Transport and fleet managers have a tough job. The need to monitor and manage employees and assets, juggle customer demands and deliverables, ensure safety, keep a lid on costs and environmental impact, all adds to the complexity and challenges facing professionals in the sector.
On top of – dare we call it – a ‘normal’ level of challenge for UK fleet managers, the past eighteen months have also thrown into the mix some unprecedented issues. The pandemic has not only caused severe disruption to face-to-face interactions and teams, but acted as a catalyst for the e-commerce market, driving the demand for at-home deliveries. Compounding these challenges has been the shortage of HGV drivers which further is threatening to impact supply chains all over the country.
As a result, transportation companies and fleet managers have had to get smarter, faster, and more efficient, all while meeting increasingly tough industry standards, and adhering to COVID-19 requirements.
All eyes on the road
In the face of these challenges, GPS tracking has become increasingly integral to the transportation and fleet management sector. Managing employees and a fleet of vehicles used to be a logistical and administrative nightmare. However, through innovations in GPS tracking, companies can perform a wide range of tasks such as managing and optimising delivery routes, increasing efficiencies resulting in long term cost-savings, minimising environmental impact, and improving health and safety measures.
To do this, GPS tracking software must be combined with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. Generally speaking, the IoT has served to improve just about every sector it has so far been applied to – and the transportation and fleet management industry is no different. Together, the integrated IoT sensors and GPS tracking software feed back data to fleet managers, enabling them to garner insights into specific areas under scrutiny. For example:
- Health and safety measures: GPS tracking software has been used to design transportation routes which include stops and breaks for the drivers, distributes vehicles to avoid congestion, manages schedules, and tracks route performance in real-time. For workplace vehicles and fleet transportation in the logistics and supply chain sectors, this has been a literal lifesaver, with drivers’ welfare prioritised above pressing time schedules. Reducing the number of workplace incidents relating to health and safety will not only be beneficial to the workforce, but it eliminates the need for expensive legal fees and settlement costs, or rehabilitation measures. Therefore, as a result of companies taking more responsibility, bottom lines are also improved.
- Addressing eco-issues: by assessing a driver’s performance and evaluating their driving skills, IoT technology can enable companies to monitor speeding, unnecessary acceleration, heavy braking, and acceleration while cornering. Through sensors installed in the fleet, drivers can be educated on ways to contribute to reducing overall fuel costs, such as minimising harsh vehicle manoeuvres. This in turn also extends the vehicles’ service life and improves fleet safety for both passengers and cargos.
- Reducing costs: by cutting down on fuel intake, not only is the impact on the environment lessened, but it also reduces the cost of fuel, supercharging efficiencies for fleet businesses.
The benefits of GPS tracking – especially when combined with IoT sensors – are being realised by more and more transportation and fleet companies. While it may not be possible to remove the challenges facing the industry, by harnessing technology, fleet companies can mitigate their impact, protect their workers, and fuel efficiencies to support business’ long-term growth.
By Aliaksandr Kuushynau, Head of Wialon, Gurtam