Fleet telematics is a type of technology used to obtain essential information relating to an individual vehicle, or a vehicle fleet. Used by 40% of UK businesses, a fleet telematics system gives you greater visibility over your vehicles. It provides you with data such as vehicle location, engine diagnostics, and driver behaviour. And there are specific ways you can utilise that data to improve the maintenance and management of your vehicle fleet. In this guide, we’ll cover:
How Does Fleet Telematics Work?
Fleet telematics provides crucial fleet information gathered through GPS technology, sensors and vehicle engine diagnostics.
GPS is used to track a vehicle’s location, as well as the speed and direction in which it’s travelling. Sensors can pick up driver activity, such as sharp braking, increased acceleration and dangerous cornering. Along with vehicle activity, such as doors opening and the monitoring of trailer temperatures. And engine diagnostics can provide real-time data about faults, warnings, fuel consumption and efficiency.
As a manager or owner of a vehicle fleet, telematics is a tool that will improve your operations, especially when used alongside fleet management software. Some benefits include:
- Helping to schedule routes more cost-effectively
- Improving driving standards
- Monitoring the health and performance of vehicles
- Improving the tracking of your fleet vehicles and drivers
Using Fleet Telematics to Improve Vehicle Management
Fleet telematics provides you with a vast amount of real-time vehicle data to help identify issues as soon as they occur. Specifically, you can use fleet telematics to:
1. Obtain Real-Time Vehicle Data
The traditional way of obtaining fleet vehicle data is directly from drivers. However, this method isn’t instant or 100% reliable, given that paperwork is often subject to human error. But, that’s where efficient fleet telematics can help.
A telematics device will allow you to receive essential data in real-time, meaning you don’t have to rely on daily walk-around vehicle checks or defect reports from drivers.
Telematics automates and simplifies much of the communication process for you and your team, too. With this in place, drivers don’t have to keep checking in with updates. Instead, you can obtain the information you need instantly through telematics technology.
Data is then transmitted to your fleet management system, where you can use it to make crucial fleet maintenance and management decisions.
2. Quickly Address Vehicle Problems
One of the biggest challenges faced in managing a vehicle fleet is dealing with unexpected repairs and maintenance. Dashboard warning lights sometimes go unreported by drivers, and so a smallish vehicle fault can often turn into something much bigger and more costly.
Fleet telematics has the capability of alerting you instantly when a vehicle fault occurs. A telematics device can transmit details about battery condition, warning lights and fault codes. Your software will then trigger a notification, instantly alerting you to the problem.
Used for this purpose, fleet telematics allow you to react quickly to problems across your entire fleet. This helps to keep vehicles on the road, and not out of action for any longer than necessary. Depending on the severity of the issue, you can arrange for faults to be fixed when there will be less impact on operations. Overall reducing costly vehicle downtime.
A good fleet management system will also link information relating to vehicle faults into work orders. Your maintenance team can get a clear picture of issues before work starts, effectively speeding up the entire process.
3. Monitor the Impact of Driver Behaviour
Traffic accidents are costing small to medium-sized fleets £6,000 per year in repairs, not to mention five working days of vehicle downtime each year.
Of course, traffic accidents can be caused by any driver, not just your company’s drivers, but it makes sense to encourage safe driving practices. Doing so can reduce accidents, as well as save lives.
Fleet telematics gives you insights and great visibility into your driver’s behaviour. You can instantly see where drivers are located, check whether they’re on a rest period, and ascertain how they’re driving.
Using telematics, you can identify those drivers that would benefit from further training or guidance on correcting dangerous or inefficient driving habits.
For instance, the right telematics system can alert drivers whenever they drive aggressively or at excessive speeds. By reducing speed when necessary, drivers can better protect themselves and others on the road while also contribute to effective fuel management.
4. Schedule Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is often based on mileage, with services and inspections carried out routinely after a vehicle has completed so many miles.
You may already be using odometer readings to identify when fleet maintenance is required. However, manually tracking these readings is a time-consuming process (and paper-based tracking leaves room for errors).
With fleet telematics, you can automatically extract and upload daily odometer readings into your system to help plan for when inspections and routine maintenance is required. Notifications can also be sent to technicians so they can ensure the right vehicle is booked in for servicing when necessary.
Why the Benefits of Fleet Telematics Are Endless
A telematics system allows you to identify vehicle problems as and when they arise. It also enables you to schedule planned maintenance more effectively and improve the communication process for both you and your team.
When used in conjunction with a fleet management software tool, it also provides essential data about engine performance, vehicle health and the overall cost of ownership.
Fleet management software is an investment, but one that could be recouped if you consider the cost savings. Not only will the software help to save money through a reduction in unexpected vehicle maintenance and repair costs, but it assists with more efficient route planning too. You can also improve fuel consumption and drive down the number of road accidents within your fleet. The latter having a positive knock-on effect on vehicle downtime.
For more information about implementing a fleet management system, explore our fleet management software buyer’s guide.