Chances are, if you’re a transportation business, you might’ve heard the buzz around Artificial Intelligence making significant headway in the industry. And it’s likely that if you have a relatively small fleet of vehicles under your wing, you might’ve disregarded such news as Fleet Management Software.
Data from the United States Department of Transportation shows that almost 97% of the 500,000 for hire carriers available in the US belong to small or medium businesses. This might make you wonder what constitutes a small fleet.
While there’s no definition set in stone, the industry consensus for a small fleet comes to around 50 trucks or less, but several experts consider even a fleet of 100 vehicles as a small business.
Small businesses do not have large orders for their incapacity to carry them out and are mostly dependent on local needs. Such businesses do not really implement the best quality products in their services, and you cannot blame them, with their limited capacity for investment and low working capital.
And that’s why the chances are that whenever a small fleet owner hears about a groundbreaking discovery, they usually dismiss it as something made and affordable to the big players in the field.
News in Fleet Management Software
Not all scientific breakthroughs are made for or by the elite. The advent of Artificial Intelligence has radically altered the landscape of the transportation industry.
Furthermore, legislation like the Electronic Logging Devices mandate has given an impetus to the digitization of record-keeping. This has led to technology firms mass-producing AI-based GPS tracking systems and other telematics solutions.
If you still haven’t changed lanes to the digital management of your fleet, allow us to briefly list certain administrative and economic advantages that such a system brings with itself.
Fleet Management Software for Saving Time and Money
Consider a salesperson, who’s tasked with deliveries all around the town. They have to devise a route that goes through all the stops, and ends up full circle, at the point where the salesperson began their journey. The TSP (traveling salesperson problem) is a typical question of combinatorial optimization.
Vehicle routing problems are but variants of TSP. Often, fleet drivers have to make multiple deliveries, with several stops on the way, and they have to chart a course that is the most time and cost-friendly. With a total of 10 stops, the number of combinations runs to 3628800. Imagine a fleet of 50 trucks with 10-15 stops each.
GPS systems can quickly come up with the shortest route. But here is where the catch lies. It isn’t always about the shortest route, but the smartest one.
AI-powered GPS systems come up with routes which are not only based on distance and stops, but also possible hindrances, and factor in other variables, such as the number of intersections, traffic congestion and much more. They do so by accessing the Internet of Things (IoT) and using powerful algorithms to analyze historical records, announcements, and notifications in the public domain, news articles, etc.
This approach of following the smartest route saves both time and fuel cost and increases efficiency.
Saving on Maintenance
Maintenance of heavy-duty trucks can burn a hole in the organization’s pockets. And the maintenance expenses keep mounting up if vehicles are not regularly checked and sent for repairs.
However, overly preventive care is also not that efficient and easy on the wallet. Striking a balance is the key here, and fleet management software can assist the manager in that.
Using multiple sensors and the metadata that AI-powered GPS systems record, the software analyzes the quantum of wear and tear that a particular vehicle has gone through, and creates a routine for vehicle workups.
This process is known and predictive maintenance and is considered responsible for time and money savings.
Fleet Management Software Ensures Safety
Insurance firms are known to have reduced their premium rates for those transportation companies which have equipped their fleet with a GPS tracking system and driver cams.
The reason for this is that the presence of such systems greatly reduces the possibility of vehicles being embroiled in accidents. GPS tracking systems not only track the usual time taken and distance traveled, but coupled with fleet management software, also keep a detailed record of niche information such as driver behavior. By making use of sensors, they keep a record of speeding, excessive revving, hard braking, and even unnecessarily long breaks.
With their behavior being recorded on GPS as well as on dashboard cams, drivers usually are on their best practice. Aggressive driving has genuinely taken a turn with the help of this technology, and so have incidents of fleet vehicles involved in accidents. With less risk to cover, insurance firms offer discounts on premiums.
Helping Hand to Administration
Fleet managers and truckers were earlier overburdened with paperwork involving compliance, but new laws and technology have changed that. Regulations like the Electronic Logging Devices mandate necessitate the use of GPS trackers.
This, in turn, frees the management and the driver of keeping tabs on confounding paperwork, and they can actually focus on management and delivery. Also, this system was devised to free up the time table of drivers, allowing them adequate rest and leisure, and therefore reducing accidents caused by distracted driving and under-rested drivers.
If you’re a small business, the chances are that you’ve forgone the thought of using smart, Artificial Intelligence based fleet management systems thinking that they cost a fortune, and are actually only useful when the fleet’s large enough.
If so, you’ll be missing out on a ton of savings and other advantages. It’s best to switch to a new age fleet management style for better efficiency. Along with time and fuel cost cuts, such systems assist you in keeping your fleet in top working condition and keeping instances of aggressive driving at bay.
Also, all the data is stored on the cloud, which can be accessed if the need arises. So go ahead, browse the latest tech suitable to your fleet size.
Petr is a serial tech entrepreneur and the CEO of Apro Software, a machine learning company. Whenever he’s not blogging about technology for itechgyan.com or softwarebattle.com, Petr enjoys playing sports and going to the movies. He’s also deeply interested in mediation, Buddhism and biohacking.