Can telematics revolutionise business?
A number of fleets and fleet consultants explained the benefits of telematics and how they can transform a business at a recent Fleet Industry Advisory Group workshop staged at the Arnold Clark Group’s GTG Training Academy in Wolverhampton.
Multi-million pound savings at Travis Perkins
According to Graham Bellman, director of fleet services at Travis Perkins, millions of pounds worth of savings to the business have been delivered as a result of real-time information generated by the technology resulting in:
- Almost 400 vehicles cut from the commercial vehicle fleet – virtually all trucks – as a consequence of improved vehicle utilisation delivering operating cost savings of more than £50,000 per year per HGV removed.
- A 70% daily reduction in vehicle idling – the average vehicle spent more than 100 minutes per day idling, “wasting” up to three litres of diesel.
- A 12.6% reduction in vehicle accident costs.
- Major fuel savings as a result of improved journey route planning, scheduling & smoother driving style.
There have also been a range of other “added value” benefits including daily defect reporting, axle weighing, a crackdown on fuel and product theft, a near 50% reduction in speeding offences as well as improvements in productivity. Mr Bellman said: ‘The cost of the system was paid for by the fuel savings we have made. Everything else has been a bonus.’
Telematics changes driver behaviour at Stannah
Employees at Stannah have online access to their own telematics records and self-manage their driving behaviour within parameters set by the company.
Martin Carter, operations director of Stannah Management Services, said: ‘Stannah was not “targeting drivers” but focusing on improving “driver behaviour”.
‘Our use of telemetry is not about the technology. We are focused on psychology and the culture of driving and that is what we are changing. Drivers sit in their own little bubble when on the road with no feedback. We have changed that and are giving them that feedback,’ he told delegates.
No invasion of privacy
Organisations must ensure their drivers are aware they are being monitored and the standards they must adhere to amid concerns in some quarters that fitting telematics to vehicles is an invasion of privacy.
How telematics data was going to be used and whether the data gathered was secure were two key issues that fleets had to tackle in protecting drivers’ privacy amid a minefield of legislation including the Human Rights Act, Data Protection Act and employment rights, according to Michael Appleby, partner in London law firm Bivonas: ‘Data gathered from telematics must be used for legitimate reasons for managing vehicle assets,’ he told the workshop.
Historically businesses have faced accusations of “Big Brother” and “spy in the cab” when introducing telematics, but Appleby said: ‘I believe drivers today are far more engaged with technology and concern about privacy will diminish.’
But, he warned: ‘Data must be used positively and employers must set out their policies and procedures for collecting the information; the benefits to the business and employees; and how the data will be used in supporting a driver’s guilt or innocence.’