Mobile resource management, or MRM, refers to monitoring and tracking a variety of mobile assets. In the trucking industry, these are generally large commercial motor vehicles. On construction and mining job sites, these mobile assets may include heavy machinery (often referred to as yellow iron) and other equipment. In delivery fleets, the assets are often box trucks and other motor vehicles.
Connectivity software allows these devices to interface with a server and provides data for decision making used in asset management.
Mobile resource management originated as vehicle tracking, which remains its most widely-used application. The introduction of GPS (global positioning system) and GIS (geographic information system) devices led to their integration in vehicle fleets to monitor locations and to assist in vehicle routing.
As mobile resource management evolved, additional functions beyond simple vehicle tracking gained in popularity as organizations found that this technology enabled them to realise improved efficiency, productivity and safety.
Importance in managing resources
As more fleet and asset managers recognise the value of MRM, market penetration of this technology continues to increase. An estimated eight million MRM units are in service in 2017, and by 2019 this is expected to reach more than 14 million. By that time, mobile resource management hardware and service revenue is projected to grow to $4.7 billion or more, according to a C.J. Driscoll & Associates report.
Mobile resource management offers a wide range of benefits to enterprises operating within the trucking/transportation, construction/heavy equipment, delivery and related industries.
Asset location/remote management
Equipment tracking with a high degree of precision, with status and management updates to report on current condition. This assists managers in determining where equipment is located, which assets are ready for operation and which may require attention.
Routing and dispatch
Enables fleet or site managers to determine the most efficient routes for deliveries or onsite disposition, to avoid traffic problems and weather issues, accommodate route restrictions on vehicle height or weight, and manage delivery schedules in real time.
Vehicle and equipment maintenance
Monitoring engine and equipment operation can form the basis of an automated maintenance schedule that optimizes efficiency, and can alert managers and operators of potential issues. This can avert costly breakdowns and downtime, as well as preventing premature wear to extend asset life.
MRM can help reduce fuel consumption by recording individual assets’ engine idle times, on-road travel, and excessive fuel use caused by aggressive driving practices or onsite workflows that cause operational bottlenecks. Analysis of engine hours and miles traveled can confirm that vehicles and equipment are used only as authorised.
Safety and driver/operator performance
Electronic logging of work hours, fatigue monitoring, and detection of unsafe driving or harsh equipment use can help prevent accidents, identify vehicle operators who require additional training and reduce unnecessary wear or abuse of vehicles and assets.
Geofencing (electronic boundary lines) helps managers ensure that equipment moves only when authorised, with immediate alerts and location tracking that facilitates recovery.
GPS tracking allows fleet managers to reorganize delivery routes and assignments in real time, to reduce fuel consumption and miles traveled, and maximise the number of deliveries per day. For site and construction managers, electronic records of completed projects provides a basis for job estimating.
Paperwork is reduced and administrative hours minimised with automated billing, timesheets, payroll, invoicing and proof of delivery. In trucking fleets, mobile resource management includes electronic compilation of documents for inspection, and fuel tax accounting.