Fleets of the future

The fleet industry is amid an information overload. The average modern car possesses over 200 connected data points—and with so much data at our fingertips, knowing what information to tap into can be overwhelming. But with challenge comes the opportunity for fleet managers to harness data in order to improve their fleet’s efficiency, productivity and protect against fraudulent activity; resulting in a positive impact to the bottom line.

While the fleet cards that drivers use at the pump today have functioned without much change for many years, the data we are able to unlock within them has advanced dramatically and provides a major competitive advantage to businesses committed to capturing the insights they provide.

Fleet cards bridge the connection between data and fleet managers to facilitate the proactive identification of opportunities for efficiency in real time.

Keys to unlocking data
Below are just a few features that fleet cards enable for fleet managers to help them stay on top of the quickly evolving future of the fleet industry.
Security: Fleet managers can access precise information on driver mileage and enhanced level 3 data that will tell them exactly who bought what and where, which in return can reduce fraud. Along with the cost-savings provided by the fleet card, administrative costs are significantly reduced because managers do not need to review individual receipts as the data is available through an online card management portal. In addition, using driver IDs or PINs means there’s less chance a card can be compromised but should a card ever be lost or stolen, the company can immediately block that card in real time, reducing exposure.

Insight: Data can be customizable and provide key data points on the health of the fleet, mileage and vehicle utilization. While fuel is a major expense, the depreciation and maintenance costs collectively are the biggest expenses for fleets. Technology places fleet cards at the forefront of insight as it helps to ease the steep depreciation of the fleet by providing awareness to fuel inefficiencies and maintenance.

Control: The ability for fleet managers to restrict or allow spending in alignment with company policies helps to minimize fraud both internally and externally to the fleet. Managers can identify fuel consumption of a vehicle and, based on those results, set maximum fuel limits per day, week or month. Restricting purchases to only be used for fuel or vehicle maintenance helps ensure the fleet card is not used for personal purchases.

Access: Some fleet cards are accepted at most fuelling stations or maintenance locations, allowing all the fleet purchases and data to be consolidated through a single information source.

The recent circulation of Driven by Data: Managing Fleet Information Overload report by Shell Fleet Solutions narrated that the fleet industry is lagging behind other industries in unlocking the full benefits of big data. Fleet cards are central to a fleet’s operations and the key to unlocking any fleet’s potential for future integration with telematics and the highly connected vehicles of the future.

Preparing for the shift
“To keep their fleet running at peak efficiency and with the best possible balance of cost and performance, it is essential that fleet managers hone their data science and analytical skills” – Parminder Kohli, General Manager, Business Development, Marketing and Operations, Shell Fleet Solutions.
As pressure for efficiencies on fleets continue to heighten, the onus will be on fleet managers to lead the adoption of new technology and maximization of data. With skills such as data thinking, software integration, data-informed driver management, data privacy insights and performance optimization, fleet managers will help distinguish themselves in an ever-changing technological age.

Shell Fleet Solutions plays a key role in supporting managers with large and small fleets with two different fleet cards. The Shell Fleet Card can be used at over 1,350 Shell and Flying J locations across Canada. It provides fleet managers with a dedicated Shell Fleet Solutions account manager to provide support from the implementation stage to on-going support with identifying inefficiencies.

The Shell Fleet Navigator Card is also accepted at any fuel and maintenance location where MasterCard is accepted. It offers cost savings with 10 per cent discounts on products and services purchased at Jiffy Lube locations, and 24/7 emergency roadside assistance services through Road Canada at reduced costs.

Josh Ferguson is national director, Shell Fleet Solutions, Canada.

Analyzing the vast number of data points that exist can be challenging, but by knowing what to look for, digging in a little deeper for tangible insights and making small changes to the way information is utilized, fleet managers can have a long-term impact on fleet performance. Leveraging the power and data that exists within fleet cards is a great first step as we move our fleets into the future.