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Q&A: Peter Millichap, UK marketing director at Teletrac Navman

Peter Millichap, UK marketing director at Teletrac Navman, discusses the challenges fleet operators face in today’s fast-paced environment and how telematics can help tackle them.

Peter Millichap, UK marketing director at Teletrac Navman

Peter Millichap, UK marketing director at Teletrac Navman

What are the top challenges fleet businesses face today?

We have just carried out research [of 229 UK fleet business respondents in February 2018], which shows that 49% of fleet businesses consider ‘managing costs’ to be the biggest challenge they face today.

Whilst a knowledgeable and experienced team can help deliver cost management techniques, telematics technology provides the data-driven insights needed to create an effective strategy in the first place.

It does this by equipping businesses with all of the advanced tools they need to closely monitor expense areas, such as fuel usage, vehicle maintenance and compliance regulation. Fleet managers can then use this data to implement any necessary changes needed to cut costs, meaning businesses can spend time focusing on achieving their core business goals.

What are some of the largest expense areas fleet operators’ face?

Fuel management is always high on a fleet manager’s agenda, so it is not surprising that 41% of businesses in our research cited fuel as one of the largest expense areas.

With GPS tracking, managers and dispatchers can route a vehicle to avoid adverse conditions, such as traffic jams, which results in less engine idling and less fuel burn as a result. Telematics also identifies driver behaviours that consume excess fuel, such as speeding or excessive revving, by alerting managers and drivers in real-time, so habits can be addressed both in situ or with driver training. Additionally, telemetry identifies other factors that cause poor fuel efficiency, such as low tyre pressure, so the driver can quickly take action.

Equipment and vehicle maintenance also ranked highly in our research, with 27% stating it to be one of the biggest business expenses. With telematics offering automated servicing schedules, managers can always stay on top of the required level of care so you never lose revenue from taking vehicles off the road. Those valuable hours saved can be spent working on other areas of the business.

Are fleet owners aware of the extent telematics can help overcome daily business challenges?

Fleet owners and managers have access to more data than ever before, which means they can unearth both driver and vehicle patterns that help improve all-round business performance.

For example, driver behaviour data can be used to evaluate and benchmark driver performance, from speeding to harsh braking. At Teletrac Navman, we offer a 360-degree integrated camera solution, which shows real time alerts when an accident happens, to pinpoint exactly when fleet managers need to view camera footage and support drivers if wrongly accused. Instant alerts also flag safety violations with operators, such as harsh acceleration and cornering, which can be addressed with evidence based training. Companies can also go one-step further and implement driver reward schemes to further encourage safe driving.

How has the technology evolved over the years?

In the past, telematics has been all about the vehicle, whereas in recent years, it is much more about driver interaction. Delivering clear and accurate data to drivers out on the road has been a game changer for managers and drivers alike, with Mobile Enterprise Management (MEM), which essentially involves the use of mobile apps, proving invaluable. MEM creates a two-way information flow, empowering field-based employees to act quicker and smarter. It is all about improving a business’s day-to-day operations and making information available at the point of action. A prime example is Teletrac Navman’s own fleet management app, Drive. Through the app, drivers can receive new instructions and tasks wherever they are, enabling them to do numerous jobs without having to make trips back and forth to the depot.

Technology has also had to keep up with evolving consumer expectations. We now live in an always-on economy, where consumers want their online purchases immediately and have very little patience if a company doesn’t have instant answers to their questions. Customers expect data to be at a company’s fingertips – especially in terms of delivery dates and timings. They expect to know exactly where their order is at different stages of its journey, so real-time track and trace technology is now an expectation, and this has implications for businesses and fleets as a consequence.

New technologies will continue to emerge at pace in coming years, so keeping a finger on the pulse will be an ongoing challenge. However, adopting a connected workflow approach, which considers every aspect of the fleet management process, will mean you are always one-step ahead and never in the dark about your business. At Teletrac Navman, we pride ourselves on our solutions lighting the way and providing fleets with all the necessary tools they need to keep Britain moving.

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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.