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Merchants Takes TotalView of Fleet Operations

February 2015, by Chris Wolski - Also by this author

(L-R) Brad Jacobs, director of strategic consulting; Dan Hannan, executive director of strategic consulting; and Ken Kauppila, chief information officer, are the Merchants Fleet Management leadership responsible for developing and implementing the new TotalView solution. The system aggregates fleet data into convenient, personalized dashboards defined according to an individual fleet’s mission and reporting needs. Photo courtesy of Merchants.
(L-R) Brad Jacobs, director of strategic consulting; Dan Hannan, executive director of strategic consulting; and Ken Kauppila, chief information officer, are the Merchants Fleet Management leadership responsible for developing and implementing the new TotalView solution. The system aggregates fleet data into convenient, personalized dashboards defined according to an individual fleet’s mission and reporting needs. Photo courtesy of Merchants.

Merchants Fleet Management prides itself on its hands-on, individualized customer service. To increase its traditional level of customer service, the fleet management company is enhancing its approach.

Merchants has released TotalView, an analytics-driven fleet management solution, which is designed to extend the company’s approach to personalized service into the digital age.

“When we introduced TotalView, we wanted to make sure that TotalView was an extension of that personalized strategy and not a replacement of it,” explained Dan Hannan, executive director strategic consulting services for Merchants. “This is not a self-serve solution. We’re providing more data, more solutions, which is just augmenting our ability to interact with our customers.”

Providing a Flexible Solution

Hannan said, in a world of “Big Data,” TotalView is designed to help manage the avalanche of data without fleet managers being buried by it.

“In the fleet management business, there’s a lot of data — what I like to call a collision of data — maintenance data, fuel data, lease data, telematics data. It goes on and on and on. We’re aggregating from thousands of vendors, and not just dumping data on our customers is a big part of our solution. Again, it’s that personalized solution that is vital to them and their fleet strategy. Our technology is built on an enterprise solution, so it doesn’t matter if the fleet manager is at work, at home, or on the go. It’s focusing the right data on them.”

Fleets can develop dashboards and reporting techniques that allow them to manage the “Big Data” that is crucial for the fleet’s operational and business strategies. Hannan noted that Merchants’ strategic consultants’ role is to help their fleet customers develop these dashboards and reporting strategies and not dictate a set menu of reports.

The dashboards available through TotalView are “nearly infinite,” Hannan said.

Dashboards can be developed for each aspect of fleet operations, e.g., fuel, maintenance, cycling. They can be open and monitored at the same time.

Reporting is equally flexible. Reports can be delivered at any interval — real time, monthly, quarterly, yearly, or year-to-date. Alerts can be digitally pushed to any desktop, laptop, tablet, mobile phone, or other device used by drivers or regional managers via e-mail or text according to the rules set by the fleet manager.

TotalView also allows fleet managers to define exceptions and set tolerances for certain processes in order to keep track of trending issues, particularly those that may need immediate attention.

“Our job is to give our fleet customers options and help them structure their data and reports,” Hannan said.

Launching the New Solution

TotalView is now a standard part of Merchant’s service package. There will be no individualized costs associated with the new solution, according to Hannan.

Every existing Merchants customer has or will soon have TotalView solution. It will be a relatively transparent process, since the fleet management company’s existing data management systems will “cascade” into TotalView, Hannan noted.

He added that TotalView is part of Merchants’ strategy to extend the reach of its programs and services. And, while it’s a piece of sophisticated technology, TotalView continues to anchor the company to its fundamental mission, according to Hannan.

“It’s really about analytics-driven fleet management,” he said.

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