AWS for Industries

Three Disruptive Technologies That CPG Fleet Management Teams Should Consider

In part two of this blog series, How CPGs and Logistics Vendors Can Optimize Fleet Management with an AWS Data Lake, we explained how fleet management teams for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies can create a highly scalable Amazon Web Services (AWS) data lake to gain actionable insights from real-time data, driver safety scores, and vehicle telemetry data. In this blog, we’ll go a step further and discuss three state-of-the-art technologies that CPG companies can implement to gain even more value from a fleet management data lake.

Advanced Location Tracking Capabilities in CPG Fleet Management

Before we get into this use case, let’s do a level set on geofencing—because it’s an important concept in fleet management. A geofence is a virtual perimeter that represents an actual geographic area. In one example of geofencing, a location-aware user, device, or service enters a virtual perimeter, triggering alerts for specific actions based on position updates.

Using Amazon Location Service—which makes it easy for developers to add location functionality to applications without compromising data security and user privacy—CPG teams can add automated, real-time location, tracking, and geofencing resources to fleet management applications without compromising data and user privacy. The location service can enhance fleet management with these advanced capabilities:

  1. Real-time visibility for in-transit inventory shipments: This enables users to understand freight transportation milestones—like departure from a supplier warehouse, in-transit status with a logistic service provider, and arrival at a fulfillment center—for accurate time of arrival predictions for operational teams and end consumers.
  2. Ownership of fleet management data instead of reliance on a third-party software application: This enables users to avoid downstream issues, like data latency, added costs, cumbersome data access, and a lack of new third-party application features.
  3. Proactive monitoring of exceptions: This uses automated alerts to notify fleet managers when an exception event occurs—such as a vehicle crossing a perimeter or deviating from a planned route—that could indicate a wrong delivery or vehicle theft.
  4. Increased value from raw data: This enables users to extract value—such as subsequent analysis, prescriptions, and predictions—to optimize asset utilization, plan routes, and forecast demand.

Your CPG fleet management team can use this sample of a delivery application architecture on AWS to create a delivery application using a data lake. And the following illustration shows an asset management application using Amazon Location Service in a CPG fleet management system.

asset tracking and delivery management of CPG fleet example

Figure 1: Asset tracking and delivery management in a CPG fleet management system

Autonomous Driving

Autonomous trucks have been part of fleet management systems for quite some time, and retailers have found several benefits from using highly scalable autonomous truck technology: cost savings, accident avoidance, predictive maintenance, and delivery accuracy. This technology can also serve as a remedy for driver shortages. For these reasons, Amazon uses autonomous vehicles and carts to accomplish warehouse fulfillment tasks—a use case that showcases how CPG companies can use autonomous vehicles to optimize warehouse and logistics processes. Two additional use cases for autonomous vehicles include the transfer hub model and the use of platoons.

Transfer Hub Model

Amazon uses autonomous trucks in a transfer hub model in which the trucks typically carry CPG products on highways and park in a hub. From the hub, goods are loaded into manned trucks and delivered to their final destinations. Although the long over-the-highway portion of the product delivery journey does not require human intervention, Amazon uses human drivers for the last mile of delivery because of the complex environment, which can include factors like erratic local traffic and pedestrians. Autonomous driving reduces the pressure of driver shortages in the long-haul portion of transportation, but the challenge still exists, as noted in “Why Is There Still a Truck Driver Shortage?,” by Material Handling & Logistics.

transfer hub model diagram

Figure 2: Transfer hub model

As the technology of autonomous vehicles advances in the coming years, CPG companies that incorporate this strategy in their fleets can expect to realize considerable cost savings from optimized routes and lower maintenance costs at transfer hubs.

Use of Platoons

Platooning is a method of driving a convoy of trucks on an automated highway system—a system of roads designated for automated vehicles, often with less traffic congestion. The system uses built-in sensor technologies to monitor and optimize traffic and vehicle speeds and regulate traffic signals. You can read more about automated highway systems and the role of AWS in building such a system in the case study: Miovision Transforms Transportation Using AWS IoT and Smart Devices.

In platooning, trucks in a convoy are wirelessly connecting to a lead truck, enabling operational safety and fuel efficiencies. Currently, Amazon CPG platooning uses a manned truck to lead the convoy. However, in the not too distant future, completely unmanned platooning on smart roads will be a major technology innovation for CPG vendors.

platooning example

Figure 3: Platooning

AWS Data Exchange as a Source of Data for CPG Fleet Management

CPG fleet management teams can augment and enhance their internal fleet data using high-quality data through AWS Data Exchange, which makes it easy to find, subscribe to, and use third-party data in the cloud. The variety, volume, and velocity of data from AWS Data Exchange can be a game changer for fleet management teams because this service makes it simple to tap into data gathered by several certified third-party organizations without building or maintaining infrastructure for data storage, delivery, billing, and entitling. CPG companies can use AWS Data Exchange to quickly gain access to hundreds of data sources.

With so many innovations happening in fleet management, AWS is here to help you gain the most value from your fleet management data lake. If you’re ready to implement any of these technologies, AWS is ready to support you. Contact your account team today to get started.

Michele Sancricca

Michele Sancricca

Michele Sancricca is the AWS Worldwide Head of Technology for Transportation and Logistics. Previously he worked as Head of Supply Chain Products for Amazon Global Mile and led the Digital Transformation Division of the second largest ocean carrier in the world, Mediterranean Shipping Company. A retired Lieutenant Commander, Michele spent 12 years in the Italian Navy as Telecommunication Officer and Commanding Officer.

Shailaja Suresh

Shailaja Suresh

Shailaja Suresh is a Senior Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services and provides prescriptive technical guidance to her customers as part of their AWS cloud journey. Her key competencies are product architecture, strategy and delivery. Her engineering skills cover a wide range of technologies and she has played the roles of being a software engineer, architect, lead and project manager. Shailaja strongly believes in empowering teams through mentorship and coaching.