I’ve been writing at length on business process automation lately, as well as the ways in which technology can improve many important areas of life. Today I continue on that theme, and explore how technology can improve motor vehicle fleets.
Why is this important? Well, there are a number of important trends to consider (all figures taken from Transport Canada’s 2012 Annual Report):
- In 2011, Canadian for-hire carriers transported 224 billion tonne-kilometres of freight (that’s about equivalent to transporting everyone on earth a combined a distance of 7 kilometres!); this is a 1% increase from 2010.
- In 2012, Canada-U.S. inbound and outbound trade was valued at $551 million – a rise of 4%. More than half this trade was implemented by deploying trucks ($325 billion).
- With respect to the intercity bus sector, bus travel between Canada and the U.S. rose 7% between 2011 and 2012, reaching a total of 1.9 million passengers served.
- In 2012, bus industry revenues were estimated at $15.5 billion, an increase of 7 per cent over 2011.
The basic bottom line in all of these figures is that the number of vehicles on the road is on the rise, particularly vehicles used for commercial purposes. It’s not all positive news though: Despite good revenue growth in these industries, the average price of road-diesel fuel for commercial users rose by 0.7% between 2011 and 2012. Fleet management becomes a very real issue as a result. Fortunately, technology use can greatly facilitate costs control and inventory.
The benefits of using GPS in fleets
According to a survey conducted by GPS Insight, forward-thinking executives who have to manage vehicle fleets have been turning toward technology adoption en masse. This is most likely a major business strategy aimed at staying competitive in an environment of growing costs. In particular, these executives are leading the way in implementing GPS tracking of their fleets. They see the benefits of GPS technology. Typically, adoption of GPS has been driven by:
- Involvement with the delivery industry – companies here have the highest rate of GPS adoption at present
- Fleet size – the bigger the fleet, the more likely the fleet is tracked by technology
The adoption results in better fuel deployment arising from:
- Reduced idle time
- Efficient vehicle dispatch
- Elimination of unauthorized vehicle usage
- Optimization of routes travelled
- Identification of Fuel Fraud
Because GPS adoption effectively means that all fleet vehicles are tracked, fleet managers can more easily log and track maintenance schedules (leading to better cost projections) and can even help seek out stolen assets! Overall, the fleet manager who is a technology adopter will see great return on investment (ROI).
If we were to isolate the core benefits of technology adoption for fleet management, we could say that fleet managers achieve heightened productivity, lower costs, and better customer service.
Now, eagle-eyed readers might just recall that these benefits have been mentioned before, on the primer on business process automation. Now why might that be…?
Why so convergent…?
The simple fact of the matter is that the value inherent to technology adoption in industry is the same, regardless of industry. Adoption of technology goes hand-in-hand with automation of business processes, and when that’s done right, process efficiency dramatically spikes. You also get much greater visibility over the process (which, in this case, is fleet management), since there’s no automation without tagging every asset in the process.
Essentially, the fleet manager who adopts (GPS) technology as a management tool is making judicious use of process efficiency and good, plain visibility. S/he’s gained good control of the managed fleet, a much better control than s/he would have had without technology.
Where does Cimpl and Cimpl fit with all this?
Where Cimpl is relevant in this discussion stems from our expertise in managing technology assets. Our signature product, Cimpl, is a technology asset management software solution that enables users to automate their IT asset and telecom expense management processes, thereby increasing visibility over their resources.
Basically, using technology to manage and control assets is a concept that’s been key to the telecom industry. It’s gratifying to watch other industries attain and act on this insight as well!