Managing a fleet of vehicles is a complex endeavor faced in many industries: School districts have buses, as do municipalities; utility companies have maintenance vehicles; mines have mixed-type vehicles on site; rental companies have trucks and cars; wholesale distributors and transportation providers have trucks.

For all of these industries, there are common requirements that need data to enable management of the fleet, yet it is difficult to ensure accuracy. Managers need to know exactly where their vehicles are at all times. They also need to know the health of each vehicle within the fleet and the answers to questions like: Is it in working condition? Is it idle? Is it in need of maintenance? And if it’s working, is it available? These fleet insights allow a company to optimize its distribution of vehicles.

Managers must figure out how to track their fleet and turn insights into action. And while adding GPS to vehicles can help locate a vehicle, it falls short of alerting the manager of a maintenance need.

How SAP Leonardo for Automotive Can Help

SAP has developed an industry innovation kit that addresses fleet management. While developed for the automotive industry, the kit applies to all the industries mentioned above. SAP Leonardo for Automotive, fleet insights option, can improve on-time vehicle availability and improve customer experience. It can learn about the usage patterns within a fleet, and understand the specific processes flows to improve efficiency and effectiveness. A measurable benefit is the reduction of non-billable vehicle time.

How does the kit achieve all of this? With the help of machine learning and the Internet of Things (IoT), the kit can monitor a fleet of vehicles. Machine learning is used to understand the fleet’s operating patterns. Once learned, the kit can anticipate the health of specific vehicles within a fleet and predict when maintenance might be needed. For instance, it could suggest what specific part in a vehicle needs to be replaced and it could predict how much manpower is needed for the repair.

For example, if a car’s brakes need to be replaced, the kit can send a notification through SAP Cloud Platform. This notifies the manager and tells them exactly what needs to be done with a notification like “The brakes on car #37 need to be replaced in two months. Estimated time for repair is one hour and one mechanic is needed.” This helps streamline the repair process. If a manager has a two-month time line and the brakes take one month to arrive, then the manager could order the new brakes now and avoid losing up time waiting on spare parts to arrive.

Real-Time Perspective

According to Edina Sewell, automotive solution manager at SAP, this kit can also aid in understanding the supply and demand for vehicles: “The kit can enable fleet managers to gather the necessary information about their fleet, in real time. From a supply and demand perspective, managers can see where their services are needed. They can also see how many vehicles are available to help.”

If a company has 100 vehicles at its disposal, but a poor understanding of upcoming service requests, the fleet insights option kit could help the company understand how many vehicles would be needed each day and where to deploy individual vehicles or schedule a vehicle for maintenance.

Proof of Concept

The kit is based on what SAP has learned through co-innovation customers. In one such example, a company had a fleet of company cars to manage. They were manually recording the usage of their vehicles, which combined professional and personal usage. This method was slow, inaccurate, and difficult. Digitizing their fleet management and applying advanced technologies to provide insights made their fleet management more accurate and simple.

SAP Leonardo for Automotive, fleet insights option, can improve vehicle availability, track vehicles and monitor their health, and give real-time tracking of the supply and demand for vehicle services.

Author - Alex Chan - SAP