TechnoBrain has started operating an Automated Fleet Management Information System at Malawi's Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development.
According to faceofmalawi.com, the fleet management system becomes the first of its kind in the public service in Malawi.
The system has been described by Minister Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Malawi, Mr Allan Chiyembekeza as 'historic' considering that the sector plays a very critical role in the national economy.
"The Automated Fleet Management System is expected to improve the management and efficiency of the ministry's fleet operations," he said.
He said he believes that the ministry's deliberate effort to develop and operationalise the system should be comforting enough on the part of their development partners on their resolve to prudently manage resources at their disposal.
Chiyembekeza said the system will ensure that the ministry is prudent in use of government as well as donor resources in delivery of its programmes in the sector.
Currently, the ministry accounts for approximately 30 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employs about 80 percent of the workforce and contributes 80 percent of all export earnings and provides a livelihood for 70 percent of the population that rely on agriculture," he said.
"There are also operational expenses in the process related to internal travel and this is very important for this sector as we increase interface with farmers to disseminate various technologies and messages as well as supervise and monitor implementation of the activities," he said.
Though the system is currently being implemented at Agriculture Headquarters they plan to roll-out the automated system to the districts, agricultural development divisions and all research stations.In addition to having the Automated Fleet Management System, the ministry has also developed the Fleet Management Policy which aims at guiding the way we have to manage the transport system.
The World Bank has provided the financial support through the ASWAp-SP to enable the Ministry to build its capacity in transport management where among others they have trained one officer to BSc level and four officers have been trained to certificate level in mechatronics.
Explaining after the deal Techno Brain Corporate Affairs Manager Lorraine Mopiwa first acknowledged that vehicles are expensive to buy, equip and maintain and no matter how many vehicles one has, the fleet costs probably forms a large percentage of one's budget which includes items such as licenses, permits, fuel, maintenance, repairs, tyres, tolls, accidents and fines.
"Based on the average running cost of a vehicle, it is probable that your vehicles cost you more than they need to," she observed.
In order to overcome this situation, Mopiwa explained that organizations are increasingly seeking a completely automated, robust and flexible solution that will help them track, manage and maintain their fleet better and also make "timely and accurate" decisions regarding usage and value of vehicles.
Smart Fleet, which the ministry has now taken on board, is a fully customized and perfect off-the shelf Fleetmanagement solution by Techno brain which will now enables the agricultural ministry to make a proper analysis based on the vehicle maintenance done, fuel consumed against mileage.
It will also help monitor and manage drivers assigned to the vehicles and track incidences committed by the driver.
"With Smart Fleet, you can be rest assured as it acts as the security control, monitoring your fleet 24x7x 365," declared Mopiwa.
She further explained that Techno Brain's Smart Fleet comprises the different modules that the ministry will now be enjoying and they include driver management, vehicle scheduling, geo fencing or area profiling as well as fuel monitoring and statistical reports.
Under driver management the ministry will be able to manage all personal and license status of drivers, with the system in place supervisors will be informed via an alert messages in the form of email, SMS or a report at a configured time. The system will also allow for driver ID with Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags which will help in managing the fleet or vehicle by restricting access to the unauthorized drivers or employees.
"Drivers with assigned RFID tag will be getting it authenticated on a GPS device fixed on the vehicle before gaining access to the ignition," she said.
Mopiwa said the RFID tags will allow identification of drivers while they walk up to vehicle and upon recognition of the correct tag, allow the vehicle to start. This way management will record all valid events and also send an alert to the control room in case of any unauthorised access.
The vehicle scheduling which is an intelligent optimizer will help engine and service agent that manages and monitors flow of vehicles on a daily basis, it will enable transportation planner in the ministry to optimally use available capacities of fleet and vehicle with the goals of more efficiently planning, loading capacities and lowering costs.
With the geo fencing or area profiling module which is a designated route on the Google map using rectangular or circular geo fencing tool that it assigns to the vehicle before start of the trip the ministry's fleet will be able to send alerts during the route deviations of vehicle while in active trip.
Fuel monitoring device will help the ministry in monitoring fuel level in the tank and automatically indicate the level information in voltages through GPRS thereby reducing fuel expenses as it will be taking full control of fuel consumption of the vehicle.
Using Management Information System (MIS) the system will also be able to come up with statistical reports that will provide detailed journey reports showing violations through its type, location and time as well as stops points and durations, start and end points, street name, etc. that will help supervisors in historical investigation of vehicle or the driver and even the driver history, fuel consumption, fuel drain, active on move status and many more.