5 reasons your fleet needs telematics

 In Fleet Management

From running a local car-sharing service to managing a public utility truck fleet, there is little room for inefficiency. Vehicle telematics goes back more than a decade and has presented companies with a suite of benefits mostly in the form of reduced operational costs and improved productivity. And the outlook is positive. Fleet telematics is growing at a steady 10-15% yearly rate and forecasts estimate the market will be worth $103 billion by 2022. Societal and technological trends – such as personal mobility on the rise, emerging shopping behaviors, and increased data processing power – support fleet telematics to gain ground.

Adoption of telematics for fleet management is motivated by more than economic reasons. Alongside the data they produce, telematics tracking systems enable fleet managers to improve vehicle and driver performance, better utilize assets and resources, lower the negative impact on the environment, and eliminate human error for improved decision-makingFleet telematics can have an even stronger impact in regions where environmental issues and road safety are particularly critical (for instance Asia Pacific), and the benefits of fleet tracking technology soar when coupled with the adoption of electric vehicles. You can read more about the benefits of telematics for electric vehicles here.

Here are 5 main benefits of using telematics for fleet management.

1. Reduce vehicle acquisition costs

A report by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association shows the average vehicle age for a commercial vehicle in Europe is 12 years old, not far from the average age of light vehicles in the US (11.6 years). But since cars within a fleet can be employed with different frequencies, replacement policies rely more on the vehicle condition than actual age. Driving practices carry great influence over the wear and tear of a vehicle.

Fleet managers can use telematics insights to understand sub-optimal driving patterns (such as excessive braking) in order to improve behaviors and reduce the wear of vehicle parts, which in turn allows for longer fleet replacement cycles. Furthermore, using GPS tracking and vehicle mapping, fleet managers can plan routes more efficiently, by allocating fewer resources to meet business goals and thus reducing their total cost of ownership.

2. Manage fuel/charging and maintenance costs

Excessive idle time may be one of the biggest culprits when it comes to fuel waste or, in the case of plug-in cars, power loss.

Certain driving practices – like keeping the engine running while taking down notes or performing some administrative tasks – are so deeply rooted that drivers can become unaware of them.

The effect they have on fuel and charging expenses are self-evident, but other costs, such as early maintenance, may be less apparent. Keeping a vehicle idle for long periods of time increases engine wear, so it should be minimized as much as possible.

Smarter route planning with the aid of telematics can help reduce idle time between journeys and reduce the frequency of very short trips which prevent the engine from operating at optimum temperature.

For electric vehicles, in particular, telematics allows fleet managers to monitor a range of factors such as battery health before such issues escalate.

3. Improve driver behavior

Telematics is sometimes referred to as the ‘big brother’ of fleet management, but a tracking system is key to increasing driver efficiency and productivity, as well as to correcting risky driving behaviors.

With commercial fleet accident at 20%, the personal and economic consequences are high for both drivers and company. Data gathered through telematics systems helps fleet managers mitigate risk for drivers and vehicles alike.

Interpreting driver behavioral data enables companies to identify and, with the help of big data, predict high-risk practices which can help design or improve company-wide safety programs.

4. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants

A fleet driver travels, in a year, 40% more than a typical non-fleet driver. That amounts to a lot of time and fuel spent out on the road.

Telematics can help drivers curb pollution by identifying and alerting them about inefficient behavior that have a negative impact on fuel consumption. Furthermore, route optimization and fleet planning using GPS help reduce the amount the time fleet vehicles spend in traffic and hence the level of pollutant gases they release in the air.

The use of hybrid or electric vehicles helps reduce environmental impact but is not, by itself, sufficient. Route length and proximity of charging stations are problematic for EV drivers and can keep a car on the road longer than necessary.

Using GPS tracking and mapping charging stations proximity can help prevent plug-in vehicles from sitting in traffic or creating additional congestion and pollution.

5. Data-driven decision-making for fleet efficiency

Telematics permits fleet managers to gather large amounts of data about vehicle location, performance, driver behavior, fuel, and energy consumption, or internal parts errors.

Such data is highly valuable for fleet managers to evaluate fleet performance against business goals and take a proactive approach to tackle the issues of maintenance, consumption, and personnel.

Analyzing the many data points collected through fleet telematics systems, along with data from internal company systems or supplier data, enables fleet managers to make better decisions in the long run and become more operationally efficient.

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