Driving a More Efficient Fleet with technology

  • Today's favorable fuel pricing gives fleet managers a window of opportunity to explore and experiment with new technologies.

  • Automated logs cut down on misreported data, giving fleet managers clearer insights into the performance and efficiency of routes and equipment.

It’s time to build a smarter, more automated and more efficient fleet. After the 2008 downturn motivated fleets and carriers to extend asset lifespan, we are finally back in a cycle of strong investment. You now have an opportunity to make your fleet not only newer, but also more efficient and effective.

Automate manual tasks

Asking drivers and operations personnel to fill out paper logs and delivery reports is tedious and unnecessary. It saps productivity and stands in the way of attaining better insights that can be used to work inefficiency out of routes and driver behaviors.

Switching to electronic logs and fleet management software streamlines and standardizes data collection. Much of it can be automated with real-time GPS tracking and automated scanning of RFID tags as cargo is delivered. Automated logs also cut down on misreported data, giving fleet managers clearer insights into the actual performance and efficiency of routes and equipment.

Embrace advanced telematics

Advanced telematics data can help further optimize fuel consumption by tracking extremely refined driver data, down to fuel-sapping practices such as hard acceleration and excessive speed.

Strong telematics is also an important first step on the path to experimenting with fully autonomous vehicles, which could represent a step-function improvement in fleet efficiency.

Telematics helps optimize routing and reduce fuel consumption. Some fleets with sophisticated data tracking are learning that their engines are idle more than one-third of their total running time. Telematics provides the platform for new routing that cuts down on this fuel-wasting practice.

Listen to on-board diagnostics

When vehicles are unexpectedly sidelined, it not only creates additional cost but can also disrupt fleet operations and the supply chain. On-board diagnostics and self-reporting vehicles ensure that both preventive and proactive maintenance is performed on a timely basis.

They also cut down on the blame game that can flare up between drivers, fleet managers, and executives when equipment fails. When the diagnostics indicate that maintenance is needed, all stakeholders are immediately informed and so they can take appropriate steps.

Use favorable fuel pricing as a window for experimentation

With domestic oil production still high and import supplies hitting the market at attractive rates, fleets and consumers alike have enjoyed lower fuel costs for several months. This temporary relief provides a perfect opportunity to explore and experiment with new technologies, scheduling and routing. The price holiday will inevitably end, so use this breathing room to lock in sustainable efficiency gains that will be even more relevant as fuel costs climb.

Building a smarter, more efficient fleet will make you more competitive and contribute to profitability.

Read more about our sustainable transportation initiatives and AT&T Fleet Management Solutions.

Jason Compton is an internationally published writer and reporter with extensive experience in enterprise technologies, including marketing, sales, service, and collaboration. All opinions are his own. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

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