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Tapping technology for smarter mobility

Improved fuel efficiency is now a key aspect for fleet operators not only from a compliance point-of-view, but also as a marker for profitability of operations

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Even as technology is catalyzing a transformation in every walk of life, technological tools and innovations have made a positive impact on the operation of fleet cars. Operators are leveraging the benefits of technology by switching to new technology-driven platforms — from connected devices and automated safety features, to risk mitigation tools and customer-oriented applications, while achieving improved performance and profitability. With fuel prices rising sharply in the past few months and fuel expenses accounting for at least one-third of a fleet’s operating costs, the smallest initiative to cut costs can have a significant impact on the bottom-line of a fleet operator. Technology is proving to be a key enabler in this endeavor.

Efficiency for profitability
Improved fuel efficiency is now a key aspect for fleet operators not only from a compliance point-of-view, but also as a marker for profitability of operations. Fuel costs are a key concern for fleets, and operators who deploy sustainable green technologies to meet the norms as well as improve the efficiencies are the ones who achieve healthy bottom-lines too. Routine checks and cleaning, fixing loose connections, clearing dirt and grime from electrical points and optimum oil checks can go a long way in improving fuel efficiency.

Fuel leakage is another issue that has plagued the sector for long and fleet operators are effectively plugging this breach by deploying logic circuitry and automatic shut-offs to detect and prevent such leakages. Another important aspect is to ensure that drivers adapt sensible running practices, including turning off the ignition during long stop-times to decrease unnecessary fuel wastage, besides being trained to report deficiencies in the vehicles at the right time to prevent wastage.

Duel for fuel
One of the major challenges confronting large fleets is getting the vehicles filled up at the fuel station. With several vehicles queuing up at the filling stations and long waits unnecessary delays are the order of the day. A significant amount of fuel is collectively wasted across the country even as vehicles await their turn to tank up at fuel pumps. The situation is particularly acute in metro cities where vehicles also lose precious time.

In a bid to prevent this gross wastage and spare inconvenience to individuals as well as fleet operators, an innovative new service has been introduced that enables vehicles to just drive-in, fuel-up and drive-out without any long waiting period post fuelling or hassles of human intervention. Self-service at fuel stations during non-peak hours while earning rewards simultaneously can also become a reality soon.

Improved commuting experience/fuel management
With the introduction of RFID based technologies like in fuelling, and for FASTag in toll & transit, the entire process of fleet management has not only been streamlined but has become transparent as well. The use of RFID integrated with the existing payment platforms for a fuelling app makes it an absolutely secure and preferred option with faster checkouts at fuel outlets. Similarly, with FASTag, commuters can experience faster check-outs at toll collection booths and hopefully soon an easy parking.

The entire process of fuel management is being digitized, thereby, ensuring ease of tracking the expenses. As these expenses are tracked and accounted for, the risk of pilferage has gone down. As a result, many fleet owners achieve economies of scale. Additionally, apprehensions with chauffer driven vehicles are also addressed, providing greater transparency.

Data collection/Easy Reconciliation
Data collection has been valuable in optimizing on-road productivity and help plan ahead. Each vehicle produces a huge expanse of data like kilometers travelled, average speed; fuel consumed, oil condition, etc. Collecting data through digital means and in real-time provides fleet managers additional control to successfully analyze data that can enable improvement and productivity. Technological innovation across automation and big data have enhanced the way fleet business is managed by speeding up processes, strengthening communication and minimizing risk through predictive analytics. Better inter-connectivity and tracking through technology has improved efficiency and helped to better track pivotal processes such as maintenance.

It is now possible with the help of user-friendly applications to manage all the vehicles in one’s fleet on the same platform. The access to data of this stature helps a fleet owner to gauge the performance of each vehicle in a fleet, thereby, lending unmatched help in identifying which vehicles are profit centres.

In the last few years, entire transit and fuel sector has experienced the Midas touch of Digital India and its various initiatives. Having access to crucial data like most visited pump, active hours of commute, type of fuel dispensed, etc. will prove to be a boon for operators in times to come. With real-time and accurate data, more consumer centric strategies can be formulated.

Needless to say, technology is the most important needle that will drive smart mobility forward.

Authored by Satish Zope Head Petroleum & Digital Payments Business, AGS Transact Technologies

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