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The digital metamorphosis of Employee Fleet Management

 

Contrary to popular opinion, the reason for human progress is not our superior intellect. We’re only marginally smarter than apes though that margin is still considerable. The secret has always been our ability to communicate. The more we communicate, the greater our progress.

 

Imagine how short Lord of the Rings would have been if the Fellowship had smartphones with cloud-based technology.  They could track each other’s locations and maybe geotag Nazgul sightings. What if Merry and Pippin could have marked themselves safe from orcs? A large part of the story takes place simply because of limited means of communication!

 

Civilizations have developed over centuries by humans because of the ability to pass knowledge on even after death by creating records. Modes of communication have evolved since then, from being static and stale to dynamic and instant.

 

You’ve probably  heard the term ‘Internet of Things’ being bandied about in conjunction with term Industry 4.0, a term that refers to the 4th industrial revolution.

 

So what is this ‘Internet of Things’?

 

The Internet of Things isn’t a new technological innovation. It is an idea and a game-changer in how we perceive the world around us. IoT takes communication to another level by outfitting mundane devices with an internet connection and programming them to ‘talk’ to each other and analyze information and events as they take place.

 

Computers have the advantage over humans when  it comes to arithmetic tasks but human minds are indisputably superior at  interpreting the world around them. Humans are more creative and intuitive.

 

With our highly communicative computing devices to take care of mundane calculations, humans can do what they do best, be creative, intuitive and emotional.

 

Like everything else in our world, fleet management services too have undergone a digital metamorphosis. Manual fleet management typically involved hours of work, requiring humans to sort out lists of passengers, available drivers etc. to arrange trips. Booking rides wasn’t as mainstream as it is now. Today, computers have made it possible to manage large amounts of data and calculations in mere moments.

 

Here are some of the defining features of employee transport management today

 

Live Tracking

 

There is a simpler yet more sophisticated solution to tracking a vehicle than installing a GPS tracker in it. Equip drivers with a smartphone that usually comes with a GPS tracker pre-installed. Drivers can use the phone to navigate the route for pickup/drop off and access other management options.

 

Flexible Scheduling

 

Digitized scheduling is smart scheduling. Cloud-based fleet management apps optimize routes and assign available drivers for scheduled trips. Employees can choose to book rides independently or through the company and revise their schedules in case of extended shifts or an emergency.

 

OTP Verification

 

OTP Verification ensures that drivers pick up the right passengers. Fleet management apps generate a unique One Time Password on the passenger’s dashboard. The passengers must relay this OTP to the driver when the vehicle reaches the pickup point. The trip starts when the OTP is verified.

 

Auto-routing

 

Auto-routing is the automated process of using GPS data to identify swift and safe routes that cover the maximum number of scheduled stops in one trip. Additionally, GPS satellites are used to gather information about external conditions like traffic james, road conditions, accidents and weather etc.

 

Monitoring Trips and Drivers

 

It’s now possible to monitor the driver’s performance and analyse certain tendencies over a period of time. Fleet management apps maintain precise records of any instances of hard braking, swift and sudden turns, speeding, idle time, and non compliance with safety protocols.

 

Geofencing

 

Geofencing is the action of setting virtual boundaries on certain locations using GPS, RFID, WiFi, or cellular data. If any vehicle which has been geofenced leaves the path determined by autorouting and enters an out-of-bounds zone, an update is sent to the concerned authorities.

 

Here are some pros and cons of these features:

 

Pros

 

Swift and Smart

 

Hours of manual labor is reduced to a few seconds with barely any input required from the app user.

 

Accuracy

 

Digitized fleet management apps use computing devices for quick and error-free scheduling, autorouting and other tasks

 

Cost efficient

 

Autorouting saves costs by choosing routes that pass all scheduled stops in the quickest way within a limited number of vehicles.

 

Time efficient

 

Autorouting saves time by completing tasks that may take humans hours and hours of labor, within seconds.

 

More business

 

With so much bulk work reduced to a few tapped commands on a smartphone, fleet owners can  focus on expanding their fleet.

 

Transparency

 

Digital fleet management allows for transparency in every step right from scheduling and live tracking drivers to billing.

 

Cons

 

As with any activity involving the internet, online management can be susceptible to hacking and theft of personal information.

 

This could happen in two ways.

 

  • The device could be physically compromised by theft, tampering, or introduction to viruses via exposed ports.
  • Cybersecurity attacks could give malicious hackers control of real-world objects and the ability to wreak much havoc.

 

Fortunately, these threats can be dealt with using resourcefulness, constant security upgrades, layers of encryption and extra vigilance.

 

Telematics hasn’t just changed the way fleet owners manage their fleet, it has changed the dynamic between enterprises, fleet owners, drivers and passengers and facilitates a more synergized approach to fleet operations.

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