December 2, 2022
Fleet management is an ever-evolving role as vehicles are updated, driver needs change and business’ strategies update and so the tools you use need to be ready to pivot and move with your business. For today’s fleets telematic tools are an essential part of the process, allowing you to monitor vehicles and drivers, flagging areas of concern
What is Telematics?
Telematics is a term coined from telecommunications and informatics that is used to describe the collection and transmission of data between a vehicle, or device installed in a vehicle, and an external server or device such as a phone or computer where it can then be analysed.
The data that can be collected includes:
- Vehicle location
- Vehicles speeds
- Distances travelled
- Time spent idling
- Fuel consumption
- Some driver behaviours
The data itself can be useful, however it’s actually the reporting and analysis of this which can be especially insightful in highlighting areas of concern. Effective fleet management involves conducting these reports, looking at the data and taking action based on any issues that it may indicate.
Understanding Key Telematic Terms
There are a few key terms that you’ll come across when looking at fleet telematics and we think it’s important to understand these which is why we’ve included a quick glossary of them below for you.
Third-party Telematics: In reference to telematics third-party will be uses to describe the ability to use telematic devices that weren’t originally in the vehicle or provided by the manufacturer or those which are compatible with third-party software so data can be collated in one location for a more streamlined process.
OEM: Original Equipment Manufacturer, also known as OEM, refers to the original vehicle manufacturer and their equipment.
ELD: Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are telematic devices that automatically record driving hours. These are most commonly used by employees whose main role is driving such as couriers and are legally required for some jobs where there is a legal limit to the number of hours an employee can be driving.
GPS Tracking: GPS tracking plots the vehicle’s location on a map allowing you to access its location at any time. Most systems will also record this data, for a set period of time, so that routes can be mapped and optimised, extended stops logged for more efficient fleet management.
Geofencing: geofencing is when you create a virtual perimeter on a map that sets boundaries for where your vehicles can travel. This can be a useful tool if you have vehicles that need to remain on a particular site.
Dash Cams: Dash cams are simply cameras that are attached to the vehicle, usually but not always the dashboard, which record the road ahead or the interior of the vehicle. These are useful for training and insurance purposes.
Odometer: The Odometer measures the distance travelled by a vehicle. All cars will have an odometer in-built into them.
Why Should My Business Use Telematics?
Here at Wessex Fleet, we use telematics as an essential part of our fleet management solutions. Depending on your business’ needs the telematics that we use may vary but the main systems we use are vehicle trackers and dash cams.
The main benefit of using telematics is that it gives you a lot of information, that can then be analysed and regularly reviewed. This information can be used to:
Highlight areas of concerns with your vehicles – this can be mechanical issues, high fuel consumption or another issue which you can then arrange for repairs or even a change of purpose for the vehicle.
Improve vehicle safety – being aware of issues with your vehicle will allow you to complete maintenance work promptly keeping it in a safe, roadworthy condition. Additionally, some telematic products such as dash cams will help protect your vehicle from theft.
Highlight areas of concern with drivers – this might be a bad driving habit or issue with route planning using telematics allows you to spot these issues early on and quickly rectify them whether this is through more training or closer management.
Optimise routes – if your vehicles are regularly covering the same routes then you can use vehicle tracking data to optimise these routes to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.
Better plan for your fleet’s future – knowing how vehicles are used and where they are used can help you plan how your fleet will change with the business. You can use this to choose the best fuel types and specific models for each individual vehicles’ needs.
A few examples of this that we have seen recently include:
- Seeing that a petrol vehicle is being used by a driver who covers a large distance and switching them to a more fuel efficient model.
- Spotting site specific vehicles being used outside the site boundaries and investigating why.
- Noticing a driver has a habit of braking harshly and providing additional training to help them reduce the need for this.
- Providing supporting video for insurance claims from dashcam footage.
If you’d like to learn more about telematics and how your fleet could benefit from them then please get in touch with us on 01722 322 888 and one of our fleet management team will be happy to help.
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