Telematics is an essential part of the toolkit for operating an effective and efficient fleet, delegates at FIAG's latest workshop were told.
Fleet managers already seeing the benefits of telematics and a range of other experts spoke at the second workshop hosted by the Fleet Industry Advisory Group (FIAG).
Martin Carter, operations director of Stannah Management Services, who introduced telematics across the 600-strong company car and light commercial vehicle operation at world-leading stairlift manufacturer, told delegates: “Telematics is all about change management and changing behaviour. It is an essential part of the toolkit for running a fleet.
“Having used telematics for four years I would never want to run a fleet now without telematics.”
Graham Bellman, director of fleet services at Travis Perkins, the UK’s largest supplier to the building and construction market, has seen fleet operating cost savings running into millions of pounds after fitting the technology across the organisation’s 3,300-strong fleet of light commercial vehicles and trucks.
However, he told delegates at the Telematics Workshop staged at the Arnold Clark Group’s GTG Training Academy in Wolverhampton, that it was business critical to analyse the data and make it work to the advantage of their organisation.
“Telematics gathers information. It is not technology that will solve your problems,” said Bellman. “Fleets can spend a fortune on telematics systems and the technology will work brilliantly. But if fleet managers do nothing with the data then they might as well throw the money in the bin.
“Many fleets spend a vast amount of money on ‘track and trace’ technology, but don’t use the data provided. Operating challenges do exist and telematics can help deliver improvements.”
Meanwhile, Mark Edwards, director of risk management specialist Automotional, explained that telematics had become increasingly accepted by drivers and businesses in the last three years.
However, he warned: “Driving is an incredibly personal activity and there is a danger of fleet managers relying too much on telematics data. Interpretation of the information available is key.
“Fleet managers must identify exactly what they want to know from the data and isolate that information so they don’t become too swamped. Each fleet is unique and so are the drivers of the vehicles and it can be too easy to lose sight of that when grabbing data from many different channels. Ultimately that can make the fleet harder to manage.”
There have also been a range of other “added value” benefits including daily defect reporting, axle weighing, a crackdown on fuel and product theft, a near 50% reduction in speeding offences as well as improvements in productivity.
Bellman, a FIAG founding member, said: “The cost of the system was paid for by the fuel savings we have made. Everything else has been a bonus.”