Ask the Expert: The Issues Facing Local Government Fleet Management and the Technology That’s Solving Them
With Lou Boyle, National Manager of Local Government at Teletrac Navman
Tell Us About Yourself
My interest in technology flourished as CEO Representative and Head of Corporate Affairs for Telstra in Queensland. Soon after, I went to work with the Local Government Association as their Innovation Executive, working with councils to better understand what they were doing within the technology space.
I have also been a board member of the Ministerial Smart Infrastructure task force with the Queensland Government, a board member on the Australian Digital Currency Association, an Australia delegate presenting to the Smart Cities World Congress in Barcelona, and I founded the Telstra Local Buy Industry Development Fund.
Today, I work as National Manager of Local Government for Teletrac Navman, where my key focus is assisting local government organisations to obtain economic benefit, mitigate risk and improve their data skills.
What are the key issues currently facing local governments?
There are three key issues facing councils. The first is financial sustainability. Considering the current economic climate, especially the effects of COVID-19, councils have been reluctant to increase rates or to push hard in claiming unpaid rates. At the same time, requirements for services haven't diminished.
Secondly, pressure from the community to operate in an environmentally considerate manner is increasing. The recent United Nations IPCC report made clear the need for all levels of Government to consider how they can contribute to a sustainable future.
Finally, there’s an issue with digital skills. Local Government is an aging workforce – it’s above all the industry standards in age demographics, particularly for regional councils. Ensuring that councils are staffed with digitally skilled workers is a significant hurdle.
How is local government fleet management impacted by these issues?
Councils under financial pressure are still expected to deliver on services, and vehicle and asset utilisation is more important than ever as a result. Telematics and fleet management software helps councils deploy their assets in the most efficient way possible, saving time and keeping costs down.
When it comes to managing environmental responsibilities, many councils are investigating the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) to replace CO2 producing vehicles. Data is helping to tell them what vehicles can be replaced by EVs, and where the best points for installing recharging stations are.
Fleet management is a 21st century task which requires a reasonable understanding of technology. For council fleet management to be effective, staff need to adapt to new fleet management technology that can help them allocate assets more efficiently. The switch to a paperless workforce is imminent.
What are three (3) technologies that are hot with local government councils right now?
Councils are moving toward a digital future at a rapid rate, and Cloud technology has been accepted quickly by many councils across Australia. The scalability, accessibility, security, and costs savings associated with adopting cloud-based fleet management solutions and telematics make them attractive to councils.
Councils are getting better at analysing and applying the data they collect to make better informed decisions in real-time and improve services by uncovering hidden insights while increasing the speed and efficiency of operations.
Then there is the Internet of Things (IoT), which is how we connect fleets and assets, collect the data mentioned above to deliver insights, improve worker safety, and drive efficiency.
Technology is helping local government organisations solve the many challenges they face. They increase efficiency and speed, reduce costs and environmental impacts, and allow councils to deliver high levels of service despite budgetary pressures.