To help clients optimize fleet performance and lower the cost of fleet ownership, Automotive Resources International (ARI) has launched “ARI insights,” a Web-based car, truck, and equipment fleet management system.

According to Bill Kwelty, ARI vice president and chief information officer, “ARI insights” was designed to allow each user to personalize the dashboard to immediately highlight significant events and critical areas of their fleet operations to deliver fast, actionable results.

“The system helps clients improve fleet efficiencies and optimize vehicle assets, which creates new cost-saving and revenue-building opportunities,” he said.

'ARI insights' Pilot Tests System with Fleet Customers
ARI completed development of the program in August 2006, and over the next several months, put the new system to work at select customer locations. “We tried to select a diverse group of companies representative of ARI’s customer base, which included car, truck, and equipment fleets, and fleets from many different industries,” Kwelty said.

In total, 24 clients in the United States and Canada participated in the pilot test, which was completed in January.

Three years ago, Veolia Water Logistics, based in Houston, began using ARI’s ACCESS system, the “ARI insights” predecessor program.

Veolia’s fleet consists of 628 pickup trucks, 69 passenger cars, 51 SUVs, 87 vans, 276 medium-duty trucks, 119 heavy trucks, 16 trailers, and three ATVs. Most of the company’s vehicles are Ford, DaimlerChrysler, and GM models.

According to Kevin McDaniel, Veolia corporate fleet/purchasing manager–vice president, ACCESS was a good system, but he needed a more comprehensive data retrieval and reporting system. When “ARI insights” was under development, ARI asked several ACCESS users to join a customer technology advisory (CTAM) group to help finalize the new system. McDaniel was one of those invited.

All CTAM participants had access to the beta copy of “ARI insights” and were provided time to work with the new system. “ARI ensured that the beta version was ‘live’ so that any work completed on it would also appear on the primary ACCESS database,” McDaniel said. “The CTAM process was very successful in that the criticism and suggestions were discussed in detail and, when appropriate, added to the system.”

According to McDaniel, the new system is easy to customize, built with the user in mind, and requires no technical training.

“A great feature of the system is its ability to download virtually all collected data to Excel,” he added. McDaniel said other system benefits include:

  • A homepage capable of displaying a series of user-selectable information sets, including operational tools, such as commonly used reports and vehicle information, to more informative sets, such as industry-related news articles.
  • Real-time alerts to potential problems, such as excessive or unauthorized fuel charges.
  • Links to recalls, registration, and number of vehicles on order, providing the user with at-a-glance information, which, when clicked, link managers to specific information that supports the initial claim.

    “This system has eliminated the need to create new reports every time or to go looking for them in the system,” McDaniel said. “Ask for the report once, add it to your homepage, and it’s there and updated whenever you want it. In the time that I have used “ARI insights,” I have saved countless hours of work and, more than once, looked like a fleet guru when asked for fleet-related information by executive management.”

    'ARI insights' Features Customizable Dashboard
    Today, the program is available for use by ARI’s full customer base, which includes more than 2,000 customers worldwide.

    According to Kwelty, “ARI insights” is built on a service-oriented architecture and requires only Internet access, a secure user ID, and a password.

    The system’s customizable dashboard enables users to create a “dashboard” homepage around their personal preferences. With a single click, simplified navigation sends clients to the information they need without wasting time searching through different menus. Key performance indicators provide business intelligence in real-time and allow client users to drill through to as much detail as they need.

    “The reason we believe ‘ARI insights’ established a new standard for fleet management tools is that it is based on fleet manager input,” said Tom Donato, ARI’s senior VP of sales and marketing. “These people represent the population of fleet managers out there. We had to make sure we delivr the right information to the right people.”

    Proactive alerts make it possible for clients to respond quickly to time-sensitive events because the system continuously monitors the fleet database for client-defined events and information updates. Also, customer-selected “really simple syndication” (RSS) provides timely information suited to the client’s interests.

    The bulk update feature allows users to query and automatically update information on all vehicles in a listing, rather than updating vehicles individually. And bulk e-mail enables a client to reach a large group with a single message, without recreating the same message and e-mail repeatedly.

    “With business intelligence integrated into the dashboard, a user can create high-quality, personalized reports through the system’s enhanced Web-reporting capability,” Kwelty said.

    System Also Features Truck- and Equipment-Specific Features
    ARI also designed new truck- and equipment-specific features into “ARI insights,” adding more data fields and enhancing the system’s ability to track, report, and manage more detailed truck information.

    New fields include hour meters, weight classes, fuel capacity, wheelbase, and numerous auxiliary and client data fields customizable for a variety of entries, including:

  • Telematics-driven automated data uploads, including accurate odometer readings.
  • Expanded vehicle classifications to improve reporting and asset management.
  • Use of client vehicle numbers, which can be assigned by a client at any time.
  • Systems that monitor and track truck inspection dates to ensure compliance.
  • A vehicle remarketing pricing and benchmarking system to accommodate light- and medium-duty trucks.
  • Cost-analysis reports by type and application.

    ARI offers four types of training for “ARI insights,” including Webcast sessions targeted toward individuals or groups; online text-based help with full search and screen capability; virtual training, such as online video and tutorial guide; and phone support and on-site training.