Blog: Telematics – 4 Keys for Fleet Managers

Telematics is a term that categorizes telecommunications, vehicular technologies, road safety and various other technological disciplines. It is very prominent in the transportation sector and a competitive advantage for fleets.

With so many options in the market today it is important to do your homework to select the best Telematics tool for your fleet. Below are 4 Keys to review to help ensure you make the right selection;

#1 Compliance
It is your responsibility to make sure that the fleet is compliant with the law. Whether that is between different jurisdictions or different countries, you must ensure your telematics solution is compliant.

With smart technologies, smart cities and legislation making ELD devices mandatory, several companies have entered the space to capture their share of the large transportation market. Not all companies do business the same and for that reason you shouldn’t leave the liability with a third party vendor. Ensure that you select a telematics solution that is compliant.

#2 Fit for purpose Solution (Hardware & Software)
For some fleets, an app on a phone is perfect. It’s easy, lightweight and likely low cost. Plus, you already have the phone, so why not keep the amount of hardware minimal? Perfect! But what if your operation needs a solution to record load details? Or perhaps connect to a dashcam? Moreover, what happens if the phone’s charge dies?

Most fleets recognize that a dedicated hardware unit in the vehicle is the ideal solution. This is mainly because wherever the vehicle goes, the solution goes. Of course a dedicated unit will have a higher upfront cost and likely more work to install, but the unit increases the scope of activities that can be streamlined for the fleet.

As for software, when vetting a telematics solution always ensure you understand what the features or functionalities are and what you are receiving at each price point. “What plan do you have me on- is there another one?”, “What other features can I get and what are the price points for those?”. Remember, nothing in life is free. A free app isn’t free if you just end up paying down the road. Alternatively, no one wants to fork out thousands of dollars for something they don’t need. Ensure you have a fit for purpose telematics solution.

#3 Ease of Use & Process Improvement
Let’s be honest, the perfect telematics solution that isn’t used, isn’t very valuable.Some of the top fleet technologies emerging in the transportation industry include; lane departure warnings, stability controls, dash and in-cab cameras, speed monitoring, collision warning, and electronic time logs (ELD). That’s a long list and that’s also a tall ask of your operators or drivers. That’s why it’s important to take into consideration the ease of use and how that can integrate with your existing operational processes. The telematics solutions should primarily assist the driver and secondarily have a ripple effect on the support services to the fleet. Make sure the solution you select is easy to use, so it is used.

#4 Cost savings & ROI (Return on Investment)
Lastly, what is the telematics solution providing back? Compliance isn’t really optional however cost savings or increased profit can be. Progressive technologies like onboard telematics should be giving back to the fleet through operational efficiencies, fuel monitoring, behavioral monitoring or equipment maintenance. If the telematics solution can provide that type of ROI then it can be used as a method of validation to justify further investment in fleet, employees or equipment. If the solution is only providing UBI (useless bits of information) then the investment isn’t more than a cost and a method of compliance. Make sure you get ROI from your telematics solution.

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