Disrupting Fleet Management to Make a Positive Impact with Jairam Ranganathan, the SVP of Product at KeepTruckin

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Trucking in this country is a big deal. It’s a massive industry ripe for disruption because of its scale and the fact that there is plenty of room for technological advancement. According to Jairam Ranganathan, the SVP of Product at KeepTruckin, fleet management is also an area where a company can make a huge, positive impact.

Main Takeaways

  • Ripe for Disruption and Opportunity: Clearly, the commercial fleet industry is massive. Due to its size and also its fragmentation, innovations do take time. On the other hand, there is an incredible need for innovation and the potential to make a real impact in the fleet management space.
  • Saving Lives and Increasing Quality of Life: According to Ranganathan, the exciting aspect of making a difference in fleet management comes down to helping people. He describes the satisfaction that is derived from saving lives on the road and from helping truck drivers have a better work experience. There’s a lesson here that can cut across all industries — helping others is a high value and is very motivating too.
  • A.I. Cameras: A.I. cameras are one such innovation that Ranganathan is working on at KeepTruckin that can increase safety and save lives. Ranganathan shares how A.I. cameras can provide life-saving information in real time. Where sometimes it may be difficult to easily quantify the benefit of A.I., here is a crystal clear example of how A.I. can be used to better human life.
  • Fleet Management Integration: Ranganathan suggests that the fleet management world was fairly atomized when KeepTruckin came on the scene. He explains that KeepTruckin made a decision when entering the market to focus on integrated products. KeepTruckin creates hardware and software products as well as diverse applications. To make a dent in a market among specialized companies, creating a more integrated product line makes sense to offer more utility and ease for customers.

For a more in-depth look at this episode, check out the article below.

Article Notes

Trucking in this country is a big deal. It’s a massive industry ripe for disruption because of its scale and the fact that there is plenty of room for technological advancement. According to Jairam Ranganathan, the SVP of Product at KeepTruckin, fleet management is also an area where a company can make a huge, positive impact.

“So from a emphasis perspective, we are extremely fixated on safety as a area that we want to focus on; [that] really has high societal impact; improves these people’s lives tremendously, and also has high economic impact as well,” Ranganathan said. “We are very, very focused on extremely good tracking and dispatch operations. So, managing the freight’s day-to-day operations. And then we’ve been significantly increasing our investment in areas like sustainability, so how we can improve fuel efficiency; things of that nature.” 

On a recent episode of IT Visionaries, Ranganathan went under the hood to reveal the current state of the commercial fleet industry. He explained his product priorities and strategy for integration. He also shared innovations that he’s excited about that can make the lives of truck drivers safer and better. 

To start, Ranganathan described KeepTruckin as a fleet management company that sells software and hardware products. 

“We install devices inside of vehicles of all sorts,” Ranganathan said. “I have one in my Ford. People have it in their long haul trucks. And these devices pull a ton of information and data from the vehicle. They connect to the engine computer, [and] they can get things like your speed and your RPMs and whatnot. They can give your fuel level. All of this data is pulled up into a application that a fleet manager can look at and understand and identify how to optimize their fleet operations.” 

He made the case that Integrating product solutions was a needed focus when KeepTruckin drove onto the fleet management scene.

“When the company started, the industry itself was fairly fragmented in the solution-space, ” Ranganathan said. “Everybody had built fairly specific solutions for specific problems. So, there were guys who were known for fuel and fuel management. There [were] specific people working on safety and there [were] specific people working on tracking and things of that nature. We came in with a very intentional viewpoint that all of this needs to be integrated.”

There’s certainly a lot of room for creating innovative products in fleet management. The prospect of Working on an A.I. camera was part of the draw for Ranganathan joining KeepTruckin.

“When I came here, actually we [had our] first generation camera,” Ranganathan said. “It was not an A.I. based camera. And I came here to build that to some extent, right? So, I was very excited about the opportunity to work on a camera that would actually be able to help drivers in the moment as opposed to post-facto after a week of driving. It was also one of those things [where] I’ve spent years doing machine learning applications and this just has this really incredible visceral feel. There’s an edge device, triggering alert in the vehicle [and] telling the driver something’s going awry in the moment. They can do something about it. We can save lives. [It’s] just a incredibly satisfying experience to be working on problems like that, where you can say, ‘Hey, my work has probably saved many lives.’” 

KeepTruckin is also helping increase truck drivers’ quality of life. Ranganathan described how many times drivers show up to drop off their goods, but no one is there to take them.

“These guys can sometimes [be] asked to wait six to eight hours…This happens all the time,” Ranganathan said. “It’s not like some random thing that happens. Like somebody comes up at like four o’clock for their five o’clock delivery and the place is closed. You’re spending the night there…So we do things like, we have enough data so we can actually see which facilities tend to operate efficiently [and] how long you’re expected to wait. So we’re literally predicting how long you’re gonna be at this location, so you can plan accordingly.” 

Feet management is a large field with room for disruption and growth. Ranganathan also definitely made clear that it’s a field where one can save lives and increase the quality of life for drivers too.

To hear more about how KeepTruckin is helping companies manage their fleets with their hardware and software products, check out the full episode of IT Visionaries

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Episode 345