SAP Digital Supply Chain Partner News & Blogs
Posted on Apr 25, 2017
by Lewis Marston

What Connecting Mobile Assets & Making Data Smart Means For Your Business

Imagine a vehicle fleet such as lorries, cars and vans or forklifts, that communicates potential issues before they occur so that pre-emptive action can be taken and uptime guaranteed?

What kind of impact could that have on your customer service and operating costs? In short, a very positive one.

A lorry for example indicates that it is approaching 40,000 miles and is therefore due for planned maintenance, or a forklift truck in the warehouse shows it has operated for 2000 hours and requires a routine service. Preventative maintenance can address problems before they escalate, such as the engine reporting a high operating temperature or tyre pressure being too low, both of which would also lead to increase fuel consumption. Taking an even more predictive approach, movement readings on a vehicle wheel bearing might indicate that it has a 50% chance of failure; tracking these against the manufacturer’s data-fail rates will inform the fleet-owner on the optimum time to replace or repair it.

A business that connects its mobile assets to provide meaningful information in real-time can be confident that its operations are as reliable and efficient as possible. That in turn directly impacts the bottom line and drives competitiveness. Evidence to date is indicating that timely maintenance made possible by real-time data can deliver fast, potentially saving, for example, upward of £520K per annum for a fleet of 200 lorries.

Talking about this is not new; truly connected businesses, and what that allows us to achieve, have been discussed for some time. But, a combination of issues including data silos and organisations that are not digitally-ready has made the reality a pipedream. Until now.

So what has changed to make truly connecting your mobile assets possible? The general answer is ever-more sophisticated technology. Specifically for our purpose we are talking about digital business platforms such as SAP S/4 HANA and SAP Leonardo.

SAP Leonardo is the Internet of Things (IoT) platform that allows devices to be connected. It underpins in-memory platform SAP S/4 HANA, collecting livestreams of large volumes of data that can be collated and analysed.

This is a milestone. It recognises that data on its own has limited value; it is only beneficial if it is analysed in context. Very simply, there is a journey that needs to be undertaken:

Data [collection + collation + analysis] = smart data = insight = intelligent business

Intelligent businesses do not have to leave their operations to chance. They have insight into their assets and processes that empowers them to take pre-emptive action at the most appropriate time.

Knowing in advance the best time to replace the wheel bearing in the example above means resources are not wasted by undertaking repairs earlier than required. Equally, it significantly reduces the risk of an unexpected breakdown, which would be expensive and inefficient and have knock-on impacts on the rest of the fleet. Solving this can also remove the need to carry spare asset capacity to mitigate unplanned outages.

Large and overlapping datasets can be managed, combined and made more meaningful. The performance of both assets and the people operating them can be analysed. Something as seemingly negligible as reducing driving speed from 50mph to 47mph might significantly reduce overall fuel consumption which can contribute 32% of total fleet running cost (source: TruckLocator and FTA), while a certain style of driving may necessitate more vehicle maintenance. In fact, based on our research and observations, driver style improvements, can deliver as much as 10% savings. To put that in context, for a fleet of 200 lorries this could be as much as £1 million every year.

Similarly, environmental data can be used to business advantage. Traffic conditions already play a big part in many peoples’ GPS planning, but knowing that a temperature of less than 4 degrees makes brake-locking incidents 200% more likely means that morning vehicle departures can be delayed for an hour until weather conditions are more optimal.

This level of understanding puts you in control. Meaningful data insights provides the knowledge you need to make informed proactive decisions; pairing it with smart business systems that intelligently streamline and automate the use of this data mean your mobile assets work smarter and more reliably with less overhead. This is great for customer service and proven to reduce your operational expenditure year on year.


  • SAP Leonardo will make your business digitally-ready, allowing you to connect your mobile assets so that the Internet of Things is a reality.
  • Your business is already a goldmine of data, but this needs collecting, collating and analysing for the intelligence that will make a difference to your operations.
  • The power to take preventative actions is the key to increasing reliability, service and reducing operating costs.

Find out how we can improve customer service and reduce your operational expenditure year on year.