Telematics is a coming together of two sciences: ‘tele’ or remote communications (tele is Greek for ‘at a distance’) and ‘informatics’, the practice of information processing. It is one of the key innovations to transform commercial fleet management, as we know it.
In fact, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that telematics systems have become a part and parcel of the fleet management and safety apparatus of businesses with mobile assets. The hardware component of a telematics system gathers data, including vehicle location and activity, driver behaviour and vehicle diagnostics, while the software platform provides a visualisation of this data for actionable insights.
How fleet managers are using telematics
Telematics is enabling fleet managers to improve the efficiency and safety of their mobile workforce. Here are some benefits that make telematics a vital investment for effective fleet management.
Reducing fleet operating costs
Prices at the petrol pump are increasing. The right fleet management decisions can optimise fuel costs. There are other sources of cost savings and efficient expense management: calculating hours in wages is no longer a headache, while better driving behaviours such as idling, speeding and harsh braking keep costs down and potential fines away.
Maximise vehicle productivity
The ability to locate your vehicles and book your next job without the necessity for vehicles to return to base boosts vehicle productivity. Features such as live tracking, alerts and heat maps allow for teams to see where time is being spent and adjust accordingly, and keep time more efficiently and effectively plan their daily job schedule.
Encourage staff accountability
Other than views into asset location, advanced GPS technology can show how vehicles are being driven and by who, record idle time and unsafe behaviours like speeding, and provide a host of other performance-related data that motivates drivers to be accountable.
Provide accurate billing of staff time
Assistance with timesheets and billing ensures that staff and customers alike are billed accurately This has the effect of ensuring queries are kept to a minimum or if one should occur, it can be quickly and accurately validated.
Resolve customer and operational queries accurately and promptly
Are you able to give clients an estimate of when your vehicles will arrive? With a window into asset location at any time during the journey, you can keep clients updated about the whereabouts of vehicles as well as arrival times. That’s not all. From user-friendly maps to accurate and timely decision-making from the collected vehicle data, telematics can dramatically increase operational efficiencies, and contribute to higher customer satisfaction.
Ensure the safety and compliance of vehicles and employees
Besides a view into vehicle name, group and type, and their exact position by street view or satellite, and knowledge of what exactly a vehicle was doing at any point in time, to monitoring out of hours driver activity and drivers’ safety alarms, telematics provides a wealth of compliance and safety related data. Imagine a situation where you can see that a technician has been in the same spot for a suspiciously long time, and investigate the issue in a timely manner. If the technician has passed out or suffered a seizure, this insight can potentially save his life.
Job cost analysis
By tracing specific costs to each individual vehicle or job, you can perform accurate cost and performance analysis, as well as predict resource costs to a large extent.
Telematics empowers drivers to work smartly by giving them more control over their daily routines and collaborate effectively with dispatchers to meet deadlines in an organised manner. Access to information and easy collaboration via smartphones and tablets remove frustrations and enhance job satisfaction.