7 Nov 19

How major fleets are exploiting big data opportunities

During the 2019 Geotab Mobility Connect even in Estoril, compelling evidence from two major fleets has revealed how telematics hold the key to unlocking significant fleet efficiency and dramatically improving customer service.

The fleets operate in very different industries - fresh food delivery and waste collection - but there are strong parallels in the way they have monitored vehicle movements and performance to transform their businesses.

In the Benelux and France, HelloFresh is deploying connected vehicle technology to track multiple aspects of its fleet and enhance the punctuality of its deliveries of recipes and fresh ingredients. Five years ago HelloFresh decided to insource its fleet and logistics in order to gain greater control of its supply chain; in the Benelux region alone its fleet consists of 600 vans.

Thomas Stroo, HelloFresh Head of Logistics for France and Benelux (pictured above), said: “Our connected fleet supports everything we do. It increases the service and quality assurance to our customers.”

While on board sensors monitor the temperature in the refrigerated unit, GPS location allows the company to track where a driver stops and for how long. The system is so accurate that it triggers an alert if a driver parks more than 100m from the scheduled delivery address to avoid the risk of delivering to the wrong place. The real time tracking and traffic monitoring also helps the company hit its delivery time KPIs, and communicate to customers when delays creep into the service.

“96% of our deliveries are on time,” said Stroo. “Track and trace functions give more flexibility to our customers who can follow their food boxes from the producer to the vehicle to the driver, and can request a re-delivery if they are not at home.”

The same telematics tracking technology is also facilitating HelloFresh’s introduction of electric vehicles, with Stroo now running 51 zero emission vans.

“We have been able to create specific EV routes that take into account the vehicles’ range, the number of stops, and even avoid motorways,” said Stroo. “We can also ensure the vans are fully charged before leaving our hubs, and we can monitor battery levels during deliveries.”

Stroo was speaking at the Geotab Mobility Connect conference, which ran alongside the Fleet Europe Congress in Estoril, Portugal, and his strategic approach was echoed by Unai Obieta, CTO Europe at Ferrovial Servicios (pictured above).

One of Ferrovial’s companies, INAGRA, is using sensors and trackers to revolutionise the efficiency of its refuse and recycling collection service in Spain. The company has not only fitted its 200-plus vehicles with telematics devices, but also equipped its bins with sensors.

“We then use big data analysis to optimise our routes,” said Obieta.

And because the company only collects from containers that it detects are more than 70% full, it has been able to eliminate almost one entire route from its 3.5 routes.

Google's data drive

Converting theses two companies into data driven businesses chimed with Rahul Parmar, Enterprise Technology, Google Cloud.

He said data is driving the world’s fastest growing businesses, and told delegates at the event that the logistics and automotive industries have the most to gain from big data, via machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“Companies who invest in data are winning exponentially,” he said. “Data is everything - companies are going to win or lose depending on how they use it.”

Data is the new oxygen

Dirk Schlimm, Executive Vice President, Geotab, described data as the ‘new oxygen’ and said companies should treat their data with the same attention as they pay to their finances.

“It’s the most valuable resource of a business,” he said. And in the fleet arena, “Data is essential for productivity, safety, compliance, and innovation.” 

Schlimm unveiled Geotab's new Vehicle Data Access Index, which will give fleets a valuable insight into the data friendliness of different vehicle manufacturers.

The first version of the index tracks four basic criteria (VIN, odometer, fuel and seatbelt use) across 1 million vehicles from 18 OEMs, and reveals striking differences between manufacturers.

“We’re now looking for feedback from OEMs and to add fleet relevant parameters, such as road worthiness,” said Schlimm.

His goal is for the Vehicle Data Access Index to become an independent index with multiple stakeholders.

Access to data

Access to vehicle data remains a controversial area, however, with Leaseurope lobbying hard for leasing and rental companies to have open access to the data generated by the vehicles they own.

“This data is essential to deliver car sharing, pay as you drive insurance, vehicle security and repair and maintenance services,” said Elisa Falliti, policy adviser, automotive affairs at Leaseurope (pictured above).

But while OEMs have direct access to in-vehicle generated data, independent service providers are having to contend with the ‘Extended Vehicle Concept’ for their data delivery. This suffers from latency delays in data transmission, so it’s not real time, and nor does it allow for direct safe and secure communication with drivers, said Falliti. 

“We want true open platforms and direct access to in-vehicle data,” she said.

This data has real value in a wide range of scenarios, explained Bob Bradley, AVP Data Solutions, Geotab. For example, on board technology which records and transmits in real time the temperature and when the windscreen wipers are used can effectively become mobile weather sensors.

Of even greater potential value is the opportunity to benchmark fleet vehicles against each other, allowing fleet managers to analyse which makes and models of vehicle carrying out similar tasks (in their own company and outside) perform most efficiently, and to measure the efficiency of drivers against their peers, using similar vehicles for similar tasks.

“We have lots of data, but just having data is not enough,” said Bradley. “We need to be data driven, and out goal is to work with customers and partners to leverage this data.”


Authored by: Jonathan Manning