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NAFA 2020 I&E: Harness the Power of Technology

The Enhanced Security and Transparency panel. Photo: NAFA

Today’s technologies can help fleet managers fight fraud and theft.

One of the hot topics addressed at this year’s I&E was technology and how it can help fleets better manage their assets. The panel discussion, “Enhanced Security and Transparency in a Connected Strategy,” discussed how fleets can leverage technology to reduce fraud.

Panelists Jason Reeder, VP Operations, Reeder Distributors; Colin Sutherland, Executive VP, Geotab; Femi Odunuga, Digital Future Lead, MasterCard, and Travis Lachinski, VP Fleet and Aviation Product Management, U.S. Bank spoke about some of the advanced solutions available to fleet managers today.

For instance, fleets can reduce fraud and misuse by drivers by combining payment information from fuel cards with vehicle telematics. Data from both sources will tell the fleet manager which vehicles were filled up, when and where.

In addition, card issuers can offer advanced authorization capabilities, such as allowing transactions at the pump or at a service station to go through only when GPS data determines that the vehicle associated with that card is actually present at that station. In addition, using GPS data, fleet managers can ensure transactions occurred at certain times in the specific locations reported by merchants.

The panel reflected on how telematics use has changed over the years. A decade ago, telematics was employed to better manage an employee’s time. Later, the focus shifted towards safety — making sure that employees were safe behind the wheel, that they came home safe at the end of the day, used their seatbelts, didn’t drive aggressively, etc. Today it’s also being used more and more to reduce theft and fraud.

Pilot project

The insights into the synergistic benefits of combining telematics with fuel card data came from a pilot project the panelists were working on together. Reeder observed that data alone is not enough to help fleet managers tackle fraud and theft.

“I think there’s too much technology out there that provides a ton of data,” Reeder explained. “But nobody does anything with the data because it takes so much time, effort and energy away from what they do to make a living, that they just don’t do it. And that’s what this [pilot project] produced for our team. It was very powerful.”

Future of telematics

With a growing number of electric vehicles coming to market, Geotab’s Colin Sutherland explained that “pretty soon, almost every fleet member will have to not only transact in fuel, but they’ll be buying electricity at the pump as well.”

Sutherland added that this migration to electric vehicles is going to happen faster than most of us actually believe. “I know it’s coming down the pipe from the OEMs, and you’re going to have so many electric and hybrid electric options to deal with in the next two years, by 2023 model year, this is going to be front and centre in your world,” he said.

When that future does arrive, fraud and theft will no longer be measured in gallons or litres, but in Kilowatts. Hopefully, with the right technologies in place, and with the right service providers on their side, tomorrow’s fleet professionals will be ready to tackle these new challenges when they arrive.

Categories : Editorial, Fleet
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