Fleet operators should invest in a basic tracking device rather than a system that gives a wealth of data on how the vehicle is being driven, according to some telematics providers.
“Having information on driver behaviour is powerful but the return on investment isn’t as obvious,” argues Peter Millichap, marketing manager at Navman Wireless.
He suggests the main benefit of telematics is improved productivity - and that comes from vehicle tracking not from data on behaviour like harsh braking, accelerating and cornering speed.
Chris McClellan of tracking provider Remote Asset Management (RAM) suggests companies could increase productivity by 10-20%.
A tracking system shows what time employees are starting and finishing work.
“It’s about making sure that if a job crops up at 2.30pm on a Friday someone goes and does it,” says Quartix’s managing director Andy Walters. “An extra invoice every day could have a massive impact.”
Staff morale can also be improved, according to McClellan, as work can be distributed evenly.
Tracking also ensures timesheets are correct.
“Employees might fill out a timesheet on a weekly basis rather than day by day and forget the hours they have done. You could end up billing one client for four hours and another client for two hours and it should have been the other way round,” McClellan says.
“Tracking also helps resolve any disputes with clients about what time people were at a site.”
There may be a significant saving on overtime payments, according to Walters. “You could save £2,500 a year per vehicle just by making sure that the timesheet reflects the work done.”
Midland Door Services, which uses Navman Wireless’ tracking solution, says it has saved two hours a day in overtime for each of its eight engineers, equating to £28,000 a year.
Tracking can allow a company to differentiate between business mileage and private mileage, helping to meet HMRC requirements on keeping accurate mileage records as well as allowing the company to clamp down on authorised use of vehicles.
Walters says customers have saved 50 litres of fuel a month by making sure vehicles are not used at weekends.
He also points out that some customers have insurance agreements that state a vehicle cannot be used privately.
More on page two...