With the start of a new year, it’s a good time to analyze current and upcoming fleet trends that will be making a big impact on the industry this year and beyond. So when planning the future of your fleet, you’ll be able to anticipate any threats – and opportunities – for your business a lot more successfully.
Integrated technology and Big Data
Technology and data will continue to play a big role in the changing landscape of fleet management, bringing visibility to patterns and trends that can help you proactively lower costs, increase productivity, and improve driver safety. Telematics is definitely trending towards becoming mainstream for fleet vehicles; in the near future, telematics systems will be factory-installed equipment.
Your data from telematics can tell you how to improve route efficiency in order to use fewer vehicles and/or decrease fuel expenses as well as monitor driver behavior, and predictive analytics can tell you if a vehicle is going to have a mechanical breakdown. By taking advantage of the utilization analysis feature on your telematics system, you can gain insight into how your vehicles perform and what vehicles you will need to replace, helping tremendously with your annual planning.
Telematics are just part of a larger trend of connectivity. The internet of things (IoT), making vehicles continuously “connected,” will help fleet managers automate and optimize various processes and streamline operations, allowing for more fuel efficiency, safer driving behaviors, and higher quality of service to customers.
Analysts predict that by 2020, there will be 10 million autonomous vehicles on the road. And the fleet industry is becoming one of autonomous technology’s early adopters as there are a lot of benefits to consider, including reduced accident costs and increased employee productivity. Already, semi-autonomous features – like blind spot detection and forward collision sensors – available on vehicles today have had a big impact on the industry.
Mobility as a Service (MaaS)
In recent years, the popularity of using ride-hailing (Uber, Lyft, etc.) and car sharing (Zipcar, DriveNow, Getaround.com, etc.) apps has exploded. MaaS, transportation services from an on-demand platform, can be applied to the fleet industry in the future as well. Fleet management companies will have the ability to become MaaS providers themselves or use their expertise to manage fleets for a network of companies that want to use their own vehicles as MaaS.
Millennials replenishing the workforce
Another big change in the near future is that millennials will be replacing the baby boomers, who are now exiting the workforce. This generational shift will naturally create a more tech-savvy demographic in the fleet industry.This younger group of fleet management professionals will more easily grasp learning and using technology for tasks like route scheduling, automated expense reporting, and working remotely. This could mean for your business more efficient operations and the ability to offer more innovative tools to your drivers and your stakeholders.
Why are these trends important?
If you haven’t noticed by now, these trends I’ve explored here are largely based in technology. The fleet industry is known for being one that embraces new technology and innovation. While some people or industries might be reluctant to implement new ways of doing things, these trends should be seen as opportunities for you to look ahead at how your business could leverage technology and data to streamline the day-to-day operations and optimize efficiencies.
There are so many benefits to having access to this much data from telematics and connectivity, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not know what to do with it all. Leveraging your fleet management partner’s knowledge and expertise can help you channel this information into useful indicators and insights.