From toilet paper to helium, the shortages we’ve experienced in the past year and a half have been inconvenient to say the least. Each shortage has various reasons as to why it came about – from too little supply to logistics challenges (remember the Suez Canal debacle?), but a couple of recent ones are hitting a little closer to home for fleets.
Just last week, BP announced potential rations of gasoline in the UK due to a truck driver shortage, and this week it confirmed nearly a third of its UK gas stations had run out of some form of gas. It’s not that there’s a shortage of gas itself – there just aren’t enough drivers to get the gas supply to where it needs to be.
This is one of the biggest pain points the fleet industry is experiencing on a global scale today. Compounding this, a chip shortage is also plaguing fleets and preventing the aging assets from phasing out in their regular lifecycle timeframe.
How can fleet managers adapt to alleviate these pain points that don’t seem to be going away anytime soon?
Abating the Shortages
This round of gas shortages is a little different from what we experienced with the Colonial Pipeline hack earlier this year, but the outcome and challenges posed are similar. Fleets need to be prepared to respond quickly to disruption – no matter where it comes from.
Leveraging a cloud-based fleet and safety management platform is a great way to abate these shortages, as this type of technology gives fleet managers visibility into their operations and helps to uncover ways they can do more with less and create greater efficiencies.
For example, gaining valuable insights into how much fuel is used on specific routes or by certain drivers can help managers see larger patterns that may have gone unnoticed without the use of analytics. Behaviors including hard braking, excess idling and rapid acceleration all factor into the rate at which fuel is consumed. While on a single-driver basis these patterns may not amount to much, extrapolating these insights to scale across a large fleet can account for a significant portion of overall spend.
A fleet and safety management platform can also help companies quickly onboard and train new drivers. This is especially important with the proposed legislation that would allow commercial driver’s license holders under the age of 21 to participate in apprenticeship programs and cross state lines – greatly increasing the pool of candidates to hire. With an influx of inexperienced drivers potentially coming into the field, there are a few ways technology can reduce risk and help drivers hit the road:
- AI video dash cameras – Detect and alert drivers of risky behaviors in real-time, identifying distractions as well as providing forward-collision warnings.
- Driver scorecards to track safety – Provide an in-cab system so new drivers can improve their driving skills and ultimately their safety metrics. With technology, these behaviors are tracked and rated over time, so new drivers can get a sense of their progress in skill development.
- Driver coaching and training – Armed with real-time understanding of driver behavior and external road conditions, managers can more effectively coach and train new drivers.
If the driver and gas shortages weren’t enough to keep you up at night, the chip shortages will continue to cause disruption for the foreseeable future. Even as businesses are exceeding budgets to buy vehicles, orders are sitting unfulfilled for months.
What can managers do when there’s no option for adding new vehicles to their fleet? The answer again lies in technology. Predictive maintenance and analytics tied to a fleet management platform can help to ensure that business continues running efficiently with aging assets, helping to stretch vehicles beyond what we’ve had to in the past. A few ways we see this in action include:
- Optimizing the dispatch of assets – Verify the actual location and availability of your fleet and assets so you can move them to new job sites in the most efficient manner.
- Protecting equipment and recovering stolen assets – In addition to gaining real-time visibility into the location of fleet and equipment, use geofencing to prevent theft and unauthorized usage of high-value assets and get alerts to recover them.
- Extending the life of fleet and assets – Automatically schedule preventative maintenance when an operator flags an issue to reduce fleet and equipment downtime and extend the total cost of ownership.
Doing More with Less
There’s no way around it: businesses are having to do more with less, and this is only possible by creating a more efficient business model.
Given the limited vehicle supply, driver shortage challenges and the ongoing risk of fuel volatility, it’s crucial for fleet managers to have access to real-time insights, including location and health of the fleet and equipment, as well as data about the workforce in order to manage costs and make smarter decisions.
With these insights delivered in an easily digestible and actionable way, our customers are finding that the efficiencies created by using our fleet and safety management platform are allowing them to keep their fleet on the road doing business.
Ready to put the right technology in place to address these pain points? Request a demo.