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Working Towards Fleet Management with Fleet Safety Analytics

Whether you are a small business or a large enterprise, the baseline of your operations is the movement of your fleet of vehicles. Ferrying of goods to and fro is the backbone of any country’s economy. Such high pressure operations require utmost attention, precision and, most importantly, security.

With many vehicles, commercial and passenger, falling prey to road accidents every day around the world, it is crucial to recognise the need to keep stringent driving and safety practices in place. Apart from the safety of drivers, other vehicles and pedestrians on the road, another pertinent problem lies in the safety of cargo. Vehicle hijacking, cargo theft and fuel pilferage are some of the very common instances faced in the transportation sector worldwide. Hence, it is important to protect not just your bottom line, but also your drivers, vehicles and cargo. And this is where fleet safety analytics comes to the rescue.

Fleet safety analytics is a segment of the fleet management ecosystem that utilises the power of data to provide helpful insights into everything related to your fleet, keeping in mind all the safety considerations. In essence, fleet safety analytics influences a fleet manager’s decisions related to the security of the fleet, whether it is hiring qualified personnel to drive the vehicle, or contemplating whether a vehicle needs to be replaced based on its health, or creating driver coaching modules on the basis of the drivers’ performance. We explore the concept of fleet safety analytics, different types of fleet safety technologies and the security strategies that you can adopt with the help of fleet safety analytics.

What is Fleet Safety Analytics?

In a nutshell, fleet safety analytics refer to the diagnostic data collected from the vehicles in a fleet, and using it to extract insights into improving the fleet’s safety and avoiding security breaches in the future.

The word ‘data’ may seem mountainous and, as a result, daunting, but it is actually the heart and soul of technology as we know it. Data in itself may not mean much, but when it is parsed through the correct platforms, it yields important information. This is what fleet safety analytics does.

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As we mentioned before, fleet safety analytics is a segment of the fleet management ecosystem. Likewise, there are many other parts in this ecosystem that help in collection of data from the vehicle, for example a vehicle tracking device, AI-enabled sensors, dashboard cameras, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, etc. With the help of fleet management systems, data about the entire fleet is gathered, from vehicle health, to fuel utility, to trip details, to location tracking, to driver and vehicle performance. This data is then converted into important information in the form of trends and ‘analytics’ by an analytics platform. Observing these trends to enhance safety protocols of the fleet is what constitutes fleet safety analytics.

With fleet safety analytics in place, fleet operators can be empowered to take business decisions backed by data. It can also help them identify gaps in safety within the fleet and the personnel involved in handling the fleet, enabling them to make way for new safety solutions and training programs.

Types of Fleet Safety Technologies

When a large amount of cargo, personnel and data is involved, safety is of utmost importance for any fleet business. Because of this, modern day fleet owners are looking for solutions that not only optimise their fleet’s performance, but also enhance their safety. With that in mind, there are different types of fleet safety technologies that are being adopted by fleet owners across the globe:

  • Telematics

Telematics technology ensures that all data about the vehicle’s health, performance and functioning is communicated in real-time to the relevant stakeholders. If the vehicle goes beyond the speed limit, or indulges in harsh braking or sharp turning, or is in the need of a maintenance check-up, the telematics system relays all the information to the command center so that appropriate actions can be taken to ensure vehicle safety.

  • Dashboard Cameras

Safety is not just about preventing accidents, it is also about protecting against unjust claims. Dashboard cameras provide that level of safety to any fleet. Mounted on the windscreen, dashboard cameras come with road facing and driver facing capabilities, recording footage in real-time. In case the driver gets involved in an altercation, replaying the footage from the dashcams can help identify the real perpetrator and can exonerate the driver from false claims.

  • Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) come powered with AI-sensors that can detect and prevent accidents from happening. With instant alerts, ADAS can notify the driver about potential risks on the road such as forward collision, drifting and overspeeding. Along with that, ADAS also has the capability to alert the fleet owner if the driver is not following safety protocols or is driving in a distracted manner. ADAS, coupled with dashcams, provide the fleet owner with reliable footage of the driving behaviour and road conditions, helping them coach drivers accordingly.

Benefits of Fleet Safety Analytics

The key advantage of analytics is that you can make decisions that are supported by past trends and data. This ensures that as the decision maker, you are able to analyse the pitfalls in the past and assess the current situation to predict the best possible outcome. In the case of fleet management, fleet safety analytics has certain advantages to its name, which include:

1. Keep an eye on driving patterns at all times

With a real-time fleet analytics dashboard, fleet managers can keep a check on how various drivers are performing on the road at all times. This is aided by different features of a fleet management system. For instance, a vehicle that is going over stipulated speed limits, which can be hazardous for the vehicle as well as others on the road, will flag off overspeeding alerts on the system. This will in turn reflect on the analytics dashboard, thus alerting the fleet operator of potential risky driving behaviour of this particular driver.

2. Build better safety practices

A fleet safety analytics dashboard provides the user with historic as well as real time information. To create safety guidelines for your drivers and your business, you as a fleet operator can dive into the analytics dashboard, identify potential areas of risk to safety and curate a safety manual and training programs. This will ensure that a unified safety protocol is followed throughout the organisation, thus reducing your risk and liabilities.

3. Reward safe behaviour

Just as you can identify unsafe practices with the help of fleet safety analytics dashboard, you can also pluck out behaviours that routinely adhere to safety protocols. Incentivising safe driving practices, for instance, can help boost the performance of drivers, improve your retention rate and build a sense of accountability within your organisation.

4. Identify trends vs isolated incidents

It is quite possible that a vehicle breaking down in the middle of a trip is a one-off incident. It is also possible that a vehicle breaking down in the middle of a trip is an indication of deteriorating vehicle health. Fleet safety analytics can help you distinguish between the two. Looking up past trends of the said vehicle can help you realise if this vehicle is prone to breakdowns and needs to be replaced. It can also help you recognise if the breakdown was the result of an external factor, or an internal malfunction that happened only once. With this, you can pinpoint repeated behaviour and take action to rectify the situation accordingly.

5. Save on business costs

Operational costs of any business can be drastically reduced with the help of fleet tracking and analytics. For example, a fleet safety analytics dashboard can represent the amount of time a vehicle in a fleet spends unnecessarily idling, which can lead to excessive usage of fuel and can take the fuel costs beyond budget. By identifying idling instances, fleet operators can communicate with the driver to clamp down on unnecessary idling and reduce costs.

Quick Read: 7 KPIs Every Fleet Manager Should Track

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