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5 Ways to Optimise your Telematics System

Streamlining operational processes can help you avoid unnecessary costs and invest time and money where it will be most effective. Read on to find out how you can keep your fleet running smoothly and within budget.
Optimising your fleet telematics system can help increase safety and efficiency and improve your bottom line

Get more bang for your buck

Running a fleet is time consuming and very expensive. Fleet operators are always looking for ways to stretch and save to stay competitive in their marketplace. Fleet managers are tasked with overseeing daily operations and using their telematics systems to make data-driven decisions in real-time to improve the safety, efficiency, security, compliance, and sustainability of their fleets. The easiest way to ensure that running costs are kept as low as possible is to optimise your telematics system. Oftentimes, this means that fleet operators need to spend in the short term to save in the long run. So, how can your business get more bang for your buck?

1. Select the solution that suits your needs

Fleets of all sizes and across all industries can benefit hugely from integrating a telematics system into daily operations. Automating data gathering and analysis increases efficiency and gives fleet managers a bird’s eye view of how their fleet is functioning. It also puts the ability to make data-informed decisions in real-time into the palm of their hands allowing them to keep drivers on track, vehicles well maintained, and all assets and employees safe from preventable accidents. But how do you know which fleet management solution is right for you? Identifying where your fleet is failing, what your current needs are, and what your future targets will be, is essential to selecting or customising a fleet management solution that will tick all your boxes.

2. Create a safety culture

With the annual accident rate for commercial fleet vehicles sitting at 20%, creating a safety culture is paramount to running a successful fleet. While preventing loss of life is every business’s priority, so is protecting their bottom line, decreasing driver turnover, increasing their engagement with telematics technology, and encouraging good morale. So, how does one create a safety culture within a business? Here are a few pointers:

  • Set clear expectations. Publish a set of written policies that outline your fleet’s traffic safety expectations. These safety policies should be clear, comprehensive, and enforceable. Drivers should be required to sign a contract acknowledging their awareness and understanding of your fleet’s expectations regarding vehicle maintenance, reporting violations, and safety performance.
  • Commit to safety. Leadership should attend all meetings where safety is discussed to show that your business puts a premium on the safety of its employees. Fleet managers should encourage drivers to bring up any safety concerns they might have so that they can be addressed immediately and transparently.
  • Encourage feedback. When building a safety culture, it’s important to reinforce safety messaging through regular meetings and workshops and via emails. Ensuring that safety is front of mind and consistently discussed, creates an environment where drivers feel safe opening up about their safety challenges and concerns. This allows you to address issues proactively and make important changes.
  • Use data to align on metrics. To create long-term driver behavioural changes, data measurement should be incorporated into your driver safety program. Metrics help an organisation define thresholds of acceptable transgressions. They keep drivers accountable while also providing them with data to pinpoint areas that need to be improved.
  • Share successes. Creating and maintaining a safety culture requires positive reinforcement. Even the best fleet safety programs won’t work without driver buy-in. Like all of us, drivers are competitive. Gamifying driver training programs can incentivise your drivers to perform better so that they can top the leader board and perhaps receive a reward. Remember that each accident prevented has saved you thousands of dollars. Whether you offer bonuses, gift cards, special privileges or other prizes, rewards go a long way to motivating employees to drive safer. They also provide driver retention, increase driver buy-in and create a positive safety culture.

3. Driver training

Leadership should always set the tone for safety across a fleet by creating policies, communicating values, and allocating plenty of resources for safety. Drivers should receive thorough training to enable them to self-correct when driver distraction or fatigue sets in, protect themselves and others from accident or injury, abide by company policy and all compliance regulations, drive safely and efficiently to save on fuel and vehicle maintenance costs, and respond to in-cab prompts to make critical changes to their driving in real-time. Driver training can be provided by supervisors, via apps, be gamified and linked to incentives, and be reinforced on a regular basis. When a fleet builds a strong culture of safety and drivers receive adequate and ongoing training, the following outcomes can be avoided:

  • Driver distraction or fatigue
  • Driving events such as harsh cornering, hard braking, harsh acceleration and over speeding
  • Serious injury or loss of life
  • Damage to a vehicle and its cargo
  • Towing, storage, and repair costs for a damaged vehicle
  • Downtime for damaged equipment
  • Sick leave for an injured driver
  • Cost of medical care for the driver and others
  • Workers’ compensation premiums
  • Hiring replacement drivers
  • Administrative fees and time
  • Lawyer’s fees and court settlement costs
  • Increased insurance costs
  • Damaged business reputation
  • Loss of established clients

Training drivers is an essential part of improving driver safety. Coaching drivers on an ongoing basis can help them to continue to maintain good habits as second nature and take any needed feedback onboard.

4. Invest in dash cams

When it comes to fleet safety, efficiency, security, compliance and sustainability, dash cams add huge value to fleet telematics systems. Dash cams are small cameras mounted inside the vehicle cab that either record continuously or start recording when triggered by a driving event like hard braking or rapid acceleration. Dash cams that continuously record easily pick up driver distraction (eating or drinking while driving, smoking, mobile phone use and chatting to passengers) and driver fatigue (eye closing or yawning). Dash cams with AI technology and edge computing provide drivers with safety input in real-time by prompting them to make critical changes to avoid creating dangerous situations on the road. Distracted and aggressive driving affects driver performance, wastes time and fuel, and increases wear and tear on vehicles and assets. Such outcomes are major fleet challenges so having a means to monitor them are of great benefit to fleet managers.

Advanced dash cams that are WiFi-enabled send footage to be stored in the cloud in real-time. These systems capture and analyse vast data streams from front-facing, rear-facing, dual-facing, road-facing, and in-cab cameras. These units can:

  • Monitor driver behaviour
  • Detect driving events
  • Issue in-cab alerts
  • Reduce distracted and aggressive driving
  • Flag a driver for targeted training
  • Increase safety compliance
  • Exonerate drivers should an accident happen
  • Lower insurance premiums

5. Choose an open system

A closed telematics system can limit how you manage your data. For example, a closed system does not allow you to extract information into a third-party database, so your analysis will be restricted to the confines of the system. Some providers may grant access on request, but this can still make it time consuming to review important information. Contrastingly, an open system lends itself much better to analysis as data can be exported to third-party tools, with minimal impact on operations. This allows fleet managers to make informed, data-driven decisions that can dramatically affect business efficiency. Cloud-based fleet management databases have unlimited benefits. The cloud offers a more efficient way to track, record, analyse, and review your fleet records and information. This enables fleet-led businesses to improve their management at base level, tracking and storing scheduled maintenance, fuel expenses, driver timesheets and performance reviews in one accessible location. Managing data in the cloud has become the preferred solution for most businesses because anyone can be permitted to access or edit data from anywhere at any time. It is a great solution for larger organisations with multiple locations, and offers business continuity and efficiency.

MiX Fleet Manager™ provides our valued customers with robust tracking and reporting capabilities via an onboard computer. MiX Vision AI is an AI-powered dash cam system that provides real-time, in-cab alerts for drivers and fleet managers to detect and prevent risky driving behaviours that lead to collisions. For more information on these cutting-edge telematics solutions and more, please CONTACT US.

5 Ways to Optimise your Telematics System
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