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5 Fleet Management Trends To Watch In 2021

It’s no secret now that 2020 was an incredibly disruptive year for every industry around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic shook everything to its core, exposing business weaknesses for many, catalyzing growth for others, and changing all perspectives on how and when to execute operational improvements. 

One sector that is no stranger to change over the last decade is fleet operations, which has seen both tremendous growth and challenges as it has quickly pivoted in the wake of a global pandemic. Below we’ll touch on five fleet management trends to watch in 2021.

New Guidelines on Sanitation and Pandemic Safety

For many years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations operating commercial fleets had a more general outlook on how to keep their drivers safe and healthy. While most organizations listed best practices on vehicle cleanliness and sanitation, it was many times a fleeting thought with drivers responsible for making their own decisions regarding how to keep themselves and those around them healthy.

Fast forward to 2021, and everything has changed. Fleet managers are now making personal health and safety a crucial part of their organization’s culture and putting in place strict policies and standards for drivers to follow. This includes sanitizing vehicles regularly, maintaining safe social distancing practices on and off job sites, and following outlined procedures when showing symptoms of illness.

Harder Look at Budget Discipline

The fleet industry has seen many highs and lows over the years when it comes to cost management, and this is no different in 2021. However, while businesses slowly begin to normalize their operations post-pandemic, there is a heightened awareness from organizations when it comes to the affordability and sustainability of large commercial fleets.

While certain levels of spending are to be expected when operating a fleet of vehicles, fleet managers are taking a harder look at where and how they budget their department on a day-to-day basis. The challenge for many fleet managers has been tracking down all the different areas of their fleet responsible for large amounts of spend. In many cases, fuel spend has been one of the primary reasons organizations see an increase in spending year-over-year.

With fuel cost being such a major consideration in all fleets, organizations are leaning on the growing electrical vehicle market as an outlet for significantly improving their spending in the long term. However, while maintaining an all-electric fleet may be a more viable long-term solution than conventional gas vehicles, organizations have to throttle their expectations when it comes to how long it will take to get to that point.

With the supply and demand of vehicle manufacturing components at an all-time high, fleet managers are looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their conventional gas vehicle fleets rather than making significant upfront investments in hybrid or all-electric options. They are achieving this by investing in vehicle calibration solutions that give them the ability to significantly improve idling efficiency and fuel consumption across their entire fleet.

Improvements in Vehicle Safety

Inherently, all fleets operate with certain levels of autonomy and remote working conditions. However, in 2021, fully remote teams have become the new normal, and fleet visibility for managers has become less and less transparent. This has led to a number of initiatives specifically focusing on finding more effective ways to monitor, measure, and enforce driver safety protocols.

Not having adequate visibility of driver safety while working in a primarily remote working environment is a recipe for disaster, both when it comes to the personal safety of drivers and the reputation of the organization. In addition, excessive speeding, seatbelt non-compliance, and distracted driving are safety issues organizations are now looking to control while drivers are in the field. Solutions like DeriveVQ Safety now allow fleet managers to get certain levels of control over how their drivers perform in the field, with ODB-II tools that enforce speed governing, seatbelt compliance, and distracted driver elimination technology. 

Adoption of 5G Technology 

With the rise of remote workforces and increased reliance on mobility, speed, and efficiencies when operating in the field, newer mobile technologies like 5G have become key for scaling fleets in 2021. The speed of 5G enables organizations to benefit from real-time location data, fleet telematics solutions, and streamlined route optimization. In addition to the streamlined efficiency that 5G technology provides, fleet managers can also analyze driver behavior in real-time due to the low latency connectivity of their fleet management systems, helping them address safety issues wherever and whenever they occur. 

Increased Reliance on Data Management Solutions

Streamlined fleet management systems help managers get the most out of their driver and vehicle data while greatly improving decision-making abilities. Click To Tweet

The last decade has presented the fleet management sector with many challenges. However, along with those challenges, the introduction of various connected technologies significantly improves visibility across the fleet while providing managers with the data and analytics they need to make better-informed decisions about how their fleet is managed.

Utilizing cloud-based fleet management solutions that are powered by telematics, GPS tracking, OBD-II firmware integrations, and automated vehicle monitoring now helps fleet managers do their jobs more effectively. Fleet managers can now see all the relevant data behind their fleets in one flexible, easy-to-use platform instead of performing manual, repetitive tasks to ensure their fleets are performing at optimal levels. This new standard in optimal fleet transparency has created more opportunities for fleet managers to optimize their fleet operations, cut down on spending, and monitor and enforce improved productivity standards with all of their drivers.

Final Thoughts

2021 will prove to be an unprecedented year in various industries worldwide as they continue to make significant improvements in how they streamline operations and create a more sustainable path for the future. The fleet industry will continue to expand and broaden its use of new technologies, giving managers more flexibility and control in how they build better-performing teams.