Field Service Management

4 Vehicle Fleet Management Trends To Drive Your Business In 2017

Published by in Field Service Management

I normally don’t subscribe to trends. I’ve kept my slap bracelets, I still own a VHS player, and I don’t care what anyone says, CDs are a fad. But even I know that some trends can make or break your professional career— like in the fleet industry.

Looking to keep up with the vehicle fleet management trends that will drive this year? Look no further! I’ve checked the web to compile the top 4 vehicle fleet management statistics sure to dominate the industry this year.

1. The telematics market will consolidate

According to Citigroup analyst Kenneth Wong, the telematics sector has been “consolidating at an aggressive pace.”

Verizon bought Fleetmatics and Telogis in 2016. Late last year, AT&T rolled out its own telematics solution, and CalAmp bought up venerable vendor LoJack. If you doubt the combined effect of these changes, consider that industry expert Clem Driscoll called the Verizon acquisitions the “most significant market consolidation” event in automotive telematics history. No wonder, given that Verizon’s buyout of the two competitors means it now controls about a quarter of “the installed base of GPS fleet management systems.”

The $2.4 billion Verizon paid for Fleetmatics suggests the value of the telematics industry. The pace of acquisitions suggests urgency, too: Verizon announced it would buy Telogis in June, then announced the Fleetmatics acquisition in August.

These decisions were likely motivated by rival AT&T’s similarly aggressive moves. AT&T has agreements to provide wireless technology to nine major automakers, Jaguar and Ford among them. It’s also committed to connected cars on other levels, like with its Drive Studio in Atlanta, an incubator for telematics technologies.

Of particular interest to the fleet industry is the result of a 2016 AT&T sponsored Hackathon. Anti-Snoozer, the winning entrant, is a field service app that “uses a camera and facial recognition to monitor drivers for signs of sleepiness such as blinking eyes, then nudges them by vibrating their smartwatch.” With concerns about distracted driving on the rise, the $10,000 AT&T gave to Anti-Snoozer suggests it has fleet safety concerns as a priority.

More telematics opportunities could mean more safety. The ability to track driver behavior could help reduce the increasing rate of accidents.

2. New truck and driver safety features will become an emphasis for manufacturers and fleet owners

In 2015, 120,067 people were killed or injured in an event involving a large truck.

That comes out to 328 people killed or injured by a large truck every day. Crashes involving large trucks (defined as over 10,000 pounds) are getting more dangerous.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, total deaths and injuries resulting from large truck crashes has been on the rise since 2009. The most recent figures (for 2015) show the number of total deaths at its highest since the first year of the Obama administration. Worse yet, the deaths went up by 7.2% between 2014 and 2015, the largest increase in half a century.

What are some ways fleets are improving their safety? For one, increasing numbers of fleets and manufacturers alike are taking an interest in automatic braking. Tesla recently announced it will add automatic braking to its vehicles, and select Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Europe and Australia now feature automatic braking. The inclusion of automatic braking technology in Mercedes-Benz’s Actros model trucks, as well as Tesla’s recent announcement that it will build its first heavy duty truck, suggest the growing importance of this security feature for the fleet industry.

Testing automatic brakes. Also testing fake half-cars.

The Fleet Safety Conference, held on July 26-27 in Schaumberg, IL, is another way fleet personnel are looking to keep up to date on safety.

Sessions cover topics as diverse as impaired driving (marijuana has joined alcohol as a major safety issue), collision avoidance technologies (the case studies should be especially useful), and a session by retired Marine Lev Pobirsky on how to note “warning signs of troubled employees,” as well as vehicle-borne threats like the vehicular terrorist attacks in Nice and Berlin last year.

3. Fleet owners will save a lot of money with data tools

All that telematics software tracks a lot of data—and that data can account for a lot of money saved. Look for 2017 to be a year when fleet management software companies continue to turn data into money saved.

One good example comes from North Carolina, where Forsyth County officials used Fleet Commander to cut expenses for personally owned vehicles by 50%. The data Forsyth County got from using fleet management software helped it reduce costs, and improve how it used its assets. On seeing vehicle-use data, the county fleet realized it could cut fifty vehicles, saving the potential $800,000 it would have cost to replace them. It’s a great benefit to the county and even more so to the taxpayers.

CAPTION: not exactly this, but in the same spirit.

That isn’t the only way tracking data has helped Forsyth County share the wealth. By tracking vehicle usage, the county can tell when to put underused vehicles into play. As a result, money that’s often sitting in the garage hits the road, reducing personally owned vehicle use.

Departments that need a set of wheels can rely on existing county assets, rather than putting miles on their own cars. “Sharing vehicles among departments has enabled us to significantly cut POV reimbursements that were a considerable expense to our county,” said county fleet manager Kevin Rogers.

4. Preventative maintenance will save money and decrease downtime

Data’s also great because it helps you with preventative maintenance.

Preventative maintenance is the minor maintenance you do now to prevent bigger maintenance later. Though it sounds like common sense (if I get my brakes checked before I hear banshee screeching coming from my rear passenger side wheel, I reduce the likelihood of costlier maintenance later), the benefits of preventative maintenance are anything but simple.

When you capture fleet data, you’ve got countless bits of information that can help you plan for maintenance before a problem happens. With the help of fleet management software, you can also set up automatic alerts that are triggered at certain intervals.

Have you put 5,000 miles on an asset? The software will let you know what maintenance needs to be done. Fleet management software can also help you know how effective your preventative maintenance is. With Fleet Commander, for instance, you can even use your dashboard to track “the ratio of PMs to Repairs,” determining how well your preventative maintenance strategy is working.

Other vehicle fleet management trends?

Have I missed any fleet management trends that have caught your attention? Or do you have any valuable insights about the trends mentioned in this post? I’d love to know your answer to either in the comments below!

Looking for Field Service Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Field Service Management software solutions.

About the Author

Geoff Hoppe

Geoff Hoppe

Geoff Hoppe is a former Capterra analyst.


Comment by Jean on

Hi Geoff,

thanks for the great post! From my point of view, what we saw in 2017 was more focus on sophisticated feature sets, data integration with traditional fleet management information, and meaningful execution to convert the telematics insights to better fleet productivity. Furthermore I think that the intelligent networking would be also an exciting topic in 2018, since companies such as Mercedes-Benz and Sortimo – ,which have brought material management in service vehicles to a new level. So let’s see…exciting times ahead!

Best regards,

Comment by Bill Headley on

Each trend that you have mentioned here can actually help a fleet business optimize its operations. And to ensure all this, what one needs is not good but great fleet management software solutions that will allow real-time monitoring, tracking, alerts, reports and more. This is the best way to ensure driver safety, while also cutting down on idle time and fuel wastage.

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