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How digital transformation can tackle transport’s pain points


Beverley Wise, Regional Director for Webfleet Solutions UKI

Transport operators have been facing challenges times of late.

Against the backdrop of unprecedented disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, soaring oil prices have led to costs at the pump hitting record highs. The global shortage of semi-conductors has led to extended lead times for commercial vehicles, while the shortage of lorry drivers has put a strain on supply chains across the world.

As Roy Bennett famously proclaimed however, “every challenge, every adversity, contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth”.

Indeed, we have seen many fleet operators turn to digital solutions to help overcome some of the hurdles faced. And in doing so, they may be laying the foundations for a more secure and efficient future.

According to a recent Webfleet Solutions study, three-quarters (74 per cent) of UK fleets have adopted more digital solutions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The drive to increase efficiency was found to be the top reason for this, cited by more than half (55 per cent) of those surveyed. This was closely followed by efforts to reduce the spread of infection (51 per cent) and a continued commitment to sustainability (49 per cent). In every case, the uptick in digitisation was found to have helped businesses deal with the pandemic.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

As 2022 unfolds, connected technologies will continue to offer considerable opportunities to inform decision making, optimise operations, reduce costs and improve service delivery. Delivering a wealth of critical reporting data and indispensable capabilities as hubs for interoperability, telematics platforms are likely to take centre stage.

Notably, with petrol and diesel vans facing the same end of sale date as passenger cars, the demand for telematics data to support commercial fleet electrification is sure to accelerate as we advance through the year.

Electric LCV uptake soared by 142 per cent during 2021 according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). But with eLCVs still accounting for just one in 28 registrations, we can anticipate significant market growth.

Systems such as WEBFLEET offer dedicated software signposting the electrification potential of fleets and allowing EV operations to be optimised through a range of connected tools. Access is available for everything from mapped charging infrastructure and vehicle charging insights to real time battery levels and remaining driving ranges.

For existing ICE fleets – particularly those involved in long-haul transport where electrification is set to be slower – diesel costs will continue to impact margins.

By actioning the reporting intelligence that telematics can generate on a single interface, from fuel consumption, vehicle location and driver behaviour scores to maintenance and fuel card information, these costs can be more easily managed.

Elsewhere, as government and industry strive to solve the chronic shortage of HGV drivers, operators can ill afford to ignore the role of telematics in recruitment, retention and efficient vehicle utilisation.

WEBFLEET, for example, can make drivers' lives simpler, safer and less stressful. It can help reduce journey times through improved routing, for example. Mobile business apps on tablet-style driver terminals, can enable VOSA-compliant daily vehicle checks to be carried out digitally. And from these devices, drivers can record photos of defects, scan trailers, report accidents and better navigate rest period protocols via rest break alerts and the ability to pinpoint appropriate truck stop locations.

With such smart solutions available to help tackle the sector’s pain points, we are unlikely to see digital transformation abate any time soon.

*www.webfleet.com/en_gb/webfleet/

Published On: 13/01/2022 16:00:40

 

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