What Are the Key Applications and Benefits of IoT Fleet Management?
IoT in fleet management can sincerely help bring more agility to your distribution channels.
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With IoT solutions implemented in fleet management, the supervisors and managers will know about the vehicle's health, current position, updates from the drive, fleet health, cargo, and so on. No matter where you are located, the right fleet management structure will make it more proactive and precise.
Understanding Fleet Management and the Role of IoT
The basic purpose of fleet management is to structure the fleet and its activities to get the best outcome. In terms of management, this includes taking care of the vehicles and drivers, monitoring the vehicle’s health, tracking the cargo, ensuring that the vehicles can deliver the cargo on time, adjusting the vehicle route, and so on.
On top of everything, it is about enhancing asset utilization and implementing programs that help with improving the outcome. Generally, fleet managers use a Telematics (combination of telecommunications and information processing) solution to achieve fleet efficiency and optimize operational costs.
Managing the fleet is not an easy task, and mistakes often lead to heavy costs. Failure to monitor a vehicle’s health can result in an abrupt or sudden breakdown, which increases the delivery time. And in a supply chain, a delay in one segment can disturb the entire structure.
That’s why it is essential to have the right system in place and make it more efficient. One of the ways to get the desired result is to bring the Internet of Things (IoT) into the picture.
Role of IoT in Fleet Management
IoT-enabled fleet management systems boast sensors, actuators, and firmware to improve operational efficiency and optimize costs while reducing the chances of sudden breakdown and other risks.
One of the key roles IoT plays in fleet management is automation, and it digitizes almost everything. It allows existing fleet owners to embrace the digital systems and install them within their operations.
With IoT included in fleet management, we will get:
- Smart vans
- Smart trucks
- Smart ships
- Smart vessels
By smart, we do not mean that the vehicles will get artificial intelligence, but with IoT, fleet managers can get access to the vehicle’s location, health, and current standings accurately.
With this information, they can make quick and accurate decisions. IoT opens doors to achieve real-time operational efficiency. It can take the fleet managers way above the basic track and trace systems. With the help of sensors, an IoT-enabled system collects data, and the software converts it into readable information. Fleet management can use this spread of information to make quick and accurate decisions.
Applications of IoT Fleet Management
IoT fleet management allows companies to better coordinate every fleet operation and increase service profitability while reducing costs.
According to an Ericsson report, IoT fleet management systems can help reduce fuel consumption costs by 15%. In addition to this, they can also help reduce repair costs and operational costs.
Here are some applications of IoT fleet management:
1. Driver Management
IoT systems work on installing several cameras and sensors within the vehicle. So, when there are cameras present in and around the truck, the driver will get updates and alerts on different aspects.
For instance, the system will help with blind-spot detection and assist them in taking the right turns. It can alert the drivers about the traffic conditions and when to change course without compromising on the timeline.
The drivers will also get alerts on when they must take rest and recommend sleep times. All the video generated from inside and outside the cabin is stored on a cloud server and can be used in the future.
Advanced IoT systems also have computer vision for monitoring drivers and their behavior. It can send notifications about the driver's health, if their eyes look drowsy, and so on. The real-time updates on the driver’s health allow fleet managers to make quick decisions.
2. Fleet (Vehicle) Maintenance
With the smart usage of telematics, fleet managers can monitor vehicles and suggest proactive measures. The proactivity comes in the form of access to the vehicle’s location, assets, and movement authenticated by the sensors and GPS. Some of the things managers will certainly benefit from here includes:
Preventive Maintenance: With sensors installed in the vehicles, the fleet managers will receive notifications and warning alerts. This will notify them about the vehicle’s health and whether it needs immediate attention. Parameters like coolant temperature, battery health, engine health, and so on, are always updated in real-time.
If there are major problems that might occur due to equipment malfunctioning, the fleet managers can schedule maintenance before the faulty part breaks down in the middle of the road.
All this helps with maintaining the vehicle’s overall health and ensures that it works efficiently throughout the lifecycle.
Fuel Efficiency: A vehicle’s fuel consumption varies according to the driver’s behavior. Small things like unnecessary idling, decelerating habits, acceleration patterns, breaking patterns, and so on, have an effect on fuel consumption.
But with IoT systems added to the vehicle, fleet managers can add all the data and suggest drivers to improve their habits. This ultimately leads to better fuel efficiency.
Vehicle Monitoring: Fleet managers and drivers can access complete information about the vehicle with a series of sensors and cameras. The drivers can identify objects, pedestrians, and other vehicles in their way.
Access to this sort of detailed information certainly helps the drivers avoid any accidents. The video output from these recordings can be utilized for driver coaching.
3. Cargo Management
With the help of telematics, the fleet managers can improve the supply chain and logistics systems. For cargo management, special sensors can be attached inside the vehicle, especially the ones that carry perishable and sensitive cargo.
Sensors that check the temperature provide surveillance and detect even the slightest activity can be installed. The vibration sensors can help keep the cargo secure at all times.
Furthermore, with the help of cameras, the managers can always keep an eye on what’s going inside and outside of the cargo container.
4. Passenger Information
Another form of utility provided by IoT fleet management systems is information about passengers and their load. Plus, due to monitoring expertise, the sensors can detect the number of passengers inside the vehicle and notify the managers about any extra passengers.
It can help managers assure that the drivers are following the guidelines, especially after the pandemic.
If we take an overview of all these applications of IoT fleet management, it won’t be wrong to say that IoT is making the entire fleet management system more efficient. It allows automating the majority of the tasks and allows micro-managing every aspect leading to better management and assured results.
Benefits of a Good Fleet Management System
Fleet operators, supervisors, and managers will always have the upper hand with IoT.
Lower Fuel Consumption
We have already established the fact that how an IoT system leads to better fuel efficiency and lower consumption. IoT-enabled fleet management provides drivers and managers with accurate information. This is about a vehicle's health, driver’s behavior, driving pattern, and road traffic.
Based on the information recorded, the IoT software can recommend changes to the driver’s behavior, suggest route changes in real-time, and help with the vehicle's immaculate health via predictive maintenance.
Lower Repair Costs
With predictive maintenance in the fold, the vehicle won’t go into sudden breakdowns and malfunctions. As the managers will always be aware of the vehicle’s health, they can pre-schedule maintenance activities.
This reduces the repair and service costs because you are ahead of time when it comes to changing the vehicle parts.
Lower Operational Costs
Managing a fleet is not only about maintaining the vehicles. Instead, it involves a lot of related activities, and most of them are dependent on each other.
With IoT systems, fleet managers can keep an eye on all of these systems and ensure that they are working accurately.
Automation is achieved with IoT fleet management as it helps keep track of everything and takes control of certain tasks. For instance, an IoT management system can send recommendations to the drivers to change the route or stop idling, and so on, based on the information it gathers.
In case of a vehicle breakdown, the system can alert the operators and emergency services. Because it already has access to the vehicle’s location, sending the distress signal to the nearby services is easier.
Lastly, with IoT fleet management, you will get complete visibility into what is happening with the fleet. The software interface provides information about every vehicle on a single dashboard.
You will get notifications and reminders about the vehicle, driver, cargo, route, and so on. This way, you will always know where the vehicle is, what it is carrying, where it is going, in what time it will reach the destination, how much fuel it will spend, and so on.
IoT in fleet management will bring intelligence and efficiency to the entire cohort of fleet operations. With a tremendous potential to change things for the better within the industry, it is high time that fleet operators adopt the advanced mechanisms provided by IoT to manage and operate their fleets.
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