Big Data and the New Fleet Management

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Modern fleet managers possess capabilities that vastly exceed anything their predecessors could have imagined. The basis for these cutting-edge logistical capabilities can be summed up in two words: big data.

Data management allows fleet managers to optimize their fleet's efficiency, productivity, and safety while simultaneously reducing unnecessary costs to the company; big data has impacted the logistics and even the very paradigm of fleet management.

Improved Maintenance and Repair Scheduling

Big data empowered fleet management with predictive analytics. This field has enhanced maintenance and repair scheduling for countless managed fleets worldwide.

With comparative data available for thousands upon thousands of vehicles identical or similar to the ones in the fleet, managers can schedule preventative maintenance for each specific vehicle in the company. Potential trouble areas are identified and dealt with before escalating further. This leads to a reduction in overall costs, and avoids expensive repairs later on.

As a byproduct of fewer vehicular breakdowns, there are fewer accidents, drastically reducing fleet expenses. With predictive analytics, company drivers work in safer conditions.

Enhanced Fuel Management

Data management allows fleet managers to monitor not only the total fuel costs for the company but how fuel is being used. For example, vehicles that spend excessive time idling will consume more fuel than is necessary.

The way a fleet schedule is managed could also reveal flaws in routing, leading to inefficient fuel consumption. Big data helps fleet managers pinpoint the exact causes of spikes in fuel costs, and thus empowers them to find solutions.

Driver Training and Behavior

Big data also provides fleet managers with the capability to accurately understand the behavior patterns of their drivers, and coach them accordingly. Telematics – sensors installed in fleet vehicles – provide data on how drivers typically use their vehicles. Drivers who regularly speed or accelerate aggressively are not only wasting fuel unnecessarily but are also practicing unsafe behavior.

Data points can help managers coach their drivers to be safe and efficient on their routes. Companies with fleets, such as UPS, have seen the benefits of implementing this technology. Telematics also can provide real-time feedback to drivers who are engaging in sub-optimal behavior, as well as blocking the use of phone calls or texts while on the road.

Leveraging Big Data

As the previous examples demonstrate, data management is rapidly becoming a critical component for fleet managers to stay competitive and productive. Companies that leverage the advantages that big data has to offer will receive many benefits to their bottom line, as well as to their workforce. 

Image Credit: PlusONE /

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