It's no exaggeration to say that telematics has represented a great advance in fleet management over the last decade and a half. It was billed as a quantum leap in the field, and so it's proven - providing fleet managers with a level of insight that they could only have dreamed of, previously. It's provided us with unprecedented information on driver conduct, the mechanical condition of fleet vehicles, route planning and more.
But now there's a new kid on the block: mobile enterprise management (MEM). MEM is hailed in some quarters as a similarly significant advance to telematics itself. Essentially, what it involves is the use of mobile apps - such as Teletrac Navman's own Director, allowing fleet managers to track vehicles using their phone - to harness data in real time and make use of it in a quicker and more flexible manner. So is MEM everything it's cracked up to be?
Beyond traditional telematics
Telematics systems have served business all over the world in recent years, and they continue to play a vital role providing insight into driver behaviour and fleet operations. Where telematics provides fleet managers with details of how their fleet is performing, MEM promises to create a two way information flow, empowering field based employees to act quicker and smarter. It’s all about improving a business’s workflow and making information available at the point of action (where the service delivery is taking place).
The capability to create a two way information flow, is going to prove crucial over the coming years, as firms across a wide range of sectors look to increase efficiency without sacrificing customer service standards.
Why are fleet managers choosing MEM?
Another key reason why MEM is starting to gain traction among fleet managers is its ease of implementation. Field based employees can be provided with an in vehicle device which offers a diverse range of applications. Solutions already exist for instant two way communication and workflow enhancement including job dispatch, signature capture, routing, compliance and driver behaviour feedback. The range of applications is continuing to grow as telematics providers work to increase the flexibility of the solutions they provide.
Future advances in MEM will look to utilise the high adoption levels of smartphones, according to one survey from Deloitte, 81 per cent of people in the UK own their own smartphone, and making this transition will further simplify the steps to implementation and the breadth of services that are available.
Does standard telematics have a future?
Although MEM has considerable potential and is being adopted by a number of fleet managers, it should be seen as a complementary solution. Telematics provides the infrastructure over which MEM works and will continue to provide fleet managers with key information about driver performance and fleet operations. With that said, MEM does present exciting times for the fleet industry - making information available at the point of action can change the way business work and empower employees to deliver higher levels of service.
Fleet managers would therefore do well to get acquainted with MEM now, because that knowledge is likely to serve them very effectively in the not too distant future.