Combining sensor and operational data ensures profitability keeps on trucking

A large automotive company needed to combine sensor and operational data to deliver compelling offers, better customer service and greater profitability. The company manufactures trucks, buses and construction equipment. Rob Mellor, VP & GM EMEA, WhereScape talks to the company about their journey.

What changes in the truck industry prompted your data strategy?

It is at a similar point to where the car industry was in the 1990’s; competition is tough, margins are extremely tight and profit is primarily made through add-on sales. For the car industry add-on sales were parts; for the truck industry it is offers for warranties, financing, servicing and insurance. The major challenge for all truck companies is how to create compelling offers that are significantly better than those offered of competitors. Our response has been to introduce sensors to our trucks; we believe by understanding vehicle activity we can create much more relevant offers.

How has truck sensor data become core to your business?

It enables us to understand every aspect of each individual truck. We can monitor components, precisely where it has been driven, how fast it was going and how aggressively it was driven. Sensor data combined with operational data (such as make, model and service history) allows us to build a detailed profile. By using the right information management tools, we produce offers that have a high statistical chance of being profitable.

For example, we buy back trucks after leasing contracts have expired and analyse the potential value based on the sensor data. A truck that has been driven through the Australian outback is not going to have the same life expectancy as that of a truck which has been driven on European highways. So, rather than selling both trucks based on mileage, we can sell them based on their life expectancy. This enables us to achieve a much higher margin on the truck with a higher life expectancy, as much as 5%, which equates to millions of euros a year. That makes a huge difference to profitability.

Sensor data analysis means we know a certain part is at risk after say 100,000 km and a particular truck is being driven in harsh conditions, we can predict when servicing will be required. We advise the customer to take the truck for servicing. This kind of insight allows us to offer fixed price service contracts with the guarantee that there will be no breakdowns.

People buying trucks are interested in fuel consumption of their fleets. Using sensor data, we can calculate average fuel consumption by truck, journey and even by driver. Having this information and being able to act upon it – by finding more economical routes or educating drivers – can equate to significant savings for fleet owners.

Does using sensor data pose a big technological challenge to the organisation?

It completely changes the game. Sensor data on its own is of no value; we have to be able to analyse it against operational data – providing context by linking with its servicing history.

These two data types are completely different; sensor data is high volume, low complexity and operational data is low volume, high complexity. How these two data types fit together and managing them in a fully integrated Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW) is just the start of the challenge. Sensors create data sets that are large and complex so it’s difficult to process them using traditional data processing.

We needed a faster, more agile approach to capturing, processing and analysing this data to support the business strategy. We are also integrating many other types of data to improve profitability; for example, unstructured data such as weather, traffic and strike information.

How have you overcome these challenges?

With WhereScape we have an agile analysis and data management strategy. They automate the planning and building of data into our IBM Netezza Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), 10 times faster than traditional methods. WhereScape is enabling us to get value from the sensor data and shorten times to market; we are able to deliver our BI solutions faster than ever before.

Rob Mellor

WhereScape is also helping us with the integration of all of our information management systems. We needed to move from independent data marts with their own modelling techniques to a fully integrated EDW with a single global modelling standard. We have gone from an ad hoc technical approach to a model-driven approach.

The main IT benefits of using WhereScape are data consistency and the integrity of our entire data environment – we have five sites working on the same EDW. System maintenance changes are much quicker and more straightforward.

We have created a new centralised information management environment which gives us a 360° cross-functional view of our data, based on a single modelling method. EDW is our first concrete step in managing big data. We will be able to respond to new demands of mixing data from the different businesses with larger volumes, close to real- time response as well as better traceability and reusability.

WhereScape is central to our future and I look forward to working with them for many years to come.

The author of this blog is Rob Mellor, VP & GM EMEA of WhereScape

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow OR @jcIoTnow

FEATURED IoT STORIES

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, iot home automation is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more
RECENT ARTICLES

Scality’s 2022 forecast: Storage solutions get AI/MLOps upgrade, enhanced ransomware protection

Posted on: December 8, 2021

London, UK. 7 December 2021 – Scality announced its data storage predictions for 2022, coming off a year when ransomware attacks have exploded, skills shortages remain, and cloud adoption continues. This year’s forecast homes in on how storage solutions will evolve to meet these challenges and how emerging technologies will impact the data storage landscape.

Read more

Virtana free tier offering lets enterprises experience simplified hybrid cloud optimisation at no cost

Posted on: December 8, 2021

Virtana announced the immediate availability of a free version of Virtana Optimize, its cloud optimisation solution. The Free Tier offering complements the Premium version of Virtana Optimize, allowing for frictionless customer adoption.

Read more