The message in the machine

The message in the machine

Fleet data is one thing, but it’s what you do with it that counts. Here’s how to uncover trends about your fleet that until now may have been hidden, and perhaps uncover a few unexpected insights along the way …

We’re living in the era of the increasingly “connected” fleet, where technology is providing fleet managers with direct access to an amounting array of data from vehicles – and in the process, gathering unprecedented amounts of information about vehicles and their usage as well as drivers and routes.

But it’s what fleet managers do with that information that ultimately sets them apart, says Gert Pretorius, managing director of MiX Telematics (Fleet Solutions Africa). Great fleet management flows from the ability to identify and proactively manage key indicators, and technology can definitely help to get the job done – but the information only helps when it’s being used to put new standards of efficiency, safety, customer service and profitability in place.

MiX Telematics recently launched a new analysis tool that it believes can deliver instant insights in the ongoing quest to reduce costs and boost operational efficiency. Targeted at MiX Telematics’ base of larger fleets, as well as smaller fleets that are serious about fleet management, the web-based MiX Insight Analyser permits fleet data to be scrutinised in depth – and allows users to slice and dice data in a variety of ways to extract the detail required to make the most of the data they have in hand.

“The success of any fleet management solution is measured by the level of benefits customers can obtain from their data,” says Pretorius. “It’s important that we take in-vehicle technologies to the next level to enable operators to achieve the maximum gain by getting the kind of information they can use to make real business decisions.”

Pretorius believes the tool is a major step forward for reporting, and in making sense of reams of data. He says it cuts through the frustration of static reports by allowing managers and executives to ask the exact questions they want answers to on the fly, and uncover unexpected insights and hidden trends in their fleet usage.

“Because the system works the way people’s minds work, it can answer all the ‘why?’ questions that traditional reports can’t answer – as fast as you can think of them,” says Pretorius. “It’s also a highly visual interface that allows you to visualise data in any way you want – in charts, tables or graphs.”

If you’re thinking that there may be a correlation between your drivers with the lowest driver score and accident risk, you no longer have to speculate. If there’s a link – as many such studies have suggested – fleet managers can now pinpoint it instantly, and take proactive action to remedy the behaviour.

Fuel remains the largest single operating cost for most fleets, so monitoring the fuel economy of each vehicle as well as each driver remains one of the most important elements for the connected fleet. An effective fleet management solution, explains Pretorius, results in a reduction in fuel costs of around 10 percent. Until now, the most common use of data has been to provide drivers with feedback on their behaviour linked to fuel economy such as excessive idling, harsh braking and speeding.

MiX Telematics believes its Insight Analyser’s differentiator is the associative experience it delivers to users, achieved majorly through the incorporation of QlikView technology. Using it, fleet managers can conduct searches and interact with dynamic dashboards and analytics from any device – ranging from desktop PCs to the most popular consumer mobile platforms and devices, including the iPad, iPhone and BlackBerry as well as Android devices.

“Providing better access to information clearly signposts the way to operational improvements,” says Pretorius. “We believe technology like MiX Insight Analyser will set a new benchmark in fleet management analysis – and at the end of the day, help fleets to become more efficient and profitable.”

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