Fleet Complete takes to the high cloud

By: Andrew Hobbs


Connecting drivers back to the office and with each other through the Cloud is a phenomenon that took its time reaching Australian shores – but now that it is here, one company is hoping to help local businesses make up for lost time.

Fleet Complete takes to the high cloud
Fleet Complete's chief strategy officer Sandeep Kar

 

With long distances and difficult conditions to cover, in many ways it makes sense that larger Australian companies, particularly those in the mining and oil and gas space, were the first adopters of telematics technologies.

According to Michael Seychell, the national sales director for software developer Fleet Complete, using the new ability to track vehicles had been slower to take off among small to medium sized enterprises in Australia. 

"Probably where we [Australia] are a little bit behind is in the adoption of this in the SME space – it hasn’t really penetrated in telematics solutions for commercial vehicles," Seychell says.

"We haven’t sold around the basic proposition that tracking your vehicles …  is about safety and productivity, that is why we are all here.

"It is happening now – that is where we are seeing all our growth – but we are probably running a few years behind North America."

For Fleet Complete’s chief strategy officer Sandeep Kar, this has a lot to do with the earlier rise of e-commerce in North America, and the fact that it was now taking off in Australia.

"Now the two worlds are colliding – retailing and transportation are now fully intertwined," Kar says.

As such, many fleet operators and owner drivers are interested in moving towards tracking and tracing mobile resources, he says, as customer demand for connectivity with the outside world drove the option of telematics.

"Australia is competing with these global markets which in some cases have advantages – for Australia to remain relevant the efficiency and effectiveness of the mobile service becomes much more important."

Beyond couriers

From its humble beginnings in 1998 as a Canadian company providing technological support for couriers, today Fleet Complete focuses on the development of software for vehicle fleets as well as asset and mobile workforce management solutions.

This ranges from an application for streamlining paperwork to tracking systems for monitoring the safety of individuals, of fleet vehicles and company assets – such as heavy-duty machinery.

The company also produces software designed to help manage time, to track progress on projects and software for the management of dispatch services.

Seychell says the company’s products are designed to help companies that have to consider customer service and productivity when they are building a value proposition.

"A classic business for us is someone who has 25 vans on the road and is doing air conditioning repair," he says.

"We can help that business with their productivity and efficiency and how many jobs they can get to, how long they are spending at each job – it gives the business metrics about who their best performers are, who is getting more jobs in the day."

This was the appeal for Saxon Energy Services, which employed Fleet Complete’s GPS tracking devices and vehicle monitoring to maintain oversight of a 16-vehicle fleet.

Saxon quality, health, safety and environment manager Michael Cassidy said in a testimonial that Saxon pursued the technology to help deliver on a commitment to risk reduction and hazard management.

"Fleet Complete’s streamlined approach made it easy to implement its fleet management system," Cassidy says.

"We appreciate the fact that Fleet Complete continually works with us to expand our reporting capabilities so we can fully utilise the journey management system."

Fleet Complete started its expansion down under with its acquisition of Adelaide-based SecuraTrak, which was one of the first GPS technology companies in Australia, back in October 2016.

At the time, Securatrak had over 25,000 subscribers to its vehicle tracking and fleet management systems, all connected through Telstra, which served as the company’s wireless channel partner.

Seychell says the Telstra relationship continues under the new management, with the company working hard to build a channel business over that time.

"The thing about Australia is that Telstra is the dominant carrier, so it is great to have them on board, and that has just been … how we operate, so people know that we are not going to compete with our channel or our carriers."

For Kar, it is important that the company has a good relationship with the single carrier in all the places it works.

"The entire ecosystem of our group is fuelled by the logistical partnerships that we create, and that creates the baseline for revenue co-creation opportunities, so that is something we take very seriously," he says.

Where to from here?

Today, Kar says he sees Australia as a very important market for the company as it plans to expand around the world.

"There are a lot of overlaps and synergies between our global operations and Australia," he says.

"We are looking at centres of gravity from where we can launch into regions, so Australia is major for the Asia Pacific, not just based on the strength of its own domestic market, but also what we believe we can do in the markets in the region, which are rapidly evolving."

While those carrier partnerships complement Fleet Complete’s suite of products, Kar says the company also aims to build on those relationships for the broader benefit of their clients, and potentially other groups.

There is an example of this in the February launch of the company’s Connvex platform, which Kar says will compile data from a range of sources, including the vehicle manufacturer, suppliers and other fleets of the same vehicle – all anonymised before use.

This combined data, he says, will benefit fleet owners as well as original equipment manufacturers, system suppliers and aftermarket participants – along with the governments and municipalities that look after the roads used.

The scope includes remote diagnostics and prognostics, safety and advanced driver assistance systems, ride sharing, electric vehicle mobility, digital freight brokerage and video telematics, mobile resource management and ride sharing, among many others.

"[It] enables all parties in the system to leverage its power and harness its analytical capabilities," Kar says.

"That enables them to either independently create a revenue stream or co-create a revenue stream with Fleet Complete or another party."

Kar says that most telematics companies helped drivers connect with their base of operations as well as the outside world, which meant that Fleet Complete needed to differentiate itself.

"What we are trying to do is make sure that we connect those drivers to the world outside in a way that the driver can enhance their income earning potential," he says.

One way of doing this was in finding spare load capacity in trucks, Kar says – using social media to source additional loads for drivers so they could scale that rate along the way and generate more income.

"So we are not only helping smaller fleets and owner operators to save money and reduce the cost of their operations, we are helping them make money – and no-one else is doing that," Kar says.

"It helps in creating a new kind efficiency gain in the system where truck drivers don’t have to rely on brokers… it is almost like a big family."

"If you’re an Uber driver you can plan when to work, how many hours… we try to offer the same kind of latitude to our drivers so they can plan their weeks or months in advance, and spend more time with their family," he says.

"Individually it is a service, but collectively, it is a solution."

 

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