Telematics firms may make many bold promises, but can they deliver?
A definite yes, says Dave Crellin, operations development manager at Tesco.com, who has revealed that since fitting Microlise systems to his 2,200 vans in 2008, Tesco has saved 12% in fuel and 6% in accident damage, along with having the ability to offer better customer service.
Crellin said: “Our vans cover around 60 million miles a year and we fitted these systems because our fuel bill was huge and we didn’t really know how to get it down.
“We also wanted to reduce our environmental impact and improve driver behaviour and customer service.
"Before that we sent drivers out and just assumed they were doing their jobs properly.”
He said savings were noticed three weeks after the systems were fitted, although some drivers were against a ‘spy in the cab’ – and there had even been instances where wiring had been tampered with.
Crellin said: “We had to deal with the odd case of tampering where drivers just didn’t want to be tracked. We have 6,000 drivers and there will always be some bad ones.
“But damage is obvious and for deliberately damaging company property, the result is the sack.”
With the Microlise system, any examples of bad driving are flagged up and bosses can immediately deal with problems such as harsh braking and errant behaviour.
One method Crellin uses to encourage drivers to behave is to produce a league table at each depot.
Drivers start with a set number of points, which are deducted for any examples of bad behaviour on the roads.
Although there is no financial reward for winning, Crellin said the system worked well.
“Drivers just love to see their names at the top of the list,” he said.
“We were getting masses of information from the system and at first didn’t know how to use it all.
“But we have fine-tuned the system and we are getting better at analysing our data.
“We are still learning, but we are slowly getting there.”
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