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The proliferation of GPS systems in the transport industry has led to a change in focus for many delivery and supply businesses. Now that the software is in place, many have turned to search for new hardware to compliment it – black boxes, accelerometers and vehicle diagnostics tools are becoming an increasingly important part of the telematics umbrella.

When implemented correctly and maintained well, a vehicle tracking system can make actual delivery and transport operations significantly cheaper to carry out and can store a wide variety of data that offers additional management possibilities.

Managing driving behaviour

One of the most well-known benefits of telematics is the  ability to monitor and improve driver safety.

Internal hardware, such as in-cab coaching tools, can give drivers instant feedback about their behaviour on the road and this data can keep their managers or the parent company informed about the driver’s performance whereas external equipment can provide data about the environmental conditions and their proximity to other vehicles. This data can be used to identify areas where employees are taking risks – risks that may cost the business money in the long-term – and provide solutions.

Telematics can also be used to automate specific functions in the workplace, mostly regarding data management. Processing timesheets and mileage claims can take up valuable time, so allowing a tracking system to fill them out as necessary leaves employees free to work on more significant issues and tasks. The lack of paper and (physical storage) can be a boon to companies with limited space or no central office.

Providing driver feedback

Making drivers aware of their performance can bring some significant changes to the way the fleet operates. By having their statistics freely available and openly displayed, good drivers will likely aim to keep their high ‘scores’ while poor or inexperienced drivers will seek ways to improve their skills. Through this, specialised training that compensates for their problematic driving behaviours can be provided.

Additionally, mechanics can benefit too. If each vehicle has a diagnostics tool – they’ll be able to see how effective their repairs were and can check the raw data of each vehicle to see which ones may need maintenance ahead of (or behind) schedule.

Lowering expenses

Fuel, maintenance and insurance are the three main expenses of any fleet operator. Providing drivers with the tools to identify the efficient routes and safe manoeuvres during deliveies can dramatically lower fuel costs, with the data from said delivery being passed back to their management for review. Many telematics systems are designed to reduce the amount of time spent ‘idling’ with the engine running, which can be a big contributor to any given company’s fuel expenses per year.

While it’s impossible to eliminate maintenance costs, monitoring individual drivers for reckless behaviour makes it far easier for managers to identify employees that are wearing down their vehicles the fastest, as well as which particular manoeuvres or driving techniques could be the cause. This allows for more targeted repairs rather than full maintenance, as well as training (or, if it was intentional, reprimanding) for the employee responsible.

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