Written by 6:00 am Feature, Service Operations

A platform approach: integrating fleet management, optimisation and mobile workforce management will lead to faster ROI

12/06/2014 22:12

The explosion of mobility and connected services means that fully integrated fleet management, route and job allocation is now a compelling option. Sergio Barata, General Manager of EMEA at Telogis explains.

Traditionally fleet management systems, navigation, route optimisation, workforce management and job allocation are different disciplines, provided by a different set of vendors, and used by different functions within the enterprise. Typically these systems didn’t talk to each other, creating silos of data. However, with the current proliferation of remote working, reliable connected services and affordable mobile devices, enterprises are now starting to recognise that the systems should be integrated and, indeed, there is no reason for them not to be integrated.

Maintaining a piecemeal approach to mobile resource management is a huge overhead in terms of both resources and cost, individual solutions lack scalability and at best provide a patchy service in terms of meeting the objectives of the organisation. A lesson that many enterprises are now learning and a situation that many are looking to rectify with a fully integrated location platform approach.

One-stop-shop, global visibility

Recently developed, a platform approach to location intelligence means that one company provides everything to do with managing mobile resources, whether vehicles, equipment or personnel. This supports enterprise-wide strategies for handling mobile IT.  A single platform reduces costs, risk and overhead.  A platform approach can be rolled out across disparate regions, giving international visibility across the entire organisation.

A single platform giving scheduling, route optimisation and fleet management in one place is able to provide a dashboard to cover all, customisable to the individual user so that they see exactly what they need to see in order to do their 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 overheads, 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 minimise costs by leveraging existing IT investments, so expenditure on infrastructure and the staff to maintain it is minimised. 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 get the best.  Cloud solutions provide new and valuable 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 hardware agnostic solutions, enables organisations to use existing kit, 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 standardise on hardware and in many cases enterprises are able to take advantage of the consumerisation 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 are 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 support decision making. Supervisors and managers can ensure that the best person in the right location with appropriate skills and equipment, is allocated the job.

One version of the truth

One system, one version of the truth, 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 with one-time data entry. Managers/supervisors/workers can capture job/work allocation information, using smartphones. 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 (restricted) access can be given to subcontractors or even third parties, when working in collaboration.

Operational benefits

The case for a platform approach delivered via the Cloud is compelling in terms of ROI on the systems in a replacement/technology refresh situation, however, the operational benefits from such systems are also highly attractive:

Workforce Efficiency – routes are optimised, staff are allocated jobs based on equipment, skills, location, and any other criteria required

Fleet management – vehicles are maintained, service requirements monitor, mileage accounted for, including out of hours usage

Fuel savings – Analysis of information from accounts/fuel receipts, mileage, routes taken, ensures best value

Driver behaviour – in-vehicle telemetry alerts to poor driving behaviour such as harsh breaking/acceleration, sharp cornering, driving without seatbelt etc, enabling training to be given to ensure safety is maintained

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

For more information about how your organisation could benefit from a Location Platform approach please visit: www.telogis.co.uk