Trucks at sunset queuing at a shipping port, a web of icons connected by lines

Creating efficiencies with telematics, today and tomorrow

There are powerful forces shaping the commercial road transport industry: rapid advances in technology, the emergence of new fuels, changing consumer habits, and evolving legislation, to name but a few. Add to this the economic upheaval following the 2020 COVID-19 crisis and it is not hard to see that pressure on fleet managers has intensified. But crisis can bring opportunities to do things differently and accelerate change.

By Giorgio Delpiano, VP Shell Fleet Solutions on May 21, 2020

As they consider strategies to ride out the storm and stay competitive, it has never been more important to seize opportunities for efficiency improvements and cost reduction, and to hold onto their best drivers. This is where fleet management technologies, such as telematics, can help: for example by reducing costs and optimising vehicle usage.

Embracing the power of data

By 2025, it is predicted that one in three light commercial vehicles and half the trucks on the road will be using telematics1. Forward-looking fleet managers, who are keen to extend vehicle life and drive further efficiencies, are already realising the potential benefits.

Equipped with telematics data, fleet managers can find opportunities to save costs, avoid unscheduled downtime and boost productivity.

Telematics technology can help mangers identify trends in their business and provide information to help them navigate uncertain economic times. For example, detailed trip reports can help optimise vehicle utilisation and driver scheduling, while integrating back office systems with telematics can help improve productivity and efficiency.

Supporting talent retention

Worldwide, a key challenge facing fleet managers is a shortage of drivers. The European road transport sector is expected to face a 13% increase in driver shortage in 20202. In India, about 28% of the country’s approximately 8.5 million trucks are sitting idle due to a lack of drivers3.

Against this backdrop, implementing working conditions that will help attract and retain drivers makes good business sense. Telematics data can enable managers to more effectively manage working hours, more efficiently plan schedules and routes, and take a proactive approach to fleet safety by addressing any unsafe driving behaviours. Additional features such as integration with proof-of-delivery, or arrival notifications, can also make a driver’s working life easier by saving time and admin.

Truck driver leaning out of white truck cab window
Truck driver leaning out of white truck cab window

Unlocking an electric future

Estimates suggest that by 2030, up to 30% of commercial vehicle sales will be new-energy vehicles1, propelled largely by tightening government legislation on vehicle emissions and a desire among fleet bosses to improve their sustainability record.

As fleet managers look to transition to electric vehicles (EVs), telematics can help. For example, trip data can be used to assess the required range of EVs to suit the fleet’s needs, enabling managers to make informed decisions and avoid ‘range anxiety’. Fuel consumption data can help calculate the potential savings and emissions reduction that could be achieved from switching to EVs. And once the decision has been made and EVs introduced to the fleet, managers can feel reassured that the real-time telematics data can help them predict exactly where and when a driver should recharge, to help avoid unnecessary detours.

A smarter way forward

Now, at a time of intense competition, economic uncertainty, and rapid change, it is more important than ever for fleet companies to remain competitive. For fleet managers, this means finding opportunities to optimise operations. Embracing fleet management technologies, such as telematics, can prove valuable in boosting efficiency today, and making informed decisions about tomorrow.

Front view of electric vehicles with charging cables plugged in
Front view of electric vehicles with charging cables plugged in

1 Ptolemus Consulting Group, Connected Fleet Services Global Study, 2018 Edition
2 International Road Transport Union (IRU) report 2020
3 International Road Transport Union (IRU), ‘Driver shortage for trucking industry – an India perspective’, October 2018
4 Boston Consulting Group, The Future of Commercial Vehicles, October 2019