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The Middle East is yet to optimise fleet management tech

Fleet management technology has evolved beyond vehicle location updates, but do the region’s large fleet owners understand that? Dennis Daniel reports

Modern fleet management is about more than just vehicle tracking.
Modern fleet management is about more than just vehicle tracking.

Technology can make drivers happier, according to a study conducted by Fleet Management Systems and Technologies (FMS Tech). The study revealed that driver morale increased by 73% for clients that installed an in-vehicle management system (IVMS) or telematics device.

This is thanks to the company’s Driver Merit System feature, which gives regular feedback to drivers – based on a points system – via text messages. Once drivers have accumulated a certain number of points, they can redeem them for prizes, or even cash.

As technology plays an increasingly significant role in society, FMS Tech aims to promote smart driving with on-board computers, IVMS, and telematics, all of which fall under the umbrella of fleet management technology.

Most commonly, fleet management technology is used to answer the question of where a company’s vehicles are at any given moment. But in today’s market, technology offers much more than just the GPS location of a vehicle.

READ: How fleet management is getting smarter

Other fleet problems that can now be solved by technology include business concerns such as non-compliance with safety procedures, unauthorised use of company vehicles, and theft of cargo or fuel. All of these topics can be addressed – and solved – with a comprehensive fleet management system, but what is often overlooked is how the data is delivered, displayed, and reported. After all, powerful technology is useless if a fleet manager is unable to comprehend and use the data.

Easy-to-read reports generated on an automatic basis enable fleet performance to be tracked and optimised. Customising reports to meet the specific needs of a particular business is the most efficient way to keep data organised.

If fleet managers invest in a new technology, they are most likely going to be satisfied if the system is able to resolve their main fleet problem. However, managers should also be aware of several top-line benefits that promise to keep paying off long after the fees are paid.

For example, vehicles that have been installed with fleet management technology are 79% less likely to be involved in an accident. Not only does this reduce the accident-related costs, it also supports corporate goals and makes drivers feel safer.

Moreover, there are many driver habits that negatively affect the fuel efficiency of a vehicle, including long idling times, harsh acceleration and braking, and speeding. These behaviours can lower gas mileage by 15-30% at highway speeds, and 10-40% in high-traffic areas. A good fleet management system can provide data in an easy-to-read format to help fleet managers identify drivers and behaviours that are impeding their fleet efficacy goals. A good system could reduce fuel consumption by 15-25%.

Bad driving habits can also increase the frequency with which vehicles need to be maintained. According to feedback collected from a sample of FMS Tech users in 2016-17, fleet managers can expect a decrease of 24% in their maintenance costs if fleet management technology is installed in their vehicles.

These technologies also offer an 84% decrease in speeding violations, which is one of the most common driving errors and can cause the most damage to vehicles.

It is somewhat rare for fleet management technology companies to develop both hardware and software systems in house, and they instead tend to specialise in either one or the other. There are advantages to working with a provider that develops both, however –seamless integration and easily accessible updates and customisation, for instance.

It is also important to pick a fleet management provider that has a track record of working in diverse industries. A lot of approvals are typically required by government entities and industries such as oil and gas, for example, so a technology company that has been approved for use by those sectors can often be relied upon by other industries, as well.

READ: Fleet management meets big data

FMS Tech and its distributor and partner in Oman, Global Fleet Management Systems, are currently in the process of conducting a six-month pilot project with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) for the implementation and testing of a new technology on a specific set of vehicles at selected PDO sites.

In order to decrease fatalities and increase safety, oil and gas companies have been investing in IVMS and video cameras to implement their stringent health, safety, and environment policies. Usually, a control centre manager would have to spend hours manually matching up the data provided by each device, as the different technologies tend to work independently of one another. The FMS Eagle Eye system eliminates these extra steps, however, and helps companies to identify exactly what happened before, during, and right after an accident has occurred, through the use of video clips.

Fleet management technology has come a long way from simply knowing where a company’s vehicles are, and it is important that fleet owners in the Middle East’s construction and equipment sectors understand this fact.

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