Fleet on Fast-Forward

This outside-the-box thinker is changing the way fleets are managed.

Sandeep Kar is an executive whose position, like the company he works for, paints an excellent picture of what digital technology has done in the transportation business.

Fleet Complete provides an arsenal of management solutions to maintain assets, track shipments, monitor drivers and solve problems that go well beyond traditional techniques. Trucking has been around since the pony express but “telematics” wasn’t even a word until recently, and has changed everything.

Not as easy as it looks

Along with new approaches that create efficiencies in the business comes a new breed of management. Kar is Fleet Complete’s CSO–chief strategy officer. His role is all encompassing, seeking solutions using telematics—a sophisticated discipline that incorporates telecommunications and the Internet, computer science, navigation systems, satellite methodology, with all the technology of standard trucking operations.

“My job is to help develop and implement strategies that enable Fleet Complete to deliver mission critical connected vehicle Internet-of-Things value to customers and clients in the entire mobility eco-system,” Kar explains. “My focus is to ensure that all technologies, econometrics, applications, and markets are on our radar screen, and that we prioritize the most important solutions to help businesses run with greater efficiency and effectiveness.” He makes it sound simple, but the field includes a thousand elements that are all intertwined.

Would it be easier to recruit drivers if their reputation for bad diets and stressed working conditions could be monitored and improved? Driver costs have overtaken fuel costs, Kar points out.

Can we use their time more efficiently by improving routes, by hauling better-planned loads, by assessing and simplifying the driver’s functions? Will trucks last longer and stay on the road for a greater proportion of their lives if their mechanical state is monitored 24/7 and maintenance is performed before it is needed?

Top employer

Fleet Complete is what we might think of as a Silicon Valley style company. Recognized as one of Toronto’s Top Employers in 2017 (part of a Canada-wide competition recognized in The Globe and Mail), Fleet Complete has a dynamic workforce and the open-loft offices characteristic of a digital age tech innovator.

Kar combines a background in mechanical engineering with a career in researching automotive and transportation practice and redefining strategic paradigms around products, platforms, processes, and personnel. Heady stuff in an important business.

What kind of support does Fleet Complete provide? The company’s website tells the complex story by presenting case studies illustrating on-the-ground applications of the company’s work.

Many of the highlighted solutions showcase insurance savings, driver behaviour improvements, optimized dispatching, as well as many other problem/solution experiences.

Kar’s role is to envision what can, and could be done, and then to work with customers, OEMs, telecommunications suppliers and technology companies to create efficiencies.

“Once, the question was, ‘Here’s a truck—what can I do with it?’ Now the question is, ‘What can it do for me?’ The global commercial vehicle industry is transitioning from products to services and will transition from services to solutions. There’s a world of opportunities out there.”

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