Fleet management uses IoT (Internet of Things) and other technology to monitor the movement and function of a fleet of vehicles. These vehicles may be trucks, cars, or ships. Most often, commercial businesses use this technology, but the military and law enforcement also find it very useful.
There are a myriad of reasons to have a good fleet management system: faster and more efficient transportation, improved driver safety and satisfaction, and reduced maintenance costs. More than this, fleet management can even help managers make decisions on acquiring new vehicles.
Most fleet management data is internal, beginning with vehicle status, history, and maintenance schedules. Other essential internal data include GPS sensors and driver history.
Additional internal data depends on what is being transported. Taxis, buses, and rideshares, for example, would benefit from dash cams that can identify passengers. Produce or grocery transport, on the other hand, could benefit from cargo sensors that measure things like weight, temperature, and humidity.
Finally, as always, a good fleet management system integrates with company CRM platforms.
Essential external data for a fleet management system includes road and seaway maps, points of interest (especially re-fueling stations and distribution centers), and weather forecasts.
Other useful data for a good fleet management system may include competitor data, market data, or vehicle maintenance company data.
Additional data types stride the border between internal and external. For example, dashboard cameras that monitor driver faces for signs of fatigue in order to improve driver (and road) safety.
The main challenges of this use case are safety and scale.
First, any enterprise with numerous employees logging in from different locations is vulnerable to hacking and other malicious attacks. However, with constant monitoring and the introduction of safety features like anti-malware and multi-point authentication measures, this risk can be mitigated.
Second, when a fleet increases in scale, monitoring the data becomes more difficult. In short, the larger the fleet, the more opportunities for things to go wrong and for problems to slip past unnoticed. While unlikely to rise to the level of national scandal, companies must regularly monitor their vehicle and driver data to ensure the data is clean, with no forgotten vehicles or unaccounted-for hours of operation. Finally, managers should make sure employees comply with company regulations on reporting.
“The findings we had on this audit were just unimaginable,” state Auditor Beth Wood told the legislature’s Joint Oversight Committee. “We found people assigned to a vehicle that hasn’t worked for the state for 10 years.”
“When someone leaves an agency, they still have the car but no one is informing the motor fleet the person would no longer be there.”
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