Vital guide to turn basic challenges around in haulage business
Fleet operators face a number of inescapable challenges that have a huge impact on their bottom line. Nigeria and other African countries are bound to global oil fluctuations and, as such, the fuel price is constantly changing – leaving businesses with very little room to plan effectively. Fuel is a critical pillar in the effective operation of fleet businesses, so managers need to look for ways to reduce this expenditure. A proven way of doing so is to address the driving events that increase fuel usage, such as route divergence and, very importantly, driver behaviour. Excessive idling and speeding means excessive fuel consumption.
While legislation is not currently in place to monitor driving hours, driver fatigue remains one of the leading causes of accidents. Maintaining serviced vehicles, including proper tyre management, is another challenge made easy through fleet management technology.
Now more than ever, operators need to identify and commit to a comprehensive solution they can rely on for the smooth-running, maintenance and organic growth of their fleets. As the market shifts to a highly digitised environment, the fleet management mix, and the value it delivers will become more accessible and more appealing to fleet owners. Telematics, as a result, is also becoming more integrative, which furthers the convenience factor.
The benefit of digital communication bodes well for businesses and fleet managers, allowing them to track and monitor drivers, field workers, vehicles and other mobile assets. However, to ensure efficiency, safety compliance and security – in the drive to becoming a digital business – fleet managers should constantly be on the lookout for tailored telematics products and services. Choose a supplier that doesn’t ‘cookie-cut’ an offering, but rather endeavors to understand the business operation in isolation to other businesses.
Advancement in technology also positively impacts cross-border operations and the risks associated therewith, such as hi-jacking and vehicle-location monitoring. A comprehensive fleet management solution that uses GSM and GPRS, or satellite tracking, places the much-needed control in the hands of fleet managers. It also helps them to protect and support their drivers, in case of emergency.
As the technology landscape changes in Nigeria and other African countries, the role of mobile devices in the telematics space represents great growth potential. While business owners may not be able to archive and back-up systems, or may not have the resources to engage in expensive IT systems or even have access to electricity, they often run their entire business using a mobile device. Forward-thinking transportation and logistics managers are seeking new ways to compete in challenging markets, by making use of mobile technologies that support telematics.
Fleet management via mobile translates into real efficiency, as it allows managers to quickly and easily make decisions and take corrective action. Knowing where a vehicle is in relation to a customer site, and assigning jobs accordingly is one way in which efficiency and service can be boosted.
The positive impact that innovative, premium fleet management has on a business cannot go unnoticed. And correctly implemented solutions can pay for themselves within twelve months.