Efficiency and cost benefits make it natural for fleet managers to adopt an Internet of Things (IoT) enabled fleet and asset management solution -- but, for the most part, this technology has only been applied to vehicles of the same type. Although this may have been a sensible application of IoT when most fleets were comprised of identical vehicles, today's fleets have far more variety. Fuel costs have caused fleet managers to increase the number of fuel-efficient vehicles, including hybrids, in their roster, and IoT data also demonstrates the benefit of finding the right size of vehicle for a particular job. This has lead to an increasing amount of mixed fleets.
The changes to fleet structure, as well as the benefits in productivity and cost savings, make it advantageous to use a single IoT solution with the capability to monitor multiple vehicles. Deploying one system fleet-wide not only allows for easier tracking and optimization of individual vehicles within a fleet, it also provides for more efficient use of the mixed fleet as a whole.
The Mixed Fleet Challenge and the One-Platform Solution
Some organizations have used multiple IoT systems to cover the entire fleet, but this approach can result in a host of problems, such as duplicated data. It also makes it impossible to get a clear and complete, data-filled picture of the entire fleet. A single solution, such as that offered by BSM, is essential for successful fleet management.
Finding a single solution that addresses the needs of a mixed fleet is not always a simple prospect. There are fewer solution providers that provide a comprehensive solution for larger fleets and those with a greater range of vehicle and equipment types. This is especially evident as many solutions specialize in a specific area of fleet management or type of fleet, and are not applicable to the full fleet. Taking the right approach to choosing a mixed fleet telematics solution is the key to finding the right system.
What to Look for in a Mixed Fleet IoT Provider
The following are some of the most important factors to consider when looking at different telematics providers:
1. A Solution That Meets All Fleet Needs
Before starting the search for a IoT provider, it's important to make a comprehensive list of the fleet's specific needs. This can then be compared to the offerings of each potential IoT partner; those who do not meet the requirements can be eliminated.
2. Clear Implementation of Regulatory Mandates
A mixed fleet IoT provider should be knowledgeable in the latest compliance requirements, such as the ELD mandate. This will allow the provider to work with the fleet to identify all of the vehicles and assets requiring specialized solutions to ensure your fleet remains compliant.
3. Flexibility in GPS Device Options
A qualified IoT system for a mixed fleet situation will also need to offer a range of GPS tracking devices that are compatible with each vehicle make and model and each asset type used by the fleet. With constant changes by vehicle and equipment manufacturers, this can be challenging to accomplish and requires a flexible approach by the IoT provider.
4. A Comprehensive Tracking Dashboard
For different fleet segments or vehicle types, different datasets will be the focus for fleet optimization. An effective mixed fleet management solution will incorporate different types of data and varying priorities into one comprehensive dashboard -- one that can be used to quickly identify trends and make improvements.
A IoT solution that only covers one vehicle model or a single use case is inefficient for a mixed fleet. By contrast, a comprehensive system, such as that provided by BSM, that meets all fleet needs, integrates compliance mandates, provides GPS device options, and offers a complete tracking dashboard will help improve fleet efficiency and improve fleet ROI.
Read more from our 3 part mixed fleet series: