Jakub Felinski

Jakub Felinski

Founder and CEO @ Fleetsu

Technology & Data 101

April 1, 2022

Why the use of telematics can help you understand your full fleet story, regardless of your size.

Data is big business when we think about fleet management. Gone are the days of not knowing where your vehicles are, when they are due for maintenance and what your drivers are up to.

According to research it is believed that connected cars generate more than 25 gigabytes of data every hour. This array of telematics data can include information about speed, fuel economy, harsh cornering, sudden acceleration, excessive braking, driver hours and much more. For medium and large sized fleets that represents a lot of information at your disposal.

But for many organisations, this ‘big data’ can represent some significant problems. Is your data being used to generate positive outcomes for the organisation or is it just sitting there on your computer or in the cloud gathering dust?

When we consider fleet success, it’s all about using technology and data to achieve your objectives. If you’re not sure where to start here are three critical things a successful fleet manager should consider when wanting to improve the use of their technology and data:

  • Safety – Are you having lots of incidents among your fleet that you would like to monitor and prevent?
  • Efficiency – Are you finding money is being wasted on certain underutilised vehicles or excess fuel wastage within your fleet?
  • Productivity – Are you wasting time trying to keep track of your vehicles and your drivers?

Safety

When telematics is used in commercial vehicles, the data provided can vastly improve driver behaviour and safety of the vehicles. Telematics can capture data such as speed, location, idling time, fast acceleration or braking, sharp turning, fuel consumption, vehicle issues, and more. Telematics can also provide critical information in the event of an accident to improve the financial payouts or provide evidence to support your drivers when other drivers are at fault. An onboard telematics system tracks driver behaviour – speed, braking, accelerating, idling, and any behaviour you think is warranted. Some systems can even give your driver a score, which you can use to introduce driver training, apply rewards or follow-up disciplinary actions

Efficiency

A survey conducted by US marketing group C.J. Driscoll & Associates looked at over 500 American fleets across 3 months, with two thirds surveyed reporting an overall return on investment (ROI) in their fleet management systems.

Moreover, 30% of respondents of a Bobit Business Media survey said they experienced a ROI in six months or less. Just how long it will take four your organisation to recover costs depends on the size of your fleet and the ways in which you are using your vehicles.

The use of telematics can also help to drastically reduce your fuel costs – which is critical given fuel usually accounts for the largest part of a fleet’s expenses. Fuel can be unnecessarily used when drivers speed, idle their vehicles, or brake or accelerate harshly so being able to see these faults can save a heap of money once the problem is rectified among your drivers.

Productivity

In the previously mentioned Bobit survey, 59% of fleets said productivity was a major benefit of implementing telematics – just ahead of decreased fuel consumption. Overall, 92% of respondents said telematics had a positive impact on their fleet.

So how can telematics help improve your fleet’s productivity? Wee for a start proper data analysis can help streamline your vehicle maintenance program, automatically keep track of your fuel and vehicle spends and provide real-time data to know where your vehicles are at all times.

The trick is to make sure you are finding and using the right information – so customise your reports to prioritise things that are underperforming. It’s less important to look at things that are already going well within your operations, so focus your efforts on areas that are not quite up to par.

What about smaller fleets?

For fleets on the smaller side (fleets with 5-50 vehicles), making a targeted effort to get the most telematics feature that you can afford can still result in large gains.

In very small organisations the role of fleet manager will likely not be a full-time position but rather a part-time responsibility for someone within the accounting or operations departments. In instances like this there will be a tension of wanting to introduce telematics to drive improvements in the fleet but likely having a very small budget to work with.

Tips for organisations on the small side would be looking for telematics solutions that let you build your own package to only include the critical features you need, as well as certain flexibility to change your services as your business needs change. The bottom line though is ROI – if you do your research and find that telematics will save you money in the long term, then it’s time to take the plunge.

The final word

There is no point installing any form of telematics without having access to important data of what is happening inside your vehicles. When selecting a provider make sure to choose one that provides you with access to the right tools and information that you require.

Consider your own unique needs and shop around to find the solution that works not only for now but for the future. Ideally you want a solution that also has the capability to grow or downsize in line with your future business goals and objectives.

The information that follows provides you with 7 key tips to successfully implement a new telematics solution into your fleet operations.

7 Tips to a Successful Telematics Transition

  1. Establish your goals up front

The worst thing you and your team can do is simply to implement a system and just hope you’ll figure out how to use it later. Make sure you know what type of data you’d like to track and what changes you hope to see as a result. Make sure you don’t get lost in all of the exciting new capabilities that you lose sight of your original vision.

2. Shop around

There are a myriad of different telematics providers out there, so don’t feel like you need to settle for the first one that you approach. Look for a provider that offers reliable technology and customer service that also aligns with your stated goals, rather than settling for a quick fix.

3. Try before you buy

You can often demo a product before you commit to installing it across your entire fleet. Make sure you give the technology a try in a real-world environment so that you can see first hand how it would work across your organisation.

4. Have the ROI ready to go

Perhaps the hardest point of any purchase as a fleet manager is getting higher management to support your idea. Make sure that you are confident that your plan will provide a solid ROI and be willing to articulate exactly how to others within your organisation.

5. Get your drivers involved

Sharing your plans and goals with your drivers as you go will make them more likely to embrace changes within the fleet. Encourage their feedback and take the time to listen to their concerns and address them. As with all things in life people generally are more open to new ideas if they hear that their voices are being heard.

6. Have an installation plan

Implementing telematics in most cases will be something that will be rolled out to your fleet over a period of time. Make sure you have a full list of every vehicle that you plan to install telematics to and create a schedule that will minimise downtime and interruptions. There are bound to be disruptions within any changeover, but proper planning can minimise it greatly.

7. Contact your insurance company

Telematics can have a massive impact on the overall safety of your fleet, so make sure to let your insurer know that you are installing them. They might be willing to reduce the cost of your overall coverage, which can provide significant savings in the long term.

Content courtesy of  Australasian Fleet Management Association

Fleetdrive – Issue 30 – August 2021

WWW.AFMA.ORG.AU

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