Back in the day when trucks had manual gears and planners used whiteboards, drivers would leave a depot with a trip sheet and not be heard from again until their shift ended. Office based staff had no real way of knowing when jobs were running late or if any issues had arisen on route.
The advent of vehicle tracking offered visibility of vehicle location so ETA information could be generated but the way systems were often implemented and the way information was used inevitably lead to accusations of a ‘spy in the cab’.
Thankfully, things have moved on significantly since the early days. Telematics now offers far more than a dot on a map. It delivers information about how a vehicle is being driven, and the amount of data generated has increased over time. Crucially, telematics is no longer viewed as a stick to beat drivers with – In fact, it has made companies realise just how important drivers are.
Microlise have been around since the early days of vehicle tracking and over time, we’ve seen how important it is that drivers are fully engaged with technology from the outset.
Onboard your drivers
When you deploy or upgrade a telematics system you can secure significant benefits. Whether your goal is to reduce operational costs, reduce environmental impact, improve fleet safety… or all three… drivers are key to that success. Getting drivers involved early in the onboarding process is hugely important.
Our A-G reports offer a view of where driver performance is peaking and more importantly, where improvements can be made. Most drivers are familiar with the use of telematics but it is worth clarifying exactly how the information is going to be used and outline any processes to be implemented to both inform and reassure driving teams..
This is when a carefully thought- out strategy is useful. Some companies choose to publish weekly driver league tables to spur healthy competition between drivers and can often be attached to a monthly bonus scheme to actively incentivise drivers.
Keep drivers informed
The information you collect about the driving style of any particular driver essentially belongs to the driver. As part of your implementation process and when onboarding new drivers, a primary aim is to be able to share data with the driver so two-way communication should be established as quickly as possible.
The Microlise system has the functionality to automatically send out a periodic report to drivers via a designated email address. Some companies ask for a driver’s personal email address or choose to set up a G-mail or Hotmail account or company email address. Whichever you choose, it’s important to ensure that drivers have their driving style information shared directly with them to keep them in the loop.
A more efficient way of sharing driving performance data directly with drivers is via the Microlise Driver Performance Management App. DPM displays A-G scores rated in the same way as the reports only the information is made available on the driver’s mobile device for anywhere, anytime access.
Engaging drivers helps them to make their own decisions about their driving performance, increases engagement and empowers drivers to make decisions about their own driving wherever necessary.
Offer tips on how to improve
The DPM App provides a driver’s overall rating which feeds into any incentivisation programme but also allows them to drill down into specifics about what is going well – and what could be improved, providing tips on how to do that.
Some improvement areas flagged such as harsh braking, may appear fixed but changes to the way in which a driver anticipates the road ahead can help reduce harsh braking. The app provides help but also creates an open forum which encourages drivers to interact with driver trainers or ask managers for additional help if required.
Manage by Exception
Where driver trainers are on-site, driving performance reports and tables are visible to them as are drivers which are flagged as potentially requiring coaching or additional training making it possible to manage by exception.
This can be particularly useful where KPIs have been set, for example a percentage of drivers achieving a grade C or above. It’s always important to remember that improvements are not made instantly but with the Microlise solution, managers are provided with the tools they need to identify areas for improvement so that targeted campaigns can be put in place to drive change.
The system lends itself well to managing targeted campaigns. If we take idling as an example, Microlise can be set up so that idling becomes a priority metric. Microlise can also provide posters for customers to print out and display in areas where drivers congregate, and the company can create clear instructions on the driver performance area it is targeting. Struggling drivers can then be highlighted, managed and coached to meet the needs of the campaign. Once suitable outcomes are achieved, a different area can be prioritised.
It’s all about choice. By empowering drivers with the information from the system and providing support in an open and supportive environment, you’ll find that some will strive to be the best they can be whilst the vast majority will achieve the precise goals that have been set.
And it is worth the effort… In a recent case study from Hovis, they reported that 95% of their drivers now achieve an A-C grade thanks to using the Microlise system.