2020 was nothing short of a shakeup, and while some industries might have seen some radical changes in their workflows, models, and overall structure, the pandemic also paved the way for new challenges. Companies worldwide have begun to adapt to the new “normal” of remote workforces, bolstering their infrastructures with new and innovative technologies to further increase their efficiencies.
Chief among those players, an exciting number of trends has begun to emerge within the fleet industry, trends that are set to foster more collaboration, maximize overall efficiency, and provide better ways to connect across multiple teams. In this article, we’ll discuss five of the trends to look out for 2021, along with our recommendation for the perfect route management software to bolster your own fleet.
While previous years have seen a huge technological jump in telematics and tracking of fleet vehicles in the field, 2021 will be the year where even further improvements emerge. Fleet management software will likely integrate a host of new AI capabilities, and these will likely include added voice technology, more robust data analytics, and possible machine-learning functionality.
If this all sounds like something out a science fiction novel, think again. While some of these features might be years off before they’re fully implemented, the truth is that despite being in early stages of development, they remain a very real sign of things to come. Fleet management is built on the premise of accurate, in-depth data at all times, so any technology that can speed up that process or automate the transfer is going to be of great interest to fleet owners. Fleet owners need to be able to quickly communicate with managers, customers, and employees, so it’s not too out of left field to imagine their interest in technologies that make that communication more seamless
Speaking of data, it’s no secret that improvements to data analytics software pique the interest of fleet managers as well. Fleet efficiency and return on investment (ROI) are interconnected, so any dashboard that allows you to track, analyze, and view key sales metrics is a major game-changer.
Likewise, being able to view important KPIs in real time (such as top paying customers, top-selling products, total revenue, expenses, etc.) improves business strategy and decision-making, with the added bonus of giving an accurate picture of your company’s performance at a single glance. Throw in an easy-to-use interface of graphs, line charts, and gauges, and you’ve got the recipe for some seriously impactful software. As more and more fleets adapt to newer technologies, software like this will become almost mandatory in industries where thin profit margins create an already fierce, competitive atmosphere.
We’ve all seen the commercials and advertisements for 5G networks, so as we move into 2021, we can likely expect many of our favorite devices to make the immediate jump from the current 3G and 4G networks to the latest generation. As a major tech revolution, it also becomes the next logical step for a large number of cars and trucks as well.
5G is already 100x faster than 4G, and its lower latency gives it the ability to simultaneously connect a larger number of devices at even more ridiculous speeds. From boosts in bandwidth, to greater capacity limits and reliability, the truth is that 5G will open a lot more doors than its predecessors in terms of technology, device capabilities, and data streaming. Faster data means faster metrics, and faster metrics mean faster refinements or improvements on business strategy. In other words, it’s like being handed the keys to a well-oiled machine.
Speaking of machines, while 2020 was a bit too soon to see autonomous vehicles rolled out in full force, 2021 is looking to change that up a bit. With many of these vehicles being tested all over the world, a number of exciting, new features continue to be advanced. Data sorting, analyzation, and data management continue to see improvements, with the biggest upset for fleet managers to come from a shift in focus from cost-savings, to one of revenue generation.
Because the DSD (direct store delivery) business is so dynamic, fleet owners are already accustomed to rapid changes in technology and demand. Adding more autonomy to their fleets will bring a host of new challenges, and fleet owners will have to take a number of factors into consideration. For starters, how do you successfully transition from having a crew at the wheel of your vehicles to drive, deliver, maintain, and fuel your operations? Likewise, how do you handle idle time management, the shift to pure electricity, and a more centralized “hub” for your vehicles vs. a dispatcher relaying information on where the next pickup is?
The answer lies within artificial intelligence, and as those capabilities increase, so too will the opportunities for fleet owners to leverage them towards newer services such as updates to delivery, subscription services, ride-sharing, etc. In the same vein, many of these services will likely become more personalized, giving users and customers a host of new reasons to embrace the changes. This leads to more customers, new customers lead to higher revenue, and the cycle ensures greater expansion, prosperity, and ingenuity.
With all of these advancements in data insights and artificial intelligence, it seems only logical that improvements and renovations to cybersecurity will follow. Modern automobile software is absolutely loaded with code, so any improvements to tracking, AI, and data streaming will require further measures to protect that data. Flaws and breaches aren’t just bad for the system, they’re safety hazards as well.
More information will be passed more quickly, and that information will go through more hands than ever before. Privacy will remain a pivotal concern, so route software developers will really have to be on top of their game.
Overall, these are but a few trends that 2021 will showcase, and as the year progresses, more companies will look towards capitalizing on them via software packages and trials. As for our pick on where to start looking, we wholeheartedly recommend bMobile Route for your fleet management needs. Built for convenience from the ground up, bMobile is an easy-to-use, ERP-certified solution for distributors already familiar with QuickBooks, Sage, Syspro, NetSuite, Microsoft (Dynamics), and other popular ERP systems, with EDI and DEX integration that are second to none.
Likewise, bMobile’s customers enjoy the data insights and technological advancements outlined in this article, along with instant prioritization of delivery stops relative to distance, efficiency, and delivery time windows. As 2021 continues to ramp up, so too will their engineers likely add new features, keeping your business on the forefront of the future. See what bMobile and DSD fleet management software can do for your business today with their free demo.
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