6 key questions to ask potential fleet tech suppliers
Growth forecasts for countries across the globe have been cut against the backdrop of high inflation, interest rates and war.
As fleets look to navigate through challenges, cost control measures that don’t compromise performance will be vital to surviving and thriving the economic turmoil.
Moreover, there is increasing recognition that digital transformation of fleet processes must sit at the heart of their business strategies.
Although spending cuts may be the go-to approach for many, investments in fleet technologies and digital solutions can offer a key ingredient to riding the economic storm, and can lead to significant long-term savings.
Fortune favours the brave and technological deployments, rolled out at a time when competitors are battening down the hatches, could put you in pole position to drive your business forward while others stagnate.
The insights that solutions such as telematics can impart – when acted upon by fleet management specialists with the requisite knowledge and know-how – will help inform and transform decision-making.
Where resources are stretched, or where there is a lack of in-house expertise, the returns that may be realised by employing the services of an outsourced specialist, such as TraXall International – to not only help deploy appropriate solutions, but to ensure the data is utilised effectively – can significant boost to the business bottom line.
The upfront cost burden will invariably be quickly offset by the benefits of more efficient processes, safer driving, savings on fuel and maintenance, and improvements in productivity.
Finding the right tech partner is business critical.
Before you make your final shortlist, you always conduct due diligence on a potential supplier’s performance history and financial position to make sure they are in it for the long haul. Research, reputation and recommendation are key to finding the perfect partner that complements your business model.
Armed with your objectives, budgets and timescales, what questions should you be asking potential tech partners before you sign on the dotted line?
1. How will you help us deliver our objectives?
From fuel and insurance cost savings to supporting the EV transition, potential partners should be able to provide a detailed plan on how they will help achieve and monitor each of your goals – and make further proactive recommendations that you may not have even considered.
The chosen provider needs to be fully onboard with what success looks like – and when.
2. Why should we choose your service over the competition?
The answer to this should delve deeper than cost. What is their average client and staff retention? Have the won any industry-acclaimed awards or accreditations? Do they have case studies that support similar briefs to yours?
The proliferation of fleet tech may mean that operators cannot offer a genuine sector USP but they should be able to demonstrate their ability to offer a bespoke performance-profit led solution that delivers what you need in the short and long-term.
You should question their ability to customise reports, optimise data insights, manage workflow and cost control and, where relevant, consider how their system supports communications between drivers and management.
Fleet systems can process a wealth of data and provide invaluable insights, but the output must be meaningful and simple to analyse to support smarter decision-making. They should also offer the flexibility to manage by exception when required.
3. What are your integration capabilities?
It is also important to clarify if their platform integrates with your existing IT systems or job-specific platforms without further investment. Can their system talk to customer relationship management (CRM) tools or enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms, for example? Does it allow for integrations with third-party software and hardware applications?
Can the provider guarantee a flow of data between different technologies across your different business functions? Their ability to provide seamless integration with minimal business interruption is key.
Understanding how a supplier will handle implementation and installation, what ongoing support and training they provide are all critical in the commitment to fleet-tech adoption.
4. What is your long-term business plan?
Interrogate if their infrastructure is futureproof, flexible and scalable as the needs of your business evolves.
Fleet management priorities and processes will change considerably as we speed towards ICE bans, and beyond. Similarly, digital requirements will have to evolve to keep pace so it is essential to choose a partner that you feel confident can meet your future needs – as well as today’s.
Suppliers with a strong commitment to R&D and innovation will be best placed to respond to the changing fleet automotive landscape and should merit a place on your shortlist.
5. What security systems do you have in place?
As connected vehicle technologies evolve, business exposure to security vulnerabilities and data breaches are likely to remain a hot topic for the foreseeable.
Fleet operators should check with potential partners that their systems comply with data protection regulations and meet international standards for data security and privacy.
Check that they operate secure communication networks and what information security policies they have in place to protect data confidentiality and integrity.
6. Can you demonstrate transparency and repute?
When it comes to cost, ask for total transparency. What exactly do you get for your investment? Are there any associated costs with extra services? Would the provider be prepared to offer a no obligation trial? This can help you establish if you have a good fit with key personnel as well as the technology before you commit to a lengthy contract.
You should also ask for client references and ideally talk to them direct – hearing the good, the bad and the ugly from an end-user can be invaluable.
Fleet tech can reap big rewards. But a bad investment can result in a redundant digital asset that becomes a debilitating cost burden that cannot be recouped.
That’s why you should never cut corners on the 3Rs – research, reputation and recommendation. Ask questions. Challenge. Interrogate.
Choose your tech partner and platform wisely and you will be well-equipped to manage your fleet efficiently and profitably – and keep pace with the expeditious transport sector.
For help navigating the fleet tech landscape and implementing and optimising the latest solutions, contact our TraXall International specialists.