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Many organisations who have gone through a protracted period of defensive cost cutting over the past few years have emerged with a new imperative to start strategizing again and looking at the big picture relative to growth. In doing so, it is clear that they want to determine how they can grow, be healthy and profitable without having to build back many of the costs they have already eliminated. IT is a key growth enabler.

For Road Transportation / Contract Logistics and Fleet Management organisations, customer demands, regulations and compliance and the need for service differentiation just keep growing – which means they need to adapt quickly. Recently I had the privilege to work with a number of organisations in these industry segments. Listening to the challenges faced by senior business managers was very educational. Deployed IT systems frequently contribute to inefficiencies and impede the visibility needed to improve operations.

Let’s look at data analysis and what some of your peers are doing in this space.

Organisations need to process large amounts of data (generated by telematics, shipment tracking, etc.) in real or near-real time to improve operations visibility.  Database and technology solutions, such as the SAP HANA platform, help Road Transportation / Contract Logistics and Fleet Management organisations to monitor high volumes of highly variable internal and external data. Application areas are many and varied, and typically best illustrated by looking at real customer examples.

First, let’s look at Linfox. Linfox Logistics delivers sophisticated supply chain solutions to customers in 10 countries in the Asia Pacific region with 19,200 jobs, 5,000 vehicles and 4 million square meters of warehousing. They embarked on a big data-crunching proof-of-concept exercise with the aim to enable its operational control centres to act in real and near-real time on the ever growing volume of operational data becoming available. 

The core technology deployed is a computing layer on top of SAP HANA, optimizing complex sensor data processing. The computing layer consists of REST services as well as stored procedures on SAP HANA, which facilitate storing, querying, analysing, and visualizing telematics data feeds generated from on board devices in vehicles.

Proof-of-concept use cases focused on three key business areas, namely safety, environment and operating efficiency.  John Ansley (Linfox CIO) and Hoyoung Jeung (SAP Project Manager) presented at SAPPHIRE NOW Orlando 2013 explaining the project in more detail. Follow this link to view the presentation. 

A second customer example is ARI. ARI is a global vehicle fleet management leader.  Its employees manage over 915,000 vehicles in North America and the UK, and combined with its strategic partners, more than 1.8 million vehicles globally.

In 2012 ARI introduced a predictive analysis system based on SAP HANA.  ARI fleet managers are now able to find previously hidden correlations and make educated predictions about preventive maintenance, fuel spend, driver safety and productivity, and more.  ARI has transformed their fleet analytics reporting and analysis by making this new awareness more accessible, understandable and actionable.

Follow this link to listen to ARI executives providing more detail about the solution. In addition an interesting article how ARI use SAP HANA to identify fraud can be found here.

Innovative Road Transportation / Contract Logistics and Fleet Management organisations are using advanced technologies such as SAP HANA to create a competitive edge. These technologies are increasingly becoming a ticket to play. Where is your organisation in this game?

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