Mobile Tech Replaces Satellite In Tracking Fleet Across Africa

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

From Tech Central

In five years, there will be more than 930m mobile subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa. As mobile coverage across the region expands, the opportunities for better logistics management are vast.

“There is a huge focus on mobility in transportation fleets in Africa,” says MiX Telematics director Steven Sutherland.

Drivers can use their smartphones to log orders, sign off deliveries and even manage timesheets. And the technology gives businesses a way to know where their vehicles are and were as well as their current status.

Because of the vast distances travelled, running efficient fleets is becoming crucial to doing business on the continent, says Sutherland. Companies are trying to reduce unnecessary kilometres travelled to alleviate high fuel costs and cut vehicle maintenance expenses.

South Africa’s road fleet is growing rapidly because of a lack of decent rail infrastructure. The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa has reported sales in excess of a thousand units per month for extra-heavy commercial vehicles in recent months. There’s been good growth in the sale of smaller commercial vehicles, too.

Road transport ensures goods can be picked up at the point of manufacture and delivered to the point of sale, often overnight, says Sutherland. With rail, there are a lot more logistics involved.

Onboard computers that MiX fits to fleets under its management calculate the most efficient routes. Its technology can also test driver performance and alertness using a smartphone app and vehicle analytics.

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