The explosion of mobility and connected services means that fully integrated vehicle location, route and job allocation are now a compelling option. Sergio Barata, general manager of EMEA, Telogis, explains.
Traditionally, fleet management systems, navigation, route optimization, workforce management and job allocation are different disciplines, provided by a different set of vendors and used by different functions within the enterprise.
However, with the current proliferation of remote workforces, reliable connected services and affordable mobile devices, enterprises are starting to recognize that the systems should be, and, indeed, there is no reason for them not to be integrated.
Global visibility and business intelligence
A platform approach to location intelligence means that one company provides everything to do with managing mobile resources, whether these are vehicles, equipment or personnel.
A single platform reduces costs, risk and overhead. It can be rolled out across disparate regions, giving international visibility across the entire organization. And, given the fact that scheduling, optimization, vehicle location and routes are in one place, it is able to provide in-depth business intelligence that is customizable to the individual user so that he or she can see exactly what needs to be done in order to do the job most effectively.
With one system, users log in just once to see everything on one screen.
Cloud delivery, faster ROI
Delivery via the Cloud brings a whole host of additional benefits. Faster return on investment (ROI) is often the initial attraction, but longer-term reduction in maintenance overhead and a total lower cost of ownership are also significant cost factors.
With no upfront capital costs, Cloud solutions eliminate the need to purchase or upgrade servers, operating systems or database versions. Cloud services further minimize costs by leveraging existing IT investments, so expenditure on infrastructure and staff to maintain it is also minimized.
Business benefits include access to a global solution, full integration between disciplines enabling better operational planning and execution, and business decisions taken based on fact.
In addition, Cloud solutions are continuously updated, so you always have the latest versions and the newest capabilities through the lifetime of the service, ensuring that your solution keeps pace with business requirements and changing technology.
Harness technology, empower staff
A Cloud delivery model coupled with open hardware solutions enables organizations to use existing equipment, with no need to upgrade or replace devices already installed in vehicles or issued to staff.
When all you require is a web browser, there is no need to standardize on hardware, and, in many cases, enterprises are able to take advantage of the consumerization of IT and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trends. Subject to some restrictions due to security considerations, staff can use devices of their choice.
This keeps staff happy and can reduce hardware spend.Improved access and mobility means staff is freed up to concentrate on the next job, rather than spending time going back to base. Workers have constant access to real-time data, which supports decision making. Supervisors and managers can ensure that the best person in the right location, with appropriate skills and equipment is allocated the job.
Transforming your business
One system, one version of the company’s data and information, updated in real time enables enterprises to streamline business operations and drive efficiency. The ability for multiple people to work on one Cloud-based solution helps to drive efficiency. Managers, supervisors and workers can capture job/work allocation information using mobile devices.
Field updates are reflected instantly for all to see allowing users in multiple locations to collaborate.The real-time nature of Cloud solutions means that access (with appropriate limitations) can be given to subcontractors or even third parties when working in collaboration.
When looking at a technology refresh, the case for a platform approach delivered via the Cloud is compelling because existing equipment can be repurposed, and there is no initial capital outlay, leading to a fast ROI. However, the operational benefits from such systems are also highly attractive:
Workforce efficiency – routes are optimized, jobs are allocated to staff based on equipment, skills, location and any other criteria required
Fleet management – vehicles are maintained, service requirements monitored, mileage accounted for, including out-of-hours usage
Fuel savings – analysis of information from accounts/fuel receipts, mileage, routes taken and driving behavior ensures the best value
Driver behavior and safety – in-vehicle alerts to poor driving behavior, such as harsh braking/acceleration, speeding and seat belt usage, flag additional training needs
Better customer service – knowing the location of staff and resources means information can be given to customers on estimated time of delivery/arrival, helping to improve customer relations
Sergio Barata is general manager of EMEA at Telogis.
For all the latest telematics trends, check out Telematics for Fleet Management Europe 2014  on March 12-13 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Content and Apps for Automotive Europe 2014  on April 8-9 in Munich, Germany, Telematics Detroit 2014  on June 4-5 in Novi, Michigan, and V2X and Auto Safety USA 2014  on July 8-9 in Novi, Michigan.
For exclusive telematics business analysis and insight, check out TU’s reports: Telematics Connectivity Strategies Report 2013 , The Automotive HMI Report 2013 , Insurance Telematics Report 2013  and Fleet & Asset Management Report 2012 .