If you’re involved in fleet management, it’s essential that you keep a keen eye on the latest trends – and decide what is worthwhile implementing in your fleet and what you can do without for now.
Drones may be a hot trending topic within logistics but it’s a long way off for all but the largest fleet operations. However, there are many trends that are increasingly being implemented by companies large and small.
We work with various company sizes, from small fleet operations to larger enterprises. We’ve set out the trends you should seriously consider if you want to remain competitive and maximise efficiencies within your commercial vehicle fleet.
Adapting or changing vehicles ahead of Euro 6
Brexit may have thrown the future of environmental regulations into question, how the government plans to deal with legislative change remains up in the air. However, it is likely that the importance of complying with EU standards for international fleet operators will be an important consideration. Regardless, Euro 6 still becomes enforceable from September 2016 for all new LCVs.
There is therefore a growing trend towards fleet owners considering their adaptation choices over the long and short term. Retrospective vehicle amendments are an option but often the choice is between costly upfront capital investment, that may suit some larger fleets, and flexible vehicle hire, that often suits smaller fleets or those looking to stay adaptable to ever-changing requirements.
Connected vehicles and big data – the latest in transport software
Connected vehicles and big data are steering the future of fleet management. Transport management systems and telematics no longer just make planning optimised routes – and reacting to changes in these - much easier based on geo-locations. Nowadays, connected vehicles can carry a plethora of data that can be mined to improve optimisation and performance, including: temperature requirements for loads, vehicle load type and weight, and whether truckers are driving safely and economically. It can now even go so far as predicting vehicle maintenance requirements and optimising fleet operations around this.
The backdrop of green initiatives, pressures to improve fuel economy and gas price volatility has led to many businesses looking to rightsize their fleet. This involves using alternative smaller engines so that you can maintain your fleet’s vehicle sizes. This continues to be of major interest to fleet managers in 2016.
Last mile deliveries
The UK has been implementing many initiatives to drive down its emissions, in recognition of EU regulations and the growing evidence of the pollution risks to the nation. One of the main targets is reducing the impact of last mile deliveries through the introduction of the new Ultra Low Emissions Zones (ULEZs) in London and Clean Air Zones (CAZs) in other cities.
Yet fleet managers are not just focused on last mile deliveries due to the environmental impact. They are also the most expensive and inefficient aspect of the supply chain.
Fleet management strategies therefore include advanced route planning software, monitoring driver behaviour, improving first time delivery with increased customer visibility, sharing the load with last mile “green” companies and going electric with new or hire vehicles.
Driver Behaviour Monitoring
Reducing accidents is big news in the media at the moment. The Safer Lorry Scheme has been implemented in London to reduce the growing number of accidents involving cyclists, and according to the Department for Transport, 1,775 people were killed on UK roads in 2014 – a 4% rise on the previous year. Serious injuries also rose by 5% to 22,807.
Monitoring driver behaviour is therefore an increasing trend in fleet management. However, it is not just accidents that can be prevented – fuel efficiency savings of 33% can be made by reducing wasteful activities such as harsh braking and accelerating, speeding, idle time and more.
The latest vehicle telematics software, such as Tom Tom Pro, can assist managers by providing real-time information on driver behaviour, with both detailed and at-a-glance “traffic light” system reporting against identified targets.
Some telematics providers even record the driver’s view, to provide extra evidence in the event of any liability claim dispute.
As well as analysing existing driver behaviour in an effort to see opportunities for training and improvements, some fleet managers are taking more innovative initiatives.
Enter gamification. Instead of the potential backlash from employees feeling like they have entered the Big Brother house, technology can make improving driver behaviour a competitive and enjoyable challenge.
For example, Telogis Coach is an app that shows drivers when they brake or accelerate too hard, speed, forget to put their seatbelt on, and much more. You can choose the metrics that align with your company goals.
Compliance can be a big burden on fleet managers and drivers, especially when it comes to the daily vehicle checks and records requirements (there are no fewer than 37 checks on the DVSA checklist).
Enter mobile driver apps. The number of fleet managers implementing this technology is on the increase. Apps can guide your drivers through the process on their phone, with a checklist specific to the make and model of their vehicle. They can check off the list as they go and raise maintenance requests via their phone. Mobile driver apps also automatically take care of your reporting, storing your electronic records for the recommended period.
Connecting with the consumer
Customer demands are ever-increasing. They demand faster delivery times, at places and times to suit them and they also want visibility over their orders. Many companies are now investing in the latest transport management software, to enable complex delivery and returns schedules to be optimised and to provide the customer (and themselves) with a clear view of where deliveries are up to.
If you lease your fleet then your provider may be able to equip your vehicles with the latest fleet management tools. It’s vital to consider your options thoroughly before committing to a commercial vehicle hire package. Before you enter any hire agreement you should download our guide . You'll then be armed with the questions you need to ask to find out whether a leasing plan is as good as it seems.