Fleet Automation: The Next Generation Of Fleet Management

Alongside persistent challenges like labor shortages, high fuel costs and surging insurance premiums, the transportation industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation in how information is collected, analyzed and used. 

In order to compete in today's increasingly competitive marketplace, fleets have to survive on thin profit margins. Fleet automation has arrived just in time to help fleets make the most of every dollar, optimizing operations, organizational structures and big-picture strategies to maximize revenue. Automation simply makes fleets smarter, faster and more competitive by removing basic managerial and administrative tasks from a team's to-do list. 

The next era in fleet management is fleet automation, allowing companies to:

1. Automate data collection.

2. Automate data analysis.

3. Automate management tasks.

4. Automate the processes that optimize entire organizations.

After collecting every second of data from assets, vehicles, employees, jobs and worksites, AI can understand the next appropriate action to take. With the integration of telematics and Internet of Things devices, truck cabs, trailers, shipping containers, chassis and pallets transcend their functional use and become data aggregators. 

"As companies start to digitize and collect more information from these IoT devices on assets, they also require more IT or at least understanding of what to do with that data," said John Mitzel, senior director of marketing at FleetUp, a California-based fleet management solutions company founded in 2013. "That's the conundrum ⁠— what to do with that information."

Fleet automation makes the analysis and interpretation of data automatic, so fleets can get the full benefit of IoT that wasn't available before. In the past, both harnessing and taking action on data required human intervention and coaching, but with fleet automation, companies can aggregate data from their assets, synthesize that information and then use artificial intelligence to make the data actionable without the need of human intervention. 

"The AI dashcam is just one example of this," said Michael Vizzi, senior product marketing manager at FleetUp. "By analyzing the driver's behavior, the AI dashcam can assist the driver by automatically detecting potential dangerous events or risky behavior and then alerting them to take corrective action. When an event does occur, we automatically record and store those events so that fleet managers can track all these behaviors and use that data in their analysis of a driver's need for remedial training."

But not only do fleet automation and automated coaching help weed out problematic driving behaviors like speeding or idling, they also shine a light on drivers who are doing their jobs effectively. With the assistance of an ELD voice assistant, drivers can easily stay compliant with hours-of-service regulations.  

"If everything is streamlined and automated, your insurance costs will go down because your accidents will go down," said Mitzel. "Your fuel costs will go down because you won't have as much idling time or people driving recklessly trying to make their deliveries. So as costs go down, efficiency will go up."

As consumers begin seeking out brands that value sustainability, shippers will want to partner with carriers who have adopted fleet automation to gain visibility into their drivers' idling time, fuel consumption, as well as overall wear and tear of the assets. Fleet automation gives fleet managers the data and analytics they need not only to protect and improve utilization of their assets but also to push their operations toward tomorrow's supply chain and consumer. 

"We've reached the point where automation touches every job, every employee, every order, every department," said Mitzel. "But this breakthrough means that automation technologies are going to develop with exponential speed. FleetUp is building the foundation to help customers harness fleet automation, which will make their operations more productive, efficient and competitive."

To learn more about automating your fleet, click here.

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