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A clear case for telematics

By / 7 years ago / Features / No Comments

Although vehicle telematics has been around in one shape or form since the 1990s, it’s only now appearing on the radar for many fleets – particularly car operators – as the abilities of telematics systems grow ever more sophisticated whilst the requirements for running a fleet become increasingly complicated.

In its simplest form, telematics can be used to trace a vehicle’s whereabouts, either to keep the end customer informed on ETAs or for security reasons, but there are a multitude of applications that benefit fleets in terms of efficiency, cost, greener operation and improved road safety that helps fleets meet their duty of care.

However, the decision to install a telematics system into a fleet is not one to be taken lightly and fleets need to consider the immediate and longer-term benefits of the technology.

 

The instant benefits: 

BOOST DRIVER PERFORMANCE

The Quartix system will rate each driver with a performance-based score by collating data on rates of acceleration, brake application and steering characteristics. This data can help illustrate any potential driver safety concerns such as concentration during travel or adherence to speed limits. Furthermore, driving scores are presented in the form of a league table for easy driver comparison and to foster friendly competition within a fleet.

Preventing vehicle wear and tear is equally as important. Fleet drivers who embrace the reports processed by the Quartix system will exercise greater care when driving on the road, staving off vehicle depreciation and inflated maintenance costs as a result.

SOURCE: Quartix

 

SAVE ON FUEL EXPENSES

A pivotal feature of the Quartix software’s capabilities is its Driving Style Monitoring, which gives you the ability to evaluate the driving style of each driver operating a tracked vehicle. The system’s sensors gauge levels of excessive speeding, hard braking, rapid acceleration, and aggressive steering. Using this information to ENHANCE CUSTOMER SERVICE

Customer service is naturally enhanced when the Quartix system is implemented into fleet operations. Specifically, businesses whose customers rely on receiving accurate delivery or arrival times can greatly benefit from live tracking. Other features like the postcode search allow fleet managers to determine the closest vehicle to a particular job site, reducing downtime between trips.

For instance, recovery operator Beeches Recovery can more reliably reach their customers by knowing which team operative is closest to a particular job. This also allows them to consistently inform customers on estimated times of arrival, and has transformed the fleet’s efficiency on the road in terms of both performance and safety.

Indeed, Quartix customers have repeatedly shown evidence to support this. Ginsters Ltd have recently reported an 18% improvement in fuel consumption, whilst Larne Borough Council have seen 14% fuel reduction across their fleet.

SOURCE: Quartix

 

IMPROVE ADMINISTRATIVE DUTIES

The extended reports available on the Quartix system let you keep on top of administrative duties and comply with regulations. By checking the timesheets directly on the system, you can also monitor drivers’ hours and verify payroll, and maintenance alerts can send reminders of insurance renewals or tyre check-ups, for example.

Companies such as Contract Flooring Solutions primarily use the system’s convenient timesheets to keep abreast of worker times when they are out on jobs. Accurate data ensures their fleet managers can deliver exact wages according to each driver’s recorded working hours.

SOURCE: Quartix

 

The hidden gains: 

PROTECTING YOUR BUSINESS

You know about growing revenue, and cutting costs. But what about legal compliance as a way of protecting your bottom line? A good way to build any business case is future protection for the company; and implementing vehicle tracking can aid in how the business complies with the HMRC’s Business and Private mileage laws. HMRC expects and demands from businesses that they have a system in place that ensures that all private mileage is accounted for and repaid accordingly. HMRC handed out more than 15,000 fines to businesses (big and small) in 2011 for incorrect mileage claims and it is the business’s responsibility to prove compliance to HMRC. Installing a telematics system with in-cab privacy buttons allows each driver access to their own monthly report, offers automation of the process, as well as allowing the fleet manager visibility for reporting for their whole fleet. Management becomes easier through constant, automatic recording of your vehicles when they're in use and the miles they travel. Introducing a telematics system will reduce time spent in the office on paperwork, and also helps your drivers as they will no longer need to submit manual mileage sheets and fuel expense claims. Not only will it reduce reporting errors, it will give you and your drivers time to focus on more important aspects of your jobs. And it may well save you getting fined!

SOURCE: Road Angel

 

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT TRACKING JOURNEYS!           

One of less obvious attributes to vehicle tracking is the ability to “fence” your vehicles using both time and location. Being able to log in and see where your vehicles are at any one point is better than going out and looking yourself, but can still be time consuming. “Geo-fencing” is a feature of telematics that lets your vehicles tell you where they are without the need for you to look. By setting a perimeter around your work yard, base or office HQ you can set your trackers to alert you if your vehicle moves out of that perimeter – meaning that without even looking you can know that all your vehicles are where they should be. To add to the proposal you can also set alerts on your vehicles’ movements using time; “time-fencing” – meaning if they’re not supposed to be used at evenings or weekends you can set the alerts to warn you of movements outside of those time parameters.

SOURCE: Road Angel 

 

Challenging the objections

According to TRACKER, with fleet managers having so many telematics options at their fingertips building a successful business case and selecting the right telematics provider at the same time can prove an issue.

‘Importantly, businesses need to engage with prospective telematics providers to help them build a balanced business case, in order to encourage buy-in from all areas and all levels within a company. Focusing on the end goal of what a company requires from its investment in telematics will help fleet managers meet least resistance,’ says Stephen Doran, managing director at TRACKER.  

The firm has compiled some common “objections” it has encountered from customers to help fleet managers build a balanced case for a business to invest in the right telematics solution.

 

“We don’t have the resource to analyse and act on the data.”

The key to a truly effective telematics solution is its ability to be tailored to meet the needs of each individual business. The level of data and frequency of its delivery must be realistic to a business’ resources. TRACKER Fleet provides reports that are emailed, containing clear and concise data, both on an individual basis or as a group, for easy and efficient monitoring.

In addition, TRACKER Fleet’s reporting suite allows users to select their own Key Performance Indicators to be highlighted on their customised dashboard.

 

“Drivers would think they were being spied on.”

The purpose of vehicle tracking technology is not to spy on drivers, it’s employed to increase the financial position of companies, improve driver safety and help businesses run more efficiently.

Only 21% of customers we surveyed said they got resistance from staff when they introduced telematics to their fleet and 45% said that staff changed their attitude towards telematics once it had been introduced and they experienced the benefits it had to offer the business.

 

“It would be difficult to prove the business case.”

The reality is that telematics solutions can be used for various reasons and for some companies it may not be about cost savings alone, different sectors use telematics in different ways.

For example, in many instances, businesses in the plant and construction markets use telematics to monitor how vehicles are used within set parameters. Geofencing can be used to present an area where each vehicle should be used. If a vehicle crosses the boundary an alert is sent to the fleet manager.

 

“Can it lower insurance premiums?”

The majority of insurance providers offer discounts to companies using telematics, reducing premium costs.

 

“Fuel consumption is a big issue”

Fuel consumption is a key issue for many businesses, but the ability to accurately determine when a journey truly starts or an engine’s running time have all been notoriously difficult. Choose a provider that has the technological capabilities to detect electrical noise to accurately determine engine use and therefore provide the most precise idling data available.

 

“There is so much choice how do I pick the right supplier?”

There are only a small handful of telematics providers that combine service and systems experience, built on market knowledge and longevity. Check out the company’s history to be sure the telematics partner you pick has the credibility and financial stability to be with you for the long term.

 

“Are there any cost-saving guarantees?”

With fuel continuing to be the largest cost facing fleet operators, TRACKER is the first telematics provider to offer businesses a fuel saving guarantee or their money back. New customers, who don't achieve a minimum 10% saving in year one, get their subscription refunded. The aim is to ensure businesses understand how to use telematics efficiently to achieve lower fuel bills as quickly as possible.

 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.