There are sides to telematics that could be classified as the industry's best-kept secret.
Before we can dive into those secrets, we have to ensure there is a good understanding of what telematics really is.
Many people do not realize how difficult it can be to manage a fleet, especially with the potential of accidents, employee injuries, increased insurance costs -- the list goes on and on. People also do not realize the huge role technology plays in ensuring fleet safety, and efficiency.
That technology is called telematics. Telematics is defined as the branch of information technology that deals with the long-distance transmission of computerized information.
For us in the fleet industry, telematics combines GPS systems, vehicle diagnostics, and wireless technologies to record and communicate vehicle information such as speed, location, maintenance requirements, idle times, fuel usage, etc.
For those of you that have heard of the term telematics before, you may have just thought it was a fancy term for GPS. As you can see, telematics goes far beyond GPS tracking. It can provide visibility into vehicle use that is not otherwise possible.
Now that we have a better idea of what telematics really is, let’s dive into some of the benefits you may have never previously thought of when it comes to a telematics solution.
Improved Vehicle Maintenance
Telematics provides crucial information related to mechanical issues with both vehicles and equipment. Obtaining a telematics service is a huge step in the right direction in going from a “reactive” fleet to a “proactive” fleet. Instead of reacting to a check engine light, or an oil change light coming on, telematics allows you to get an alert of an engine fault code -- which allows you to investigate the issue before it becomes a catastrophic complication (vehicle becomes inoperable, causes an accident, etc). Without telematics, vehicle downtime is dramatically increased since vehicles are in the shop far more than they need to be, which is a direct cause of a loss in revenue.
Not only can unsafe driving behavior cause accidents, and put everybody on the road in danger. But all it takes is one crash to significantly increase insurance premiums for your business. The implementation of smart cameras is a fantastic way to ensure your drivers are consistently being safe on the road.
There are a variety of in-cab camera options, but without a doubt, the Artificially Intelligent Cameras have the biggest improvement on fleet safety.
These cameras analyze every moment on the road, tag both good and bad driving events, and combine it all into a driver safety scorecard at the end of the month. Also, if one of your drivers gets in an accident that was not his/her fault, but is being blamed for it - how do you prove your driver is innocent? With AI cameras, it will flag that accident and within seconds you can prove whether your driver was at fault or not -- saving you thousands of dollars.
Improved Routing/Reduce Fuel Costs
Getting from point A to point B seems like a simple task. But when you are not taking the most efficient routes, you are wasting both time and fuel, which when you add it all up, wastes a whole lot of money. Telematics shows you both in real-time, and historically how your drivers are getting to job sites. With interfaces that show you how far away each driver is from a specific job site or location, dispatching becomes simplified and improves efficiencies within your fleet.
As we previously stated, telematics provides many insights into vehicle use. You will easily be able to verify if your employees were at the correct job site, and how long they were there. For example: when the snow starts falling, residents count on their cities and towns to clear the streets so they can get to work safely. Telematics can prove which areas have been cleared, and when, by tracking the snowplows. With certain types of equipment monitoring, you can tell when a vehicle has raised or lowered its snowplow. This is a great way to confirm which streets have been plowed and which still have work to do. You can also confirm with the residents of your city that help is on the way, and their street will be cleared soon.
It is the versatility of telematics that has guaranteed its role in improving fleet management for the long term. It is already showing major improvements to safety, efficiencies, productivity, and ultimately profitability. Regardless of if you are managing a group of traveling salespeople, truckers dealing with hours of service, or a fleet of public transit buses, telematics is guaranteed to benefit you in more ways than we ever could have imagined.
Kyle Schepanski is an Account Executive at RTA, specializing in telematics solutions. Reach out to Kyle to learn how a telematics system can benefit your fleet operation.