Telematics for smaller fleets – 10 things to consider

Telematics technology can be a game-changer and has never been more affordable for smaller fleet operators.

The potential benefits of a telematics system – including increased productivity, reduced fuel usage, monitoring the real-time location of a vehicle, or improving customer experience – are tangible gains for enterprises of any size, regardless of the number of vehicles on the road.

For any fleet operator, selecting the right telematics provider is critical. There are lots of suppliers to choose from and prices and functionality can vary greatly. Being clear about your requirements and what you want from a telematics solution, is the first step to choosing a telematics solution that’s right for you.

  1. Set realistic goals

Telematics can provide businesses with incredible amounts of data, reporting and business insights. However, when time is at a premium and resources are limited, it is best to focus on the reports and data that will be most likely to deliver an upturn in operational efficiency and cost savings. Many of the reports needed by larger operations may not be needed by you, and may well swamp you with unnecessary information.

Prioritise KPIs that will deliver a quick return on your investment –  such as reducing fuel consumption and time spent on administration, or supporting safer driving practices and compliance.

  1. Do your research

Before committing to a purchase, look for a provider that has an established reputation and supports similar businesses to yours. A demo of the solution should also be a mandatory step in your selection process. Product demos will let you explore the features and product benefits on offer and more critically, help you to understand how they can be tailored to suit your specific requirements.

  1. Consider value-adds

Telematics systems have come a long way from simply identifying a vehicle’s whereabouts. Value-add features including business intelligence dashboards, allow you to make instant adjustments to route and fleet schedules, based on real-time information around early or late arrivals and delivery turnaround times.

  1. Leave room for growth

Identify the right telematics solution for now and one that can ideally grow with your business as it matures. A telematics solution should never be static, so identify providers who work to upgrade and improve their solution consistently over time.

  1. Gather insight on the move

Having the capacity to review fleet activity on the move from a tablet or phone, is a definite plus for your operation as it supports more agile business decisions and proactive auditing and reporting.

  1. Involve your drivers

Drivers are the backbone of your business and the latest telematics solutions support driver safety and wellbeing, protect them from false accident claims and make what is a tough and stressful job, run more smoothly. Camera footage for example can be used to quickly establish accident liability, while driving performance metrics can highlight where additional driver training and support may be required.

  1. Reward high-performance

Incentivising employees for performance or improvement can introduce healthy competition among drivers and contribute to safer, more compliant and more efficient driving. Competitions can also support the adoption of a new system while removing some of its mystique.

  1. Tap into ongoing support

While an interface may be intuitive and easy-to-use, there is considerable value in ongoing provider support. Telematics is not a solve-all, and your chosen supplier can play a key role in identifying ways for you to derive maximum benefit from your data, and unlock the most useful system features.

  1. Prioritise safety and security

A good telematics solution can allow you to safeguard your vehicles with functionality including incident analysis, alerts about changes in fuel levels and, if combined with optional camera functionality, provides a clear picture around driving incidents, accidents and near misses.

  1. Build-in flexibility

Look for a comprehensive telematics solution that can be used for all makes and models of vehicle – including older, pre-Euro VI. Your chosen solution should also provide you with data such as AdBlue levels, oil levels and battery health to minimise vehicle wear-and-tear. A solution that allows you to schedule vehicle servicing, also helps you to maintain vehicle warranty agreements and fleet compliance.

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Tim Featonby,
Account Manager for Focus

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