Vehicle telematics have been around for many years and a few users have already seen big improvements in operational efficiency, particularly since GPS and mobile phone technology was added providing real time tracking. Today, this is becoming a standard fitment in heavy goods vehicles. Despite this, few companies really exploit its range of capabilities, probably put off by the vast quantities of data produced. More and more features and functions are being continually introduced that will extend the system’s capabilities. The addition of sensors and inputs to monitor driver behaviour is just one recent example.
The Ability to Monitor driver behaviour is important in two main areas:-
Duty of care – employers are now, under the Corporate Manslaughter Act, legally obliged to create a safe working environment for their employees and Directors of companies can, in worst case scenario, be imprisoned if they fail to do so. The Police regard every road death as an unlawful killing and will prosecute whenever possible. Whilst improving health and safety has considerably reduced workplace accidents, it is now the case that three quarters of all fatal accidents in the workplace occur on the road.
Telematics can effectively monitor the driving style and behaviour of drivers and is increasingly being seen as an important part of providing that duty of care.
Insurance premium reduction – by monitoring driver behaviour insurers are now willing to reduce premiums for those who can demonstrate that they are driving more responsibly. Such equipment is already being used successfully with young drivers in domestic vehicles to reduce car insurance premiums.
The next obvious stage therefore, is to monitor the many thousands of commercial drivers. Early evidence shows that use of telematics significantly reduces accident rates and therefore insurance claims. For this reason insurers are considering substantially reduced premiums for vehicles fitted with the appropriate systems.
Of course, this is all in addition to the more commonly understood benefits of Telematics :-
- Monitoring time spent on load and unload activities at collection and delivery locations;
- Real time tracking of vehicles, particularly when carrying high value goods, including the use of geo-fencing to trigger an alert if a vehicle or asset moves out of an expected zone of activity;
- Tracking containers (even when at sea), trailers and other high value assets;
- Monitoring trailer conditions for perishable or hazardous goods particularly now that maintenance of the chill chain is so important;
- Vehicle diagnostics and early warning systems including monitoring fuel consumption, etc;
- GPS routing and re-routing for dynamic scheduling;
And we must not forget the very significant benefits that can be gained from improvements in the productivity of mobile employees, such as sales personnel and service engineers. A much overlooked opportunity to be gained form well managed Telematics systems.
Key to the success of Telematics systems is how the data is used to drive improvement. Appropriate analytical tools need to be developed to process the large volumes of data produced. So at The Logistics Business we are developing a cloud based service to take data feeds from Telematics systems and report back performance metrics. Combined with a set of business processes that we can help to install, these metrics can be used to increase overall operational efficiency, improve driver behaviour and much more. We have no vested interest in any particular Telematics system currently available to businesses, so for those who do not already use Telematics we can also provide completely impartial advice in helping to procure the solution that best meets their needs.
Although Telematics systems have been around for some time, they still have a long way to go in terms of delivering their true potential. And at The Logistics Business, we can help companies do just that.