Stay ahead of the curve

Stay ahead of the curve

Fleet management solutions can reduce costs, while improving uptime and safety. We highlight some current trends and give tips how to choose the right telematics partner.

Over the 26 years that Autotrak South Africa has been operating in the fleet management industry, telematics has evolved from the humble tachograph to on-board computers, says managing director David Winsper. With the advent of GSM network, it has provided the industry with a viable solution for real-time data.

“In the last five years real-time ‘onboard’ cameras have become the latest technical innovation in fleet management,” he explains, adding that one of the major industry challenges is to keep up with technology changes. “We design all of our products ‘in house’, therefore we are able to keep up and introduce new products and features every 24 months.”

Winsper notes that the current industry trends are changes to on-board camera technology and the need to present vehicle data in a meaningful way.

Archer – a New York custom software development consulting company that helps start-ups and enterprises to digitalise healthcare, automotive and fintech domains – predicts that the global fleet management systems market is expected to reach US$ 43,5 billion (more than R746 billion) by 2024, at a compound annual growth rate of around 20,3% between 2018 and 2024.

“The North American and European regions will dominate the market due to their innovations in fleet management technology development,” notes Archer. “The Asia-Pacific region will be the fastest-growing region. The rapid adoption of web and mobile-based business services in China and India is considered to be the key driver in this region.”

Aradhna Sanjith, accounts assistant at Geotab Africa – an open platform fleet management solutions provider – says that manually managing fleets in-house can be inefficient and ineffective. “Professional fleet management offers 10 key benefits for your company’s sustainability and growth:

Paying for actual hours worked

Your fleet management system can easily record accurate hours worked. Erasing manual time sheets and ensuring, with certainty, the accuracy of your payroll.

Avoiding unnecessary fuel expenses and wear and tear

Prevent additional fuel usage and wear and tear to your fleet due to personal trips. Your fleet management system records trips outside of designated working hours.

Preventing fuel theft by monitoring fuel card transactions

Fuel cards are easily integrated into your fleet management system. Each fill-up can be measured against the tank’s capacity. Furthermore, your device can confirm the vehicle’s location at the time of refuelling.

Monitoring driver behaviour

Poor driving habits, such as harsh acceleration and braking, can result in unnecessary and premature fleet maintenance requirements.

Idling can place a great strain on your fleet fuel costs. Effectively reduce wastage by enforcing rules such as switching off the engine, if idling occurs for more than a set time period, using your fleet management system software. An immediate change in driver behaviour assists in avoiding incidents. Insurance costs can therefore be reduced significantly.

Driver behaviour is effectively addressed in real time. The Geotab GO Device beeps when a driver speeds, immediately informing the driver that he is speeding. In addition, an email is sent to the fleet manager, should the driver not reduce his speed. This ensures that infringements to the rules are resolved instantly, assisting to correcting poor driver behaviour.

Ensuring your fleet is well maintained

Vehicles are among the most expensive assets of a company and therefore need to be well maintained. Automated service and maintenance reminders can save your business from undetected wear and tear, ensuring fleet safety and reliability. Your fleet management system can significantly improve the lifespan of your fleet.

The Geotab device detects any small or major accident. Fleet managers need to be made aware of small incidents, in order to take the necessary steps swiftly. This becomes imperative in the event of a major accident whereby the business can be held liable.

Automating manual operations processes

Manually capturing information around staff shifts and relative business processes is extremely time-consuming and allows for the possibility of human error. Your fleet management software provides notifications on actual hours worked, as well as high fuel consumption.

Routing efficiency

Your fleet management system assists in providing the most efficient route for your drivers. An optimal route reduces fuel wastage and greatly improves customer satisfaction due to timely delivery and fulfilment of service level agreements. Less time on the road further results in reducing your fleet’s carbon footprint.

Billing customers accurately

Your fleet management system assists with billing by recording start and end times of jobs completed. Any possible disputed figures can be supported by data.

Reporting in real time

The dashboards and automated reporting of your fleet management system software provides allows for informed decision-making, in real time.

Increasing Driver satisfaction

Your fleet management system significantly reduces the manual labour of drivers during deliveries. Digital documentation, sent to a driver’s device, frees the driver from having an additional responsibility to complete paperwork. They are then able to fully concentrate on their driving and easily fulfil their additional tasks.”

Sipho Twala, a control room operator at Geotab Africa, notes that there are three steps to choosing the right telematics partner:

Create your strategy and set your goals

Creating a telematics strategy requires careful consideration, and is a prerequisite to sourcing a telematics solution. Your exact business problems should be identified and solved prior to addressing hardware and accessories. This will make it easier to build your ultimate fleet management package. An example of a goal could be to decrease arrival time at a client.

Choose the plan that supports your fleet management goals

Geotab Africa offers three standard rate plans for fleets: Base, Pro and ProPlus. Each one offers a bundle of features and functionalities to support fleet management.

A third-party device plan is also available for fleets that want to integrate third-party devices into the Geotab Africa open platform for telematics.

Consider all parties involved

Involving the parties concerned will help the telematics partner identify the data needed and determine how the solution will be structured.

Winsper adds that continued service excellence is key to the fleet management industry. “We are seeing fleet management demands increasing year on year, especially assisting in the following: fleet managers to reduce costs, insurance companies to reduce loss ratios and reducing fraudulent and criminal activities.”

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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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