A leading location data and technology platform, has released a new ‘whitepaper’ that  it claims sheds light on the current sentiments of transportation and logistics professionals, the critical challenges faced by fleet managers, and the innovative solutions driving the industry forward.

HERE Technologies  commissioned the research in collaboration with Amazon Web Services,  and found a number of interesting sentiments, including that Road freight in Australia is expected to surge by 77 per cent between 2020 and 2050, which it says will significantly increase trucks, drivers, and distances traveled.

HERE says the survey, which was  conducted by ABI Research, targeted professionals responsible for fleet management software decisions. It claims that more than 70 per cent of respondents were from companies in manufacturing, courier/express/postal (CEP) delivery, general freight and last-mile delivery, on-demand mobility (ride-share) and food delivery, and retail/wholesale sectors. The majority of the companies employed between 1,000 and 20,000 employees, with more than 50 per cent managing fleets of 100 to 1,000 vehicles.

The company says this growth highlights the crucial role of Australia’s road freight network in the economy, from exporting bulk commodities to transporting raw materials and delivering finished goods to households.

It says  in its report that fleet management has become essential to efficient logistics operations, especially in today’s challenging environment with driver shortages, fluctuating fuel costs, shipping delays, and regulatory pressures.

It claims  that companies are increasingly digitising fleet management operations to enhance decision-making and operational efficiency.

According to the company the extensive global research was conducted by ABI Research and included responses from 300 transport and logistics decision-makers across Americas, EMEA and APAC regions, including Australia.

Key findings  of the survey  included  the fact that in Australia, fleet managers are particularly focused on improving vehicle and driver safety, with 29.4 per cent of respondents indicating that these key performance indicators (KPIs) are not being met effectively.

In addition, reducing fleet carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions was  seen as a significant challenge, with 23 per cent reporting these KPIs as unmet. The company says these issues are critical, as safety and sustainability efforts can have a cascading effect on overall fleet performance and end-customer requirements.

According to the survey the rise in asset tracking technology has resulted in a wealth of data at the disposal of fleet managers. However,  it says the ability to leverage this data effectively remains a significant challenge.

Respondents identified 60 per cent better data capabilities and obtaining actionable insights from tracking hardware  at 55 per cent as the top barriers to achieving supply chain and fleet visibility. The company said this highlights the need for applications and integrated solutions that make data analytics actionable.

The survey also revealed that 44 per cent of respondents ranked ‘increase revenue’ and 23 per cent ranked ‘improve access to critical real-time info for better decision-making’ as their primary investment drivers. This underscores the critical role of innovative technologies in driving business growth.

The survey also identified that sustainability is increasingly becoming a central focus in operational decision-making.

It said that companies are heavily relying on their fleets to meet sustainability targets and comply with growing regulations. While electrifying fleets is an obvious step, infrastructure challenges and cost concerns delay widespread adoption.

According to the survey, 63 per cent of respondents plan to adopt electric vehicles (EVs) within five to six years, while the remaining respondents do not plan to adopt them for at least another seven years. This contributes to the challenge of meeting CO2 emission reduction targets.

The survey  also said that real-time tracking of shipments and demand/load planning emerged as the top requirements within of a fleet management solution, with 83 per cent and 69 peer cent of respondents respectively prioritising these features.

In addition, driver routing (70 per cent) and asset tracking (63 per cent) applications were identified as key uses of mapping technology and location data, highlighting their importance in improving operational efficiency, estimated time of arrival (ETA) calculations and customer satisfaction.

The survey revealed that in today’s competitive logistics market, building a comprehensive ecosystem of partners and independent software vendors (ISVs) emerged as a critical source of competitive advantage.

However, the fear of potential disruption to existing processes and services, resulting in loss of revenue, along with a lack of internal expertise and resources, are the primary barriers to adopting new fleet management solutions in Australia.

In HERE Technologies’ 2023 APAC on the move study last year the same reasons were cited as major obstacles, where the majority of transport  and Logistics firms surveyed in Australia also cited identifying the right partners and/or suppliers and concern of potential disruption to existing processes and services as their biggest barriers to technology implementation.

As well, 80 per cent of Australian respondents  said they value the ability to integrate their own data into a fleet management solution, with integration with existing systems being the top reason (32 per cent) for considering a new provider. Additionally, 78 per cent of respondents in Australia plan to increase spending on data analytics capabilities, with 50 per cent doing so within the next 18 months.

To address the demands of the transport and logistics industry, HERE  say it has recently launched a Fleet Optimisation software package.  It claims the package is a robust set of location-based application programing interfaces designed to improve delivery times and decrease operational costs, by leveraging its own artificial intelligence  that it claims helps solve the problem of complex routing operations for commercial fleets.

Ryan Wiggin, senior analyst at ABI Research who conducted the research said it highlighted the critical shift toward adopting advanced technologies in fleet management to tackle continued operational pressures. Fleet managers are increasingly digitizing their operations but continue to face challenges with utilizing available assets and fully leveraging the data they have available.

“Comprehensive fleet management solutions underpinned by effective mapping and location data are crucial to continue to drive profitable and sustainable fleet operations,” said Wiggin.

HERE Technologies, general manager for Australia and New Zealand, Daniel Antonello, said the findings highlight the pressing challenges facing fleet managers in Australia, particularly the need to enhance vehicle safety and reduce CO2 emissions.

“The survey underscores the demand for advanced data capabilities to overcome barriers in supply chain visibility and operational efficiency. At HERE Technologies, we are committed to leveraging our innovative location data solutions to empower fleet managers, enabling them to make informed decisions that drive sustainability and operational excellence in the evolving logistics landscape,” Antonello said