Commentary | IT Matters

What Is Your Fleet Trying to Tell You?

Tags: Logistics I.T., Technology , Logistics Solutions Providers

Bill Powell is Director, Enterprise Architecture at ARI

Each day, every vehicle in a fleet generates hundreds of pieces of data. Everything, from miles driven and fuel consumption to the repairs conducted and driving habits, generates data points that together, compile the overall view of a fleet.

While this data can be extremely valuable to fleet managers, it also presents a daunting challenge. Not only do fleet personnel have to determine an effective method to manage and integrate this data, they also have to evaluate the information and translate it into meaningful actionable tasks.

The good news for fleet managers is that evolving technologies such as data warehousing, in-memory architecture, and data visualization are helping to ease the administrative burden, helping you see what your fleet is trying to tell you.

By making a strategic capital investment in this technology and supporting it with the proper team of people, fleet managers can make this complex data far easier to understand, revealing a fleet’s underlying descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive information.

The descriptive information is the data that already happened. It’s a fleet’s rearview mirror: the transactional touch-points generated by every vehicle on the road—maintenance records, telematics data, fuel transactions, accident reports, etc. Stitched together over time, this information helps to paint the portrait of a fleet.

Unto itself, a seemingly isolated transmission failure on a Ford F-150 is unlikely to raise any red flags. However, when combined with the rest of a fleet’s data, this singular transaction may help to uncover a larger trend. Do maintenance parameters need to be altered to prevent component failures? Is driver behavior putting additional wear on the transmission, causing it to fail earlier than normal? Transactional data management is the foundation for making better, more informed business decisions.

Think of the predictive information as the car’s dashboard. When driving, the dashboard helps to shape your behavior—it tells you the speed you’re going, the direction you’re headed, and the fuel you have to get there. Predictive data builds on the descriptive information, helping a fleet manager learn from the fleet’s history.

Fleet managers who use data warehousing supported by in-memory architecture are able to quickly assess their fleet’s performance in real-time, identifying historical trends and key performance indicators (KPIs) to develop a comprehensive plan that tackles both short-term challenges while also addressing long-term strategic objectives.

Prescriptive information is the data that drives decisions. It’s your GPS. It’s a fleet’s roadmap to achieving best-in-class procedures that reduce costs and improve operating efficiencies. This is the actionable information that generates tangible ROI. Critical to this process is a fleet manager’s commitment to updating policies and procedures based on the descriptive and predicative information gathered.

Think back to the Ford F-150 with the transmission failure. A savvy fleet manager analyzes the available data to see the underlying trend. The fleet manager realizes the information shows that due to the operating conditions of this particular fleet, the maintenance parameters should be revised to service the transmission sooner in the vehicle’s lifecycle to prevent the premature failure.

For complex vocational fleets, data truly is the key to unlocking a fleet’s hidden potential. And for fleet managers who are committed to measuring (tracking and analysis), managing (implementing the required changes), and communicating the results (both positive and negative), these evolving technologies are the tools that will help them attain significant bottom line savings and efficiency gains.






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