Ben Jensen, CEO of Certified Tracking Solutions, discusses new technologies that simplify the management of complex fleets.
Managers of large fleets will recognize the constant pressure to increase efficiency and boost productivity while at the same time reducing overhead costs. This ongoing challenge was only made worse by COVID-19 and the reduction in office visits by drivers. According to Ben Jensen, Co-founder and CEO of Certified Tracking Solutions, which powers Titan GPS, COVID-19 only amplified this problem. “Budgets are shrinking, but municipalities, construction companies and other organizations with complex fleets still need to get stuff done.”
Yet a major barrier remains: the traditional fleet management process itself. Many drivers still complete timecards and inspection reports by hand. This means your head office must process paper forms that could contain inaccurate, illegible or missing information. Likewise, it’s easy for small pieces of paper to become lost or damaged.
Continued COVID-19 restrictions also mean that fewer drivers are going into the office to drop off or pick up forms. Now more than ever, your organization needs a way to remotely share critical information to keep your operations running smoothly and safely.
Relying on paper documentation makes it hard to allocate hours for both drivers and vehicles. If you have even a few ongoing projects and sub-projects, using paper logs makes administrative tasks even more time-consuming and frustrating, not to mention costly. You’ll also lack insights into where you’re allocating funds, which hinders your ability to streamline operations and cut unnecessary costs.
3 technologies transforming fleet management
New technologies are improving both vehicle efficiency and driver safety. Advancements in 5G support the streaming of live feeds from roads and inside vehicles, allowing you to use real-time data to identify and quickly address problems.
Here are three technologies that can provide deeper insights into complex fleets:
- AI dash cameras
AI dash cameras allow you to monitor drivers and track events both inside and outside vehicles. If drivers begin to engage in unsafe behaviour, such as tailgating, they will receive an automated alert and custom training to correct their conduct. You can also opt to receive immediate notifications and provide real-time coaching.
“AI dash cameras make the roads safer,” said Jensen. “Drivers with these cameras are less prone to dangerous behaviour, such as speeding and texting while driving.”
Cameras automatically record incidents, allowing for an accurate record of any event. This high-quality footage could minimize liability if a driver was not at fault. AI dash cameras also detect theft and will send alerts for any vehicle break-in attempts.
- Electronic logging devices (ELD)
ELDs are no longer a “nice to have” but a “must-have.” The U.S. mandated this technology in 2017, and Canada followed suit in June 2021. Enforcement begins in January 2023 and drivers must replace daily logs with an officially third-party certified* ELD that meets the standards required by Transport Canada.
These devices make it easier to comply with hours of service (HOS) requirements by replacing error-prone paper logbooks. They automatically record individual drive times to help ensure that drivers are not overworked, and you avoid costly violations. You can view logbooks in real-time and quickly find available drivers.
ELDs also make it easier to submit accurate and compliant roadside inspection reports, even allowing drivers to use their smartphones to complete reports.
- Mobile operations tools
Mobile apps allow you to convert paper-based processes, such as timecards and equipment inspections, into digital forms. In just a few taps, drivers can log critical information in the field and send it to head office. Fleet and project managers can also use the apps to view equipment currently in use, its location and the number of hours in operation.
7 things to consider when choosing new fleet management technology
Look for a solution that integrates AI dash cameras, ELDs and mobile apps into one platform. That way, you can manage your entire fleet through a single console without needing to switch between applications. You can also consider how the fleet management solution will impact your organization in the following areas:
- Workflow operations
- Fleet health
- Business analytics
- Fleet efficiencies
- Loss prevention
“Not all of these areas might be a concern for you, so you should choose a fleet management system that addresses your focus areas,” said Jensen. “It should also provide you with better data so you can make decisions that improve efficiencies across your organization.”
* A third-party certification body with the ISO/IEC 17065 standard required by Transport Canada to test and certify ELD