To Fully Maintain the Fleet, is it Time to Pick a Subscription-Based Service?
In fall 2019, with much pomp and circumstance, Disney launched its Disney+ streaming video service. Within a day, 10 million subscribers had signed up, putting previously hard-to-find movies and shows, as well as original programming, at their fingertips for a few dollars a month using a subscription-based service.
Disney+ is just one of thousands of players in the new “subscription-based service” economy – an exploding network of cloud-based applications and content designed to help streamline our pre-pandemic, all-too-hectic lives. It’s the same business model that allows us to:
Watch our favorite movies or listen to our favorite songs at any time or place
Order groceries, housewares and other essentials
Manage our finances
Receive beverages, clothing and shaving supplies through online clubs
And, we get it done with a few taps of our smartphone screen or computer mouse.
Bottom line, subscriptions are big business in virtually every category except, well, newspapers and magazines. In fact, a recent 12-country study by Zuora, Inc. found that seven in 10 adults have joined at least one subscription-based service. It is an indicator of an increasing desire for, as Zuora puts it, “access over ownership.” And it is a notable shift to consumption via online services rather than managing physical products.
Benefits of a Subscription-Based Service Apply in Business
In recent years, companies have built cloud-based subscription systems for commercial goods and services spanning the economic spectrum, from ERP platforms to marketing solutions. For example, CRM giant Salesforce.com boasts a subscription base of more than 150,000 companies and Intuit’s QuickBooks accounting solution serves an estimated 4.5 million online users worldwide.
It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the subscription model is gaining traction in the commercial transportation industry. Companies are recognizing the benefits of shifting their technology stacks away from static, on-premise hardware and software and moving into the cloud, where their favorite business-critical applications and data sets can be managed, protected and regularly updated at lower overall costs.
So, how specifically does this better align with the needs of trucking companies? How could you maintain your assets efficiently and more profitably by trading in the tight control you have over your internal systems for a subscription-based service for fleet maintenance?
For starters, on the back end, the subscription model, when inclusive of SaaS benefits, can offer significant savings in terms of time, cost and effort – both for general operations and customer service. Many small- to mid-sized transportation companies simply lack the capital and personnel needed to implement the costly hardware and software required for a new or enhanced on-premise Fleet Maintenance solution. From this standpoint, the benefits of a subscription-based service model are obvious:
Software updates are delivered in a timely way. With an on-premise system, your software is at risk of becoming out-of-date almost as soon as it is implemented. And every significant update requires cash and manpower that gets in the way of your ability to focus on more value-added activities. Simply put, moving into the cloud puts this cumbersome responsibility on someone else’s shoulders, and signing on with a reliable provider will help ensure you are always a step ahead of the curve.
You’re protected with added security and data redundancy, shielding you from hackers, fires, natural disasters or even a simple server failure. Moreover, a good provider will operate multiple offsite data centers located in different geographical regions, meaning if one goes down due to a hurricane or other disaster, service will simply be switched over to another. In the instance of the COVID-19 pandemic, any company using a SaaS-based model for their fleet maintenance solution experienced no computer-related downtime and no excuse for not practicing social distancing in the shop.
Your analytic capabilities can be supercharged. The SaaS model can be a great leveler, particularly for smaller players. As the industry continues to evolve, SaaS can offer powerful ways to conduct business in the shop. Monthly fees are consistent and predictable.
Enhance Growth, Efficiency and Control
As a bonus, a SaaS model can also reshape the relationship you have with your customers...call it customer advocacy. By reducing your investment in infrastructure and upkeep, that’s so important (and expensive) with an on-premise model, you can focus more on uptime and customer service. In short, you’ll enhance business growth and operational efficiency. Train your team on each new generation of online tools through video instruction and other self-guided content.
But what about control? You might be quite comfortable operating your business with on-premise software. You like the ability to manage this resource completely on your own terms. However, you’re actually limiting yourself by following this more insular path. Because a leading SaaS-based fleet maintenance software solution can offer the latest and best technologies in real-time, your people might be one or more generations of software behind their competitors.
Points to Pursue When Picking a Subscription-Based Provider
Of course, finding the right provider requires some homework. Are their fleet maintenance solutions considered best-in-class? Are they, first and foremost, a fleet maintenance provider rather than a cloud-services provider? This distinction is important, as relatively few providers have truly mastered the complexity of the commercial transportation value chain or fleet maintenance.
Next, investigate their cloud infrastructure. Does a potential provider:
Have adequate data centers to keep you up and running in the event of a catastrophe?
Offer superior uptime as well as safety & compliance capabilities?
Have transportation, logistics and or asset maintenance experience and expertise?
The benefits of a leading fleet maintenance subscription-based service are clear. There’s no better time than now to figure out how to make one work for you.