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Why big data matters to your fleet operations

By Verizon Connect June 14, 2021

What is big data?

Big data is a common buzzword, referring to the large volumes of structured and unstructured data points generated every day across a myriad of industries. These data sets are growing at an exponential rate, and the data itself can be gleaned from many sources. For fleet management companies and organizations that manage fleets, this could include GPS fleet tracking platforms, Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and integrated vehicle OEM sensors. Data can then be mined by businesses to derive impactful operational insights with the use of big data analytics.

Let’s take a closer look at why big data is important for fleets and how it can help organizations improve their day-to-day fleet operations.

Why is big data important for fleet management?

Big data can be extremely important to organizations and their fleets — when combined with data analysis, it can help streamline an array of business operations. Every day, fleets amass information around engine status, vehicle speed, number of stops, vehicle location, fuel usage, routes driven, tire pressure, ETAs and so much more. When this large volume of data is integrated into, and funneled through, a digital fleet management software platform with predictive analytics capabilities, it results in real-time feedback and  data-driven insights that managers can use to employ better business practices.

It’s through these insights that organizations can get a clearer picture of fleet expenses, inefficiencies and ongoing fleet trends. Addressing concerns and implementing new plans based on this data can have a direct positive impact on ROI and the bottom line.

How can big data help improve fleet management?

Leveraging big data technology helps organizations improve fleet management by streamlining data-gathering and supporting faster, more informed decision-making. Organizations can leverage cloud-based platforms to collect, track and analyze fleet data in near real time. And, when combined with telematics software, big data can provide insights around a number of crucial fleet aspects.

  • Driver behavior: Safety is a top priority for every fleet. This includes how drivers operate vehicles both on and off the road. Combining big data with telematics lets fleet managers gather an accurate, ongoing picture of driving patterns pertaining to speeding, harsh braking, idling and other risky driving behaviors. Managers can evaluate this data to see where driver performance is exceeding expectations or where additional coaching is needed.
  • Fleet maintenance: Getting ahead of vehicle maintenance issues provides valuable cost savings. By leveraging big data related to vehicle health and diagnostics (e.g., engine status, fuel level and mileage) and funneling it through a fleet management system, managers can proactively address vehicle issues before they become a problem. Fleets can also analyze the data to see which vehicles tend to remain in better shape and which may need to be replaced in order to optimize fleet performance.
  • Compliance: Fleet vehicles are required to use electronic logging devices (ELDs) to record duty status information. These digitally connected devices can be integrated into fleet management platforms to enable all data captured to become part of the decision-making workflow. Managers can easily track driver hours and see when drivers are nearing required rest periods.
  • Routing: Without accurate, detailed data, it’s hard to know why a particular delivery is taking longer than anticipated, why certain routes are consistently problematic or if an unexpected obstacle is hindering a fleet vehicle’s progress. Having a near real-time picture into weather, traffic, accidents or even route shortcuts can help organizations save time, improve customer service, save fuel and reduce vehicle wear and tear. In turn, this reduces operational costs and improves fleet efficiency.

What benefits can big data provide to fleets?

Big data can provide big benefits for fleets — but only if it’s used with an intuitive, functional fleet management interface. When it comes to fleet management, different jobs require different areas of responsibility and different data. For instance, an equipment manager might be interested in the day-to-day utilization of vehicles or powered and nonpowered assets, while a transportation executive might prefer to view overall company and industry trends that occur over several weeks, months or years.

That’s why it’s important for organizations to look for fleet management systems that are equipped to process large amounts of varied data. Top vendors provide dashboard filters for an easy way to slice information in a manner that makes it relevant and actionable.

Keep an eye out for technology that provides these types of filter features, which are especially useful in aggregating data for review:

  • Autosuggest: Start typing to reveal available metrics
  • Nested filters: Drill down by filter type to get granular reports, like metrics based on daily vehicle data and fuel type
  • Operator types: Use standard operators to display data as it compares to the customized filter or results that vary from the default values
  • Hierarchical: Limit the filtered data by existing divisions, crews or regions
  • Date-based: Prepare filtered reports by date to quickly compare trends over time

Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect Staff represents a team of professionals passionate about everything telematics. Get to hear about the latest trends, product features and industry best practices from the desk of Verizon Connect Staff.

Tags: Data & Analytics

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