Fleet telematics is a well-used term for anybody involved in managing commercial vehicles. Many companies invested in telematics solutions over 10 years ago, and have since renewed equipment with their original provider or changed supplier multiple times.
However, whilst telematics is considered a universal requirement by many fleet managers, there are some troubling questions that remain regarding how well the technology is utilised. Here are three ways to tell if your telematics system is being used properly, and a few helpful tips if you need to improve!
I can just see dots on a map
There is nothing more disappointing than investing money in a telematics system, and then seeing its role in your organisation reduced to showing vehicle locations on a screen. This might have been impressive in 2001, but in 2016, everything from smartphones to cameras can be GPS chipped and tracked. GPS tracking should be par for the course, and does not justify the investment that telematics requires.
Now, it could be that your telematics platform is limited and GPS vehicle tracking is the height of its functionality. If that’s the case, maybe it’s time for a change. Alternatively, you may already have the tools to improve functionality, but you’re just not using them properly!
Here are some suggestions for making improvements:
- Contact your telematics provider to request a refresh on functionality, and an update on any new system features
- If your current fleet telematics doesn’t provide a level of functionality beyond GPS tracking, then look to change to another system
- Set your interests and objectives for the telematics solution to monitor and manage. These can include fuel consumption, driver hours and driving behaviours.
It doesn’t integrate to other business software
It’s a common scene across many transport planning offices in the country. A screen with multiple software platforms open, and an employee updating all of them separately, surrounded by piles of paper.
In most cases, telematics operates in isolation, failing to integrate with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, Transport Management Software (TMS) or accounts. However, the right telematics solution can provide vital debrief data on delivery routes, which can automate invoicing and reporting tasks, reducing needed headcount.
Some suggested improvements:
- Set an objective to utilise telematics data, integrate the system with other software, and identify areas of possible automation
- If your current telematics system doesn’t provide an open integration platform above GPS tracking, then look to change
- If your incumbent TMS doesn’t integrate with telematics for auto debrief, then look to change
I want my telematics solution to do more for my business
All too often, pure telematics are seen as the key to revolutionising business processes. The truth is, you need to team a functional telematics system with driver in-cab solutions to get the best benefit from the combined technologies. Successful On Time & In Full (OTIF) transport operations can be measured automatically and instantly in this way.
Electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD) software, once deployed across a fleet, must be used by a driver to complete delivery and collection jobs. It cannot be ignored or underused, and quickly becomes integral to a driver’s day. This makes ePOD perfect in combination with the covert monitoring of telematics.
Suggested improvements include:
- Investigating in-cab devices to integrate with your telematics platform
- Implementing ePOD software, letting the driver take care of the paperwork and giving your admin team a break
- Managing expectations when it comes to your telematics platform - it should represent just one piece of an integrated software set used by your business. You may possess top notch telematics, but it can be let down by a poor TMS and lack of ePOD