At the start of the millennium fleet managers had to manually record virtually every single piece of fleet-relevant information.
That was not only time consuming and administratively cumbersome, but could be prone to mistakes.
Additionally, the way data was stored meant it was difficult to monitor, measure and compare and contrast the performance of individual drivers and vehicles effectively.
A decade ago, I wrote that IT-literate fleet decision-makers were waking up to the fact that hi-tech fleet management systems could seamlessly interact with other internal and external software to dramatically improve operating effectiveness and efficiency.
As a result, sophisticated web-based software developments meant fleet operators no longer needed to manually input every item of information.
However, as fleets start to embrace the arrival of the ‘connected car’ and with fully autonomous vehicles to be on UK roads from 2021, says the Government, it is apparent the fleet decision-makers’ technology journey has slowed.
Many fleet decision-makers remain too reliant on hard copy documents.
That is a considerable administration burden and, more importantly, means delays in processing information and the identification of potential costs and compliance requirements.
Furthermore, the Government and its agencies’ digitalisation of vehicle and driver/employee records is a journey that is now well underway.
Data information feeds from suppliers can instantly update individual vehicle and driver information held by fleets.
So-called ‘big data’ is not imminent; it is here. Hugely improved decision-making relating to driver behaviour, vehicle performance and utilisation can be achieved with ‘big data’ as fleet managers are better informed.
It is therefore vital that businesses have in place good systems that will take vehicle and driver information and digest it.
In turn, that will enable fleet managers to make better informed decisions as they will have a holistic picture.
The age of paper documents is over and should be confined to the waste bin.
By Martin Evans managing director Jaama