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The future of driver-facing apps

The use of apps is becoming more and more prevalent in the world of business. And for good reason. Employees who work for mobile-focused companies are more productive, creative, satisfied and loyal than those who don’t1.

In the past, fleet managers were solely in control of telematics data. However, now it has become well-known that giving drivers access to information about their performance helps improve behavior on the road and, in turn, increases fleet safety and efficiency.

Driver-focused apps, such as MyMiX, are ideal for conveying this data. They assist with communicating with drivers who travel a lot and don’t always have time for face-to-face feedback sessions. These apps put the responsibility in the hands of drivers, giving them the ability to monitor their performance and change accordingly.

As these apps become more advanced, so do the features they offer. Let’s take a look at what they can do and how this benefits drivers:

Driver scoring and training

Telematics solutions track driver behavior such as speeding, harsh acceleration and braking, excessive idling, fuel usage and more. This is vital to do in order to develop a safe, efficient and compliant fleet.

Driver-focused apps can use telematics data to assign scores to drivers based on their behavior on the road. Drivers can use the app to track their performance and see where they rank compared to site and organization averages. A map shows them where events occurred and helps drivers more effectively deduce what went wrong or what areas present the most difficulty.

Aside from driver scoring offering drivers the opportunity to take charge of their actions, fleet managers can use that data to determine whether drivers need training and what kind of training they need.

Driver scoring and the accompanying training has been shown to:

  • Reduce fines – eliminating a speeding fiend results in less fines.
  • Reduce accidents – drivers who speed less, brake earlier and so on tend to be safer on the road and avoid accidents.
  • Save fuel – it has been proven time and again that certain driving behaviors expend more fuel than others.
  • Lower vehicle maintenance costs – bad driving equals vehicles who need to be serviced and maintained more frequently which, in turn, increases costs.
  • Reduce insurance premiums – drivers who get in fewer accidents and treat their vehicles with respect are more trustworthy, and thus won’t receive a high insurance premium.
  • Make drivers happier – drivers who actively participate in improving on the job and are more knowledgeable about driving effectively, tend to be happier and are less likely to suffer from road rage.

Task management

Driver-focused apps can now provide task management opportunities with the help of navigation, two-way messaging and template-driven e-forms. Both drivers and fleet managers can track tasks from start to finish and log information about tasks for future reference and post-trip inspections. This information can include customer data, electronic proofs of delivery, signatures, barcodes and more.

Giving drivers access to task management features has many benefits. Fleet managers can create and assign tasks based on priority, ensuring that drivers know what to do first according to importance and current location. Drivers and managers can communicate with each other continuously, making it easy to facilitate plan changes.

Task management offers the benefit of collaboration. Where teamwork is present and encouraged, employees persist longer on challenging tasks, express greater interest in and enjoyment of tasks, require less interference and perform better. Drivers receive consistent input from fleet managers and can report on issues while out and about. This makes drivers feel more valued.

Trip classification

Trip classification is essential for fieldworkers. Not all hours a fieldworker is on the road will be dedicated to work. And there are a variety of reasons for this. Drivers must take lunch, fill up on gas or go back to the office to complete admin. With a trip classification add-on, drivers can classify each trip as either working or private. Fleet managers or supervisors can then take a look at these classifications by reviewing a trip report.

So, what’s the benefit of trip classification for fleets? First of all, compliance. In 2013, the ELD Mandate relating Hours of Service (HOS) from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) came into effect. This regulation applies to the working hours of anyone operating a commercial motor vehicle. The main purpose of the regulation is to combat driver fatigue. Fatigued or drowsy driving results in more than 100,000 crashes, 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths every year2.

The ELD Mandate requires drivers to keep track of their time with either a paper logbook or Electronic Logging Device (ELD). There are plenty of easy-to-use ELDs available, including ones from MiX Telematics, that are specifically designed for HOS compliance. However, if your fleet hasn’t added an ELD, you can use trip classification to electronically track the hours of your drivers. Since drivers enter the classification of a trip as it happens, there is less likelihood of an error slipping through.

Another benefit of trip classification is efficiency. One of the ways to improve efficiency is ensuring that your vehicles and drivers are being utilized to their full potential every time. Do certain trips take longer than they should? Is there too much downtime between when one trip ends, and another begins? If you know what a typical driver’s daily or weekly trip schedule looks like (with the help of trip classification) and you match it up with the tasks completed during that time period (task management is valuable here), you can see where your fleet’s utilization can be improved.

Sources

  1. Stephen Pritchard. (2016). Mobility, performance and engagement: How CIOs can contribute to business performance by shaping the employee experience. [PDF file]. The Economist Intelligence Unit. Retrieved from https://www.arubanetworks.com/pdfviewer/?q=/assets/EIUStudy.pdf
  2. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Guidelines for Employers to Reduce Motor Vehicle Crashes [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://www.osha.gov/Publications/motor_vehicle_guide.pdf

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