Editor's choice
1 Oct 21

Connected Fleets Conference: "Understand our needs instead of trying to sell your product"

The Connected Fleets Conference 2021 on 30 September hosted several sessions with industry experts to provide critical insights into fleet management. The interaction of fleet managers and suppliers produced insights into the unknown aspects of fleet management. 

The keynote debate with the Founding Partner of the Connected Fleets Conference was a creative and constructive session for fleet managers. In the session moderated by the editor-in-chief of Fleet Europe, Steven Schoefs, with Glenn Mitchell, Head of Product Management at MiX Telematics and Alexander Merkel, Area Fleet and Travel Manager from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints discussed the challenges of fleet management from their perspectives. 

Here are five tips from the session that fleet managers shall take note of:

Telematics is a must to avoid accidents

Insights from data show that everything is interconnected, including safety to maintenance, maintenance to vehicle ability, vehicle ability to deliver customers expectations. Connected fleet technology provides a holistic view of overall operational efficiency and helps fleet managers to focus on problems. 

Telematics not only reduces accidents but also helps companies to defend themselves if any happens. Even in an accident in which the driver loses consciousness, telematics can provide data about the cause of the accident and exoneration.

Overcoming scepticism

There are still doubts and scepticism against the true benefits of connected technologies. But new generations in the fleet industry are eager to adapt to new technologies, says Glen Mitchell. With more demanding customers, innovations will take place more swiftly than before. 

In terms of privacy, Merkel emphasized the importance of transparency. When drivers can access the information fleet managers can see, they are more aligned to increase safety. 

What is the question fleet managers must think of?

Alexander Merkel believes telematics suppliers must better understand the needs of fleets instead of trying to sell their products. Mitchell thinks suppliers shall look from the fleet manager perspective to offer their solution better. 

But there is one crucial question: Do I have to invest in people in time to get value from your technology? This proves to be a big gap and if there's going to be a team to use the tech, you must streamline the tech. 

Improving ROI with AI

Fleet managers shall be aware of the advantages of telematics in terms of ROI. According to Mitchell, only using GPS tracking provides 3 to 1 ROI while upgrading to full telematics with AI provides 10 to 1 ROI. Privacy may come as a risk and visibility with all the stakeholders must be high to overcome this concern. 

Using data science techniques, fleet managers will be able to discover the relationships between all the things happening in the physical world and uncover new areas of improvement. 

The role of the fleet manager is changing

What is obvious is that the role of fleet managers are changing as they access more effective technologies and gain data insights. Their role starts getting out from the fleet domain as knowledge becomes a power in terms of what to achieve in growth. 

Automation is a game-changer in this process as fleet managers gain more time to plan and turn their attention to other areas like electrification. Alexander Merkel’s last advice is for sure meaningful: "Don't limit yourself to what you know already. Let's be open and see what is possible."

You can deepdive into the benefits of connected technology for your fleet operations by reliving the Connected Fleets Conference from 30 September

Photos of Glenn Mitchell, MiX Telematics; and Alexander Merkel, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Authored by: Mufit Yilmaz Gokmen