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How the 4IR is driving transformation in fleet management

by Justin Manson

IoT. Image by methodshop from Pixabay

A couple of decades ago, the very concept of commercial truck drivers driving long distances without a foldable paper map to guide them would have been considered absurd. Today, those maps have become obsolete, replaced by GPS devices and other similar compact technologies that can perform a thousand additional tasks.

With each passing decade, the fleet management industry witnesses advancements in telematics, GPS navigation, integrated fleet management software, immersive infotainments and (more recently) autonomous vehicles. Innovations such as cloud-based solutions, sensors embedded into fleets and the Internet of Things (IoT) have all played a role in not only enhancing vehicles on the road but also  digitising fleet management.

These technologies enable managers to perform tasks such as view real-time traffic information, access fuel management tools and manage vehicle performance, all of which can help them improve business operations.

How has South Africa’s fleet management industry evolved over the years?

For a country that boasts one of the oldest telematics markets in the world, South Africa’s fleet management industry has transformed at a slightly slower pace compared to the rest of the world.

Despite this, evidence points to a change in this pattern within the industry in the future. According to the fourth consecutive report by the IoT analyst firm Berg Insight, Fleet Management in South Africa – the country’s fleet management sector is preparing for accelerated growth.

The report forecasts active fleet management systems growth at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% from 1.6 million units at the end of 2018 to 3.2 million by 2023. The penetration rate in the total population of non-privately owned fleet vehicles used by businesses is at the same time estimated to increase from 34.6% in 2018 to 63.1% in 2023.

South Africa’s relatively mature telematics market, when combined with the penetration rate, is therefore comparably high from an international perspective. The country’s fleet management industry is, however, still dominated by comparably low-end tracking systems made up of light fleet management solutions.

How SA’s fleet management industry can leverage technology in the digital age

Technology in the Fourth Industrial Revolution enables both drivers and fleet managers to generate a lot more data from vehicles that are on the road than they could in the past. This is data that can effectively be used to connect the data dots to deliver clear, actionable insights that enable the management of vehicles and drivers to be done more effectively.

South Africa’s fleet management industry can leverage solutions available in the market today to add powerful functionalities to fleet managers in the office and drivers on the road. Solutions, like Webfleet Solutions’ Fleet Management Software, can give drivers direct insight into their driving behaviour – encouraging them to drive more responsibly and for managers to ensure the fleet is run optimally. After all, the key to running fleet operations efficiently is by bridging the gap between fleet managers in the office and drivers on the road – helping them collaborate and work better as a team.

Advanced telematics technology offers an even greater level of insight into the control of a fleet’s operation, such as order optimisation, IT integration, camera services, connected tyres and  much more. This enables managers to track vehicles and, therefore, justify the time, kilometres travelled, and locations drivers visit for accurate reporting.

Fleet managers now have access to technology that can provide them with vehicle positions every few seconds, and systems that provide feedback on driving performance directly to the driver in real-time. The thousands of devices that are installed on vehicles today provide managers and drivers with deeper insights into the performance of the fleet.Dashboards and extensive and detailed reports  help reduce the total cost of ownershipby analysing vehicle utilisation, driver behaviour and vehicle health.

To connect fleet managers to the future, fleet management solutions must leverage the cutting-edge technology that has been made available today to focus on delivering powerful, technologically sophisticated innovations that will pioneer the future of mobility across industries.  

Driving digitalisation in the transportation industry

By adopting digitisation, fleet managers can drive transformation throughout the industry and place fleet management at the very heart of the digital age. As the market-leading, innovative software as a service (SaaS) fleet management provider, Webfleet Solutions offers fleet managers all the information they need to manage their fleet operation more efficiently and collaborate with their drivers better.

A lot of the gaps that currently exist in fleet management will be closed in years to come, as the rate at which technology is evolving continues to grow on a global scale. What was possible from the days of palm pilots to what fleet management solutions can do today is incredible, and more is yet to come as digitisation within the industry continues to streamline operations and pioneer transformation in the transportation industry. The astronomical speed at which the industry is transforming is mind-blowing and the advancements that we’re witnessing in fleet management give us a glimpse into the future that was once predicted decades ago.

Justin Manson, Sales Director at Webfleet Solutions SA

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