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Government Fleets Must Prepare for a Digital Future

By Amin Amini September 1, 2020

As we near 2019, public and private organizations operating fleets are facing growing challenges. From ELD compliance to rising fuel consumption and a burgeoning driver shortage, vehicle-dependent companies must find the right technologies to address these roadblocks and overcome their competition.

Due to the sheer number of vehicles at their disposal and the vast number of citizens they serve, government and public fleets, in particular, will see the coming years bring with them a number of challenges that only modern technology can help them overcome. Some of these include:

  • Retiring baby boomers and a shortage of new talent that will lead to a considerable “knowledge loss.”1
  • Incoming younger workers that will have grown up with digital tech and will demand it in their workplaces.1
  • The fleet management landscape will become increasingly difficult, and government organizations will need to manage2
    • funding of timely vehicle replacement
    • achieving a centralized fleet management program
    • reconciling outsourcing opportunities with internal resource optimization
    • a better understanding of indirect costs

However, the right fleet management technology can help government fleets of any size rise to these challenges and also help them prepare for future issues.

GPS tracking helps keep your fleet journey smooth

Government Fleet’s 2018 benchmarking report shows that advanced technology ranks second among respondents’ top concerns, and about three-quarters have implemented telematics in at least some of their vehicles. Training needs, an aged fleet/replacement budgeting, recruitment, and data management round out the rest of the top five concerns.

A comprehensive GPS fleet management solution – with a centralized dashboard – can help government and public fleets address these top concerns as well as increase asset visibility for improved utilization and greater overall productivity, such as:

  • Cloud-based software for any time, anywhere access to critical data, alerts and reports
  • Seamless integration with other enterprise systems
  • Improved accuracy of preventative maintenance
  • Ability to run historical reports to uncover insights and trends

From smart dashboards to driver education tools, GPS tracking can dramatically improve fleet management and ROI. City managers, fleet managers and other public works officials can use smart dashboards and driver education tools available through GPS tracking solutions to address the issues that are most critical to efficient and successful fleet operations.

Preventative maintenance. According to Government Fleet’s report, “vehicle age has increased across every class compared to statistics from last year (which averaged 2014-2016 data).” In addition, maintenance cost per mile has gone up for almost all vehicle types part of their survey. The ability to proactively schedule preventative maintenance will be key in making advances in reducing vehicle downtime (especially unexpected), including vehicle alerts and insight into vehicle diagnostics (odometer mileage, engine miles and diagnostic codes).

Vehicle Utilization. Forty-four percent of respondents to the Government Fleet survey indicated flat or reduced budgets, despite cost increases in fuel, pars and oil, and technology. For these fleets, the ability to do more with the vehicles and assets already owned will be critical. GPS tracking provides data visibility into vehicles status and availability to help managers identify underused vehicles and reallocate them accordingly.

Mitigate liability claims. OSHA’s Guidelines for Employers to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes, an on-the-job crash resulting in employee injury costs an average of $74,000 to the employer. In addition to providing historical data for use in the case of litigation, GPS tracking can provide data on driving behavior and vehicle use to help negotiate reduced premiums or discounts with insurance companies. Telematics provides access to data to verify vehicle location and speed and in turn mitigate the potential of costly claims.

Safe driving behavior. Training is the top concern for Government Fleet’s survey respondents, and encouraging safe driving behavior is a part of that challenge. Though GPS tracking cannot automate and ensure safety, the data it provides can equip you to more effectively coach your employees for increased chances of improvement. Managers can use reports and alerts on vehicle speed and harsh driving events to coach drivers on safe driving behaviors.

Idling. Idling is a major source of fuel waste, leading to wasted money. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 6 billion gallons of diesel fuel and gasoline are wasted by idling vehicles. The few minutes an engine is left running, whether during a lunch break or while a “quick” job is being completed add up, especially for a fleet. Fuel is one of the most tangible and fast areas to see the financial benefits of improved habits, and with GPS tracking, managers can take steps toward reducing idle time and understand idling patterns in order to reduce those costs.

Routing. In addition to reducing idling, optimized routes using a GPS tracking solution is a key area where fuel waste can be addressed for a reduction in expenses. Another valuable use for the routing capability is the ability to know vehicle locations and efficiently deploy vehicles in an emergency or time-sensitive circumstance.

Case Study: Connecting a City Takes the Right Technology

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the city of San Jose, California, is situated in the hub of modernization and innovation. The city has a fleet of 2,750 vehicles and assets – spanning police, fire, transformation, public works and more – which must all be maintained, tracked and secured. But with the right tech, San Jose is leading the charge in Smart City transformation, which included upgrading the city’s approach to fleet management.

Deputy City Manager Kip Harkness needed a solution that was innovative, scalable and imminently reliable for San Jose’s fleets, and turned to Verizon Connect GPS tracking solutions to:

  • Streamline resource allocation
  • Improve vehicle maintenance
  • And, ultimately, save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars

As a result, the city now has access to a data layer that connects fleet infrastructure to better services in ways never before possible.

“We now have access to data and information that we never had before that makes us more efficient and gives us information that helps us prevent things that cost more; including useful information to make key decisions about vehicle purchases, driver behavior and the ability to monitor if vehicles function properly,” says Dan Sunseri, fleet manager at the San Jose Department of Public Works.

How did they do it? Check out this video case study that highlights how Verizon Connect GPS tracking technology has strategically improved operations, as well as made life better for city workers, civil servants and citizens alike.

Hear about their experience.




Amin Amini

Amin Amini is the Associate Director of Solution Engineering and has more than 20 years of experience working with enterprise and government organizations.

Tags: Billing & Invoicing, Cost control, Customer Service, Dispatching & Scheduling, Field management, Performance & Coaching, Productivity & Efficiency, Team Management, Safety, Vehicle Maintenance, Vehicle & asset security

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