Why the future of fleet tracking isn’t just about vehicles
In the last few years, probably since ‘The Cloud’ unleashed itself, we’ve seen huge advances in fleet tracking and fleet management technology. Businesses that want to compete on a larger scale are looking for more than just dots on a map. They need business wide context for their fleet data and better analytics to connect what’s happening with their fleet to what’s happening with their operations, their business and the wider market.
This is where the future of fleet tracking lies, beyond just the location of vehicles. It’s tapping in to the trackers ability to provide rich data that can be used for real business intelligence.
Connecting vehicles to operations
In the past fleet tracking systems have sat separately to logistics management, asset management and sales systems. Cloud based software increasingly gives us the ability to integrate multiple systems. This means operations managers will operate on a single software platform, managing all their business critical data in one location, accessing the bigger picture more easily.
The advanced analytics on these systems will allow managers to see the bigger patterns of what is happening in the business and the connections between their supply chain, their sales and their logistics. For instance, managers will be able to connect sales metrics with driving metrics to monitor performance by routes, products and even vehicle types.
At Austracker we’re already seeing our clients collect non-vehicle data through their fleet trackers and use it to make real-time logistical decisions. One of my favourite examples is that vehicle trackers now have the ability to track temperature and volume of refrigerated trucks. If a temperature rises or falls or a truck is travelling at below volume capacity, the fleet tracking system will flag the truck on screen, allowing the operations manager to make quick decisions about wether or not to re-route the vehicle.
Predicting the future
Often the data collected through fleet tracking is used for historic analysis, but more and more fleet managers are realising the potential to turn this data into a predictive model. Predictive modelling means understanding not just where your vehicles have been but predicting what’s likely to happen next and identifying logistical pressure points.
“I have 6 trucks out, the weather is changing, an accident has just happened on the Calder and it’s 4.32pm – what’s going to happen next and what is the best move for getting my vehicles to where they need to be?”
Connecting drivers to operations
Drivers are often the unsung heroes in fleet management. For all the analytics that vehicles can collect, drivers are still the ‘brains’ on the ground, and I don’t see this changing in the future, even as the technology progresses.
Fleet tracking systems can integrate with apps to connect drivers to base with critical job information and precise location details. This could be anything from needing an extra part on the job, alerting the office there’s an accident on the road, a customer who isn’t home or the need for more drivers.
One of our clients, a city council, uses this technology for their waste management systems. Garbage collectors simply press a button on their app to alert the department if they see a pothole on the road that needs filling or if an extra bin has been left out at an address.
As you can imagine, the impact on transparency for rate payers and speed of service is huge.
And in the future this connection will become even safer. Voice activation and wearable technology will keep drivers connected without touch.
Of course the future of fleet tracking does actually involve fleets, especially in one massive advancement – the fully autonomous vehicle.
Self-driving fleets are still a few years away, but already we’re seeing functionality such as self-parking and smart braking that is adding an extra level of safety on the road. For fleets, autonomous cars will mean better fuel efficiency, safer drivers and better car maintenance. GPS tracking will remain an integral part of managing and tracking the fleets, working with sensors and cameras – and these vehicles will be more connected to businesses than ever before.
Want to find out more about automation and fleet tracking? Download the Automate your Army Slide Deck. This easy to read guide includes tips and processes to create an efficient workforce without becoming a micro-manager.