Fleets dogged by labor crunch and high costs, according to Verizon Connect report
NEW YORK – Verizon Business today released the global survey findings from its annual Fleet Technology Trends Report, conducted separately by Bobit (U.S.) and ABI Research (EMEA and APAC) with responses from more than 2,500 fleet managers, executives and other mobile business professionals across 11 countries.
A general insight gleaned from the report is the effectiveness of fleet management technology in improving the productivity and output of existing assets and resources to address persisting economic challenges.
“Not all vehicles can be replaced, and not all labor gaps can be filled, but fleets can get more out of existing fleet, equipment and labor assets by investing in smart solutions like asset tracking and EV technology,” said Peter Mitchell, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Verizon Connect. “Fleet management technology now can be a bridge to hiring and vehicle replacement later by making fleets more efficient and profitable.”
Identifying vehicles for EV replacement is a viable option for fleets looking to increase efficiency and extend vehicle life span. The right fleet technology can aid fleets in identifying internal combustion engine (ICE) candidates for replacement, creating a charging plan, tracking and comparing total cost of ownership (TCO), and determining true EV range.
Though federal investments in charging infrastructure and tax incentives are improving EV adoption in the U.S., the U.S. still lags behind EMEA and APAC by a wide margin, with almost half of EMEA and APAC respondents indicating use of EV technology in their fleets (48% and 47%, respectively) as opposed to just over a fifth of U.S. respondents (22%).
Tackling the labor crunch
While hiring high-quality drivers remains a top challenge, fleet managers are turning to technology to boost driver productivity and alleviate the labor crunch. In fact, in the survey, four out of five respondents indicated they use at least one form of fleet technology. For instance, GPS tracking solutions can optimize routes that help drivers accomplish more each day, thereby reducing the hiring need. More than half of respondents worldwide (56%) said GPS tracking solutions helped boost driver productivity in this year’s survey. That percentage was noticeably higher in EMEA (59%) and in the U.S. (55%) than in APAC (48%).
GPS tracking solutions also assist fleets in extending the lifetime of their vehicles — a growing need after years of global supply chain challenges. Telematics data helps fleets identify optimal maintenance intervals and stay on top of maintenance scheduling. Globally, 38% of respondents said GPS tracking solutions improved preventive maintenance to keep vehicles roadworthy longer. In the U.S., almost half (49%) of respondents said so.
The use of asset tracking solutions has increased steadily over the last three surveys, climbing to 45% in this year’s survey. Much like GPS fleet tracking, asset tracking enables organizations to get more out of their existing resources while reducing operating costs. Improved trailer and equipment utilization obviates the need to invest in additional assets while improved security can help keep insurance premiums down. Most respondents experienced a positive return on investment from asset tracking solutions: 77% in less than one year and 14% in more than one year. There was a stark difference across regions, however, with 93% of EMEA respondents seeing a positive return on investment in one year compared to only 46% of U.S. respondents.
Persisting Economic Concerns
The survey also found that respondents were still worried about increasing costs (72%) and driver shortage or the quality of drivers (54%). Though concerns about driver shortage and driver quality are consistent around the world, more U.S. respondents expressed concern about increasing costs (79%) than both EMEA (69%) and APAC (69%) respondents.
“While some 2023 economic indicators have been encouraging, fleets continue to see residual cost, labor and supply chain challenges,” added Mitchell. “Fleet management technology can optimize routes, streamline operations and identify performance opportunities that help reduce operating costs and mitigate the burden of a workforce stretched too thin.”
To see the full report findings, visit the 2024 Fleet Technology Trends Report page. To better facilitate access to the Fleet Technology Trends Reports for EMEA and APAC in the local region and language, please see these country-specific options: