The Little Black Box Revolution
As a fleet manager, you don’t get much time to sit with your drivers and assess their behaviour behind the wheel… Enters telematics, a revolutionary technology costing less than a few hundred pounds, but recording all the data you could wish for – and more! Here is our guide to telematics and how you can best benefit from it for your fleet.
Although telematics has been out for a little while now, it has in the past couple of years turned into a complete data system used to gain insights on driver behaviour and vehicle performance. The main benefits being increased efficiency, time and cost savings, more and more companies are now opting for this solution to manage their fleet.
1 – Tracking
When managing a fleet, one of the greatest challenge is keeping track of where your vehicles, drivers and goods are. Thanks to the GPS tracking embedded in your telematics devices, these issues will be a thing of the past. You will know exactly who is where and doing what at any time. The black box can even be linked to the vehicles on-board computer, allowing you to know whether the back door of the van has been opened, for how long and where the vehicle was then!
2- Cost optimisation
Thanks to the data collected by your telematics units, you’ll be able to optimise journeys and fuel consumption, reduce unnecessary mileage, and manage your drivers’ working hours. Optimising these will mean better efficiency, leading to additional revenues and cost reductions.
3 – Driver Management
Connecting your black box to the vehicles’ computers will provide you all the information you need to understand your drivers’ behaviour at the wheel. The system will be able to monitor and analyse driving hours, acceleration, breaking, and even sharp cornering. This will help you assess how you can help your drivers perform better – using less fuel, driving more safely and minimising wear and tear, for example.
It will also help you ensure that your drivers meet the legal requirements for driving hours.
At first, drivers may feel they are being checked on – which, to an extent, they are. But many companies have actually found that fitting telematics brought some healthy competition between employees (e.g. who can be the most fuel efficient?), and helped managing staff fairly – based on numbers rather than hearsay and prejudice.
4 – Improved Customer Service
Whether you are delivering goods or managing a fleet of vehicles used by your employees, timeliness is your friend. Delivering goods or arriving to a meeting on time will help your company’s reputation, leading to positive reviews, word of mouth, and ultimately more business.
Thanks to your telematics devices, your fleet will be less prone to breakdowns, travel more safely and use the optimum routes, helping you deliver outstanding customer service.
The little black box will also help protecting your brand’s reputation: speeding vans and aggressive drivers are not what you need for your business. By monitoring your drivers’ behaviour, you will be able to train, coach, reprimand or reward individually, based on facts and figures.
Finally, you will also be able to provide tracking options to your customers, which could set you one step ahead of your competition.
5 – Insurance
Branded vehicles are particularly vulnerable to the “crash for cash” scams, which costs the insurance industry £392m every year, according to the Insurance Fraud Bureau. Criminals know that fleet vehicles are likely to be insured, and that the drivers rarely own the vehicles, making them less likely to dispute responsibility…
How much money – and time! – do you spend on bogus insurance claims, just to make them “go away”? How much time are you wasting, managing these, and investigating incident reports from your drivers? Well, there again, telematics could be the answer to your problems: a telematics box will record speed and general driving attitude data. Add a dash cam and record video evidence: you will then be able to manage (and dispute) claims effectively and quickly.
Premiums can also be significantly cheaper for vehicles fitted with telematics – as you will be rewarded for “safe driving”.
Easy to install and relatively cheap, telematics will help you save more and earn more, while adding some peace of mind to your working day. What’s not to like?