26th February 2019

How software innovation and data insight is transforming fleet management

Matt Goodstadt, Director, Transport at Civica discusses how fleet management is being transformed  

  • How can software help a fleet manager improve the efficiency of their vehicles and drivers?

Implementing a digital fleet management system provides transport operators with a holistic view of their entire fleet. Not only does digital fleet software provide access to real-time, insightful data to make business critical decisions, it also allows organisations to spot inefficiencies, reduce the administration burden of paper records and crucially, ensure fleet compliance. For example, operators can typically make savings of 3% by spotting where fuel efficiencies can be made, also reducing carbon emissions and boosting environmental credentials. Further cost savings can be made through early planning for when vehicles need to be off the road for maintenance and by reducing over-maintenance of vehicles.

Use of a digital fleet management system gives operators greater control. The self-service function allows drivers to report a vehicle defect online, book a pool or hire vehicle and report accidents, reducing administration and vehicle downtime. The system also sends business-critical information automatically, alerting any compliance issues so that businesses can act to avoid problems.

Proactive management of drivers, recording all their training, accidents, endorsements, average miles per gallon, and even driving style from telematics, allows the software to create risk profiles to enable tailored intervention with drivers. This reduces the possibilities of accidents, which will, in turn, reduce driver insurance premiums.

What’s more, digital software can also help businesses reduce the size of their fleets, where possible. Through smart deployment and identifying under-used vehicles, the software provides insight that informs businesses of the optimum number of vehicles required at any given time, reducing capital and running costs.

  • What challenges does the fleet sector face which could be overcome by software solutions?

Ensuring compliance is an essential challenge that all transport operators face. It is also a key benefit to a digital fleet management system. The system records, monitors and stores all legal documentation required to meet DVLA directives, to ensure that organisations meet the conditions of their Operator's licence. By providing a single view of inspections and services due, along with the legal documents associated with fleet, businesses can ensure that all vehicles are roadworthy and have any-time access to a full audit trail of maintenance documentation.

The benefits of the data provided by digital systems are huge. From ensuring compliance and reducing fuel consumption to gaining information on road conditions and vehicle health checks, companies that exploit this access to real-time information provided by mobile, touch-screen technology will not only be more productive in managing current operations, but also be able to use this data to predict future trends as well.

  • How can a business go about implementing a fleet management system?

Most fleet management systems are now easy to use and require minimal training. However, it does require a commitment from employees to embrace the technology. Businesses need to make sure they are fully communicating the changes and benefits internally and explain why they’re implementing new systems and updating ways of working. Business leaders need to appreciate the impact that new software will have on employees and make sure they are all adequately prepared to use the new systems when they go live. Organisations should also work with providers to ensure that the solution is set up to deliver the right information to the right people – empowering everyone to do their jobs more effectively.

  • What can we expect future systems to offer?

The pace of change is accelerating, and the introduction of new technologies has already had a huge impact on the transport industry. We are now seeing the widespread use of telematics information from insurance companies to manage premiums, electric vehicles are hitting the mainstream, whilst major retailers such as Amazon are considering robot carts and drones for local deliveries.

With fleet systems now connected into telematics, it’s possible for issues with a vehicle to be transmitted direct from the vehicle to your fleet software, so you no longer have to rely on a driver to report a problem. Fleet software providers are constantly innovating and responding to the modern connected world, with open integrated systems key to providing critical information on the move.

The demand for instant access to information has filtered through to deliveries, with customers expecting next-day and same-day deliveries. The demand will increase administration and other costs, so businesses need to embrace modern technologies if they are to remain competitive.