In December of last year, Automotive Fleet magazine picked ten trends that would dominate 2016 for owners of Class 3-6 trucks. We review them and suggest ways you can overcome the challenges and make this year your best yet.
Trend 1 – Flat fuel prices
A welcome relief to fleet owners, fuel prices remain steady and it looks like they’re set to stay that way for 2016. But it’s no time to be complacent, in fact lower fuel prices can hide needless waste.
Fuel is still a major operating expense and savings made now through smarter routing, reduced idling and more efficient vehicles will instantly improve profitability and put your fleet in a good position when oil prices start to move north.
Ready to reduce your fuel spend? This ebook offers five valuable suggestions on how to do it.
Trend 2 – Stable maintenance costs
Another piece of good news for fleet owners is a lack of upward pressure on maintenance costs. That said, like fuel, it’s still not free and it makes good business sense to cut costs where possible.
Even better news is that new diagnostic technology is helping fleet managers stay on top of upcoming maintenance without time-consuming physical inspections. Tire pressure monitoring systems and real-time DTC alerts, combined with electronic DVIRs is improving the predictive maintenance process.
Better predictive maintenance leads to reduced “soft costs” – it means parts can be ordered in advance, better service center scheduling and less downtime.
Learn more about the benefits of integrated fleet maintenance software.
Trend 3 – More pressure on cost reduction
Pressure from management to meet tighter budgets in 2016 is potentially a reflection of an industry that is becoming more competitive as larger players use technology to increase efficiency and extend their reach into niche markets.
But with a mobile workforce, where budget leaks can easily go undetected, reducing costs is often easier said than done.
The first step is to improve how operations (and its costs) are measured and monitored, and mobile enterprise management (MEM) technology provides you with a much more accurate picture of when and where your budget is being spent.
Monitor just about any work-related activity including:
- Vehicles, workers and assets arrive or depart a job site
- Deviations from planned routes between jobs
- Usage outside of work hours
- Unauthorized fuel card use
- Poor fuel economy
- Jobs that longer than expected
- Vehicle or equipment with excessive downtime
- Under-utilized assets
Better measurement of current operations will switch the light on where money is being spent, making it easier to see areas where savings can be made.
Have you considered AEMP? This data standard allows you to combine vehicle with equipment monitoring across a range of brands including Caterpillar, John Deere and Komatsu.
Get the free ebook that shows how you can improve asset utilization by 10% and explains the new AEMP standard.
Trend 4 – Growth in telematics usage
A growing acceptance and increasing awareness of the benefits, reduced installation costs of built-in solutions by more truck makers including Hino, Ford, GM, Isuzu, Volvo and Mack.
The other change that’s happening is a shift in how telematics is perceived by fleet owners. Telematics used to be considered a basic ‘dots on a map’ solution, only good for tracking vehicles. Now the technology has broadened to provide companies with a full mobile enterprise management (MEM) platform that brings together driver safety, productivity, maintenance and integration.
The recent ELD mandate will also be another driving force in moving paper-based fleets to a full telematics solution.
Find out more about Telogis Fleet, a full mobile enterprise management (MEM) system that can cover all your mobile workforce and compliance requirements. There are also OEM options, which means all the required hardware is already installed.
Trend 5 – A return to regular vehicle cycling
Downturns in the economy often result in fleet owners replacing trucks less frequently. Instead of every 3 or 4 years, it’s 8 or 12. Now that the economy has bounced back, businesses will be returning to a more frequent turnover of vehicles, looking to replace an aging fleet of vehicles and equipment.
If you are planning on buying new trucks, it’s an ideal time to consider ways to future-proof your fleet. Look into built-in options such as Hino INSIGHT, which is standard fit on all new 2017 models.
Learn more about built-in telematics and save on hardware costs, reduce downtime and improve diagnostic data.
Trend 6 – More accurate vehicle-task matching
With increased model range and flexible upfitting options, customizing trucks to match the job are more aligned than ever. Companies will be replacing vehicles with right-sized trucks to cut costs and improve productivity.
What about matching trucks to ad hoc jobs? This is something we’ve been talking about for a long time. Why send a big truck when a smaller one can get the job done? Sounds simple in theory but in practice, without the right monitoring, it can be difficult to do. Dispatch tools can give your team the situational awareness they need to send the most economical for the task.
Provide dispatch with the tools they need to send the right truck (and the right personnel) to every job. Learn more about Telogis Response.
Trend 7 – New safety measures reduce labor & accident costs
This is one area the growth of telematics will have a marked impact on. Often fleets who implement telematics to improve productivity find that they enjoy significant gains in driver safety.
Fewer accidents means lower costs, less downtime and insurance bills. For commercial carriers it means a better CSA score and a better reputation in the marketplace with existing and potential new customers.
Read the Poolsure case study to see how telematics is keeping drivers safe.
Trend 8 – Better asset utilization
Assets sitting idle represent unused resources. Using telematics to right-size the fleet, managers are now more aware of what vehicles are where, and how they’re being used. With that information, right-sizing becomes a lot easier. Underused assets can be relocated or sold off.
“It’s enabling us to utilize our fleet 100 percent.”
Director of Fleet Operations, FreshDirect
Watch the FreshDirect story to see how they’re making the best use of all available assets.
Trend 9 – Driver shortages
Not a new problem but one that will continue to dog fleets in the coming year. This is one of the reasons Telogis focuses on improving the driver experience, rather than just providing management tools.
A lot drivers are seeing mobile enterprise management technologies (telematics, compliance and route optimization) as an effective way to improve the accuracy of their performance reports and create opportunities to be rewarded for a job done right.
Get some valuable tips on beating the driver shortage in this free ebook.
Trend 10 – Electronic HOS logging to increase labor costs
Companies impacted by the recent ELD mandate (see Am I affected?) are counting down the months until they will need to fully transition from paper HOS log books to electronic logging. Some analysts feel stricter driving hours, particularly related to downtime when loading or unloading, will harm driver earning hours and lead to a loss of productivity.
Any potential drop in productivity, however, will be offset by the benefits (this ebook discusses at least six of them) as well as the additional gains from switching to a comprehensive fleet management solution.
Switch to an electronic logging solution early to give drivers time to transition. At the same time educate shippers and receivers about ways to improve loading efficiency, and minimize driver downtime.
Will 2016 be a good year for your company?
Whether these trends will be realized or not remains to be seen but one thing you can be certain of is the ongoing march of technology and its transformative effect on the industry.
Whatever challenges you face this year, it’s worth considering that it could represent more of an opportunity than a speedbump. Talk to us and you might discover we have just the tool you need to not only overcome whatever 2016 throws at you, but makes it your most progressive year yet.