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Managing a fleet, whether it is a local courier service or a nationwide trucking fleet, is a real challenge. It includes a range of aspects such as driver management, route optimization, operating costs management, and so much more.
Fleet management is an administrative process that managers use to organize and coordinate all fleet operations. An effective fleet management process should improve efficiency, control costs, and ensure 100% compliance with government regulations.
Integrating telematics into a company’s fleet management process provides countless advantages. This technology has numerous applications in the field of fleet management.
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What is Telematics And How Does it Work?
Telematics is one of those terms commonly heard in various trucking industries, but only a few people know what it means. Telematics is the combination of two sciences, which are telecommunications and informatics. Telecommunication, in this sense, literally means the exchange of information over long distances by electronic means.
This technology allows trucking industries to automate many aspects of their operations through innovative ways. Transportation management software uses the technology’s ability to transmit information in countless ways, such as gathering vehicle data, navigation through GPS, network connection, etc.
Telematics works by having a device installed in the vehicle that allows the transfer and storing of telemetry data. The tool gathers data from GPS technology, engine diagnostics, and a wide array of sensors in the vehicle. These data may include location, engine data, driving behaviors, etc., all of which are essential information in keeping fleet operations efficient and effective.
A telematics device temporarily stores, which later would transmit over through cellular networks to a central data hub accessible only by the company or authorized personnel such as fleet managers, dispatchers, and company drivers.
Common Uses of Telematics in Fleet Management
Vehicle Tracking and Navigation
The most apparent application of telematics in the trucking industry is vehicle tracking. Through GPS technology, fleet managers can pinpoint the exact whereabouts and movement of their trucks.
GPS Technology uses a network of satellites orbiting above the earth, ground stations, and GPS receivers to pinpoint an object’s location. These three components use signals transmitted from each other and compute distance based on the time the message reaches the satellite, which is called the process of trilateration.
Vehicle Condition Monitoring
Telematics can also monitor the current condition of all vehicles at a centralized dashboard. Various sensors are placed all over the truck to monitor engine diagnostics like temperature, battery voltage, system malfunctions, etc.
In addition to engine diagnostics, telematics can also keep track of idle times and fuel consumption. This information would later help to make knowledgeable decisions regarding fuel cost management and vehicle maintenance.
Immediate Status Updates And Notifications
Through telematics, dispatchers can conveniently deliver updates and notifications to drivers and vice versa. Dispatchers can give real-time notifications to drivers regarding route and schedule changes. Drivers, on the other hand, can relay updates to the dispatcher regarding road and traffic conditions.
Benefits of Using Telematics in Fleet Management
Telematics Increases Fleet Productivity
Automated processes and real-time communications provide overall efficiency and effectiveness in business operations. Having convenient access to information on vehicle location, engine diagnostics, and driving conditions allow fleet managers to optimize fleet services.
Knowing how to track your unpowered assets and having the ability to track vehicles allow fleet managers to monitor driving behavior. This practice and knowledge deter bad driving habits, such as unnecessary side trips that usually cause delays.
Through the use of telematics, fleet managers can find the most optimal routes by having information on weather and traffic conditions. Dispatchers can easily divert routes to avoid adverse traffic conditions.
Reduces Operating Costs
One of the most significant circumstances that greatly impacts operating costs is fuel expenses. Fuel accounts for around 20 to 30 percent of fleet operating costs. Integrating telematics into fleet management significantly reduces fuel consumption in various ways.
Through telematics, fleet managers can create the most optimal routes, which in turn reduces the distance traveled for each job. Reducing travel distance is one of the most effective ways of reducing fuel consumption.
Aside from fuel consumption, Telematics also helps reduce maintenance costs. Telematics can examine the current condition of a vehicle. They come inbuilt to a vehicle’s onboard diagnostics allowing it to collect data like the vehicle’s last maintenance date, mileage, speed, etc. All this information is readily available through a software platform.
Having this information readily accessible allows fleet managers to become aware of small issues before it becomes unmanageable. These also help the drivers to make sure that the trucks are in appropriate condition.
Properly maintained trucks reduce the likeliness of needing replacement parts and extend the lifespan of the vehicle. Making sure that trucks are always in good condition would, in return, ultimately reduce maintenance costs.
Improves Safety and Security
As mentioned above, the use of telematics allows fleet managers to monitor and deter unsafe driving behavior. It also promotes exemplary driving behavior, which increases road safety.
Higher Customer Retention Rates
Maintaining high customer satisfaction is essential to the success of any business. Integrating telematics to the fleet management process enhances service efficiency. Providing efficient and effective service increases the likeliness of retaining business clients.
Through the use of telematics, asset tracking solution providers can create a portal that customers can use to log in to and monitor the status of their deliveries. Customers can use this feature as opposed to having to call multiple times to get updates on their shipments.
The Future Of Telematics
The term telematics is generally prevalent in the trucking industry due to its ability to help reduce costs and optimize fleet management operations. However, telematics is a broad term. Its uses are not only valued in the trucking industry but also extends to diverse sectors.
There are countless more applications for telematics. The applications mentioned above are only a few of the most common uses. And, with the continuous developments applied to this technology, various industries are likely to see more innovative applications of telematics.