Taking Action

In a volatile, fast-changing economic climate such as this one, transport businesses will be hard pressed to find the same level of integrated support and data reporting telematics specialist, Geotab, currently offers its customers.

Road transport fleets have little more than 12 months to plan contingencies for how they will operate once the long-coming obsolescence of the 3G network in Australia goes into effect.

For many, a platform decision beckons that is set to determine operational integrity over the next five years and beyond. Even the best operators may not know the extent of the time that their installed devices in vehicles spend inside and outside network connectivity.

The biggest of the mobile network providers, Telstra, will be the first to abandon 3G as it frees up cellular frequency bands ahead of migration to LTE. At that point, there will be two ways for fleets to be left in the cold, to borrow from Hemingway — gradually and then suddenly.

Geotab, a fleet management and telematics leader globally, can identify which devices are at risk of being without coverage after the shutdown. That’s a major advantage for its customers, given businesses that reap benefits from big data can’t afford to be estranged from the numbers. Nor will the ripple effect be easily contained.

Deprivation of key data sets is going to negatively impact compliance obligations in crucial areas of the business including requirements like finance, environmental outputs and labour practices. New learnings that have been applied to change controls and monitoring to maintain pace with operational procedures such as emissions and freight movements will also be impacted.

Many of these daily pressures, what’s more, are going to be exacerbated in a sustained period of economic downturn. To offset losses, mitigate risks, and perhaps even grow, organisations must stay productive. That will mean for transport businesses stretching every dollar further. In a fleet sense, assets might need to be redeployed to cover new areas. Business processes will have to be streamlined and asset utilisation improved.

Capturing and leveraging fleet data can help inform management decisions based on gaps or efficiency opportunities. Fleet replenishment, once a mechanism of road transport conducted like clockwork, is, in the post-COVID world of rising inflation, a fickle enterprise, increasingly spaced out as costs for manufacturing and labour affect vehicle availability, deliveries and eventually their values.

For any fleet overwhelmed by the pressurised conditions of the current market, Geotab can light the way forward. The family-owned company provides telematics technology to more than 3.5 million vehicles and data-driven insights to over 45,000 customers worldwide. Through a suite of over 150 hardware add-ons, software add-ins and applications available on the Geotab Marketplace, it enables users to customise their solution for any task, no matter how immense. The Geotab capabilities are prodigious as the team at Enterprise Fleet Management recently discovered.

Enterprise Fleet Management engaged Geotab to conduct an enormous fleet EV Suitability Assessments (EVSA), one of the largest ever undertaken in the segment. Recognising the transition to electric vehicles was well underway Enterprise Fleet Management knew it had to base its long-term business strategy on reliable data — not assumptions.

Not only did the study of over 91,000 vehicles allow the team at Enterprise Fleet Management to better understand the market opportunity today, but it also provided valuable insights to further support their customers into the future.
The study found that approximately 12,000 vehicles (13 per cent) of the analysed vehicles could be economically replaced by EVs today.

Near-term electrification, meanwhile, could achieve a total potential saving AUD$45 million and 194,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions over four years.

“This wasn’t just a study on vehicle availability today versus tomorrow”, explains Dain Giesie, Assistant Vice President of Business Development for Enterprise Fleet Management. “We contributed real-world experience that informed data inputs for depreciation, fuel costs, vehicle costs, after-market costs and more to give us a deeper perspective into our customers’ potential future needs and how we can best support those needs”.

Using aggregated data from Geotab to show how vehicles were being used by Enterprise Fleet Management clients, the two teams were able to produce a factual and reliable suitability assessment on a scale never attempted before.

With its fleet largely made up of medium-duty work vehicles and utilities, Enterprise Fleet Management wanted comparison data from the EVSA.

As the market expanded, what would today’s EV opportunity look like versus tomorrows? Enterprise Fleet Management already had a pretty good idea: EV pickup trucks were anticipated to play a much bigger role in the future. The study helped confirm this: Up to 45 per cent (approximately 42,000) of the analysed vehicles could be electrified as EV utilities entered the market. From further assessment the business was able to quantify how EV pickup introductions would impact the fleet overall.

“The study highlighted the opportunities and needs of our customers for us,” recalls Dain. “We could keep our strategic planning process on track and continue to be a fleet management leader for those we serve.”

In sum, the data prompted Enterprise Fleet Management to act.

Accurate, real-world data sourced directly from the fleet helps Geotab reduce as many assumptions as it can for analysis and projections. In turn, this will allow its customers to better serve theirs.

Many of the big carriers in Australia, for this reason alone, are going to have to review what telematics can do for their business into the next decade. Preparing for it now will help ensure there is one.

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