Next-Generation MRM: Getting a Big Bang from Breaking Down Traditional Silos

The goal of Mobile Resource Management (MRM) is to help organizations better manage their commercial fleet assets to be more effective in meeting customer service expectations, reducing risk, and complying with transportation regulations. Successful MRM deployments also help fleets reduce cost while improving productivity and performance.

Historically, the MRM market has been fragmented and generally comprised of niche providers of route planning (both strategic and daily), route execution and proof of delivery (POD), and on-board computers / Department of Transportation (DOT) compliance solutions. At the same time, many MRM customers have generally focused only on single pieces of the puzzle — standalone planning, GPS-tracking, or DOT compliance solutions. This fragmentation has made it more difficult for customers to adopt a holistic MRM strategy that collectively targets maximizing results, lowering cost of ownership, and reducing the risk of project failure.

Next-generation MRM providers have broken down these traditional silos. They leverage advances in mobile technology, which make the benefits of MRM more accessible than ever, and have positively altered the return on investment (ROI) paradigm that fleet operators can achieve from today’s technology.

The average benefit for next generation MRM deployments can be as high as $1,000,000 for every 100 vehicles in the fleet. (Source: Descartes)
The average benefit for next generation MRM deployments can be as high as $1,000,000 for every 100 vehicles in the fleet. (Source: Descartes)

The future of MRM is having a single vendor or systems integrator that can bring all the critical components together on a single platform, therefore helping avoid the traditional ‘silo’ pitfalls such as:

  • No ability for planning systems to ‘learn’ from mobile data collection in the field;
  • Brittle, multi-vendor integrations with high points of failure;
  • High total cost of ownership associated with maintaining multiple systems;
  • Manual processes to accurately factor in remaining DOT driver hours during the daily route planning process;
  • Inability to effectively manage metrics-based driver incentive programs; and,
  • Limited visibility to accurate, real-time pickup/delivery information (POD, updated ETA, exceptions, etc.) for customer service, sales, and end customers.

A holistic MRM strategy helps organizations avoid these pitfalls, while unlocking the potential savings and operational improvements of deploying next-generation fleet technology, which can include the following and much more:

  • 10-15% in mileage savings from route planning; eliminating 1 labor hour per driver per day with metrics-based driver performance management;
  • Eliminating $1.00 per stop by going paperless;
  • Increasing fuel efficiency by 15% by improving driver behavior; and,
  • Transforming the customer experience with access to real-time status information.

While most fleet operators desire a single integrated system for planning, execution, and telematics, they do not want to be systems integrators. It’s also unlikely that their own internal IT departments (if they have them) want or would be effective in taking on this role. It makes more financial and practical sense to procure these components from a single source. Aggressive market consolidation across what used to be a ‘sea’ of small niche vendors, as well as progress by leading vendors in broadening their functional and technological capabilities, has lead to the MRM convergence consumers are seeking.

Unfortunately, the majority of fleet owners continue to struggle with isolated and outdated systems. Best-in-class fleet operators, employing a unified approach, leverage bulk buying power, minimize implementation time and risk, derive greater ROI, and benefit from dealing with one vendor that is accountable for success.

They take advantage of end-to-end capabilities, through an integrated platform that brings together optimized route planning, dispatch and GPS tracking, mobile applications, telematics, fleet/driver compliance and performance analytics, to eliminate less effective ‘islands’ of automation, process differences, and unnecessary costs that result from traditional silos. The savings potential they can achieve is significant — as high as $1,000,000 for every 100 vehicles in the fleet.

Sergio Torres is VP of Product Management at Descartes.