Choosing a fleet management partner? Follow these tips!

South Africa’s fleet management market is on the rise, with reports indicating that the growth is set to continue. We explore what to consider when choosing a fleet management partner.

A report compiled by ResearchAndMarkets.com titled Fleet Management in South Africa (the fourth consecutive report analysing developments in the country’s fleet management market), states that the local market is in a growth period, which is set to continue.

“The number of fleet management systems in active use is forecasted to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15 percent, from 1,6-million units at the end of 2018 to 3,2 million by 2023,” ResearchAndMarkets.com – a massive market research store with 1 700 research teams across 81 countries – notes in its report.

“The penetration rate in the total population of non privately owned fleet vehicles, used by businesses, is estimated to increase from 34,6 percent in 2018 to 63,1 percent in 2023,” the analysis points out.

The report states that the local fleet management market is clearly dominated by five domestic players. “The analyst ranks Cartrack and MiX Telematics as the largest providers of fleet management solutions in South Africa. Together they have more than half a million active units in the country. Tracker is the third-largest player followed by Netstar and Ctrack by Inseego,” the report notes.

Kevin Aries, who leads the global product success division at Verizon Connect (a United States-based GPS fleet management software provider) poses an interesting question in his piece titled Nine Ways to Make Truck Fleet Management Smarter: “There are plenty of fleet management solutions out there, but how many are actually suitable for fleets running heavy-duty trucks?”

Aries adds that truck fleet management is now easier thanks to advancements in technology. “We’re seeing improvements in a number of areas that benefit fleet owners managing heavy-duty trucks,” he points out.

He notes that there are various ways in which fleet management software can assist an operator to run a more profitable and productive fleet.

BYOD

The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) revolution is significantly lowering IT costs for fleets, as drivers can use their own Apple or Android devices. “Benefits include lowered hardware costs, minimised training requirements, zero software licensing costs and improved user adoption,” says Aries.

“GPS vehicle tracking solutions offer a growing range of mobile apps to cover compliance, navigation, driver behaviour, vehicle inspections and work order management,” he adds. “The applications can be installed easily and, in many cases, don’t require any hardware to be fitted to the vehicle.”

Built-in telematics

“Traditional telematics required fleet owners to schedule all trucks to be fitted with aftermarket GPS tracking hardware before they could be managed,” Aries points out. “It meant unwanted downtime, extra administration and additional costs.”

He adds that built-in telematics is changing all that by delivering new trucks direct to the buyer with all the necessary hardware already installed. “The account simply has to be activated online and the owner has instant truck fleet management.”

The built-in option is available from a growing number of truck manufacturers including Hino and Volvo Trucks.

“The pre-wire option for Freightliner trucks means it’s compatible with our GPS vehicle tracking solution and the hardware installation is straightforward,” notes Aries.

Predictive maintenance to maximise uptime

“Advanced telematics is providing fleet maintenance managers with a wealth of new diagnostic data on the mechanical health and performance of their trucks,” says Aries.

“This advance notice gives service centres time to order necessary parts, schedule the work and correct any minor issues before they become a problem. The extra vehicle health data is also helping companies analyse their fleets to identify trends that can be valuable when purchasing new vehicles, or developing best practice guidelines.”

Trailer tracking

“Robust, battery-powered GPS tracking hardware can be attached to trailers to monitor real-time location, movement and even when the doors are opened,” Aries highlights.

He adds that around-the-clock trailer monitoring improves security. “The GPS co-ordinates allow managers to direct drivers to a specific trailer if it needs moving. A GPS vehicle tracking application also allows operators to see where all their trailers are located on the map, search for them by tag and see them in relation to other assets,” says Aries.

“Rules and geofences can be set up so that in the event of trailer activity, such as when a trailer leaves a yard, a manager can be automatically notified.”

Estimated time of arrival (ETA) notifications to work efficiently

“Accurate ETAs allow operators to make reliable appointments with shippers and receivers to avoid bottlenecks and improve throughput,” Aries points out. “Back-office and dispatch teams get a clear view of which trucks are arriving where, and when.”

He notes that trucking fleets can share this ETA information with their clients to help them coordinate deliveries and pick-ups. “Quicker turnaround times keep drivers productive, which is important because if the wheels aren’t turning, the company is not earning.”

Ctrack on the rise

Ctrack by Inseego, a leading vehicle telematics, tracking and fleet management services provider, introduced the new On The Road (OTR) driver fleet management solution, and has added even more features to the Ctrack Iris video monitoring and telematics offering. These provide fleet operators with even more control and productivity from their vehicles and assets.

The OTR solution, utilising the robust Garmin Fleet 790 device as hardware and the proprietary Ctrack fleet management software, features an integrated dash cam. The seven-inch fleet telematics tablet also has a 4G embedded modem and open-SIM cellular connectivity, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The unit is provided with a powered magnetic mount, which makes it easy to install, and has a mini USB and USB Type A connections. Onboard maps are provided with free lifetime updates.

The new OTR solution comes with a hands-free voice kit and an auto-answer function can be configured, which is ideal for when drivers are out on the road.

Outgoing calls can be limited to predefined numbers to restrict unauthorised or private calling and the duration of each outgoing call can also be set. A built-in safety feature stops all device interaction when vehicle speeds exceed 15 km/h.

It also records driving events while the vehicle is moving. Data is stored locally on a SD card within the device. Up to 72 hours of driving data can be saved, depending on the SD card’s storage capacity.

Three minutes of driving footage is automatically saved when an incident, such as harsh braking, occurs. A minute is captured before, during and after these incidents.

Apart from a dual-view (front and cab-facing) camera solution with infra-red night vision, the new three-channel dash cam for Ctrack Iris includes an Advanced Driver Assist System (ADAS).

The ADAS alerts drivers to other cars or imminent dangers and has a lane-departure warning system. Video footage can be recorded in eight quality settings and real-time video streaming can be viewed on mobile devices, giving fleet managers or operators absolute control over their assets.

Fatigue monitoring can be added to the Ctrack Iris dash cam as an optional extra. This will require a third camera to be fitted to the dash cam, which specifically targets the facial features of the driver.

Ctrack Iris is supported by cloud-based, web software and a password protected mobile application. These platforms provide video and dashboard event management, and alarm triggers in real time. This ensures reduced asset risk, more productive drivers, productive route management and, ultimately, reduced operating costs.

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Focus on Transport

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.
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