The fleet industry is constantly developing, especially with rapid advancements in technology. As these developments open more doors for fleets, they also have the potential to close the door on current processes. We foresee one of those shifts affecting third-party fleet management companies.
The current model of letting someone else manage your fleet is becoming obsolete with fleets’ greater insight into operations via access to data and telematics.
Fleet trends indicate that fleet managers will increasingly use self-serve tools and data to meet their own needs. This will translate into major cost savings for fleets since having someone manage the fleet for you tends to be significantly more expensive than telematic systems.
While offloading paper- or spreadsheet-based fleet management to a third party used to be a huge time saver, it’s no longer necessary with easily accessible web- and mobile-based telematic systems. Fleet managers can easily plan maintenance and access service history electronically anytime, anywhere.
These systems keep businesses better organized and allow fleet managers to skip the middleman between their operations and fleet vehicles.
Organizations experience greater efficiency when they have access to their own fleet data and no longer need to wait on a third-party to get back to them regarding their own fleet information. Everything is at their fingertips, enabling quicker, more-informed decisions.
For example, fleet managers can do a simple search in their digital service history to see all previous maintenance activities completed on a vehicle and the associated prices. They can quickly determine if a suggested repair was completed recently or for a cheaper price.
This makes it easier for fleet managers to research and negotiate with service providers themselves, resulting in time and cost savings.
One of the greatest downsides to third-party fleet management is the lack of data transparency. Organizations are at the mercy of the management group and often feel like their data is “held hostage.”
As technology puts more data into the hands of fleet managers, there are endless opportunities. Fleet managers will be able to create more informed fleet recommendations and predict outcomes to “what if” scenarios.
Better informed decisions lead to greater efficiency, minimized risk and reduced expenses.
With the rise of connected vehicles, more data will be available from vehicles themselves like odometer readings and “health” checks, which will sync wirelessly with telematic systems and other applications.
Processes will be better informed and automated. For example, connected vehicles will be able to auto schedule repairs with local facilities and navigate drivers to the cheapest fuel.
Realistically, there are certain services where third-party management has the upper-hand over telematics, including vehicle leasing and remarketing. Technology won’t be winning in these categories anytime soon.
When it comes to maintenance, however, the shift from someone else managing your fleet to fleet maintenance software is inevitable.
It will be a tough race for third-party fleet management against the simplicity, flexibility and regular development of modern fleet maintenance and telematic systems.