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IoT: It’s Not Your Grandma’s Fleet Management Anymore

IoT and Fleet Management

The Internet-of-Things (IoT) is a subject that can’t be ignored by fleet managers.  Many benefits of tracking the assets within fleets through IoT are obvious.  And, there are new benefits that are emerging with the arrival of powerful technologies that attach the fleet to the cloud.  It’s easier, and more critical, than ever before for fleet managers to capitalize on IoT.  

Fleets are necessary for many businesses to operate. Yet, they can be time consuming and expensive to operate.  Companies that fully embrace IoT are poised to optimize costs and reduce expenses, gain greater visibility and control, achieve cleaner and more efficient operations, improve the health of the fleet through preventative maintenance and, most importantly, gain access to a vast amount of data that can be used to analyze performance and grow the business and the bottom line.

 

Show me the money.

Ask any fleet manager why they’re adopting IoT, and the first thing they’re likely to list is savings. All fleet managers must optimize their costs and ensure that the budget associated with the fleet is used wisely.  IoT connects all devices, drivers and vehicles to the cloud where data can be stored and new efficiencies identified.  Fleet managers can better understand how dollars are spent and can identify areas in which money can be saved through data captured by cloud-connected devices.  For example, IoT can give a real-time view of how many miles are actually being driven, thereby helping companies maximize their mileage tax deduction.  In a study by Ultimarc, the average number of miles driven by light-duty 4x2 or 4x4 trucks ranges between 11,000 and 13,000 per year in the U.S.  This represents a tax deduction of up to $7020 per vehicle at the 2016 U.S. Standard Mileage Deduction rate.  

 

Greater visibility and control.

Closely tied to number of miles driven is the efficiency of those miles. Each mile driven can be optimized through efficient route planning that considers required stops, traffic and weather. Better routes mean that fleet managers can get the most productivity out of every mile.  IoT lets fleet managers see if drivers are making unnecessary stops or driving recklessly.  They can determine whether fuel is being wasted by leaving the engine running or by taking inefficient routes. It makes it possible for fleet managers to know where vehicles and drivers are at all times, identify potential problems, and mitigate risks that can impact driver safety, customer service, or increased cost. 

 

Keeping it clean.

Green operations are also a concern to most fleet managers.  This is not only because CO2 emissions are bad for the environment, but because of the cost of wasted fuel and unnecessary vehicle use hits the bottom line. Regulations and compliance concerns also drive the need for more efficiency through fleet operations. Driving over the speed limit, taking a longer route than necessary, or excessive idling contributes to waste and to CO2 emissions.  According to the Environmental Defense Fund,  each year light and medium duty trucks consume over 8 billion gallons of fuel and emit an average of over 13 metric tons of carbon dioxide per vehicle. The EDF goes on to suggest that these vehicles should be equipped with vehicle routing and tracking software to ensure that they use the most efficient routes and maintain schedules––especially for fleets whose vehicles travel a dense, multi-stop route.

 

Get on a fleet wellness program.  

Every fleet manager knows that preventative maintenance is much more cost effective than the alternative.  In addition to gaining better insight into driver behavior and vehicle use, IoT makes it possible to monitor the health of any vehicle in real-time and from any location. Alerts for services like low battery, check engine lights, inspection reminders, pre-scheduled maintenance, coolant and oil change reminders and even current fuel efficiency gives fleet managers the information they need to optimize fleet health and prevent expensive breakdowns.  

 

Do the math.

One of the most important benefits of IoT-based fleet management is the vast amount of data that is gathered in real-time.  By analyzing historical, current and peer data, fleet managers can benchmark current performance, identify new opportunities, and reduce costs. Data can be analyzed and fed back to the driver to help them optimize their performance while they’re in route. Aggregate data about fleet performance can help companies identify trends, pinpoint trouble spots and reduce costs.  Predictive maintenance costs and average annual fuel consumption can be calculated in advance and budgeted for, with fewer surprises. And, with data, decisions can be made about overall fleet health and vehicle retirement and replacement strategies. Most IoT solutions, like MapAnything Live!, also leverage third-party data stores like information contained in service management software. As data is gathered within these systems, analytics and predictive signals become more accurate, therefore revealing new opportunities for overall fleet performance improvements.

 

IoT is a breakthrough for fleet managers, and puts the power of the internet into every vehicle and asset that comprise the fleet. The resulting cost savings, environmental benefits, driver safety and customer satisfaction make IoT an essential investment for these organizations.  To learn more, please visit our MapAnything Live page.

 

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Tom DiVittorio
By: Tom DiVittorio

CPO at MapAnything

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