Data technology investments have led to increased safety (50%), improved compliance (50%), higher revenue (43%), and increased net profit (43%).  -  Photo: Canva/Automotive Fleet

Data technology investments have led to increased safety (50%), improved compliance (50%), higher revenue (43%), and increased net profit (43%).

Photo: Canva/Automotive Fleet

Technological breakthroughs are unfolding in commercial fleets, encompassing self-driving vehicles, renewable fuel, and robotics, according to the latest Samsara report, The State of Connected Operations 2023

The report offers insights into how 1,500 operations leaders in nine countries maneuver through economic and geopolitical volatility.

Regarding the digital maturity rate of leaders’ organization’s physical operations, 47% reported beginner, 45% said they were advanced, and only 8% reported a high level of digital maturity.  

What implications will these advancements have on the future of the industry? When faced with pressure, fleets don’t shy away from change but embrace it.

Leveraging AI to Modernize Operations

The survey reported that adopting artificial intelligence (AI) has significantly impacted operations this year. 

According to the report, 31% of leaders and 47% of digitally mature leaders use generative AI to modernize their operations.

Looking ahead, 84% of leaders have plans to incorporate generative AI (such as ChatGPT) into their processes by 2024, with only a mere 5% expressing no intention to adopt this technology.

As generative AI advances and finds diverse real-world applications, it will unlock boundless possibilities for physical operations in the coming years.

These possibilities include automating:

  • Driving tasks.
  • Predicting consumer demands.
  • Streamlining daily operations.

To fully leverage AI’s potential and overcome information overload challenges, Samsara stated that leaders will need to focus on solutions that harness the power of AI to enhance existing processes and tackle new problems.

Particularly for physical operations, AI can efficiently organize and analyze massive volumes of data from various sources, such as sites, vehicles, assets, and employees in the work truck industry.

Embracing Technology to Streamline Operations

Equipping a work truck fleet with up-to-date technology brings many advantages to today’s industry. 

By embracing tech, fleets can streamline operations, enhance productivity, and achieve significant cost savings.

So is it worth adding telematics and management software to your fleet?    

The data speaks for itself: Digitally mature leaders said that using technology such as AI and automation have resulted in higher employee productivity (64%), higher revenue (59%), and increased net profit (56%).

As we continue in 2023, 56% of leaders emphasize enhancing workforce productivity by adopting new technologies as an essential organizational priority.

There is still time for fleets who haven’t taken advantage of tech yet. But it would be best if you started planning for it now.

Of the 1,500 leaders, 84% plan to use generative AI, and 91% will leverage automation to modernize their operations by 2024.

Investing in Data as a Competitive Advantage

One thing almost every leader agreed on (90%) was that data is a competitive advantage for their organization.

Real-time operational data for fleets involves collecting, analyzing, and using up-to-the-minute information regarding fleet operations.

It involves gathering real-time data from vehicles, drivers, and other relevant sources and processing it to provide actionable insights.

And fleets are increasing their tech budget to take advantage of it. According to the report, 90% of leaders say having accurate, real-time operational data is critical to decision-making in 2023.

Plus, leaders report widespread benefits because of their data technology investments:

  • Increased safety (50%)
  • Improved compliance (50%)
  • Higher revenue (43%)
  • Increased net profit (43%)

Regulatory Requirements on Decarbonization

Governments worldwide are tightening regulations on businesses that fail to prioritize sustainability.

Among the digitally mature leaders, 51% acknowledge that regulatory requirements serve as a primary motivation for their efforts to reduce emissions.

Pursuing government sustainability grants has garnered significant interest across countries, with Mexico leading the way. A remarkable 60% of leaders in Mexico plan to actively seek these grants within the next two years.

Globally, 62% of the digitally mature leaders have similar intentions, compared to 50% of those still in the early stages of their sustainability journey.

Prioritizing Emissions Reduction

This year, reducing emissions is a high priority for leaders.

Top strategies for achieving this goal include: 

  • Adopting EVs through purchasing or leasing.
  • Driver training programs to reduce fuel usage and idling.
  • Optimizing routing to minimize the number of miles driven.

What excites leaders about decarbonization initiatives? They point to two primary factors: 

  1. Meeting customer and/or partner expectations.
  2. Increasing competitiveness.

Supply Chain Strategies

The top three concerns the leaders face globally are:

  1. Supply chain delays
  2. Volatile fuel prices 
  3. Cross-border travel/trade 

Leaders remain deeply concerned about the persistent supply chain delays and shortages three years after the pandemic triggered worldwide disruptions.

Recognizing the limitations of minor adjustments, leaders have shifted their focus toward fundamentally rebuilding their supply chains. 

So how are these leaders combating their most significant challenge? Of the surveyed, 95% plan to implement at least one of these strategies this year to combat supply chain shortages: 

  • Onshoring — transferring an overseas business operation back to its country of origin.
  • Nearshoring — transferring an overseas business operation to another nearby country.
  • Friendshoring — transferring an overseas business operation to countries that are political or economic allies.
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