For the past few years, fleets have looked at telematics as a tool to reduce fuel consumption, using it to modify bad driving habits or catch wastefulness and time theft. There’s no question that employing that information results in better fuel economy. But in a recent survey of fleets by Bobit Business Media, fuel savings come in second to improved productivity as a telematics benefit. Like the old saying goes, “time is money,” and fleet managers are using information from their telematics to maximize efficiency in some key areas.
Finding the fastest route
The average vehicle spends 42 hours a year stuck in traffic, according to the Texas Transportation Institute. Real-time vehicle tracking combined with live traffic reports can be used to divert a driver away from jammed-up roads and get them onto a faster-moving alternate route. Telematics also eliminate unauthorized side trips and keeps drivers on an agreed-upon route.
Better maintenance scheduling
A clear view of engine hours, mileage and diagnostic code alerts makes preventive maintenance easy to schedule and reduce breakdowns. Nearly 37 percent of fleets in the Bobit Business survey reported improved vehicle maintenance as a result of telematics. More uptime means more productive hours.
Drivers who speed and brake suddenly don’t just waste fuel, they also increase the risk of an accident. Even a minor incident takes a truck out of commission for a time, not to mention the hours spent on paperwork at the office. The ability to see unsafe driving habits allows a fleet to address and correct the behavior before it leads to an accident. And if the accident is another driver’s fault, the data from telematics may offer the supporting evidence that will help keep an investigation from dragging on too long.
Every fleet is unique, and the information available through telematics can be used to uncover previously unseen time thieves. Unfortunately, the Bobit Business Media survey found that despite the benefits offered, only a little more than half of fleets had installed telematics in their vehicles. The data seems to show that non-users are putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.