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As Fleets Grow in Complexity, So Does the Technology

24 Jan 2019, Posted by cnewman@mcphersonoil.com in General

In recent years, fleet managers have seen soaring complexity in an already-demanding role.  Really, it’s a cascading effect: as the economy grows, consumers have increased purchasing power (and businesses have more reason to expand), leading to an increased demand for the timely shipment of goods.  For fleet managers, this heightened demand means more trucks, more drivers, and more freight to account for.

Fortunately, tech companies are beginning to recognize these challenges and create fleet management software to minimize the burden of an indefinitely-growing industry.   Swiss startup Avrios is at the forefront of the digitalization of fleet management.

Fleet Management Software and the Technological Boon

Fleet management requires skills and proficiencies in a number of diverse—and seemingly unrelated—fields.  Fortunately, this workload has been eased in recent years with the emergence of fleet management software; computer-based platforms that organize information, help managers track vehicles, and even maintain records.  This type of software isn’t exactly new.  However, its capabilities and sophistication have grown exponentially in the past decade.

For example, tech companies are beginning to offer management software that can track vehicles in real-time, monitor fuel and temperature levels (also in real-time), and generate customized reports.  Some start-ups even claim to offer software that can recognize patterns in driver behavior, and flag hazardous drivers before they hit the road.  Other companies state that their platforms utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to enable better decision-making and enhanced reporting insights.

Aviros is one such tech company catering to fleet managers.  New to the scene, Aviros has developed a comprehensive “one-stop” platform that offers structured data reporting, policy comprehension, lease-tracking, and cost analytics among other features.

Mending Administration and Fleet Management

Fleet management software is anything but new, so what exactly makes Aviros’ offering any different?  According to company executives, current technologies only offer administration software or fleet management services , and act mostly as “customer retention tools” that don’t provide transparency.

In contrast, Avrios’ software platform mends administrative functionalities with key features specifically for logistical tasks.  Co-founder Andreas Brenner explains, “We have a platform approach, providing elements of what software providers would (structured data, reporting, etc) but also elements of what fleet management providers like FleetLogistics would (procurement automation, benchmarking cost against other fleets, optimizing the bidding process for the procurement of new fleets and fleet leases)…We are neutral and help customers understand where they are truly losing money.”

The software uses cutting-edge automation and data analytics to keep clients on top of their responsibilities and provide them with all of the information to make the best, data-driven decision regardless if it’s about vehicle procurement, maintenance schedules, driver management, or damage reporting.

Additionally, developers at Avrios surveyed their own client-base to identify the gaps that still exist with the currently-available technology.  They found that none of the major fleet management software developers offer clients an easy and intuitive way for invoice or contract processing.  For trucking companies, managing lease agreements and processing invoices are among the most foundational tasks. Yet, Avrios is the first software platform capable of ingesting and processing invoices and leasing documents, which is done almost entirely automatically.

Brenner exclaims, ““You wouldn’t believe but, for example, almost none of the large leasing companies have APIs to import invoices or leasing data — so we essentially had to build a system where we would be able to process these contracts and invoices”.

While most companies offer standard “form letters” and merge-documents, Aviros’ program identifies and processes documents automatically—and in a number of different languages.  While most other management software requires user-inputted structured form recognition, Aviros’ uses artificial intelligence to recognize the type of form, the language, the unstructured data fields, and the important pieces of information for further processing.

The Future Outlooks

Clearly there are benefits to applying powerful and versatile software tools to fleet management tasks, especially in terms of real-time tracking, record keeping, data processing, and making data-driven decisions.

Company officials at Aviros claim that the added functionalities of their platform could reduce fleet administration overhead by 30%( while touting additional benefits around data privacy, and compliance with environmental and owner’s liability laws).  Likewise, other developers catering to fleet management make similar claims of unparalleled increase in production, efficiency, and cost-savings.  However, convincing managers that the benefits outweigh the costs is somewhat of an ongoing challenge.

For the time being, Avrios and other cutting-edge fleet management developers continue to add functionality and sophistication to their products, and persuade fleet managers that databases and spreadsheets aren’t ideal for an increasingly complicated industry.