Walter Mastelinck (Transics) : “Fleet management will evolve further in the back office.”
In the view of Walter Mastelinck, CEO of Transics, the next evolution in fleet management will be seen in the back office, and much less so in on-board computers themselves.
“The on-board computer remains the most visible part of our fleet management system, but at the same time it has to be recognised that the new functions are rather more to be found in the back office. This is where things are moving the most. The on-board computer already has quite a lot of functions: navigation, follow-up of working times, missions, communication with the driver, fuel consumption measurement, anticipatory driving assistance etc…
I do not think we are going to add much. The new models are operated by a touch-screen of course, but this can’t be considered a s a great leap forwards.
The new trends are at the level of administration, and are to be found in centralising all data into a single application, but accessible via various sorts of fixed or mobile devices. This enables a transport company dispatcher to check whether all the drivers got on their way during his lunch, and even to intervene if necessary, using a channel of his choice. Our clients are asking for this type of acces via iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and other mobile devices, particularly as the price of these devices and the subscriptions which go with them have started to fall.”
Compiling different types of information is another strong trend. “Up to now, fleet management was limited to the tractor unit or the truck, but trailers now have to be integrated, along with road units and specific equipment such as freezer units or tanks. It is by compiling all of this data with driver data, and soon sub-contractor data too, that we will achieve optimised fleet management and ideal planning.
Once this has been achieved, it is important to present the information in a way which is suited to each person’s function. The dispatcher who wants to know at a glance if all his drivers left in the morning will have enough with a table displayed on a mobile device. But to check on fuel consumption, much more detail and another style of presentation are required. The other people involved (CEO, CFO, Fleet Manager) will only want to se the information which is relevant to themselves, and at the time they wish to see it.”
Fleet and transport, FMS and TMS
This year, Transics disposed of part of its software portfolio to Wolters Kluwer Transport Services. Walter Mastelinck : “This is the application with which we launched the company, namely the TAS TMS. Such software manages transport missions, independently of the on-board computer and the fleet management system (FMS). But at the same time, the TMS needs information supplied by the FMS (Where are the vehicles ? Which driver is available?). When you are designing a global system, the TMS and the FMS have to communicate at both technical and commercial levels. For us, it was becoming difficult to offer our TMS with our FMS. We only did this in Belgium, and on a small scale. This division carried out its duties very well, but its development was limited. Transics sees more growth opportunities for its FMS in Europe.
When we saw the possibility of selling our TMS division, its personnel and its clients to a player for whom it was of interest, we seized the opportunity. We are therefore going to concentrate on our FMS offering. The transport market may no longer be growing in terms of numbers of vehicles, but it is continuing to become more professional and to use its means better. This is why the sector needs global fleet management systems. It also has many industry and commercial players who are continuing to invest in their own fleets, and in systems which improve the efficiency of these fleets in order to reduce operating costs and/or improve the quality of their client service”.
| 06/12/2011 | Claude Yvens