Why we need a bigger idea in fleet management: the case for orchestration

Every year, truck drivers travel more than one trillion kilometers on European roads alone. Fun fact: that’s more than three thousand times the journey from Earth to the Sun and back!

Problem is, up to 24 percent of those journeys are empty runs.

It’s a tough puzzle to crack, especially for the folks back at fleet HQ looking to up their efficiency levels while keeping costs under control. If you’re running a cargo fleet, rising fuel expenses, global disruptions, emission rules, and an intricate web of regulatory constraints are probably only a few of the challenges you’re facing right now––not to mention daily woes like traffic congestion, road closures, or motor accidents. And as the industry transitions to a new era of connected vehicles and disruptive business models, things will only get more complex. Since building new roads is not an option, the need for better tools to help fleets govern themselves better––today and tomorrow––has never been greater.

When we set out to build SCALAR, ZF’s next-gen fleet management system, we already had 35 years of fleet management expertise and ZF’s deep understanding of vehicle dynamics to count on. So we began to envision the future of road transport.

Orchestrating road transport: from connectivity to intelligent automation

 Like most businesses in the sector, today you probably rely on digital planning tools, fleet management systems, and connectivity devices to plan and monitor your fleet operations. Yet many operators are still struggling to maintain full transparency throughout the supply chain or make sense of the information they collect with the tools they have today. In other words, connectivity and digitalization alone aren’t enough––collecting data is only as good as what you do with it.  

What’s more, today’s solutions cannot respond to changes happening in real time without you needing to jump on your phone or laptop and deal with them manually. 

Now imagine a digital platform that doesn’t just passively receive and visualize information, but instead leverages AI technology to collect all the right data and intelligently connect all the dots, turning it into real-time action to achieve the best possible result.This, in a nutshell, is fleet orchestration. 

Orchestration takes fleet management to the next level because it automatically sends the right vehicle to the right place at the right time and responds to real-time changes in a matter of seconds without the need for human intervention. It frees you up from having to constantly manage exceptions––saving you time and resources, minimizing room for human error, and enhancing your fleet’s performance. 

Think of it like a live musical performance: just like the different instruments execute different parts of a composition in a synchronized manner in order to produce a complete and harmonious piece of music, orchestration is the art of harmonizing fleet operations by coordinating and executing all tasks from planning and routing, to dispatch and business intelligence under one central platform––so everyone’s always on the same page.   

The best part? Because it is a self-learning system, it keeps getting better at automatically avoiding undesirable situations by forecasting future events or trends.

SCALAR is the next big thing in road transportation

The SCALAR orchestration platform is a pioneering digital orchestration solution that combines advanced algorithms, machine learning, and––thanks to the vast wealth of ZF’s proprietary data––unparalleled vehicle intelligence into one simplified and unified experience, in order to help fleets achieve higher efficiency levels, better business margins, and enhanced customer satisfaction using fewer tools and processes.  

Simply put, it automates key decisions and readjusts them in real-time when necessary, helping fleets to achieve operational excellence by:  

  • Maximizing vehicle uptime while reducing maintenance costs 
  • Improving fuel efficiency to help you lower your carbon footprint 
  • Optimizing schedules in real time and minimizing manual intervention 
  • Simplifying compliance with shipper requirements and legislation 
  • Helping you keep your drivers, assets and cargo safe
 

What’s more, by connecting all your vehicles and assets under a highly customizable modular platform that covers all aspects of fleet operations––including planning and routing––SCALAR enables you to bridge gaps in communication, extract greater value from data that would otherwise remain siloed away, and maintain true visibility across the entire supply chain. 

To give you just one example: as a dispatcher, it is of course essential that you are always aware of the status and whereabouts of your vehicles, cargo, and trailers. But just as importantly, shippers––your customers––now require real-time updates on when their cargo is going to arrive and whether their requirements are being met. And at the same time, your vehicle or trailer manufacturers may want to know how you are using these assets in order to expedite any warranty claims, reduce time at the workshops or proactively improve their products to better suit your needs. 

SCALAR allows you to address all those needs and more. So, more than just streamlining operations, you’ll be generating added value that’s still untapped today. 

SCALAR is the next big thing

New levels of efficiency today – a head start for tomorrow

The future is nearer than we once thought, and the world is quickly moving towards a safer, greener, and hyper-connected mobility ecosystem. Road transportation is already witnessing a major transformation, and most stakeholders in the road freight sector recognize that they need to start preparing for this “new normal” if they want to remain in the game. 

SCALAR is uniquely positioned to help you transition seamlessly, successfully, and at your own pace as it supports human-driven, autonomous, as well as mixed fleets of vehicles. Using tomorrow’s technologies to solve current problems, it sets your company up for success today and offers forward-thinking businesses a competitive edge in a rapidly evolving landscape. 

To learn more about SCALAR and see the next level of fleet management in action, get in touch with our experts for a free consultation.

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