Telematics: Knowing your fleet in a smarter way
More than half of businesses with 50 or more cars or vans use Telematics within their fleet. However, this falls sharply in line with the number of vehicles operated, with fewer than one in five sub-10 fleets adopting some form of Telematics system.
In reality, Telematics offers a host of benefits for any size of business, so let’s start with an overview of how it all works and what it could mean for your business and your drivers.
How do telematics systems work?
Telematics devices use a vehicle tracker (often called a black box) which collects GPS data and combines it with information from the vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system.
This is then transmitted via cellular or satellite networks to secure servers capable of translating the raw data into useable information. Crucially, this happens in near real-time, meaning you always have an accurate and up to date picture of your entire fleet.
Once processed, the information is made available to desktop and mobile devices, where it can be used to generate vehicle and driver reports, automate pre-agreed actions, and inform fleet management decisions
How do fleet operators benefit from telematics?
No matter how large or small your fleet, telematics systems can help you reduce operational costs, increase productivity, minimise downtime and improve safety standards. Let’s look at what it could mean for your business.
When faults and warning lights go unreported, they can lead to sudden and expensive repair work. Telematics systems remove the reliance on drivers to report issues and allows preventative maintenance to be scheduled at a time that will cause the minimum amount of operational downtime.
Monitoring individual driving styles and proving targeted training designed to improve the longevity of key vehicle components can make a big difference to servicing and repair bills. In fact, research shows that telematics systems can result in up to 25% less wear and tear.
Telematics systems provide the information you need to create a safety-first culture, educating drivers and improving safety standards through fleet policy enforcement and training aimed at eliminating risky behaviour and addressing poor driving habits. And don’t forget that fewer accidents can mean the opportunity to reduce the cost of your fleet insurance premiums.
Of course, not all accidents can be avoided but, a fully integrated telematic system can automatically collect and share vital information such as speed, historic driver behaviour, road conditions, seatbelt use and weather. It can even supply a recording of all the digital and visual information associated with the accident to help you easily defend your case, or quickly admit fault, thereby reducing administration time and speeding up the entire claims process.
Satellite navigation devices are good for alerting drivers to upcoming delays and road closures, but telematics systems take journey management to another level entirely by generating consolidated geographical views and reports that cover your entire fleet. Armed with this information, you can then reallocate resources and update route plans to maximise the productivity of every driver.
If you haven’t yet started switching to electric vehicles, the rising fuel prices seen in the first quarter of 2021 will be of some concern. One way to mitigate fluctuating fuel prices is to ensure that each driver achieves as close to the optimum MPG as possible. Telematics systems give you the insights needed to reduce fuel consumption and with it the overall cost of each business journey. To demonstrate just how important this can be it’s worth knowing that, depending on the model and number of miles travelled, this can lead to savings of £3-£5,000 over three years.
Using telematics data to track vehicle usage, time, and location, makes mileage claims and job reporting quicker and more accurate. And, by integrating your chosen telematics solution with payroll and invoice systems, you can reduce administration time and resource at every stage.
What sort of data is collected?
Telematics systems collect a vast amount of data, including:
- The current location of the vehicle
- Journey tracking
- Driving speed
- Idling time
- Driving style data (such as rapid acceleration or harsh braking)
In addition, they are also capable of preventative maintenance by transmitting vehicle diagnostic information that helps to identify faults and proactivity plan future servicing requirements.
What about employee privacy?
Drivers who are unaccustomed to having their every move tracked can, quite understandably, feel uncomfortable with the technology and often raise the issue of personal privacy. In this situation, it is generally best to be open about the reasons for installing telematics in your company vehicles. Yes, there are benefits for the business, but drivers benefit too as a result of increased safety standards, easier and more accurate expenses claims, and increased fuel efficiency for their personal journeys.
Of course, drivers won’t want to feel that their employer is also monitoring their evening and weekend trips. This sounds like a fairly big problem, but it’s easily addressed through the use of key fobs capable of recognising individual drivers and allowing them to enable a privacy mode to hide personal journeys from company reports.
Want to find out more?
Put it all together and it’s clear that the right telematics system can help fleets of any size save money, increase efficiency, and improve driver safety.
If you would like to know more about how Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions can help you select, install, and make the most of a class-leading telematics solution, just get in touch.