any data from any internet-connected device, from any location.

 

  • Don’t Overload

Don’t stuff everything onto the trucks and trailers just because it fits. If you forcefully fit in everything heavy, you will be overloading the vehicle. Overweight vehicles are moving safety threats, putting the drivers and others on the road at risk. Moreover, they will cause excess wear and tear in the vehicle. You may even need to replace brakes and tyres more often than the manufacturer’s recommended intervals if the vehicle is overloaded. Understand the vehicle payload requirement and use industrial weighing scales to ensure you don’t exceed the weight limit and avoid overweight fines.

  • Schedule Regular Maintenance Programs

When the fleet is maintained properly, you will face fewer unscheduled repairs and downtime. This will keep your drivers more productive on the roads, driving safe vehicles. Some preventive maintenance tasks include oil changes, vehicle safety checks and tyre inspection/rotation. Make maintenance as effortless and accessible as possible for all the employees. Doing this will ensure that your fleet is maintained and kept on schedule.

  • Improve Optimal Vehicle Utilization

Maintaining high-mileage operations would be ideal but it isn’t always practical. It is important to utilize the vehicles properly for maintaining long-term maintenance cost and vehicle health. Understand the relative utilization of specific vehicles as it may help you ensure that all the vehicles are being used equally instead of going through some vehicles faster than others. Optimal vehicle utilization may also help you make future purchasing decisions.

  • Act Ahead

Don’t wait for disaster to strike in order to take safety actions. Get ahead of potential problems and try to mitigate any risks that can endanger the lives of your employees or affect the company in any way. Be proactive and understand what is missing or what needs to be added to safety measures. Don’t disregard the use of devices like driver behavior monitoring apps, dash cameras or industrial weighing scales as they can help in studying patterns or identifying issues concerning weight and driver behavior. This will help you pre-empt problems before they become serious safety risks.

 

Taking small steps along the way will ensure that your fleet runs effectively for a long time.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

3 Fleet management obstacles faced by businesses relying on vehicles

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 31, 2018 9:00:00 AM

3 Fleet management obstacles faced by businesses relying on vehicles

Businesses which depend on vehicles in the course of their commercial activity face certain obstacles whether they are small or large operations—the challenge of smaller fleets usually entails having to deal with limited resources and having a multitasking management, while bigger ones struggle to control all of their assets at any given time due to the shear volume or the fact that they are dispersed over numerous locations.

 

But what are a few of the common traits that present similar obstacles for managers of small or large fleets?

 

#1 - Detecting problems in a timely manner. Small issues or problems in fleet might go unnoticed for quite some time before they are actually addressed. In the case of big fleets, this could happen due to the actual quantity of assets that need to be controlled. Issues might appear unexpectedly for the fleet director or, even worse, lead to a major incident, which is only the tip of the iceberg. In smaller fleets, manual processes and a scarcity of technological tools available might slow down the implementation of programmes and processes, causing delays in reporting issues or flaws in compliance that could only postpone problems. How then could smaller and larger fleets detect issues promptly, avoiding those unexpected incidents cropping up and negatively impacting the business, and thus proceed with a fast solution?

 

#2 - The never-ending cost reduction struggle. Reducing fleet costs is a constant concern for fleet managers and probably their highest priority as the pressure to save money is relentless due to the economy, the general business climate and the uncertainty about the global economic future. Some fleet directors are even given a reduction goal in global fleet costs and expected to come up with actions that lead to its accomplishment. Though little can be done about some factors that do impact costs, on the other hand some of them can be addressed quite effectively. Some expenses might seem unexpected, but with proper organisation and a global view on vehicle activity it should be possible to make reductions. Coming back to the first point, visibility as well as the ability to identify issues promptly might assist cost reduction goals.

 

#3 – Rapid access to the right fleet information. Both big and small fleets might struggle in finding the specific information they need swiftly. For bigger fleets, running a high number of assets might be the cause, while for smaller ones the use of spreadsheets might be a factor. You might also be looking for something specific that is not recorded in your written documentation, fuel invoices or logbooks when they ought to be, and eventually commit a lot of time in a frustrating search for something elusive. What if you could track your assets and have their activity documented and accessible in just a few seconds...

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

Fuel consumption figures and emissions data: countdown to WLTP?

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 29, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Fuel consumption figures and emissions data countdown to WLTP

While we can definitely say that fuel consumption figures never stop being key data for fleet managers, the whole transport and vehicle manufacturing sectors are paying particularly close attention to the current news concerning the abolition of the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) emissions and fuel economy testing regime in favour of the new WLTP (Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure) regime.

 

By the deadline of September 1st, 2018, vehicle manufacturers will have to make sure all new cars and lighter vans have been tested under the new protocol, which should—at least this is the idea—provide the relevant consumers and fleet operators with more representative fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures.

 

The WLTP has been developed within the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) supported by the European Commission to provide more realistic test conditions, in an attempt to better reflect what drivers experience in the real world. The test will eventually be combined with the RDE, the new on-road ‘Real Driving Emissions’ test, whose ‘Step 1’ has been active since September 2017. In RDE tests, a vehicle with specific equipment installed is driven on public roads and over a wide range of different conditions collecting data to verify that legislative caps for pollutants such as NOx are not exceeded.

 

While there seems to be confusion about the different types of fuel consumption and emissions testing, the fleet sector is already hypothesising about the implications of the September 1st deadline: will there be changes in the benefit-in-kind taxes? Will there be confusion due to the possible coexistence of two identical vehicles having different fuel economy figures because they have been approved over different drive cycles? And will vehicle manufacturers be forced to offer heavy discounts on cars that don’t meet standards, at least within the grace period that some countries already offered after the 1st of September?

 

In this current state of confusion, a few days ago the Swedish manufacturer Volvo (one of the most typical company car brands) became the first to have every model across their car range comply with the new WLTP rules. This includes all petrol and diesel-powered models, plus the collection of hybrid vehicles offered by the Swedish brand. Quite a significant step: as from September 2018 all new cars will have to be certified according to the WLTP test and not NEDC, and cars that aren’t WLTP-compliant by the September deadline will be barred from sale.

 

While both fleets and motorists are still experiencing some confusion and automakers start getting their heads around WLTP, others are objecting that even with a test that more closely mimics real driving conditions with supposedly more realistic data there may still be a gap between the test and reality. If you really wish to be in possession of real fuel consumption figures, only technology measuring real consumption data can provide a realistic answer.

 

 

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Topics: Fuel Economy, fuel consumption, Fuel

Managing a grey fleet: a quick guide to a great approach

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 24, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Managing a grey fleet: a quick guide to a great approach

We know managing fleets is vital for companies that have vehicles and deliver their products or services by means of them, and this certainly does not exclude vehicles that are not provided by a business or company—the so-called “grey fleet”.

 

Vehicles belonging to grey fleets might have been purchased via an employee ownership scheme or are privately rented or owned outright by an employee. As they are driven in order to serve the company’s business interests, they become the responsibility of the employer (at least during working hours), and this makes managing a grey fleet quite a complex task. Often companies get into the basics of operating a grey fleet without realising they are fully responsible for the vehicles’ commercial usage and often without guidance on how to protect their business by meeting their legal obligations.

 

In this short guide you will find information on the points you need to consider when approaching grey fleet management and the implementation of a grey fleet policy—what are the main points to grasp if your employees are using vehicles not provided by your company?

 

#1 Analyse your grey fleet. When and why do employees use their own vehicles in order to work? Which type of journeys do grey fleet employees do? Is the use of the grey fleet justified and convenient for the company or are there any better alternatives? This is probably the first step to take before establishing a grey fleet policy. Analyse the current conditions the grey fleet vehicles will operate in and which type of activities they will be expected to carry out—doing this exercise might actually help change something in the current setup, maybe even in favour of different solutions.

 

#2 Once you have the analysis, check the possible alternatives. As we said, only if you have full control of what is currently done by your grey fleet team can you decide upon approving it or opting for a different solution. Rentals might be seen as more preferable than employee-owned vehicles as these are increasingly used for grey fleet purposes and vehicle information is more readily available. Rentals aimed toward business use usually come from fleet management companies that are real experts in this area.

 

#3 Make sure you have vehicles checked. One of the most difficult aspects of managing a grey fleet is to keep tabs on vehicles. As these might be employee-owned, they generally are older than the usual company vehicles and it is more difficult to ensure walkaround checks are carried out diligently or that they have suitable safety equipment. A grey fleet policy can help in establishing duties and the need for employee drivers to perform safety and legal checks.

 

#4 Basically, employees have to be seen as company drivers. And exactly like company drivers, they need to provide evidence of their licence, have their eyesight tested on a regular basis and so on. In addition, they will need to provide details of insurance and breakdown assistance cover as they in some cases own the vehicles. And like company staff they should be properly inducted into the fleet safety policies and practices of the organisation, and their risk level assessed and managed.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, grey fleet, fleet compliance

Does a big fleet always equal fleet and business success?

by Eleonora Malacarne on May 22, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Does a big fleet always equal fleet and business success

The equation “big fleet equals fleet and business success” seems relatively well-accepted, though it does not necessarily correspond to reality. It is not always acknowledged these days that small fleets can actually compete with larger fleets. The important thing is that owners think big and that positive actions follow as a consequence of positive thoughts—if this happens, small fleet owners can enjoy success and take advantage of their reduced operations. In the same way, bigger fleets have different challenges from smaller ones and, while it might seem they can count on unlimited resources, it is often true that, if not managed wisely, they can very easily lose visibility of their assets or third party providers (which they more often do rely on).

 

What is it exactly that happens within a smaller fleet operation that might not happen in a larger concern that makes people think they might be missing out on a successful formula?

 

#1 Multitasking fleet managers. In small fleets there is quite often no designated “fleet manager”, and this happens because the person responsible for managing a fleet has another job title and a full set of responsibilities besides those dedicated to the fleet operation. While larger fleets might have someone at the top who oversees everything and enjoys a good base of support, in a smaller fleet the same person might be doing everything from procurement to equipment installations, from operations to maintenance. But while this might indeed seem overwhelming, it is more correct to say that there should be a good organisation at the base and most probably the availability of technological tools to sort out a lot of the work—which leads us to point #2...

 

#2 Use of technology. The use of fleet diagnostics tools, which might indeed be the very definition of fleet tracking and fleet management software, seemed in the past merely the prerogative of large fleets. The idea that smaller fleets may not have financial access to these tools seemed to be a firmly-rooted principle and is still quite a persistent myth. Fleet telematics can help smaller fleets compete with larger ones, but until a few years ago, the "sweet spot" for software vendors consisted of fleets between 100 and 1,000 vehicles. Larger carriers were already up and running with systems, often proprietary or heavily customized, while carriers with fewer than 100 vehicles were often considered too small for the cost of a system to pencil out. In recent years, the size of the carrier no longer makes as much difference. The Internet and the ability to deliver software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications via Web portals are now available to fleets with minimal computing infrastructure. All they need is an Internet connection and they are good to go. So, just like larger fleets, technology helps some smaller fleets manage costs and stay organized; and today with the price of these applications being within reach and the setup easy, the use of technology is not really driving success purely for bigger fleets.

 

#3 Limited resources. This could be regarded as both true and false: a smaller fleet will no doubt have limited resources in comparison to a bigger one, but this does not mean that larger fleets have no restrictions in how they budget fleets. These days all fleets are asked to control their costs, and the big ones are no exception. Moreover, if for resources we mean assets, a vehicle in downtime really makes a difference for a small fleet; but do you think it would not be the same for unused vehicles in a bigger fleet? It is not having more or less vehicles that make the difference, but how intelligently they are being used...

 

#4 Limited manpower. This could either refer to drivers, mechanics or fleet managers (in small fleets we more frequently have to assist the phenomena that is the multitasking fleet manager!). But again, it is all a matter of organisation and having the situation under control. In case somebody is not available you might have to be ready to react quickly and subcontract providers. The secret is staying on top of everything, and technology can help with this whether your fleet is big or small.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management

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