Driving solar growth through fleet operations

By John Carione, VP of marketing, IntelliShift

In any business, one of the key factors that determine long-term sustainability is scale. How can organizational leaders translate success in a niche market to widespread adoption and ultimately growth? For members of the solar community, this may sound familiar.

According to SEIA, solar has seen a consistent growth rate of 42% over the last 10 years, with the average cost dropping nearly 70% over the same period. Further, the solar industry has been projected to value $223.3 billion by 2026. As a result, many businesses within the community are developing their strategy for future scalability, that they may continue to grow alongside the market’s potential.

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

If you’re looking 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. Particularly for growth-minded organizations, information gathered across operational and financial processes mean nothing without the right context. That’s why the most successful businesses adopt an analytics-first approach from the outset – the sooner you have a real-time, end-to-end operational view, the sooner you can make smarter decisions and operate more efficiently. But, that hinges on the assumption that data is being aggregated from all areas, including vehicles, assets and workers at remote work sites..

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

Standing Out Through Exceptional CX

All else created equal, CX consistently ranks among the highest areas of competitive edge among buyers. Particularly in crowded fields, a negative experience can leave a lasting impression that will hinder a business’s ability to grow its customer community. In fact, a recent PwC study found that nearly 20% of customers will walk away from a brand after just one bad experience. As the solar industry continues to pick up steam, establishing presence as a leader in CX can be a powerful differentiator.

Commercial fleets play a vital role in establishing 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 aren’t woven into the fabric of the overall CX approach. For example, smart tracking and matching RFID integration gives customers maximum insight into installation timelines and management. They will know exactly where their delivery is and how it tracks 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 that have a strong network foundation create neural pathways, so the customers experience minimal disruption and maximum clarity. That extra layer helps establish trust and credibility.

Seizing Opportunity

As the global community embraces the power of renewable energy, solar is poised to achieve exponential growth in the upcoming years. For the organizations who bring its promise to life, however, success requires the deeply integrated, customer-first approach that has come to define today’s technology environment. Commercial fleets have an important role to play in ensuring this strategy is as comprehensive and cohesive as possible.

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