date20 January 2020

How is the Internet of Things (IoT) transforming fleet management?

Even if the phrase ‘the Internet of Things’ (IoT) doesn’t mean anything to you, chances are you’ll be more familiar with the devices it refers to. Objects that are connected to the Internet of Things have access to the web, such as a smart thermostat that you can adjust remotely through your smartphone, or smart lightbulbs that can be programmed to turn on and off, or even synced with the music on your phone for integrated light and sound effects.

In terms of fleet management for logistics firms, IoT relates to the devices and sensors that link the fleet manager to each of their vehicles and/or drivers via the internet – for example, vehicle telematics sensors, handheld mobile computers and even smartphones with the right Electronic Proof of Delivery (EPOD) software. Each of these device types expand a fleet manager’s view of workforce activity beyond the office and into the field, creating a digital network via which vital operational data can flow back and forth in real-time. Here are three ways IoT is transforming modern fleet management.

Barcode traceability

With barcode tracking and an EPOD system in place, even the packages, crates and boxes your business delivers can be part of the Internet of Things. Barcodes act as an identifier for each individual consignment and its contents, giving fleet managers the ability to track particularly important or urgent deliveries as they leave the warehouse for the all-important ‘last mile’. Thanks to wireless internet connectivity, the system will notify you as soon as a driver scans an item off the delivery vehicle with their handheld device or smartphone, while the barcode adds an extra level of traceability. Barcodes programmed to identify specific contents provide a comprehensive digital record of a consignment’s journey for complete customer piece of mind.    

Cutting idling time

As any fleet manager knows, the time drivers spend waiting to make deliveries wastes valuable resources. This is even more of an issue when the engine’s running, which raises fuel costs unnecessarily and adds to a business’s carbon footprint. But, with IoT and GPS satellite-enabled sensors fitted on fleet vehicles, managers can see exactly where their drivers are, and when they arrive at each delivery location. By setting a waiting time limit within an EPOD system, drivers can be notified to move on to the next delivery via their handheld device or smartphone after a certain length of time, rather than waiting indefinitely, wasting resources and disrupting the rest of their delivery time slots. A policy of turning off the engine within one minute of arrival at a delivery location, for example, can cut idling time and fuel usage considerably.

Slashing insurance premiums

Insurance companies reward safe driving but historically, logistics companies have struggled to prove an overall standard of safety across an entire fleet. Now, IoT in-vehicle sensors not only track where fleet vehicles are but also how they’re driven, thanks to telematics technology that records speed, acceleration, braking and other metrics linked to driving style. This data enables a fleet manager to enforce training to correct poor and potentially unsafe driving habits, incentivise good driving and provide evidence that can cut fleet insurance premiums. What’s more, should any vehicle ever be stolen, an on-board location tracker greatly improves the chance of getting it back, another win on the insurance front.    

Let IoT give you a full view of your fleet’s performance

Without the visibility IoT devices and EPOD software can provide, a fleet manager can only see part of the picture. PODStar software and the mobile devices that connect to it can help you fill in the blanks, for a smarter, more cost-effective and productive fleet. Get in touch with us today to find out more.