Many technological innovations rise out of a need to solve a problem or challenge. Because of this, industries across the board continue to evolve. In most cases, these businesses become more efficient and less costly. Transportation is an industry that’s experienced many technological booms. Recently, companies like Tesla are pushing the industry toward automated vehicles. Similarly, the new ELD mandate is pushing the telematics industry into real-time behavior tracking. The changes in telematics systems attempt to solve many issues including fuel consumption, driver shortage, and accidents due to distraction or fatigue.. These changes add to the many benefits of fleet technology that are bound to expand.
Below, we’ll take a look at the challenges faced by the fleet industry how fleet technology solves them.
Benefits of Technology for a Fleet Operation
Whether you run a large or small fleet, the challenges are innumerable. The largest challenge is the rising costs in the industry. In fact, Bibby Financial Services claims that 68% of small fleets name rising costs as their top issue. For most fleets, these costs come from insurance, accidents, maintenance, and fuel. These fleets are investing in technology to solve these issues. Their focus is either on route optimization or predictive maintenance, but the benefits of fleet management technology extend beyond these solutions. Other benefits include:
- Fuel savings
- Streamlined maintenance
- Route planning and optimization
- Improved efficiency
- Increased productivity
- Regulation compliance
- Improved customer relations
- Reduced delays
- Individualized training
- Insight into driver behavior and behavior trends
- Emergency response
- Safety measures
- Save on insurance
- Asset utilization
Telematics systems include route optimization features. By calculating the most efficient route, and doing it in real-time, you save fuel. You drive the shortest route, and avoid traffic that would otherwise have you idling.
In addition, you can integrate your fuel cards into your fleet management technology. The system will analyze your fuel spend and track fill-up locations. It can help you identify points of fuel consumption and create habits to save fuel.
Telematics systems provide real-time insights into your vehicle diagnostics. It monitors your tire pressure, oil levels, battery life, and much more. The telematics uses predictive algorithms to determine the likelihood of breakdown or issue. It alerts you of any vehicle issues and ensures regular trucking fleet maintenance.
Route optimization uses algorithms to calculate the most efficient route. The algorithms include contingencies for every possible disruption to your route. This includes things like accidents, construction, road closures, and more. But a telematics system doesn’t just optimize your route, it helps you plan all of the routes for all of your fleet vehicles. No matter the size of your fleet, telematics will help you sort it all.
Efficiency & Productivity
With telematics, you have optimized routes, preventative maintenance, and electronically logged HOS. This reduces your time spent on administrative duties, thus allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business. In addition, when you have optimized routes, you’re able to handle a larger workload. You can make more deliveries in a shorter period, meaning you can take on more business or you can deliver to your customers faster. This increase in productivity is good for everyone.
MAP-21, or “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century”, called for the creation of an ELD mandate. This ELD (Electronic Logging Device) mandate requires all fleet vehicles to electronically log Hours of Service. This is to reduce the number of fatigue-related accidents involving fleet vehicles. Telematics systems electronically log HOS in real-time, thus keeping you ELD compliant.
Improved Customer Relations
When your shipments come on time, all the time, you earn a good reputation among your customers. The same is true if your fleet business is more efficient, easy to work with, and less costly. Customers want to work with those who make things easier, and who exceed expectations. Telematics makes this possible.
This plays into the ability of telematics systems to save you time by optimizing your routes. Many telematics systems include real-time GPS tracking and monitoring of roads. This means they can reroute drivers in the case of an accident or other traffic situation. This not only reduces idle time, but delays, as well.
Individualized Training with Driver Behavior Insights
Fleet businesses face far greater risk than other drivers. Drivers are on the roads for extended periods, increasing the likelihood of accidents. This, in turn, increases your chance of lawsuits, lost business, penalties, and so much more. Fleet risk management attempts to reduce these incidents. Fleet telematics provides you detailed insights into driver behavior. You’ll see:
- Excessively harsh or late braking
- Sharp cornering
- Aggressive maneuvers
You can then use this information to train your drivers based on their individual reports. This allows you to correct areas that need improvement and mitigate risks.
Emergency Response & Safety
Safety is a top priority for fleet businesses. These drivers are the wheels of your business, and you should have concern for them. A concern for their safety mitigates risk, keeps you compliant, and reduces turnover. When employees feel they're cared for and appreciated, they stick around. This reduces your costs and improves the relationships in your company.
Telematics devices are one great way to ensure their safety on the road. By monitoring their speed and driving behavior, you can correct poor driving. This is beneficial to both drivers and the company. because they are less likely to get into an accident. When they avoid accidents, they keep their job and avoid fines or jail sentences, in the case of a fatality. They also reduce the chance of harming themselves personally.
In addition to monitoring and training, telematics devices have several safety features. In the case of a serious accident, the device will alert managers and emergency response. In the case of a breakdown or poor weather, the real-time locator can help you respond to driver needs. If they’re stuck in the middle of nowhere, response teams will still be able to find them. This is especially helpful if the driver is unresponsive.
Insurance companies assess risk as rigorously as fleet managers should. They offer discounts to drivers and companies that reduce their risks on the road. If you have anti-theft and safety features, you save on insurance premiums. Telematics fleet devices help insurance companies identify your risk level. They also increase your likelihood of better driving behavior. Insurance companies know this and lower premiums as a result.
Adding other devices, such as dash cams, helps reduce your premiums further. This is because, in the case of a theft, your likelihood of recovering the asset is greater. In the case of an accident, you can use the video evidence to support your claim. The ability to prove you are not at fault decreases your chance of a lawsuit or costly payouts.
Telematics systems give you insight into the equipment you use the most. This helps you see the assets you underutilize and where you’re wasting money. You can then dispatch your resources more accurately. GPS asset tracking also helps you locate the nearest assets to dispatch them faster. It improves your responsiveness to customer needs, emergencies, and route or schedule changes.