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What Is Fleet Management In SAP?

The German company Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung -- in English, Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing -- is better known to the world as SAP. In the 40 years since its founding, the company has become synonymous with data processing and data management; when businesses need to utilize or create solutions that help them make sense of high volumes of data to benefit their business, SAP is often their destination of choice.

SAP Review
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While the company's ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) tech is perhaps its best-known product line, it also offers analytics, in-memory and mobile technologies. Taken together, those products impact a wide range of industries that include retail, banking, human resources, healthcare, engineering, and telecommunications.


Signature Product: SAP S/4HANA

Introduced in 2015, SAP S/4HANA is not only SAP's newest version of the SAP Business Suite, it's also a market leader in data management. With cloud-based, local (server) or hybrid delivery, customers can choose how best to leverage the tools offered. In addition to that convenience, the platform offers faster access to, and processing of, vital information, as well as improved reports and analytics.

Like other recent SAP products, SAP S/4HANA is a modular system that's fully customizable by its users, who can run as lean as they'd like or incorporate any combination of options. In addition to the FM (Fleet Management) module, then, a fleet manager -- or other business stakeholders -- can incorporate modules intended for CRM, HR, supply chain management, QA, distribution, general logistics, and project management.


Industries Served

As a standalone solution, SAP S/4HANA's complexity and cost typically make it a choice of large fleets, or businesses where the fleet is incidental to a much larger operation. These typically include mass and specialty transportation, shipping and logistics, waste management, and other businesses where large-scale fleet planning, asset allocation and protection and order management/supply chain issues are in play.


Benefits

For the right business, SAP's fleet management application (and other associated applications) can provide a host of benefits. While initial configuration can be a challenge, once the system is up and running it's typically user-friendly.

Data Management

Data management can be as general (full fleet) or as granular (individual components, drivers, and equipment) as needed. Its ability to account for differences of language, exchange rates, and even culture make it a good choice for businesses and fleets with a global presence.

Data Analysis

Analyses can be run quickly and easily, with several options to dissect and analyze large amounts of data (showing areas of opportunity or cost control). Perhaps most importantly, the system has very low downtime, so it's always on-call when it's needed.


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Technology Partners

SAP technology partners

SAP partners with several technology and software companies to bring value to its clients, including Adobe, Hewlett-Packard, Prometheus Group, OpenText, Meridian Global Services and SmartOps. That partner network has also been expanded over time via a series of targeted acquisitions that has included mobile asset management company Syclo, database company Sybase, and warehousing/DC software provider OFEK-Tech, as well as other targets in CRM, data management, and other fields whose expertise has benefited fleet management.

It's no surprise that the company has valued partners in the fleet management sphere as well. These include some lesser-known names as Highjump/Accellos and Canadian company FleetChallenge, asset management company AssetWorks, and such global players as Telogis, ARI, TomTom, and Chevin.


Customer Support

In cases where SAP is part of an existing fleet management partner's backend, that third party is typically responsible for technical support. In instances where companies are incorporating SAP fleet management into their existing suite of solutions, support begins before implementation to ensure a smooth transition, and extends to phone, email, and SCN (the SAP Community Network) support once the applications are up and running.


What SAP Customers Are Saying

Best-selling Korean makeup brand, MEMEBOX, uses SAP S/4HANA to streamline and scale IT operations. The result has been a 300% increase in revenue. Watch the video below to watch how SAP S/4HANA has made such impressive growth possible for MEMEBOX.

Video courtesy of SAP

Case Study

ARI Fleet Management

ARI Global Fleet Management Services is the largest privately held fleet management company in the world and a market leader in North America.

Automotive Resources International (ARI) isn't a newcomer to fleet management; the company has existed since 1948, and has been quick to take advantage of the opportunities offered by new technology.

When the company's in-house IT solution started to fall short of the demands placed on it by ARI's typical full-lifecycle fleet management customers, the company knew it was time for a change. Having dealt with SAP in the past, they sensed a natural fit. They presented SAP with a detailed list of requirements. SAP, in turn, enlisted Hewlett-Packard for additional hardware support, and got to work on a solution.

A short time later, ARI was the proud owner of a pair of HP ProLiant DL580 Servers running SAP HANA and a suite of applications that included data services, server-side and mobile Business Objects, Visual Intelligence and more. The result of this three-way collaboration among ARI, SAP and HP? Reports that had taken up to a day to run on the old system were now complete in a matter of minutes.

The entire process of lifecycle management -- which can include thousands of data points for a single vehicle, multiplied by the number of vehicles in the fleet -- was cut down to size without sacrificing the quality of the data delivered. In fact, SAP enabled ARI to incorporate more data points, and more ways to interpret that data, to ensure that ARI's customers would get a better ROI. Perhaps best of all, the system's ability to handle high volumes of data quickly meant adding more productivity without having to add more personnel.


Our Verdict

SAP is not the first, or only, ERP company to impact fleet management. Microsoft and Oracle both have significant fleet management presences as well. However, SAP is set apart by its ease of integration into, and compatibility with, fleet management solutions.

The power, complexity and expense of SAP fleet management solutions put them out of reach for some businesses and make them a questionable choice for mid-sized fleets with simple needs and functions. However, it is an intelligent choice for larger fleets. That's especially true when fleet management is only one cog in a much more complex business that involves manufacturing, logistics, or supply chains.