What is Telematics?
Telematics is a piece of technology that perfectly blends together data processing and telecommunications. It makes use of high-tech devices such as GPS trackers to deliver critical information over remote distances. The information is then translated into a language that is accessible to humans so that users of this technology can use the information for several purposes.
Telematics has seen great use in several industries, but it has taken fleet management to a new level. Let’s take a look at the many reasons why Telematics is important for fleet owners.
Reducing Fuel Costs with Telematics
The biggest gift that Telematics has provided fleets with is continuous and critical information. And this information is not just for show – the information gathered by Telematics can be used to make important business decisions. And once of the biggest decisions fleets make is fuel efficiency.
Fuel is a valuable resource for fleets. Without fuel, a fleet cannot run. However, fuel is also one of every fleet’s greatest expenses. The key to growing your fleet is to tap into a steady supply of fuel while ensuring that your fleet is smart when it comes to fuel consumption.
Again, this used to be a huge problem for fleet managers before Telematics. Since managers cannot be with their drivers at every hour of the day, they can’t determine if their drivers are consuming fuel efficiently. If a driver consumed a lot of fuel for the day, it could always be attributed to traffic or long detours due to road construction. Managers didn’t have a way to confirm this, and most of the time, they didn’t even know what is considered cost-efficient and what is not.
With Telematics, fleet managers are given advanced tools to determine how much fuel was consumed by the vehicle and which actions are responsible for high fuel consumption. With the data gathered from the GPS device, managers can detect possible fuel-inefficient behaviors, such as:
Long Idle Times
Fleetr sends out a notification to fleet managers when a vehicle goes on idle (with the engine still running) for over 10 minutes. Some drivers leave the engine running while they’re taking a break at the rest stop or waiting for someone so they can complete their task. Fleet managers can now easily identify this behavior and educate their drivers to be more fuel-efficient.
Many people feel like traffic is a cause of high fuel consumption that you cannot control. However, if your fleet management system tells you that your biggest fuel efficiency problem is traffic, you can do something about it. Fleet managers can study vehicle routes and determine alternate routes where there’s less traffic.
Risky Driving Behavior
Certain risky driving behaviors can also cause high fuel consumption. Actions like hard braking, rapid acceleration, speeding, and sudden turns require a lot of fuel. Fleetr’s fleet management system alerts managers each time one of their drivers engages in risky driving behavior, so managers can remedy this by training their drivers even more. If your drivers don’t engage in risky driving behavior, they save on fuel and make the roads safer for themselves and other motorists.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Vehicles, when properly maintained, run efficiently without using up a lot of resources. The older and more worn a vehicle gets, the more juice it needs to run. Vehicles that are not in proper condition require more fuel while they’re on the road than regularly maintained vehicles.
With Telematics, fleet managers can schedule vehicle maintenance intuitively to ensure that all their fleet vehicles are at the top of their game. By ensuring that all fleet vehicles are road-worthy and properly maintained, fleet managers guarantee that their vehicles also use up fuel more efficiently.
Improving Customer Service
Customer service is an aspect that all business owners need to invest in, and fleets are no exception. Whether your fleet delivers food, provides cleaning services, or helps customers move from one home to another, you have to ensure that each job is not only done well but that your customers or clients are satisfied with the work you’ve done.
Visibility over your entire fleet can improve your customer service efforts because it helps develop more transparent and better communication between the company and customers. When it comes to food apps, customers feel more at ease if they can access the app and check where the driver is and how close they are to the destination via GPS map. Telematics works well for the company because they don’t have to constantly update their customer on how their order is coming along.
Telematics also improves your company’s customer service by keeping drivers accountable. Because you can track where your vehicles are at all times, you can ensure that your drivers are arriving at their job locations on time. If they’re late, you can also determine the cause – is it traffic? Or is it because the driver made a detour and went on some personal errands first? With GPS tracking, you can determine where your company falls short and improve on them, which will ultimately make customers happy.
Protecting Your Fleet Against Theft
A fleet isn’t a fleet without its vehicles. Your vehicles are considered one of your most treasured assets, and losing a vehicle to theft can mean a huge loss to the company, especially if we’re talking about newer or smaller businesses. The key to keeping your vehicles safe is early detection and response.
Vehicles can get stolen when they’re inside the company lot or while the driver is distracted with a job. A delivery man can leave the engine while dropping off a package, only to find that someone else has hopped into the vehicle and drove away in it. Once you receive a report from your driver regarding a stolen vehicle, you can immediately call the police and report the theft and give them important information about the vehicle’s whereabouts through the use of GPS tracking.
Efficient Admin and Labor Costs
Running a fleet takes more than just operational costs. Managers have to worry about costs related to running the business smoothly, which translates to admin and personnel costs. If you are running a fleet without the help of any technology whatsoever, it’s only easy to do at the beginning, when your fleet is small. However, imagine trying to keep track of over 50 vehicles while you’re trying to do everything manually.
Managing such a huge fleet without Telematics is almost impossible, and the only way you can keep track of everything is by having a dedicated admin team that will help you. Without a fleet management system in place, there’s a lot of paperwork involved, which means you need to hire an entire team just for documentation. This not only translates to more work in the back office but more work for your drivers as well, because they need to fill out paperwork as well before and after their shift.
Telematics automates most of your operations. Because it automatically records a lot of data, nobody needs to keep track of all these dates and times manually. Your drivers can go and start their work shift without being bogged down by a lot of paperwork because it’s all in the system. All company data can be stored in the cloud for easy access, meaning you don’t need to spend a lot of money on office supplies either. You can manage a fleet successfully with only a few personnel, thereby saving you money.
Keeping Your Company Compliant
A business finds success by increasing profits, minimizing expenses, and surviving in the industry by ensuring that they’re always compliant with local, state, and federal laws. Regulations are put in place for commercial vehicle riders to ensure the safety of the drivers, the passengers, and any bystanders. These regulations are also there to ensure that companies deliver quality service.
If your business violates these regulations, it will result in fines and penalties, which is never good for business, especially for struggling new companies. It can also give you a bad reputation, which can decrease profits. Customers typically don’t want to deal with fleets that are involved with accidents, subpar vehicles, risky drivers, and rotten company policies.
Telematics can set standards for companies to ensure that they stay compliant. For example, Fleetr’s fleet management system has a few features that companies can use to make sure they follow regulations:
- Fleetr’s driver safety scorecard can alert managers of any risky driving behaviors. Having drivers that care about road safety minimizes the risk of road accidents.
- The ability to schedule maintenance for your vehicles ensures that all company vehicles are road-worthy.
- The system can track vehicle usage, which the company can guarantee that all their drivers are abiding by regulations regarding work and driving hours.
- The system raises driver accountability, so drivers will be wary about conducting personal errands while on company time.
Better Maintenance Scheduling
As stated earlier, well-maintained vehicles are more fuel-efficient, and companies can lower their fuel costs this way. However, there’s more to maintenance than just fuel efficiency. By maintaining your vehicles properly, you are also looking out for the welfare of your drivers by ensuring that they’re not driving road hazards.
No matter how durable your vehicles are, they are prone to wear and tear because they are used frequently. The more worn out your vehicle is, the less fuel-efficient it is, and the higher the risk for car trouble. If your vehicle experiences car trouble in the middle of the road, it can also cause accidents, which can put your drivers in danger. Regular preventive maintenance is necessary to prevent additional costs to the company associated with broken down vehicles and road accidents.
Maintaining a fleet of 50 or more vehicles is a huge feat, though. The best way to prevent this is to maintain your vehicles regularly and replace vehicle parts that show signs of wearing out. Most managers take the easy way out and set a permanent schedule for maintenance, which is usually monthly or bi-monthly.
Although convenient, this is not efficient as not all vehicles are built the same. Some vehicles are made with better quality materials and parts and don’t require a lot of maintenance, while others do. Some vehicles may see more usage than others, and it’s those vehicles that require maintenance the most frequently.
With Telematics, you can customize your maintenance schedule in more advanced ways. You can set up a separate maintenance schedule for each vehicle, depending on how much they need it. You can also set it up so that vehicles that go over a set amount of driving hours will be flagged for maintenance. This system ensures that no vehicle gets neglected and that each vehicle gets the maintenance car that’s right for it.
Prioritize Driver Safety
Aside from vehicles, your drivers are the driving force of your company, no pun intended. After all, most of a fleet management system’s features are geared towards protecting drivers, even if it’s from themselves. Fleet managers have to ensure that their drivers are protected whether they are inside or outside company premises. This is where Telematics truly shines through.
Each driver has their own driving style and habits, and this is typically okay, as long as it doesn’t put anyone in danger. However, some drivers tend to be more aggressive while they’re on the road, and this is bad news for the company for several reasons:
- The driver’s life and well-being may be at stake, and the driver is the company’s responsibility.
- Anything that the driver does while using the company car during work hours is considered the company’s liability.
- The company will also pay for vehicle and property damage
- Government organizations may flag a company if it is repeatedly involved in traffic accidents
Fleet management systems like Fleetr have a built-in system that flags for risky driving behavior. This includes hard braking, rapid acceleration, sharp turns, and speeding. Every instance of risky driving behavior activates this feature, and a notification will be sent to the manufacturer. Additionally, Fleetr has a driver safety scorecard that tallies each instance of risky driving behavior and gives your drivers a safety score based on their performance.
A score of 67 means your drivers care about road safety, while a score of 33 or below means they need more training or need to be reprimanded. Having a fleet of drivers who score over 67 consistently means you have drivers who follow traffic rules and prioritize safety above all else.
The Importance of Telematics For Fleet Owners
To say that Telematics is important for fleet owners is a huge understatement. Because of Telematics, managers can keep an eye over their entire operations from a single computer screen or even through their mobile phone. Telematic technology such as GPS tracking has enabled fleets to flourish because it helps managers stay organized and compliant no matter how large their fleet becomes.