Leveraging Big Data for Efficient Fleet Management

Dr Anand Medepalli, EVP, Chief Product Officer & Head - Data Science, RateGain

Big data is everywhere these days: a Facebook like here and a tweet there instantly generate data that could provide significant insights for a business. While this big data transformation has been primarily seen in the B2C space, B2B companies such as Fleet Management are no longer lagging behind. Fleets through Telematics and IoT (Internet of Things) devices generate a lot of data everyday: be it how the vehicle is being driven, to the road conditions and most importantly the vehicle health itself. The winners in this game will be those that will leverage big data effectively to make sound business decisions. Some of these winning strategies are listed below:

1. By analyzing previous risky behaviors and correlating leading indicators to such risk, fleet management companies will be able to head off potential accidents and increase driver safety. Such data is made possible through fitted telematics devices in vehicles a priority.

2. By analyzing vehicle usage and in particular the conditions of the road on which the vehicle has been driven, fleet managers will be able to anticipate when exactly to get a vehicle inspected and repaired. Most importantly, fleet replacement strategies can be done vehicle by vehicle, instead of a blanket replacement policy for a certain cohort, as is the case currently in many organizations.

3. With the knowledge of where the vehicles are at any given point in time, fleet managers are better able to balance supply and demand. If a certain lot is seeing much demand, but a nearby lot isn’t, knowing that the second lot has availability, fleet managers can move their inventory around in their network to meet demand efficiently.

4. Typical pricing strategies revolve around expected demand and available capacity to serve that demand. Now driver risk can also be embedded into pricing strategies much like insurance companies, thereby making certain that when a fleet manager rents a vehicle, the risk associated is amply covered by the price charged, on a driver by drive basis.

The telematics technology that began as a way of locating and recovering stolen vehicles, through the use of embedded in-vehicle hardware and wireless and satellite communication networks, plus GPS (Global Positioning Systems) has taken up the fleet management market by storm. Driverless cars are the future. Vehicles update themselves with latest software patches and communicate their information out. Big data is here and only those who learn to master it and glean insights through predictive analytics will survive in the future. Fleet Management companies are no different: ignore big data and big data strategies at your own peril.