Driving solar growth through fleet operations

By John Carione, VP Marketing, IntelliShift

In any company, one of the most important factors determining long-term sustainability is scale. How can organizational leaders translate success in a niche market into widespread adoption and ultimately growth? This may sound familiar to members of the solar community.

According to sEIA, solar has seen a consistent 42% growth rate over the past 10 years, with average costs dropping nearly 70% over the same period. Furthermore, the solar industry projected on value $223.3 billion by 2026. As a result, many companies within the community are developing their strategy for future scalability so that they can continue to grow beyond market potential.

A key area driving solar expansion and scalability is the smarter deployment of commercial fleets. From transportation and warehousing to order fulfillment and installation, optimizing a fleet strategy can reduce operating costs and free up resources for investment in innovation. In addition, smart fleets can support customer experience (CX) efforts through real-time tracking and customer engagement.

If you want to grow and scale your solar business, here are a few more ways connecting your commercial fleet can make a difference:

Comprehensive, seamless data integration

Data in a vacuum is worthless. Especially for growth-oriented organizations, information gathered about operational and financial processes means nothing without the right context. That’s why the most successful companies take an analytical approach from the start: the sooner you have a real-time, end-to-end operational picture, the faster you can make smarter decisions and work more efficiently. But that depends on the assumption that data is collected from all areas, including vehicles, assets and employees at remote work sites.

For example, a more traditional approach to fleet management could account for the number of assets on the road, average fuel spend, and average time to customer delivery. From the perspective of organizational analysis, this leaves a lot on the table. Modern asset management solutions provide a much deeper look at fleet data, provide insight into the impact of driver behavior on higher-than-needed fuel consumption, provide 24/7 monitoring of assets stored at job sites, and show how specific routes contribute to planning efficiency. This level of detail is a stronger addition to common analytics systems so that every aspect of the business can be optimized for efficiency.

Stand out for exceptional CX

All else made equal, CX consistently ranks among the highest areas of competitive advantage among buyers. Especially in crowded fields, a negative experience can leave a lasting impression that hinders a company’s ability to grow its customer community. In fact, a recent PwC research found that nearly 20% of customers walk away from a brand after just one bad experience. As the solar industry continues to gain steam, establishing a leader in CX can be a powerful differentiator.

Commercial fleets play a vital role in creating exceptional CX, as they serve as the literal delivery mechanism for the technology and panels themselves. End customers expect communication, transparency and consistency – which is impossible if fleets are not intertwined with the overall CX approach. For example, smart tracking and matching RFID integration gives customers maximum visibility into installation timelines and management. They will know exactly where their delivery is and how it is progressing towards the project completion goal.

That said, for the information to flow seamlessly and easily to the customer, the fleets need to be designed as an extension of the office. Field operations with a strong network foundation create neural pathways so that customers experience minimal disruption and maximum clarity. That extra layer helps establish trust and credibility.

Seizing opportunities

As the global community embraces the power of renewable energy, solar is poised to achieve exponential growth in the coming years. However, for the organizations that deliver on their promise, success requires the deeply integrated, customer-centric approach that has come to define today’s technology environment. Commercial fleets play an important role in ensuring that this strategy is as comprehensive and coherent as possible.

Building a scalable foundation for making smarter decisions and fostering lasting customer relationships is a journey – and it’s time to hit the road.

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