Q&A: Wheels Product Leader, Shannon Keck, Shares Fleet Industry Insights
Motorq CEO and co-founder, Arun Rajagopalan, talks with Shannon Keck from Wheels about fleet intelligence related to COVID, EV, emissions and more. Read more below to learn Shannon’s take on the fleet world as it stands today.
Arun: What should fleet owners and managers be thinking as we emerge from COVID?
Shannon: Well, I guess the real question is “are we emerging from COVID?” There’s so much uncertainty, but one thing is clear — we’re not looking at lockdowns or the severe disruption of last year. So, what we’re seeing is fleets trying to determine what the ramp up looks like. While business managers look at the demand side, fleet managers need to be looking at the supply side. That means making sure vehicles that may have been idled are brought online and repaired or have basic maintenance performed. Using diagnostic data from DTC codes makes it easy if fleets are connected.
Arun: What about overall fleet efficiency now that traffic volumes are starting to return to pre-COVID levels?
Shannon: That’s a real issue for those fleets who have been operating throughout — many have gotten used to easy access to curbs, loading zones, etc. As more consumers – and more fleet drivers — return to the roads, this problem will be magnified. With a connected fleet, managers have easy access to critical data, including average speed, idle time, routes, congestion, etc. Now more than ever, we’re advising clients to use data to improve business practices.
Arun: It seems like every week another OEM is announcing they are going all-electric. What does this mean for fleets?
Shannon: There’s no doubt the chatter is high around EVs. But there are still many issues to solve around charging infrastructure, battery performance and lifecycle, route planning and other issues. For those companies seeking EVs as part of a sustainability campaign, they might be surprised to know that they could make significant emissions reductions without paying a penny for new vehicles. How? By reducing idle time from existing fleet vehicles. Using data from connected cars, fleet managers can determine overall idle time (and associated drivers) and implement performance improvement plans.
Arun: Speaking of emissions, what are you hearing from customers about the current high fuel prices?
Shannon: Like everyone else, they are not happy about them. While fleets can’t do anything about the cost of fuel, however, they can do something to make sure the fuel they do purchase is used efficiently, wisely and in concert with company guidelines. That’s where connected car data comes in. Fleet managers can get insights into a range of driver behavior, including excessive idling and unauthorized use of vehicles (outside of route/territory). Collectively, fleet managers can reduce overall fuel costs through better tracking and management.
Arun: Any final deep thoughts or words of advice to fleet owners and managers?
Shannon: Data is your friend. Connected cars and the insights that come from them make you a better manager and more valuable to your employer. Everyone wants to be the smartest one in the room — with connected car data that person can be you!
Wheels, Inc. was established in 1939 as the world’s first automotive fleet leasing and management company. In addition to vehicle acquisition and leasing, Wheels provides numerous specialized services across mobility such as driver/vehicle support functions like maintenance management, fuel cards, and registration processing, as well as strategic account-level consultation to drive optimal fleet efficiency and measure results. Shannon Keck holds 10+ years of experience at Wheels as a product manager strategizing fleet technology.
Motorq is the leading API and Machine Learning vehicle software company. Motorq aims to transform a world of difficult-to-install hardware and hard-to-read data into a simple and fast connected data solution that requires no hardware to receive analytical insights that inform business decisions. Arun Rajagopalan is the Motorq CEO and co-founder.