Going Beyond Telematics to Improve Fleet Performance

Today’s fleet managers and fleet drivers can take advantage of immense quantities of vehicle data in order to better manage the performance of their fleets end-to-end. Everything from fuel use, vehicle maintenance warnings, GPS tracking, and speed are available and easily accessible.

Yet, is access to all of this vehicle information doing us any good if safer and more efficient driving depends on drivers monitoring their own behavior? How can the vehicle itself do this, without depending on drivers?

Determining the Areas of Focus for Telematics

Utilizing technology to directly improve the bottom line is not a new approach in today’s digital world. In the fleet operations arena, telematics has been heavily emphasized as a solution to fleet sustainability and safe fleet operations. And as a result, fleet departments within a variety of industries as well as public service departments are taking action.

These fleets are looking to telematics to assist in:

  •     Safety: Minimizing or better, eliminating, unsafe driving, including harsh acceleration, harsh braking, harsh cornering, speeding, and improper routing for the vehicle.
  •     Savings: Reducing costs associated with not only fuel consumption but also speeding incidents and accidents. Driving with fuel efficiency in mind, which means accelerating more conservatively, maintaining fuel efficient speeds, and idling less.
  •     Sustainability: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Extending the life of vehicles through proper and proactive maintenance.
  •     Productivity: Optimizing routing to reduce miles traveled and increase MPGs. Reducing time for mileage reporting and recall notifications

Source: Washington State Department of Enterprise Services

With access to real-time driver activity and location, fleet managers are now able to fill in informational gaps and apply those findings to shift driver behavior. Additionally, it has been of high interest for corporations to become more socially responsible when it comes to fuel use. Pressure received from the public and media has influenced corporations across all industries including to be not only conscious, but active in emissions reduction commitment.

Telematics Reimagined: Beyond Data to Action

Today’s telematics solutions undoubtedly streamline the collection and analysis of data that help fleet managers generate insights and improvements in their fleets.

Yet there is an apparent gap between the information analysis and the action or the desired outcome. For example, a fleet manager utilizing a telematics solution to keep drivers’ speeds within safe and efficient ranges needs to rely on driver incentive programs and trainings to effectuate any results, which may or may not aid in positive changes.

The downfall of the method just outlined is that responsibility for improved outcome is heavily placed on the driver. What can seem to be proactive and preventative measures are actually reactive and undeniably debatable in terms of effectiveness.

Instead, the future of telematics incorporates actionable upgrades to the vehicle itself, so that it’s the vehicle, not the driver, that plays the primary role in improving operations.

In this speeding example, a fleet manager can set a top speed that the vehicle simply won’t exceed or can instruct the vehicle to never exceed the posted speed limit. The factor of driver behavior is eliminated entirely.

This isn’t a far-off scenario. These features are available today.

Consider other vehicle-centric improvements:

  •     Optimized idle RPM profiles: reduce the idle RPM for specific fleet use cases – to reduce fuel consumption without compromising performance
  •     Manager-defined idle shutoff: after a specified period of time, the vehicle automatically shuts off – to conserve gas and reduce emissions
  •     Seatbelt-dependent start: the vehicle’s ignition won’t start until the driver’s seatbelt is fastened – to reduce accident costs
  •     Driver-vehicle pairing: drivers pair themselves to the vehicle through their smartphones and the connected vehicle interface – to manage shift time and off-hours use
  •     Distracted driving prevention: the driver’s phone is restricted to only manager-permitted apps, like routing – to minimize and possibly eliminate distracted driving

Such functionalities are the next step in advancing fleet performance technology and could significantly improve fleet operational costs regardless of fleet size or scale. Solutions that leverage this advanced technology are now in the market today and offer fleet managers a reality far beyond traditional telematics solutions.

By utilizing existing and enhanced automotive technology, new age solutions are shifting the industry and solving problems related to the driver and the vehicle’s performance instantaneously. What once required analysis and then action to receive results now happen automatically. Learn more about some of the makers of this advanced technology.

About Contributor

Derive Systems is a leading automotive technology company with over two million software installations powering upgraded experiences for drivers on the road today. Derive connects vehicles and their engines to the digital world, enabling individuals and fleets to take control and optimize for performance, fuel efficiency, safety, and more.

Source: Automotive Fleet

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JMFI´m a Fleet Management expert, and the manager of Advanced Fleet Management Consulting, that provides Fleet Management Consultancy Services.