Active Directory User Management

User Rights Management Using Active Directory

Single sign-on (SSO) is quickly becoming one of the most requested features we provide.  It is not surprising that fleets using multiple technologies struggle with managing users. Drivers and support employees access multiple apps and software platforms to do their jobs. In Fleet operations, the GPS tracking solutions, maintenance software, ELD and MVR services all require logins and ongoing user rights management. Certainly, it is a challenge for managers to keep up with users across multiple platforms.  Similarly, users struggle to remember multiple login URLs and passwords.  Additionally, as employees are hired and retired each platform has to be updated. If an employee leaves under duress it becomes even more important to remove them from all systems. In departments that are already understaffed, all of this can create utter chaos.

Normally, when an employee joins or departs an organization HR or IT adds or removes them from network access. This is their access for payroll, reporting, and other internal services, so someone is almost always on top of keeping users up to date. Unfortunately, it doesn’t translate through to the platforms the fleet department has to manage on their own.

Fleetistics Active Directory Integration

Fleetistics understands the time and effort that goes into managing users on top of all other fleet management tasks. In response, we developed a service that integrates with Active Directory. When the IT department updates a user, the user’s access to MyFleetistics, and the incorporated telematics platforms are also updated. As new employees are added to the company network, the IT department assigns them to a GPS user group.  That group assignment determines their permissions within MyFleetistics. That means fleet managers no longer need to add or remove users from MyFleetistics.  More importantly, when an employee leaves the company and their network access is removed, their access to MyFleetistics is removed as well.  

Fleetistics has many years of experience working with large fleets with many users.  In large organizations with hundreds or thousands of users, this is a huge time saver.  It also significantly improves company security. Finally, the employee’s user experience is improved as well.  They can use a single sign-on (SSO) which means they don’t have to keep entering their login credentials. After they log into their computer or onto the network, they will click a link specific to a customer and they will be authenticated and allowed to pass through to MyFleetistics.

Is Single Sign-On Secure?

Our integration uses a standard method and capability provided by Microsoft. There are many variables that make this process a minimal risk in relation to the value provided. The most important aspect of the security to understand is that user credentials are not being passed and all critical information is encrypted.

Other User Rights Management Platforms

The Fleetistics integration with Active Directory supports both ADFS and Azure Active Directory.  Fleetistics is interested in working with large fleet operators to integrate single sign-on using their existing platforms. We are happy to evaluate if your current technology is compatible for integration. Platforms such as WebSphere are utilized by some of the largest companies in the world and there is a good business case to develop SSO solutions. If your large or enterprise-class organization has a URM platform you want integrated contact Fleetistics to discuss the project and discounted rates for leading the effort and partnering with Fleetistics through the integration.

If you are interested in Active Directory integration, send us an email at contact@fleetistics.com or email your account manager and we’ll be in touch.

Integrations that Drive ROI

There are two primary ways to integrate GPS Tracking data to drive ongoing return on investment. The first, and most often used is analytical integration. Second, and often overlooked is visual integration.  Let’s take a look at both.

Analytical Integrations

Application programming interfaces (APIs), allow you to compile data from multiple sources. An API is provided by many GPS vendors. Some vendors add additional fees for their API service and others do not. Likewise, some providers place limits on what data you may access and how frequently you can make requests. In contrast, others make all collected data available and allow more frequent API calls.

Using the API you can integrate data from your GPS tracking system with data from other applications you use.  Combining data and directing it into custom reports brings the information you need to the surface.  Additionally, you can format and display the data the way you want to see it. We have one client that developed a custom interface to view his tracking data using the API. He does not use the user interface provided with his system at all.

Integrated exceptions graph

Another great example of analytical integration is the Device Status Table in MyFleetistics.  It is integrated with our internal support ticketing. This allows our clients to quickly identify vehicles that have not reported.  Additional data indicates if the device is powered.  It only takes one click to open a support ticket, and it is all viewed on a single screen.

Device Status Integration

The Value Proposition

The API allows you to use the data collected by your tracking system in other applications.  Location, speed, and duration details add additional value when combined with data from other sources. Some common examples are listed below.

  • Planned vs actual routes
  • Identifying customers that have not been visited recently
  • Isolate stops that were too short or too long based on an associated work order
  • Understanding on-time vs early or late stops to improve customer service.

Engine status data and faults directed to your vehicle maintenance software ensures all faults are reported.  Unsafe driving events reported directly to the applications used by your Safety and HR Departments saves time over entering events manually.  More importantly, it ensures safety records are complete and up to date.

You can also use the API to automate tasks. For instance, when a new customer or vendor order is entered, a custom developed application can automate the dispatch by sending a text message through the integrated application. Other examples are syncing customer locations with the closest vehicle when dispatching and assigning training to a driver that has too many unsafe driving events.

Visual Integrations

Visual integrations allow us to consume more information faster. A quick look at a “heat map” of customer stops speaks volumes.  It will quickly reveal a territory that needs another driver assigned as well as an area that has too much staff already committed. Put that side by side with a “heat map” of profit dollars generated and you get a deeper understanding of where it is most valuable for drivers to be.

GIS overlays allow you to see infrastructure in relation to the location of your assets. For a Fire Department, the location of fire hydrants in relation to trucks on the map is very helpful information. Likewise, for an oil well service company, well locations on the tracking map allow dispatch to easily see available assets relative to service locations.

Visual Integration Improved Using a Shapefile Import Tool

For Geotab users, the GIS Shapefile Import Tool allows you to import zones from GIS shapefiles. This creates a zone with the exact perimeter you see in a GIS map overlay.  As a functioning zone in Geotab, you can create exception rules for events related to the zone. Examples are entering, exiting, driving too fast inside the zone, stopping too long or not long enough in the zone, and much more.

Visual integration using shapefile import tool

Both analytical and visual integrations are beneficial in a variety of ways.  The key is understanding what pieces of information you have that when combined reveal something more.  Think about all of the times you have asked a question and your manager or supervisor responds “I don’t know.”  You may want to start keeping a list of those questions because if you are asking, there must be some value in knowing. Starting with a clear question, the sources of information that can be integrated to reveal the answers are easily identified.

Motivating Drivers Across 5 Generations

Past, Present, and Future Generations

Generations past did not see huge technological advances in their lifetime.  Workforce management was much simpler.  Their expectation was a fair wage for a hard day’s work.  For that reason a fair wage was enough to motivate most workers.  As technology races forward, it impacts each successive generation in new ways.  The common thread is that each generation must be more adaptable than the last to keep up with the evolution of technology in the workplace.  In the chart below, data from 2 sources is combined to disply the generational makeup of the global workforce. The generational range definitions used are from Pew Research Center.

Defining the Generations

Very few truckers who are in their 70’s are still driving for a living.  They have a far different outlook on work and life than younger drivers.  Likewise, they are a bit more resistant to change than younger generations.  For many of them, the ELD mandate was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  As more routine driver tasks move from paper to digital formats, Builders and Boomers can either go with the flow or be left behind.

The trucking industry likely has fewer Gen-Z’s than the 24% shown in the workforce breakdown because less than half of them are old enough to drive. In contrast, they will be the next defining challenge to integrate into the fleet workforce. Each group has its own priorities and values. They have been shaped by fast-developing technology, an ever changing economy, and global vs local perspectives.

Managing fleet personnel well is dependent upon understanding these generational differences. Certainly, that is the key to recruitment, training, benefit and reward strategies that will resonate across generations. Ultimately, success is tied to keeping drivers happy and retaining them long term. Phyllis Weiss Haserot, author of “You Can’t Google It!: The Compelling Case for Cross-Generational Conversation at Work” identifies the traits of each generation as well as the fears that influence them. Her findings broken down in the charts below, along with a little common sense, reveal some interesting possibilities.

 

Baby Boomers

Not surprising, Baby Boomer workplace traits and fears are tied to their physical age.  They are also your most experienced drivers.  Younger workers can learn a lot from them about staying safe and productive on the road from them.  Boomers can also teach younger workers about person to person contact and relationship building by example.  Boomers can probably learn a lot from younger workers about work/life balance.  Perhaps turning over some training duties to your Boomers will benefit everyone.

Boomers are open and adaptable to new technology but may tend to be skeptical until the new tech proves its value.  Including them early in the process when introducing new technology will make them feel valued.  Furthermore, they will better understand the value the technology brings and become your champions for the changes proposed.

Generation X

From the traits listed, it would seem Gen-Xers feel like it’s them against the world.  That can be a difficult dynamic to address for drivers who spend a good deal of their time alone in the field.  Extra effort is needed to make them feel part of the team.  They have an entrepreneurial spirit in the workplace tempered by a friends and family first attitude. 

Pairing them with Boomers for training may balance their fears of acceptance by Boomers, while pairing them to train and work alongside Millennials may balance their fears of losing the support of Millennials they work with.  What seems most important is to foster their relationships with other generational groups as they are not likely to choose those relationships for themselves.

Perhaps a team challenge incentive with members of each generation on each team.  Working together toward a shared goal will help bridge the generational gaps.  Something as simple as a Boomer asking a Gen Xer for help using a new app can make them feel valued and boost their morale.

Generation Y Millennials

Millennials will respond best to web-based training programs.  They are more comfortable with learning online than in a classroom or one on one training.  They need highly focused, but brief training sessions, and lots of e-resources to get their questions answered.

Driver safety scorecard performance incentives and gamification apps will resonate with Millennials.  This can open the lines of communication to bring them into the team environment.  Like the Gen-Xers, making them feel they are part of the team can be challenging.

Recognition by their Gen-X and Boomer supervisors is critical to their motivation.  A clearly defined career path will keep them on track.  If they feel they are valued by management and co-workers, and achievement of benchmarked goals clearly offers a path for career advancement, they are more likely to stay and be successful.

Generation Z

More than any of the other generations, Gen-Zers are invested in and place a high priority on making the world a better and safer place.  They have been exposed since birth to issues like terrorism, global warming, and changing political correctness.

Gen-Zers have the skills to be great team players.  Technology like smartphones and tablets have always been part of life for them, and new technology advancements are their norm, expected as sure as daybreak.  AI and robotics replacing manual labor is a very real possibility in their lifetimes.

It may be too soon to define strategies to attract and retain this up-and-coming segment of the workforce.  In fact, it may be too soon to predict if driving will continue to be part of the job.  For that reason, it is time to begin redefining what tasks will take the place of driving when the vehicles in our future are driverless?

In any case, one thing that will be critical to Gen-Z is who we are as employers.  Our corporate attitudes regarding our local and global impact, both good and bad will be important to them.   Are we as corporate citizens doing our part to keep the environment clean?  Do we take a stand regarding social injustice, help the disadvantaged, and keep our data secure?  If not, they will find another employer that does.

Conclusions

Retaining drivers across all the generations is dependent upon creating a company culture with a shared purpose, open communication, and respect for individualism.  Understanding the traits and fears associated with each major group is the gateway to creating that culture.  Using the strengths of one group to relieve the fears of another is just good business.  With a little creativity and intentional focus, an inclusive culture where drivers of all ages work together productively is achievable.

Battery Power – More, Better, Faster

Battery power is always in the back of our minds.

rechargeable cordless drillIn the Telematics industry, our clients communicate throughout the workday on smartphones. Also, many run apps on phones or tablets.  We use portable devices to manage work orders, complete electronic forms, report issues, receive locations and update routes.  Similarly other apps capture signatures, record work completed, and document damaged freight. Furthermore, field technicians use an array of battery-powered tools to get their work done.  As a result, if we run out of battery power it all comes to a screeching halt.

More EV’s = More Battery Power

Now add to this the increased use of Electric Vehicles. Seems like we are becoming more and more dependent upon battery power.  That raises another big concern. As the rate we are consuming battery power increases, there is a very real risk of a battery disposal crisis in our future. Is all this battery use going to be sustainable?

Improving Battery Technology

Improving battery technology is high on the list of hot tech issues to address.  Environmentally friendly batteries that charge faster and last longer will head off the potential crisis. So what is being done about it? Here are some of the encouraging projects I found.

Saft Research Director Patrick Bernard recently shared 3 new technologies being considered.

NEW GENERATION LITHIUM-ION

These batteries use different active materials to increase both energy and power. They will have very long life cycles, typically charging/discharging thousands of cycles.

LITHIUM-SULFUR

This battery has a different type of internal structure.  It uses sulfur in the positive electrode and lithium in the negative electrode. As it discharges, chemical changes occur inside the battery.  The reverse occurs during the charging cycle.

SOLID-STATE

Solid-state batteries use a solid compound rather than liquid electrolyte. This will make the batteries safer.  The solid electrolytes are not flammable. This technology promises higher voltages, and batteries that are denser, lighter, and last longer on the shelf. These may become the future battery of choice for Electric vehicles.

Electric Car Lithium Battery Pack And Power ConnectionsOther Technologies Being Researched

Gold Nanowire Batteries are under development at UC Irvine. Researchers claim they can be recharged over 200,000 times with no material deterioration. Ultimately, this may result in a battery that lasts “forever.

Extreme Fast Charging or XFC charges batteries faster by charging them at higher temperatures. Using this method they say a 10-minute charge will add 200 miles of range on an EV battery.

Wireless Charging

Another research team reports initial success with an antenna that collects AC power from WiFi in the air and converts it to DC. It is being developed for use with battery powered medical devices. Instead of future surgeries to replace a batteries, the battery charges pretty much all the time.

Yet another startup is developing semiconductors made from organic materials.  They are talking about 60-second cell phone charging and 5 minute EV charging if their research proves successful. Similarly a unique and promising technology under development uses ultrasound to wirelessly transmit electricity to a small receiver to recharge a device.

There are also preliminary reports of batteries made of foam and foldable materials, but the one that seems to be getting attention is the technology announced this past April by Nikola Corp. They plan to release details at their Nikola World 2020 conference next fall.  They say they have a game-changing new technology that is more environmentally friendly than conventional lithium-ion and could double the range of passenger EVs.

One thing is certain.  It will be very interesting to see what batteries look like 5 years from now.

Contact Us
close slider

Contact Us

Call now for a quick demo. 855.300.0527