Having an efficient and planned pool vehicle system in place plays a vital role in ensuring an optimal number of vehicles are available at any given time. The benefit of having software that communicates between the pool vehicle system and staff’s mobile phones is that each employee becomes responsible for managing their own transport reservations and allows the software to manage the rest!
A key benefit of vehicle pool systems is that they allow an organisation’s staff to focus their efforts and attention on the important tasks they need to complete. Companies gain the edge over competitors through minimising wasted staff time, making manual (paper based) vehicle reservations at reservations desks, and all the hassle and administration that goes with it (not to mention the paper work!).
Smartrak’s software systems have become so advanced that they now automatically maintain all the data on vehicles. This includes when they have been reserved for, when they are returned and when they are booked in for maintenance!
Smartrak is committed to providing the best possible customer service for all our customers. To ensure this commitment becomes a reality, our comprehensive self-help documentation is available 24/7, and our support team respond quickly to new enquiries to ensure that your business or transportation is not deterred by an unresponsive pool vehicle.
Smartrak’s Fleet Servicing solution provides highly accurate real-time data, automated alerts and customer service schedules to help stay proactive in the maintenance of your fleet. Not only does this save the time and effort of manually checking, but it reduces the costs and risks of a long-term breakdown!
Smartrak's PoolCar Pool Booking solution takes the headache out of having to continually restructure the optimal size of your company’s vehicle pool. This adaptability put an end to paying for excess or struggling with too little across your fleet.
Smartrak’s products are all enhanced by real-time pre start check-ups and servicing features that allow pool vehicle users to identify if there are any problems with the vehicle before or during the trip, keeping your fleet admin staff up to date on your fleet’s condition!
It is important to have a clear understanding of where your fleet management budget dollars are being spent. Like a personal weekly budget, having a strong grasp on where costs can be cut can strengthen your financial position for the long term.
Similar to most of the important budgets in our social or professional lives, fleet management budgets are multidimensional financial plans that must cover several important facets of fleet management.
Accurately calculate how much is being spent on the labour going into repairs. This includes the costs of both technicians and overhead staff.
Keep up to date with market prices and know how much your organisation is spending on maintenance. This will increase your ability to negotiate better prices and enhance your buying power.
Track and manage your fleet’s peak utilisation and minimum utilisation requirements to ensure your fleet matches it’s ideal size and type.
Which of your assets are the most/least fuel efficient?
Be sure to include all appropriate monthly costs to allow for accurate tracking.
Are there opportunities to perform more outside work in-house (to reduce costs and delays) or to send work out (maintenance providers) so you can focus on the tasks you need to perform?
Consider leasing out fleet vehicles that are under-utilised or note being used (a common practise for large fleet organisations).
Remember to consider fees that aren’t just shop-related
On top of all the previously listed costs associated with fleet management, you may also need to add mark ups to recover these expenses.
Accurately measuring the costs of asset depreciation must be considered when calculating revenue.
It can be an onerous job, managing an organisation’s fleet. The work never seems to end; with a vast array of responsibilities that include tracking many varied vehicles, ensuring vehicles are always operating effectively, and carefully controlling the access staff have to the fleet. Fortunately for Fleet Managers, technological advancements in recent years have resulted in the creation of successful key management systems that can address many of the difficulties associated with being a fleet manager in an organised and audit-able way.
A primary benefit of having an effective key management system in place is that it provides absolute clarity and assurance over vehicle usage. Key management systems have become capable of doing more than just carefully monitoring which vehicles are currently being used or are available. Key management systems are now being widely used by organisations to protect their fleet from being exploited by staff. Managers are now able to quickly access records to investigate when the key to a vehicle was removed, by whom, and when they were returned. This information is valuable if a vehicle is returned damaged, defaced, or with a mileage higher than expected.
As a Fleet Manager, it can be extremely stressful trying to manage company assets that are continually changing location. Having a centralised system in place to carefully monitor this in a simplistic and organised way gives a lot of control back to the fleet management team. The ability to accurately track every key in your fleet with an accessible and up to date system provides fleet management with consistent and reliable knowledge of which vehicles are in use, and where they have been returned to.
Having a system in place to accurately track every key of your fleet minimises the risk of suffering the financial strain of misplaced vehicle keys. Replacing vehicle keys can be very expensive, particularly for modern vehicles which are paired with modern electronic key fobs. On top of the financial costs, losing a vehicle key raises several security concerns before the re-keying process is completed. Having your fleet’s keys controlled and stored in a key management system allows fleet management teams to quickly track any lost keys, and drastically decreases the risks of the issues listed above.
It is the responsibility of an organisations fleet management team to ensure the entire fleet is properly maintained, and in a state for optimal use. This can be very exhausting process to manually manage in fleets spread across various locations, constantly being taken out at different times by different people. Class-leading key management systems can manage this for you. Key management systems allow drivers to make notes of any issues they have with a vehicle in an organised and easily accessible system.
Key management systems give Fleet Managers the opportunity to effectively manage and monitor all of their fleet’s keys. Ranging from consistently knowing the location of company vehicles and keys, minimising the costs of replacing misplaced keys, protecting company assets from theft and exploitation, to properly ensuring your fleet has adequately maintained key tracking systems are invaluable for fleets and organisations of all sizes.
Smartrak is exhibiting at the Safety 360 Conference 2019 in New Zealand.
Hosted at the Vodafone Events Centre, Auckland, on the 26th and 27th of March, the event will be focusing on a range of health and safety topics including, leadership and culture, hazardous substances, occupational health, and health and wellbeing. We invite you to attend the conference and can find Smartrak at booth #42 to discuss our lone worker and fleet safety solutions.
More information on the event can be found here: https://www.conferenz.co.nz/events/2019-safety-360
Downstream New Zealand is a must-attend event that offers insights into current energy sector challenges and opportunities. The event brings together industry professionals and influencers. Downstream aims to set future direction for the industry as it is changing at a rapid rate.
Join Smartrak in attending the event. We will be presenting our current industry solutions and showcasing our all-in-one integrated enterprise platform. Smartrak will also be facilitating Industry roundtables which highlight the importance of support, safety and the welfare of our people working in high-risk environments.
More information on the event can be found here:
Melbourne, Australia, FEBRUARY 7, 2019 – Smartrak, a company focused on fleet asset management, logistics, and lone worker safety solutions, today announced they have acquired the assets of Lingo Systems Pty Ltd, the developer of a range of mobility solutions collectively known as PoolCar. The acquisition helps extend Smartrak’s offering in mobility, particularly pool vehicle management, electronic key cabinets and vehicle keyless entry. Smartrak is part of the Volaris Group of companies, which provide specialized, mission-critical solutions to vertical markets around the world.
Pool vehicle management has many challenges including vehicle availability, key security and access, cost recovery, driver vetting, policy compliance and journey management. The PoolCar solution suite helps to address these challenges by providing a comprehensive platform to manage drivers, vehicle reservations, keep track of vehicle assets, preventative maintenance, and management of keys. Most recently, PoolCar introduced a new, advanced, keyless entry solution to facilitate a seamless user experience to vehicle access and sharing, featuring RFID, Bluetooth and Smartphone access to vehicles.
Kurt Lingohr, Lingo’s founder and CEO, transitions to Smartrak in a new role solely focused on technology and continued development of the product roadmap for the PoolCar solution suite. “My passion is in innovation and the user experience,” said Lingohr. “Joining up with Smartrak enables us to accelerate our vision for the future of mobility solutions and work closely with customers to put that technology to work. There is no doubt in our minds that the future of the fleet management industry is at a cross-roads and joining forces with Smartrak gives us wings to meet current and future customer needs of a changing landscape.”
“PoolCar is a great addition to the Smartrak offering,” said Troy O’Connor, CEO, Smartrak. “We’re excited to be able to add this complementary platform to our growing portfolio of solutions. Having Kurt on board to help ensure PoolCar’s continued development, means we can continue to innovate in this area and bring additional solutions to market.”
The PoolCar mobility solution counts more than 180 customers among its client base across 14 countries, concentrated mainly in Australia, New Zealand, and the US. Key markets include State Government, Councils, Not-for-Profit, Universities, and Healthcare. Notable customers include Queensland State Government (QFleet), West Australian State Government, Griffith University, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Monash Health, Western Sydney University, Northern Sydney Local Health, St. Vincent’s Health, Central Land Council, Edith Cowan University, Aurecon Group, CustomFleet New Zealand (Auckland Council), Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Converga, and others.
Smartrak creates technology that enables the public sector, utilities, and emergency services to manage and protect their most valued assets (people, vehicles, and assets). Smartrak provides visible and actionable, location-based insights on these assets, so that customers can deliver on their promises to the communities they serve; safely, productively, and cost-efficiently.
With offices in Mornington (VIC, AU) and Boston (MA, USA), PoolCar offers a suite of mobility solutions that address the challenges of pool vehicle management. PoolCar’s portfolio features innovative products including KeyMaster® electronic key cabinets, Rolln, an advanced keyless vehicle access solution, and the award winning PoolCar SaaS pool vehicle management software.
In a previous article – How satellites help when there is no cellular coverage – we discussed the benefits and restrictions of using a satellite modem and weighed them against the requirements of the role, the risks being managed and mitigated, and other aspects of aligning business process and procedure to compensate. This article walks through the concept of self-managing the risks in more detail, based on the end user’s own knowledge and understanding of their territory.
Over time, as well as looking at the information available from communications partners, staff can identify geographic areas where cellular reception is going to be problematic. Using the Smartrak platform, you can then set up geofences. Geofences allow a variety of locations to be mapped and have a range of attributes – speed limits in a depot, hazardous roads, areas of risk, etc.
By simply defining the areas with poor cellular reception that your staff travel through, you can create a system for your team, manager, OH&S, etc, where staff are, or their last known location. If they need to be contacted and can’t be reached, you can run a report that shows the last known position, or that, that position was entering a geofence that was designated as ‘entering a black spot’. If they are overdue, the right people can be alerted to the fact that they are in a specific area and direct assistance accordingly. This is not as effective as having an emergency device that is satellite enabled, but it allows a better outcome than doing nothing and hoping for the best.
It’s a simple process: the geofence records entry time into the zone then the exit time, effectively keeping staff movements visualised in the system. For example, if they entered the zone at 7:45 AM and emerged at 8:10 AM, their event data (change of direction, speed, etc) is captured and cached in the AVL and will be uploaded on reconnection with the cellular network. If a staff member missed an appointment or their manager was expecting a call from them as per protocols for lone drivers, you can see that they would normally exit 20–25 minutes after the 7:45 AM entry. If they have been over an hour, then they may have broken down or had an accident. At this point, assistance via other staff or emergency services can be considered or instigated.
In the previous article, we discussed the in-vehicle solution as well as the portable versions. My preference is for the portable unit as it is a separate secondary device that can be used in emergencies and also if I am away from the vehicle. It is important to involve all stakeholders to ensure the right combination of hardware is defined and aligned to your processes and procedures.
Over time, this use of the platform enables users to build and maintain effective and detailed information layers for their territories. It also allows the data to be used in evaluation and reporting (services such as route optimisation, vehicle off-road and many others via Business Intelligence tools), all adding value to the ecosystem that is a client’s business. Outcomes for our clients can be in determining changes in process, procedures and practices. It can drive changes to solutions, such as defining internal costs for carrying out services, which can be analysed to ensure on-charges to their customers for these services are covering costs and not costing your business and leading to unsustainable practices.
Implementing GPS fleet tracking in your fleet and introducing appropriate policies and procedures has been shown to improve driver behaviour. This is reflected in the reduction in speeding, harsh cornering, and braking, and acceleration across fleets.
Influencing driver behaviour using a ‘stick’ approach only works if there are consequences for drivers. Without appropriate repercussions, some drivers simply won’t care and will continue to drive the way they always have. This approach also carries privacy concerns that can limit its effectiveness as a behaviour modifier.
An example of this was a customer (who we’ll call XYZ to protect their privacy) who published driver scores in the lunchroom and created a competitive environment among some of the drivers, dramatically improving their fleet’s overall driver behaviour. However, there were still some drivers who remained unmotivated to change.
The system evolved to publish only the scores of the teams. The result was that team members encouraged the worst offenders in their team to improve their behaviour to boost the overall team score.
Using a scoring system where every driver started each day with 100 points and had 1 point deducted for each speeding or harsh driving event, XYZ Company found that the overall average scores developed as follows:
The team approach has the advantage of being self-policing, which saves on administration and awkward conversations during one-on-ones with offending drivers. It can also be used to address some privacy concerns by driver scores only being visible to their team. Using this system, individual speeding events do not need to be visible.
This approach is most effective in the context of a health and safety culture rather than as a stand-alone initiative. This gives drivers a greater incentive to improve their behaviour and helps align driver values with business culture.
If you want to know more about driver-based reporting for your fleet, contact a Smartrak expert.
One thing remains constant when developing software - the uncertainty of whether that software is going to solve the real problems of that use. You need feedback from the intended users.
Smartrak uses techniques from Design Led Thinking to ensure our products solve real problems. An important part of the process is often testing and getting feedback on a prototype.
Prototyping in software development can have different meanings. Generally, we mean creating something tangible, designed to demonstrate how we would solve a specific problem. These prototypes take different forms:
Once a prototype has been created, it can be tested by users, gathering feedback and iterating the design until a final product is achieved. Through this process, unsuccessful ideas can be quickly and efficiently cut.
Balloons Over Waikato is an annual event held in Hamilton, New Zealand, attracting hot air balloonists from all over the world. Smartrak was approached for a solution to track the balloons, enabling the public to see where they were flying.
The initial version was a simple map with circles to represent the positions of the balloons. This version took two days to create. The response from the public was great and the next year a prototype was built to deliver a more feature-rich product. Check it out at https://balloons.smartrak.co.nz/.
One of the first prototyped features integrated into Smartrak's map was map tags (https://smartrak.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/SCP/pages/5046314/Creating+a+Map+Tag). The map tags of today are quite different to the ones we first imagined. Clients told us that they wanted to be able to save specific map locations to navigate to them at a future time.
The first prototype had the ability to bookmark map views. Bookmarks allowed clients to right-click on the map and save that location. Users could then choose these saved locations from a list and automatically be directed there.
When this first prototype was demonstrated, we discovered that what was really wanted was the ability to save a location along with additional information. This location would then be also visible on the map for other users within their organisation to see. With these further learnings, we were able to revise and design the map tag functionality we use today.
If you have a solution that you’d like to see integrated or improved, reach out to a Smartrak expert to explore how our Professional Services team may be able to help deliver your vision.
Let’s start with a stereotype. I bet that when you think about lines people (you know, the people fixing the powerlines) you picture burly men with a no-nonsense attitude.
This was what I thought before I spent a few days with some Utility companies. As I learned, the stereotype reflected my bias rather than reality.
To get to know people and figure out what matters to them most and how we could make their lives better, I needed to put my bias aside. I needed to listen to them, really listen. I needed to observe them and try to see the world through their eyes. I needed to put ‘me’ aside.
So, I did just that and was invited into a world I didn’t know existed.
One of the main things missing from the stereotype is an understanding of their frame of reference. Trying to understand people without knowing their context is like learning to drive by reading a book.
What I learned is that these people are extremely hard-working, have a wealth of knowledge, and experience, and have immense respect for each other, and human life. Think about it; these people are working on power lines that are sometimes ‘live’, which means they are putting their own lives on the line.
They form a tight team, trusting each other with their lives. Bluntly put, one person’s mistake can be the other’s death. This trust is innate to the way that they work and operate. You can count on them. They are all in it together. There are not many roles around that have this innate and hard-earned implicit trust. It reminds me of war veterans. This picture reflects a lot about that innate trust and camaraderie.
These people are as much first responders as police and firefighters. They are the ones that bring power back after an outage so that everyone else can do their thing.
Having first-hand experience and understanding of our customers and their context, really allows us to better engage with end-users and their employers. We can see the world through their eyes, without judgement, taking it for what it is.
Knowing what we know now about Utilities, understanding the people out in the field as much as the people back in the office, helps us develop better products. These products are aligned with their needs, rather than our assumptions.
During the process of development, a continuous feedback loop is crucial. Stakeholders are updated on our progress and we also talk to the lines-people every couple of weeks. They are the end-users and if they are not happy, our software will never succeed.
Smartrak uses human-led design as a way to uncover needs, to gain insights, and to develop software that is real.