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Fleet managers are constantly playing a shell game — trying to optimize routes and move drivers around to serve customers better, but sometimes they come up empty. The performance of a fleet depends on the completion of tasks by employees, partners and even customers. Then, there are uncontrollable outside forces to contend with.
Enterprise tools for fleet management provide comprehensive internal information, however companies have been reluctant to go outside the boundaries of their own systems. Yet, without external data, digital capabilities are not being fully leveraged, according to Sana Salam, founder and president, Sodales Solutions.
“Just because a fleet is connected to backend applications, it doesn’t mean they are getting the most out of mobility,” she says. “What companies may not realize, and what research shows, is that uncontrollable factors such as weather, traffic and theft — events that can’t be managed using their available core data — can cost billions of dollars.”
Sodales Solutions brings internal and external data together — the driver, the customer, the enterprise and the outside forces — in its fleet management solution, which is an SAP S4 HANA extension app powered by the HERE Platform Business and SAP HANA Cloud. Using HERE Maps and Advanced Routing APIs, the Internet of Things (IOT) app provides contextual information and real-time tracking of trucks, products and resources.
“The HERE Platform integrates seamlessly, so drivers are not clicking on multiple apps or multiple screens. They have one view and data transfer is handled in the background,” says Sana. “Using HERE APIs and pre-integrated content, we can quickly capture information in our solutions including, for example, idle time which affects billing and costing in fleets.
By leveraging geofencing, the app generates alerts if a vehicle is moving outside a predefined boundary and the route can be updated in real time. All this has a positive impact on cost management in protecting the fleet.”
Companies with large fleets must constantly provide better ways to support their customers and employees, and transparency can have a direct impact. This real-time dashboard connects vendors and suppliers resulting in lower overhead, better transparency and improved supplier/vendor relationship. In addition, customers can rate their transportation vendors (promised/delivered rating, preferred vendor rating). Customers can also track what items have been loaded and align their resources.
Analytics help identify trends so fleet companies can make instant and iterative improvements for competitive differentiation. For example, if a driver is always late, the solution will provide a full view of the circumstances. Seeing that a vehicle is using too much fuel, might be an indicator of dynamic driver behavior or that it’s time for maintenance or repair.
Sana believes that the most important feature is the ability to convert information into knowledge in order to make decisions quickly. “Because we are using HERE APIs, integrated in the cloud, we can analyze data generated in the moment,” she says. “This will become even more important as the IoT expands and creates more complexity for companies with large fleets. We’re taking advantage of the network effect to enhance performance and help companies get ahead.”