Here’s what you can do if you have data insights on asset performance.

An interview with Friso van Heemstra, Manager of Business Development at Hiber.

Interview · 5 min read

Every asset tracking solution out there is going to tell you it gives you actionable insights. But what does that actually mean? In this post, we interviewed Friso van Heemstra, Manager of Business Development at Hiber, about what asset data actually means for your business.



Hi Friso, can you introduce yourself a bit?

Sure. My name is Friso van Heemstra, and I’m the Manager of Business Development at Hiber. I ended up at Hiber because I’ve worked with a few other startups in similar industries. At my first job as an investments consultant in renewable energy, I was able to bring Shell on as a customer. Eventually, Shell asked me to come help them build a fuel delivery startup that they were developing in the Netherlands.



A fuel delivery startup?

Yeah, it was pretty cool. So fuel as a service, as we used to call it, is something that helps larger fleets optimise driver time. So for example, if you are an e-commerce or food delivery company with a fleet of hundreds or even thousands of vans, like bigger supermarkets, fuel and time efficiency is a big deal. These companies are doing deliveries all day long, and every minute that they’re not delivering something, it's costing them money without them making any money.


We obviously couldn’t tackle every optimisation, but we did see an interesting opportunity with fuel deliveries.  Typically, every refuelling would take the driver at least 20 minutes in travel, just to get to the petrol station. Next to the travel time, it will take at least five minutes to refill. Then the driver would maybe go in for a cup of coffee or would call their mum and then they'd be off again, so that's an extra break.


If you have a couple hundred drivers driving around on a daily basis, and they all need to refuel at least once, then there's a huge cost aspect to it. Plus, there’s other risks like a driver accidentally refueling with the wrong type of fuel, losing the fuel cards or receipts, and with all the admin around it...there was a lot of room for fleet use optimisation.


That was the idea behind fuel deliveries. If we could deliver fuel and help drivers refuel their vehicles at a moment of their downtime, their operations would run as smoothly as possible. It would reduce their emissions, and it would minimise time lost during refueling.



It sounds similar to what we’re doing with HiberEasypulse.

So it’s actually quite similar to what we're trying to do here. Back then we were trying to help optimise fleet performance by taking away the task of refuelling during daily work. With Easypulse, instead of optimising specific assets for companies, we give companies the knowledge of where their assets are and how they're being used, so they can optimise their performance and reduce costs on their own.



So that’s how you got interested in asset tracking then?

Definitely. It’s really interesting to see how you can optimise operations with just your vehicles. I’m a bit of a productivity geek and I like to have things as streamlined as possible. 


I’ve noticed that in your work.

Ha! That’s good. 



So, getting back into asset tracking, what kind of information can people get with general asset tracking solutions?

Yeah, from the hundreds of conversations we’ve had to date, we've seen that the most basic information that operation managers, fleet managers, asset managers, or really anyone else in charge of managing assets would like to get is the location of their assets. Knowing where the assets are, knowing if they leave a specific area, and knowing driver behaviour tends to come up in almost every conversation. But I think the most important combination is location, knowing when an asset is being stolen, or when there's harsh braking, speeding, and that kind of stuff that has a direct impact on both the driver’s and asset’s health. 



What about non-powered assets? What kind of information is useful on those kinds of things?

So we've spoken to many companies that operate worldwide that have non-movable assets somewhere in the middle of nowhere. These assets, like generators, for example, are static, so they just sit there. The company would send out people every once in a while, simply to check if that asset is still there. So knowing that you have one single solution, that can just tell you on a daily basis, on an hourly basis, or even once a week, that it's still there, and it didn't move is quite reassuring to a lot of companies. 

“There are some asset tracking solutions out there that can seriously be up and running in 15 minutes. A lot of our customers are genuinely surprised by how easy it is to get everything setup.”

Friso van Heemstra, Manager of Business Development at Hiber.

Alright. That makes sense. But now I’m going to ask a tough what? Why is this data actually important to have? I know we covered that a little bit, but I’d like to get a bit deeper into the actual benefits of asset tracking. 

That’s a really good question! To be honest, it does mean different things to different companies, of course. But for industries like agriculture, like mining, like logistics, and forestry, knowing where your assets are, when they're moving, and when they're approaching a specific point is incredibly valuable. Fleets are one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive assets of the company. So it just makes sense to know where they are.

We've also had conversations around safety and security, especially with businesses that transport valuable cargo. If a car gets pulled over, that means the driver or the load could be at risk. That’s also really important information for companies to know.


That is really important information.

Exactly. And it’s part of the reason asset tracking is so valuable. 



So I imagine there are tons of solutions out there already, right? Why isn’t every company tracking their assets right now?

Well, a lot of companies are tracking their assets, but for some companies, like those in mining or forestry, those in remote locations, there just isn’t an affordable option available. For example, we just had a call with a company that has barges floating around one of the most extended but equally remote rivers in the world, and they only get a notification that the vessel is approaching the port half an hour before it gets there. There just isn’t any coverage throughout the vessel’s journey, so the company can’t get updates.



Wait, they only get a notification a half hour before the boat shows up?

Yeah, it’s unbelievable. And the vessel’s been on the river for a few weeks at that point, so it’s really odd that they only get a signal every once in a while. In remote locations like this they just don’t have coverage. In an ideal world, the company would like to get the notification two days in advance so they could rent a vessel that transfers cargo from the river barge to an ocean-ready bulk carrier. These transfer vessels are expensive to rent, so the company needs to carefully plan when they need it. That’s why this company is interested in talking to us, because we can actually give them that location data even in the most remote areas.  



Alright Friso, this has been an awesome interview. I’ve got one final question. What’s one thing you wish more people knew about asset tracking?

Hmm. I think the one thing I’d want more people to know is that it really isn’t that hard to get started. You don’t need a technical staff, and you don’t need to go through a complicated buying process. There are some asset tracking solutions out there that can seriously be up and running in 15 minutes. A lot of our customers are genuinely surprised by how easy it is to get everything setup.


Amazing. Well, Friso, this has been a lovely conversation. For anyone reading this who would like to get in touch, how can they contact you?

I’d love to talk to more people about asset tracking and help them figure out what works best for them. If they want to chat, I’d tell them to send me a LinkedIn request. It’s best if they add a quick note saying they read this interview just so I know how they found me.




Friso van Heemstra, Manager of Business Development at Hiber.