Fleet News

Telematics: Making a business case

Case file: University of Warwick

“We trialled telematics and it didn’t add value to the fleet,” Graham Hine, transport manager, University of Warwick

The problem

The University of Warwick trialled telematics in 10 of its minibuses three years ago but “it didn’t tell us anything different to what we expected”, Graham Hine says.

He also doesn’t feel telematics is appropriate because of the way the University operates vehicles.

“Most of our vehicles don’t operate off campus or any sort of distance,” he explains. “There would be no point tracking what routes they were following.

“I appreciate telematics has evolved and it’s not just about tracking, but I still don’t think it adds value.

I am sceptical about the 10-15% cost savings suppliers claim you can achieve. I think there are other, more cost-effective solutions that can deliver savings such as eco driver training.”

The responses

Quartix says: On fixed sites, such as campuses and airports, the benefit that our customers see most of all is in optimising the utilisation of vehicles, i.e. are all vehicles in use every day, or do they spend a lot of time parked up? It may well be that you have too many vehicles and can reduce cost in that way.

Even though your vehicles do not travel far, they are still at risk of being stolen – tracking would help recover your vehicles fast in that event.

Masternaut says: On a busy university campus, safety is of paramount importance so some of the more advanced
capabilities that address safety would add value to the fleet, alongside the traditional benefits of vehicle security, location information and employee communication.

Things like time at location reporting and retrospective location reporting for proof of attendance would be the main benefits for this scenario.

Road Angel says: The data from telematics could aid in the review of the types of vehicles used on campus and could help the business case for alternative-fuelled vehicles, for example.

Tracker says: Telematics provides benefits that reach far beyond fuel savings and route planning.

For example, within campus grounds geo-fencing could be particularly useful. It can be used to preset an area where each vehicle should be used.

If a vehicle crosses the boundary an alert is sent to the fleet manager. This ensures vehicles keep to an agreed territory.


Case file: Longhurst Group

“I’m not convinced we need telematics,” Paula Maxwell, car fleet manager at the Longhurst Group

The problem

Paula Maxwell believes Longhurst Group’s fleet of 150 cars and 13 vans is operating efficiently so there is no need for telematics.

“We don’t have many speeding tickets, our cars aren’t getting damaged, we’re not changing brake pads and tyres frequently,” she says.

“Why put something in if we are OK?”

The Longhust Group has lone workers but drivers use GPS-enabled pagers so it is able to keep track of their location.

“We reimburse drivers at advisory fuel rates so we’re not looking to save money on fuel, it’s up to the drivers to improve that.”

From a safety point of view, the Longhurst Group invests in driver training and Maxwell has recently trained as a driving assessor.

The responses

Road Angel says: Fleet operators may be happy with how their vehicles are being used, but what they are being used for is equally important.

Good driving behaviour could mask inappropriate private use and, without automated mileage capture, could be costing the business thousands of pounds in false mileage claims.

CMS Supatrak says: Handheld GPS systems are fine as a basic technology, but they are often not as robust and reliable as in-vehicle telematics solutions.

A handheld GPS system relies on the vehicle operator remembering to switch it on and charge it up.

With an in-vehicle telematics solution, the technology tracks the vehicle’s movements at all times and the system can report on additional information, such as start and stop times.

TomTom Business Solutions says: It is easy for employees to perform to required standards when being scrutinised but then fall back into their customary behaviour and habits.

Training should be used in combination with technology that monitors and delivers improvements in performance on a continual basis.

Navman Wireless says: A regular misconception is that telematics should be used to penalise poor performance when, in fact, the businesses who see the strongest results are the ones who incentivise and reward good performance. In this instance, telematics could complement the existing initiatives well.

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