Big data is offering many very promising opportunities for the fleet management industry in the face of great uncertainty.
By Ryan Kh
According to a forecast by IDC and Seagate Technology, the global data sphere will grow more than fivefold in the next seven years. The total amount of new data will increase to 175 zettabytes by 2025, up from 33 zettabytes in 2018.
This ever-growing volume of information has given rise to the concept of big data. And I do not mean large amounts of information per se, but rather data that is processed at high speed and has a strong variability. Nowadays, managers across industries rely on information systems such as CRMs to improve their business processes. The domain of logistics is no stranger to innovations either.
Within the industry, the management of data allows T&L businesses to take productivity, efficiency, and safety to a whole new level. Besides, the analysis of data is beneficial for the bottom line as it cuts unnecessary costs and expenses.
It won’t be an exaggeration to say that big data has reinvented the way a modern fleet operates. Big data eliminates all the guesswork and allows fleet managers to make purely informed decisions. So, without further ado, let’s see how it works in detail.
All in all, the concept of big data is all about predictive analytics. Such data is great for introducing revamped maintenance practices. Thanks to the availability of comparative data for practically every type/model of a vehicle, fleet managers can plan maintenance activities based on certain knowledge. This practice results in lowered maintenance costs for fleets of any size. What’s even more important, predictive analytics prevents accidents on the road. This way, company drivers feel that they work in safe conditions.
Predictive analytics takes care of both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include depreciation, interest, repair and maintenance costs, tire changes, insurance, fuel, taxes, and fees. Indirect costs are usually more difficult to calculate, but they have a significant impact on the bottom line and include administrative staff time, driver downtime, etc.
The industry is continually changing, so if you want to successfully plan your budget, it is essential to effectively use the available funds in the present. Undoubtedly, the cost of maintaining a fleet depends on many factors, but data helps you figure out what works best for your fleet here and now.
Fuel costs are rising globally. According to statistics, fuel costs account for nearly 40% of overall expenses for a fleet. The proper data analysis provides fleet managers with an opportunity to monitor the total fuel costs and see the weak points. For instance, it’s easier to identify idling trucks that waste fuel.
Data also helps in identifying improper routing that usually leads to excessive fuel consumption. Statistics reveal that companies relying on data management reduce total miles driven by 10%. Finally, data management helps fleet managers analyze fuel price fluctuations so that they can plan budgets wisely.
There’s no use to explain why safe driving is important, and big data helps to outline the behavior patterns of drivers. With that info at hand, the introduction of proper training within a fleet is just a matter of time. Telematics via sensors installed in a truck provides exact data on drivers’ behavior. Here we talk about such parameters as vehicle speed, acceleration, braking, fuel consumption, and other nuances that allow you to build a “profile” of the driver.
For example, drivers who violate speed limits and drive aggressively do waste more fuel than the ones that drive responsibly. And I don’t even mention that it’s dangerous. It’s an absolute necessity to persuade their drivers to be safe and efficient on the road. Telematics go as far as restricting using phone calls or texts while on the route.
To Sum Up
Industry professionals claim that data is “the new oil,” and one couldn’t agree more. The only challenge is just learning how to use it effectively. There are no universal algorithms for exploring data. However, managing your fleet using Big Data gets so much easier if you are using proper fleet management software. With such solutions, fleet managers can classify all the data and make a list of business goals to reach. Data analysis is a field for imagination: as a fleet manager, you need to think, build and test hypotheses taking into account the specifics of the T&L industry.
In the era of big data, advanced data analytics enable multiple decisions to be made throughout the vehicle’s lifecycle. The data collected from vehicles means preventive maintenance, and managers can know all about their fleets and alert the relevant authorities in case of accidents.