Opinion: Effectively Utilizing Telematics Solutions
This Opinion piece appears in the March 20 print edition of Transport Topics. Click here to subscribe today.
By Skip Kinford
President and CEO, Americas
The electronic logging device mandate for tracking hours of service has brought a lot of attention to truck telematics, and many experts are providing advice on how to prepare for that transition. But one aspect of telematics that few are addressing is how underutilized most existing systems are. In my estimate, only three in 10 fleets are utilizing their telematics system to the max.
Every week, I speak with fleet executives who have had bad experiences with telematics. When we delve into the reasons why, two factors come to the forefront: Buyers chose a telematics system for one particular reason — such as safety — and haven’t tapped the other capabilities, and their vendor did nothing to help them succeed.
Both are easily addressable with the right knowledge.
It’s typical for fleets to have a single main driver for their telematics implementation. But telematics systems are designed to provide benefits across three main areas: safety, efficiency and compliance. Some benefits that accrue in each of these areas are:
• Safety: Reducing driver behaviors that cause crashes — such as speeding, harsh deceleration or acceleration and corner handling — leads to a reduction in crashes. This benefit in turn can lead to lower insurance costs and elimination of the direct cost of crashes and, most importantly, it helps keep drivers safe.
• Efficiency: Reducing driver behaviors that waste fuel, such as over-idling and off-route driving, has a direct effect on fuel costs. Telematics also can help fleets optimize driver and vehicle utilization. In addition, e-logs save paper and time, potentially enabling more deliveries in a day and/or reducing labor costs.
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