Industry pressures spotlight fleet management tech

Paul Lawrence explains how fleet management technology can enhance productivity and cost efficiency

The transportation industry is an extremely competitive sector, with small independent companies actively battling with supermarket chains and national haulage businesses. Recent data published by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has revealed the significant impact that rising costs and low profits are having on transport businesses. In 2023, more than 460 companies filed for administration and freight volumes fell 10-15%. RHA data also showed that fleets have decreased in size by 30% over the past three years, with 1,300 fewer operator licences registered than the previous year. The growing number of firms filing for administration means transport businesses must find a way to enhance productivity and cost efficiency amidst a turbulent market, no matter the size of their fleet.

To optimise operations in the face of economic pressures, many operators are implementing a vehicle tracking system to enable full visibility over their entire fleet in real-time, With tracking in use, operators can gain insight into what percentage of their fleet is being utilised and understand which vehicles can be used to maximise efficiencies; allowing them to run a reduced fleet where possible to save on cost. With fuel costs one of the largest overheads of a transport business, driver performance and behaviour tracking can make a significant impact on cost savings through implementing these fuel efficiency measures. For example, driver incentive schemes empower drivers to perform to the best of their ability, using driver league score reports to provide regular feedback, bespoke training, and incentives for fuel efficiency percentage increases.

AddSecure Fleet Management Software
Vehicle tracking system like that from AddSecure can monitor an entire fleet in real-time, directly from a web-based telematics interface, on any device, from anywhere

Vehicle camera systems, which use advanced cameras and sensors, monitor a driver’s behaviour and awareness during a journey. Dashcams and full 360-degree cameras can help to identify and address unsafe and inefficient driving behaviours such as harsh braking and speeding, fatigue, phone usage or lane departure, creating a safer and more fuel-efficient fleet. Video evidence also protects businesses and drivers from potential false claims that might be made following an incident, reducing the risk of unforeseen expenditure.

In addition, safeguarding cold chain goods is essential to avoid profit loss and long-term reputational damage. Rejected loads can lead to significant financial failure as well as additional costs to return the load or dispose of it safely. With temperature monitoring technology, the safety and quality of loaded goods can be maintained throughout a journey. Systems can provide live temperature data in real time, with an early warning system that allows operators to ensure deliveries arrive at their destination at the right temperature. Temperature monitoring systems can also provide reports of the journey, including any breaches, to the recipient on arrival, further reducing the risk of rejected loads due to driver failure.

By taking a proactive approach with fleet management technology and optimising efficiencies, running a reduced fleet can significantly lower operating costs to keep up with industry pressures and competition. From ensuring drivers take the most efficient routes to monitoring for inefficient driving behaviours, enhancing service delivery through monitoring technology and optimising efficiency can go hand-in-hand.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.

Paul Lawrence is Managing Director, AddSecure UK, North America and Australia

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