Opinion piece: Visibility is key to cutting logistics costs for fleet managers

By Laurence Smith, Executive at Graphic Image Technologies

Until recently, integrating dash cam solutions for fleet management purposes was costly and complicated. The bigger the fleet, the bigger the implementation and management headache. Thanks to developments in Artificial Intelligence, video imaging and cloud storage, all that has changed. Today’s dash cam solution is simple, yet sophisticated; easy to use with a host of benefits that will undoubtedly help logistics and fleet managers to gain visibility into all the moving parts of their organisation - by putting real-time eyes on their drivers, vehicles and cargo. With visibility comes manageability and accountability, all of which add up to enhanced safety, better driver performance, increased efficiencies and reduced operational costs. In short, dash cam technology has matured into a viable and affordable cost management solution for fleets, large and small.

Fuss-free, cloud-based intelligent vehicle monitoring

No longer the bulky, complicated setups involving clunky cameras with an SD card, today’s dashcam solution is essentially a compact off-site vehicle DVR (Digital Video Recorder) system combined with front and rear dash cams with multiple sensors and 4G connectivity to provide real-time cloud-based vehicle tracking and monitoring, with complete insight through

full GPS tracking of single or multiple vehicles. This gives fleet managers a view into the location history of every point on a vehicle’s trip with contextual information - point-by-point location information, time and speed - all of which makes it possible to more accurately reconcile mileage with fuel expenses. Combined with analytics and reporting capability, dash cam technology provides the ability to accurately measure driver behaviour and vehicle treatment, which makes it possible to monitor driver performance.

Enhanced driver performance and safety

Additional driver performance features of today’s dash cam include anti-distraction measures. Cameras are supplemented with smart sensors capable of recognising unsafe driving events using AI and computer vision, identifying driver distraction or drowsiness and unsafe driving behaviours, assisting drivers with audio and visual alerts to prevent accidents. Along with the ability for fleet managers to use any device - tablet, mobile or computer - to  keep an eye on each and every driver in real time by means of a live feed, dash cam video management systems also provide useful post-incident analysis functionality. The smart sensors are capable of recognising hazardous events like a sudden stop, sharp acceleration, or a collision and on recognition of such an event  a 10-second video clip of the event is automatically sent to the cloud for storage, along with an email or SMS notification. Fleet managers will benefit immensely from centralised control through an events dashboard that logs events to be searchable by description, date, time and type. This will prove indispensable for evidentiary purposes, helping to ascertain exactly what took place in the incident that lead to an insurance claim and will prove useful in disciplinary and driver training applications as well.

Visible operational cost reduction

With performance reporting and behaviour analysis into every driver, fleet managers can now make the most of technology that provides full visibility into every aspect of their fleet and reach new levels of safety and efficiency to optimise fleet performance. Simply by improving driver behaviour (knowing they’re being monitored has an automatic corrective effect)  fleet managers can reduce fuel costs and vehicle maintenance expenses by as much as 12% - which makes a huge difference in the face of ever-increasing fuel prices and today’s tough economic climate.