If your fleet is in a position to make the transition to Electric Vehicles (EVs), your pathway to reduced emissions is already looking well defined. But what if that’s not currently possible; what steps can you take to start reducing your fleet's greenhouse gas emissions?

There are proven ways to reduce your fleet’s greenhouse gas emissions that will generally deliver the bonus of saving you money too. Some of these will seem obvious, but it’s when they are put together in your Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) that they become a pathway to a greener fleet.

There are nine action points in our suggested Emissions Reduction Plan. These have been chosen because our research indicates that they are being utilised by fleets in all sectors. They are also consistent with the successful strategies undertaken by many of our own customers.

Step 1:  Measure your current carbon footprint

Households can decide to make greener choices and expect to be congratulated for helping to save the planet. But businesses are held to a higher standard than good intentions alone. Your stakeholders will expect to see a return for the investment made, customers will expect to see proof of your commitment and employees will expect updates on the benefits produced through their enrolment in your ERP. With each of these audiences, there’s going to be a requirement to measure progress, and in order to do that you need to know where you are now.

Measuring your fleet’s carbon footprint will probably be new territory for you. Thoughts of expensive external consultants and the inevitable additions to your admin workload will be coming to mind. Fortunately, there is a way to measure and reduce your fleet's greenhouse gas emissions that’s similar to the way you measure every other aspect of your operations – through reports.

Smartrak’s Emissions Reporting solution removes the guess work and the hard work. This solution integrates with the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA), combining your fleet’s telematics data with the NZTA’s emissions profiles for various types of vehicles. The result is a downloadable report that meets international best practice: ISO 14064-1:2018 and the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard. Smartrak is currently investigating how this same functionality can be extended to our Australian customers.

The Emissions Report solution is exciting news. For probably the first time, you can quantify your emissions and identify where they are being produced. Now you can follow a pathway to a lower emissions fleet knowing there are verifiable links between operational decision making and sustainability outcomes.

Step 2: Avoid unnecessary journeys

During the pandemic many of us got used to meeting virtually, through platforms like Microsoft Teams. It was a necessity, and it wasn’t always as compelling as meeting face-to-face, but for a great many requirements it worked just fine. Encourage a continuation of that versatility in your people by making sure that reasons to drive to a meeting are interrogated. Achieving this can be as simple as sending out a memo, explaining the role virtual meetings can play in meeting your sustainability goals. This could be the conscience trigger that makes someone stop and reconsider that journey. If you have a vehicle booking solution, make sure that a virtual meeting is always a prompt on the booking form. It will also pay to require cost centres for each journey, so department and team leaders look at each journey as having a cost consequence.

Step 3: Switch to shared transport

There are three factors to this:

  1. Adopt a pooled fleet if you don’t already have one.
  2. Encourage ride sharing, where possible.
  3. Utilise a third-party such as Uber for peak demand periods.

Adopting a pooled fleet

Efficiencies are gained pretty much as soon as you bring all vehicles into a pool. A vehicle that was previously allocated to a single driver can now satisfy numerous journey requirements, with the result that underutilised vehicles can be retired. Fewer vehicles mean reduced exhaust fumes, but more importantly, it means money is being saved. With that reduced expenditure you are better placed to transition some of your petrol and diesel vehicles to greener alternatives.

Encourage ridesharing

If you run a pooled fleet booking solution it should have the functionality to share information when employees are travelling to the same destination. The solution’s reporting should also facilitate employee education on the topic, by providing data on how well car sharing is being adopted by employees and highlighting where it isn’t being supported.

Utilise a third-party vehicle-sharing provider for peak demand periods

It’s tempting to hold onto vehicles ‘just in case’. Resist that urge. ‘Peak demand’ signifies a period where normal operational requirements are being exceeded, it doesn’t make sense to hold onto a car simply to meet that. Any car that’s adding to your vehicle count is costing money and contributing to your fleet’s carbon footprint, if it’s role can be cost-effectively assumed by a third-party like Uber, do it. 

Step 4: Plan tasks and routes carefully

Use the information collected by your telematics solution to dive deeply into the productivity profile of your vehicles and work teams. The information in your fleet management solution will highlight where time is being wasted because schedules are inefficient, or work teams not managed closely enough.

Trip reporting will pinpoint hardworking vehicles and those that are underutilised, which will offer opportunities to either retire vehicles or allocate tasks more evenly. A team that’s pushed to fulfil a heavy quoter of jobs will drive its vehicle harder, increasing fuel use and the production of emissions. This team is also more likely to be stuck in rush-hour at the end of the day, losing productive time to traffic jams.

Start using geofences to accurately identify how much time teams are on site, and whether their time is being productively used. Build actual on-site requirements into schedules by using the data produced by geofences.

Remember, wasted time is almost always a generator of higher emissions.

Step 5: Select fuel efficient vehicles

If you are serious about reducing your fleet's greenhouse gas emissions, you are going to have to address the issue of vehicle favourites. How many Utes does your organisation really need, or has a precedent been set for a section of the workforce that it’s hard to walk back from? The trays in many Utes are pristine because they rarely carry the loads they were designed for. Conduct an honest review of vehicle type and ask whether a more fuel-efficient vehicle could do the job of that large saloon or 4WD.

Your telematics solution should be able to help you here, by comparing fuel usage across the fleet so you can target those vehicles that are a luxury in a fleet that’s pursuing a low emissions footprint.

Step 6: Pay attention to tyres

The right tyre pressure will help the kilometres to roll away and reduce the fuel you burn doing it. Just make sure you are actually checking the pressure. Simply giving each tyre a blast of air for good measure can seriously impact on tyre performance and road holding.

Of course, tyres are simply an introduction to the benefits derived from regular vehicle maintenance. Keeping your petrol and diesel vehicles well maintained and tuned will impact on petrol consumption and help to reduce the tailpipe effects of burning fossil fuels.

If you have a large fleet, with various time and milage milestones to keep track of in your service calendar, think about automating the process with a fleet management tool. It will ensure your fleet is running as cleanly as possible.

Step 7: Encourage a light foot

Virtually every fleet with a telematics solution deployed will also have the capability of checking whether drivers are speeding. If your fleet isn’t using this function, think seriously about the safety and fuel reduction benefits of doing so. Aside from helping to save the planet, you could end up saving lives too.

You should also target any unnecessary fuel use that’s the result of excessive idling. Your telematics will be able to measure this and report on it right down to individual drivers.

With both of these fuel-use reduction methods, it pays to bring your drivers onboard with what you want to achieve. Rolling in a greener fleet alongside safety and fuel savings presents a well-considered vision of fleet operations and culture that few could argue with.

Step 8: Make sure PHEV drivers plug in

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) are a popular first step with drivers who aren’t convinced they can go the whole way with dedicated EVs. This is a greener option than sticking with purely petrol or diesel vehicles, but there is a tendency with some drivers to forget plugging in their PHEV. Having fossil fuels to fall back on when the battery is low can make drivers less diligent in plugging in.

As a rule-of-thumb, ensure that a PHEV is plugged in every night if you want it to operate as intended.

Step 9: Go electric

This blog is about what you can do to reduce your fleet's greenhouse gas emissions if adopting EVs isn’t right for your fleet, yet. Despite that, it pays to have EV adoption as a goal and to be making real progress towards it. There are numerous case studies available that show adopting EVs into a fleet isn’t the challenge many businesses assume it to be. This is because assumptions about the range capabilities required for fleet operations were exaggerated. One of Smartrak’s customers, Meridian Energy, used their telematics solution to gain accurate data on journey distances. They discovered their vehicles were travelling much shorter distances than expected. Read about their journey to a greener fleet here.

Range isn’t the only aspect that you will need to consider, there’s the issue of charging during the day if you want vehicles ‘topped up’ between journeys. Installing charges at work may not be as straightforward as you imagine. And if your drivers are taking vehicles home at the end of the day, what policy are you going to have in place regarding compensating the driver for using their household electricity to charge a company vehicle?

Reviewing the data provided by your telematics solution (and your Emissions Report) will identify those vehicles that are prime targets for an EV replacement. If you have leased vehicles in your fleet, you will also want to factor in EV transitions to coincide with vehicle turnovers.

There’s a helpful e-Book that provides information and welcome insight into these topics and more.

Moving to a greener fleet is unavoidable

More sustainable operations are going to be a fact of life for every fleet. This reality means that preparation for that transition and positioning your fleet to achieve that change with minimal disruption are business priorities. The time to start that planning is now.

For access to resources that will help you to build a business case to reduce your fleet's greenhouse gas emissions, contact Smartrak’s Sustainability Champion by filling out the form below.

In the fifth episode of Smartrak Conversations, Nick is joined by David Norton, Smartrak's Product Manager for Mobility. We discuss PoolCar's new Passenger Management module, and how it can help maximise transportation claims for NDIS providers.

In this episode of Smartrak Conversations, we cover discuss:

There are a range of factors you will need to consider when evaluating whether a pool vehicle booking solution is right for your fleet. The list of questions below will help you to define your requirements. This is an essential first step in outlining your expectations and the benefits you want to gain from any pool vehicle booking solution.

1. Do you have shared vehicles in your fleet?

Many companies look to shared vehicles to provide mobility to employees who need transport for off-site tasks. This is an excellent way to ensure the utilisation of available vehicles is maximised, but it can come with additional administration hassles. These include the challenge of meeting the expectations of multiple users and ensuring adequate control over who is using each vehicle.

By using an online vehicle booking solution, you can minimise the admin requirement that comes with managing both the vehicles and the booking process, while maintaining control over vehicle use.

2. Are some of the vehicles in your fleet assigned to particular drivers?

Getting drivers to relinquish control of vehicles that they view as an employment perk can be a challenge. Smartrak’s solution can help with this by building into the system any expectations around an assigned vehicle. For instance, if a vehicle is taken home at the end of the working day, any bookings that may fall into this end-of-day period cannot be made. And if the person who the vehicle is assigned to needs to use it during the day, they simply make a booking like all other users.

With the right pool vehicle booking solution, you will be able to satisfy the expectations of an assigned driver while ensuring vehicles that would otherwise sit idle are available to be used by all staff.

3. How is the booking system for your fleet vehicles managed?

Organisations often rely on various ad-hoc processes to manage shared vehicle bookings. Vehicles might be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, or there may be a paper booking form. Alternatively, your organisation could be using a shared booking spreadsheet to manage bookings.

Each of these should be considered inadequate for a fleet that needs to operate effectively. All of them result in problems that can be summarised under three categories: booker frustration, wasted time, or poor utilisation of resources.

Booker frustration

This happens when the system isn’t followed, or it lacks the agility to respond to operational requirements.

An online booking solution ensures processes are followed in order to make a booking. Because all booking requests are made through an integrated platform, the solution has the information to respond to and anticipate booking chokepoints. Identifying booking conflicts, double bookings, or providing notifications when vehicles are running late are examples of how the solution can provide the information that helps to avoid frustrations.

Wasted time

The people responsible for managing vehicles and those wanting to book them will both experience time that’s wasted due to a solution that requires hands-on management or lets users down when they need a vehicle.

A pool vehicle booking solution removes the admin requirement from managers and empowers users to self-serve by showing them what vehicles are available. When a booker has the necessary information presented to them in an easy-to-use format, they can take control of the means to meet their requirements and reduce the need to burden managers with their requests.

Poor utilisation of resources

An inefficient system for managing shared vehicles inevitably leads to a situation where excess vehicle supply is seen as the answer to meeting demand. This is generally the response where there are increasing occasions of vehicle users complaining to managers that vehicles are not available.

Our experience across hundreds of fleets shows that the real problem lies in a lack of process in the way vehicles are booked. Implementing a system where vehicle users are responsible for making their own bookings ensures they are anticipating their requirements and planning for them. When this is done across all vehicle requirements, the fleet’s available resources are properly utilised. Most organisations discover the number of vehicles they have is adequate and that there are in fact surplus vehicles that can be retired from the fleet with zero impact on operational capability.

4. Are you under pressure to reduce costs?

The right shared fleet management solution can deliver cost savings without reducing operational capability. There are two prime areas to focus on, maximising utilisation and monitoring fuel use. Smartrak’s solution has tools to address both.

Maximised utilisation

Ensuring that vehicles spend as much time as possible in use will help drive cost savings by identifying whether you have too many vehicles in the fleet. When we talk with prospective customers about our solutions, having too many vehicles is hardly ever on their radar. Yet organisations using PoolCar frequently succeed in reducing the size of their fleets with no adverse impact on operations. This is due to a booking system that maximises every timeslot in a day and can prioritise certain vehicles to test the fleet’s capability to do more with less.

Monitoring fuel use

There are several ways to bring down fuel costs. Asking questions about trip requests to ensure journeys are necessary in the first place is a good start, as is accurately measuring fuel consumption versus milage for each vehicle. Linking the fuel card system you use to the booking solution will also close any gaps in fuel use visibility by highlighting abnormal fuel use and how much fuel is consumed outside of work hours.

5. Do multiple departments have access to fleet vehicles?

If your fleet is subject to the control of different departments, there is the possibility that some vehicles will be underutilised while demand is strong elsewhere. Combining all vehicles within a shared pool eliminates this situation. With PoolCar, Fleet Managers will still have the availability to create separate pools within the booking system. These can reflect the requirements of a particular department, alongside gaining visibility and accountability across all resources.

Attributing costs to different departments can also be a challenge of shared fleets. PoolCar can capture cost centre codes with each booking request, so you can keep track of vehicle use across departments and projects.

6. Is vehicle service and maintenance the responsibility of the Fleet Manger?

Making sure vehicles are compliant with road user regulations, are meeting their service schedules, and maintained to reduce the likelihood of breakdowns are often underestimated elements of a Fleet Manger’s responsibilities. Smartrak’s solution automates this process through scheduled reminders to ensure service dates are met and the fleet’s operational capability is maintained.

Additionally, the booking solution can provide reminders of pre-start checks (tyre pressures, coolant levels, lights etc.) that will further support operational capability and safety.

7. Does your fleet include specialist vehicles?

It’s an advantage to have all vehicles in the fleet represented within a single booking solution. This ensures the reporting functionality to keep up to date with maintenance, measure operational use, capture cost centre information and a range of other factors is available across all assets.

To enable this, Smartrak’s solution has the capability to segment a fleet. Fleet Managers can place specific types of vehicles in their own pools, with access restricted to authorised personnel or specific departments. 

8. Are there occasions when you deal with traffic or parking infringements?

When infringements or parking tickets land on your desk, confidently determining who is responsible can be a challenge. Especially when the infringement arrives on your desk weeks after the event. And if you can’t uncover who is responsible, the organisation ends up taking the blame. With Smartrak’s solution it’s easy to report on the day and time in question and know with complete confidence who was driving a particular vehicle at the time the infringement occurred.

9. Are vehicles taken home for private use?

There are a range of aspects to be considered when vehicles are used for purposes other than work. These can include keeping track of fuel use, FBT reporting and service scheduling. Including these vehicles in the booking solution provides access to reporting on all these elements. This provides a true measure of the cost to the company and the value to the individual of providing vehicles for private use.

Vehicle useage policy template

10. Do you have a Vehicle Use Policy?

A Vehicle Use Policy (VUP) sets out how employees can access and use company vehicles; it helps to formalise your organisation’s expectations around company vehicle use and eliminate any confusion. The VUP can also be a valuable aid in protecting your organisation’s image with the public, by setting standards that cover driving the vehicle safely and keeping it clean.

Putting your organisation’s expectations in writing (within a VUP) means they are more likely to be adhered to and a vehicle management solution can be an important support too. Reinforcing your organisation’s expectations through an automated call-out on bookings reminds drivers before every journey about their obligations under the VUP.

If your organisation doesn’t currently have a VUP you can download our template to get you started.

GPS tracking is an important tool for effective fleet management. While some GPS solutions require professional installation, others are far more user friendly. Smartrak’s OBD-II is a perfect example of a simple, plug-and-play solution that can easily expand the understanding of how your fleet is performing. But installation is only part of the story. Read on to learn when swapping an OBD-II between vehicles could be advantageous and how easy it is to do.

Expanding your fleet’s tracking footprint (filling in the gaps)

One scenario that could require a Fleet Manager to install or swap an OBD-II is when you’re expanding your fleet’s tracking footprint.

Organisations sometimes stagger the rollout of telematics devices. This might be for budgetary reasons, or because there are scheduling conflicts with certain vehicles. First, they’ll install GPS tracking in the vehicles with the highest priority. Once they have captured preliminary data, they then elect to roll out tracking in order to fill in the gaps.

The OBD-II is a fantastic way to quickly fill in those gaps. Fleet Managers can simply locate the OBD-II port that is found on most modern vehicles and plug the device in. Once installed, they simply need to let us know that the devices have been installed, and register them in Smartrak.


Another scenario where swapping GPS devices is important is when you’re de-fleeting. Many organisations lease their vehicles rather than purchase them outright. As a result, the fleet rotates through new vehicles as each one reaches a particular milage. When that happens, the Fleet Manager would be required to transition the GPS solution over to the new vehicle.

An organisation may also have gone through the process of using OBD-IIs to track vehicle utilisation. If the data demonstrated that the organisation has excess vehicles, they may choose to de-fleet some vehicles. When considering the cost of vehicle acquisition and maintenance, using a device such as an OBD-II to reduce fleet size could be a worthwhile investment. At this point, the OBD-II has served its purpose and can be retired.

In both these scenarios, the OBD-II provides the flexibility to shift tracking between vehicles as needed.

Staggered fleet tracking

The final scenario is where an organisation chooses to undertake a program of staggering the tracking of their fleet. This might occur when an organisation has a large fleet and wants to gain insights around utilisation but doesn’t want to invest in hundreds of telematics devices. So instead, they might choose to install OBD-II devices in a portion of their fleet, then rotate slowly across the entire fleet over a period of months. The plug-and-play nature of the OBD-II makes running staggered fleet tracking a snap.

While this is certainly a valid method, it’s worth pointing out that when undertaking staggered fleet tracking, you’ll never gain the whole picture. Because you’re constantly shifting which vehicles are being tracked, you lose any ability to maintain a baseline in your data. You might capture a trip that is actually an outlier that throws out your data completely. Alternatively, you could miss important trip data because tracking was removed before it occurred. In both cases, your data won’t be a 100% representation of fleet utilisation.


As you can see, there are multiple reasons Fleet Managers might need to install or swap OBD-II devices throughout their fleet. They can expand your current tracking footprint, make de-fleeting simple and pain-free, or provide a way to stagger the tracking of sections of your fleet. Talk to us today about how the OBD-II can help complement your current fleet tracking solution.

PoolCar is an incredible pool booking solution that has helped many organisations make significant reductions to the size of their fleet. But while booking vehicles is the solution’s core functionality, there’s more to PoolCar than might first meet the eye. We’ve encountered several organisations that have used PoolCar to manage unique aspects of day-to-day operations. We’ve compiled them into a handy list to give you some ideas on how to get the most out of PoolCar.

1. Use PoolCar for car park reservation

Sometimes organisations have limited car parking facilities. This certainly presents a fantastic opportunity for employees to explore alternative transportation, such as public transport, active transportation, and carpooling. However, sometimes circumstances mean you just have to drive to work. When that occurs, you’ll want to make sure you have somewhere to park your car.

When parking spaces are limited, there’s generally a rush to try and capitalise on availability. But if someone misses the memo, it can lead to car frustration and arguments over who has access to an available space.

To combat this, we’ve seen organisations add their car parking spaces to PoolCar (we even do it for our own office!). They do this by registering all available car parks in PoolCar and adding them into a separate car park pool. Employees can simply log onto PoolCar and book a space either for the whole day or for a period of time. This eliminates any confusion as to who has access. Managers can also track individual employee car park utilisation, to make sure that no one is abusing car parking privileges.

2. Use PoolCar to manage access to mission critical assets

Sometimes organisations have mission-critical assets that need to be tracked, such as keys to restricted areas or a shared piece of equipment such as a golf buggy or lawnmower. Rather than require a single employee to manage who should have the asset, you can manage bookings through PoolCar. If needed, the booking of assets can be restricted based on employee roles so that only authorised employees can request access.

You could even take asset management to the next level by pairing PoolCar with a KeyMaster cabinet. Keys or other small assets can be added to the KeyMaster and managed directly via PoolCar bookings. After making a booking for an asset, employees simply head to the KeyMaster and use their booking code to retrieve the asset. Late-return notifications will alert system administrators that the asset hasn’t been returned, and should something go missing, you know exactly who the last person was to check the item out.

3. Use Poolcar to track in-vehicle consumables

PoolCar has a powerful feature that helps Fleet Managers keep on top of servicing and maintenance schedules. Simply register the date or odometer reading for an asset’s scheduled service, and PoolCar will send administrators reminder notifications as the date approaches. But the feature can be used for more than just service reminders.

It should go without saying that every vehicle in your fleet should have a first aid kit and emergency extinguisher. These are essential in case something happens while staff are on the road. Like most consumables, they also have a limited shelf life. PoolCar’s reminder feature can be used to set a regular cadence to test equipment such as fire extinguishers and check whether first aid kits have reached their used-by date. This ensures your staff will never be caught out with out-of-date equipment in an emergency.

4. Use PoolCar for carpooling

Did you know that PoolCar has a feature to manage your booking’s passenger manifest? Employees can add additional passengers to a booking by simply entering their email addresses. This can encourage employees to seek out carpooling arrangements. It helps to minimise wasted resources and encourages the sharing of driving responsibilities on longer trips.

5. Use PoolCar for Covid-19 contact tracing

It is unfortunate, but Covid-19 has become a permanent part of our daily lives. With the rise of the far more infectious Omicron strain, it’s important that organisations accurately trace who has been using shared assets such as pool vehicles. In the event one of your employees tests positive for Covid-19, PoolCar provides a simple way to track who may have used the vehicle in the hours or days afterwards. By adding employees to the passenger manifest, it is an effective way to identify everyone who might have been exposed.

As you can see, PoolCar is an incredibly powerful pool booking solution. It also has a lot of unique tricks up its sleeve that provides flexible ways to manage the various assets in your organisation.

Driver-based reporting is an important and powerful tool to help Fleet Managers monitor how an organisation’s vehicles are being used. We understand that diving into reports and reams of data can be intimidating and overwhelming. Smartrak have put together this guide to help:

Have you got the right tools?

The first thing to understand about driver-based reporting is that it relies on two key pieces of information – GPS data and the ability to identify who was driving during an individual trip. GPS data is obtained through our telematics solution. It provides you the context of where your fleet vehicles are, have been, and how they’re being driven. It is this data that lays half of the foundation of driver-based reporting.

The other key piece of information you need is who was driving each fleet vehicle at a particular point in time. While you can keep paper records, or manage bookings in a spreadsheet, a more thorough way to track this is through our driver identification solution. This helps Fleet Managers pinpoint exactly who was behind the wheel and provides the other half of the foundation required for driver-based reporting.

Start with driver identification

Smartrak has developed a suite of products that, when combined, make up our Driver Identification solution. We realise that no two organisations are alike, and the same goes with fleets. Rather than provide a single method of identifying drivers, we have a whole suite of solutions that can be used in combination with one another. This includes our iButton RFID tags, the Identify app, PoolCar, and Assigned Drivers. This best-in-class solution ensures organisations can tailor an identification approach based upon the needs of their fleet.

The beauty of this system is that each type of identification operates in a specific hierarchy, where higher sources of identification overrule lower priority sources. This means that the system can account for use cases where employees borrow vehicles that might have an assigned driver or share driving responsibilities on long trips. By having a robust driver identification system, you capture exactly who was driving and ensure that you can take advantage of our driver-based reports.

Hierarchy of the different types of driver identification

Take advantage of Smartrak’s Dashboard

Before diving into driver-based reporting, your first stop should be the Smartrak Dashboard. The Dashboard provides a snapshot of how your fleet is being utilised. It also offers several data breakdowns to give you top-level insights on how your fleet is performing.

Because you’re already taking advantage of our Driver Identification solution, you should have access to the Driver Safety Score widget. This pulls data from several sources and is calculated using a complex formula to arrive at an actionable score. Your overall safety score is an aggregate of all your employees, with higher scores indicating a safer fleet.

The widget also highlights the highest risk drivers over the previous four-week period, which can provide a great starting point to dive into our driver-based reports.

Driver-based reporting breakdowns

We’ve got several reports that are specifically tailored for driver-based reporting:

By utilising these reports, you can start to uncover exactly who in your organisation is driving in a risky manner.

One of the biggest things to be mindful of when looking at report data is how meaningful a single data point is. Yes, it’s important to investigate why an employee was travelling 20+km/h over the speed limit. It’s also important to understand why harsh acceleration, breaking, and cornering events occurred. But while single events are often a red flag, they don’t tell the whole story. That’s why we recommend looking at driving trends.

What to be on the lookout for

By analysing longer time periods rather than individual events, you can build a better picture of employee’s driving behaviour. If you identify a repeating pattern or trend, then you’ve got much more solid evidence than just a single overspeed event. It gives you the ability to take proactive action.

By proactively actioning risky behaviour, you can help educate individuals before a serious accident, traffic infringement, or speeding fine. You can work with managers to take actionable steps and provide clear guidelines on what is expected when driving fleet vehicles. But most importantly, you can accurately track and measure an employee’s progress towards safer driving practices.

We realise Fleet Managers are under pressure to do more with less. Finding fleet utilisation improvements while reducing spending on vehicles and maintenance can be a hard juggling act. To that end, it’s imperative that you look for a fleet management system that adds operational value and automates essential tasks. It should also provide the ability to dive into data so you can make informed decisions about where to take your fleet.

We are starting to see governments setting targets for organisations to lower emissions and transition to EVs. So not only are Fleet Managers required to do more with less, but they also need to start planning the transition to greener fleets. That’s why a top fleet management solution is so important.

Asset utilisation

One of the biggest challenges Fleet Managers face is how to increase vehicle utilisation. Smartrak has seen fleets achieve this by using our solutions to reduce the number vehicles in their fleet, without any impact to organisational productivity. This is effectively saving the organisation money. But how do you know when it’s appropriate to cull fleet vehicles?

Without accurate data on vehicle usage, it’s almost impossible to make decisions about your fleet. That’s where a fleet management system really shines.

Vehicle utilisation is generally broken down into two separate components:

  1. Car Park Utilisation
    Measures the percentage of time a vehicle spends sitting unused in an organisation’s car park. If you've ever heard someone complain “there’s never a vehicle available when I need one”, this data provides an effective antidote. Fleet Managers can use booking data to validate these often-anecdotal claims. Consequently, a pool booking solution such as PoolCar is a simple and effective means for capturing car park utilisation
  2. Trip Utilisation
    Measures the percentage of time a vehicle was operating once it leaves the organisation’s car park. If a vehicle is taken for six hours, but only spends 15 minutes travelling to and from a destination, the vehicle is potentially underutilised. Knowing this can help Fleet Managers kick off conversations about alternative transportation options. Perhaps staff can use public transport, ride sharing, or walk to meetings. GPS tracking installed in vehicles can provide an accurate measurement for capturing trip utilisation.

A fleet management system that combines car park and trip utilisation gives Fleet Managers the tools to start making intelligent decisions about their fleets.

A top fleet management system can help with maintenance

Vehicle Maintenance

It’s no secret that vehicles need regular upkeep and maintenance. But managing the timing and scheduling servicing for a whole fleet of vehicles can be a real challenge. One compounded by the fact that servicing schedules are often based on distance travelled rather than time elapsed. A good fleet management system will automate that process by keeping track of the odometer of every vehicle in your fleet.

This is achievable through the use of GPS tracking. Installing GPS tracking into each fleet vehicle means the system can keep tabs on how far each vehicle has travelled. Smartrak’s fleet management system can set reminders for every vehicle, automatically alerting administrators when the next service is due.

These alerts can be set at regular intervals, making them perfect for tracking vehicle registration or Warrant of Fitness checks. Automating these tasks frees up the fleet management or administration team. It gives them the ability to focus on more important and productive tasks.

Driver Management

Drivers are central to the safe operation of your fleet. While most staff will obey all the road rules, there are bound to be individuals that aren’t great drivers. A top fleet management system provides a way to track and manage individual drivers and implement proactive education and training.

One way to achieve this is through the use of Dashboard Reporting. Dashboards are a great way to visualise the data being collected by both GPS tracking and pool booking solutions. A good dashboard offers valuable insights into how drivers are performing, and a snapshot of overall fleet performance. They also identify who was driving a vehicle at a particular time. This means adverse behaviours can be reported on a driver-by-driver basis.

This data enables Fleet Managers to proactively identify driving behaviours that sit outside of acceptable company parameters. This could be a trend of speeding, or instances of harsh breaking or cornering. These trends highlight a pattern of behaviour that can be acted upon before it escalates to an accident, infringement, or unnecessary wear-and-tear on fleet vehicles.

Pool Vehicle Management

Another way organisations look to reduce fleet costs is through the use of shared fleets. Gone are the days where each employee was given a vehicle, only for it to sit idle in the car park during the workday. Instead, organisations recognise that the same travel requirements can be met with a reduced pool of shared vehicles. But in order to effectively manage a shared fleet, a fleet management system must be streamlined and simple to use. 

A solution such as PoolCar provides organisations with the ability to automate most booking functionality. Every staff member can make bookings for vehicles they are authorised to drive, and data such as cost centres can be captured for reporting or cost recovery purposes. And because the solution is online, bookings are updated in real-time. Staff can make bookings either via their computer or smartphone, which eliminates instances of double booking.

A top fleet management system can help you manage pool vehicles
A top fleet management system can help you manage pool vehicles

Key Management

Another critical component of a top fleet management system is the ability to restrict access to vehicles. If staff can bypass booking a vehicle and still collect keys, it undermines the ability for fleet managers to accurately track fleet utilisation. An integrated key management system solves this problem by holding the keys in a secure cabinet, with access authorisations controlled online. Another option is to use a keyless solution requiring only an access card or code for entering a vehicle. Once again, this would be subject to online authorisations.

Key management is also helpful if keys go missing. It makes it a simple matter for Fleet Managers to check who was the last person to check them out. This adds a layer of accountability by making sure staff return the keys at the end of a booking. The automation of check-out and check-in via an integrated key management solution helps reduce the administration of keys within your fleet, saving both time and money.

A top fleet management system can help you manage fines and infringements

Manage Incidents and Infringements

Incidents and infringements are an unfortunate aspect of managing any fleet. You never want to have to deal with them, but when required, you want to be sure you can pinpoint which employee is responsible for a speeding fine or vehicle damage.

A top fleet management solution combines GPS tracking with driver identification methods to ensure that managers have the ability to interrogate data to understand who was responsible. By knowing who was driving at a particular time, you can cross reference it against any infringement or incident report.

Forward Thinking

The final thing to consider in a top fleet management system is choosing a partner that isn’t satisfied with the status quo.

At Smartrak, we’re constantly thinking about what’s coming around the corner. We acknowledge that the fleets of the future are going to be different, that’s why we’re thinking about how a fleet management system can meet the challenges of tomorrow. Our vision for Corporate Mobility, which takes cues from the sharing economy, is central to meeting these emerging challenges.

Our analysis shows that a top fleet management system can only get a traditional fleet so far along the journey to maximum utilisation.

Through Corporate Mobility and the lessons of the sharing economy we’re looking at how organisations can share vehicles with their employees; essentially hiring them out to either internal departments, or, for private use. This could allow vehicles to be productive even outside of working hours. The next step could be sharing vehicles between organisations to better manage demand during peak use periods.

Through innovations like these, Smartrak is ensuring that a top fleet management system will always be responsive to the operational and business demands of our customers.

Want to know more about how Smartrak could support your organisation? Contact us below.

Modern telematics solutions offer Fleet Managers a suite of reporting and diagnostic tools. Not only does GPS pinpoint where a vehicle was, it can also provide information on driver behaviour such as excessive speeding, harsh acceleration, braking, and cornering. This data can be important in addressing staff driving behaviours, especially when they cause unnecessary wear and tear on fleet vehicles.

Often, it's just a few individuals causing the majority of infringements, incidents, and exhibiting poor driving behaviour. Unfortunately, without the ability to confidentially identify these employees, any training is likely to be less effective. You’ll know you have a problem but won’t be able to pinpoint who is causing the issue. And unless you can directly link an employee to a particular cause of concern, they are unlikely to alter their behaviour.

Driver behaviour provides a means to close that information gap. Suddenly every trip is attributed to an individual user, and Fleet Managers can start addressing driving trends that lie beyond accepted parameters.

GPS tracking opens the door to a wealth of data about how fleet vehicles are driven. While it might be tempting to comb through the data for single instances of speeding, excessive acceleration, or braking, it is rarely practical. Where the data is more powerful is looking at trends.

While speeding is never a good idea, there are occasional instances where it may be considered acceptable. For example, perhaps a driver needs to overtake a tractor on a highway, or it's an instance of slightly drifting above the speed limit before correcting. Penalising drivers for single instances of speeding can have a detrimental impact on organisational culture and attitudes towards GPS tracking. At the end of the day, you want every employee to want to drive safely. A punitive approach is rarely the right solution.

However, if the GPS data identifies a regular pattern of behaviour over a period of weeks or months, it can indicate the need for proactive action. A trend is a much more powerful call to action than a single data point. It’s important to consider the human factor when looking at driver behaviour.

Dashboards make assessing individual performance easy

Having data on individual employee performance is irrelevant unless you can analyse it for key insights. We know Fleet Managers are incredibly time-poor; trawling through data points is a low priority. That’s where Smartrak’s Dashboard comes in.

Smartrak’s Dashboard provides a range of ready-to-digest insights on fleet performance. What’s more, it provides a breakdown on individual driving performance through our Driver Score. This draws upon various data sources and uses a custom-designed formula to score individual drivers.

At a glance, you can see exactly who in your organisation is doing well and who might need additional training and support. What’s more, once you’ve seen the overall snapshot, you can dive deeper into the data in order to truly understand the issues driving these scores. This helps guide your organisation towards a safer driving culture, with data being the driving enabler.

An opportunity for Healthy competition

Another way to use the data from our Driver Score metric is as a foundation for internal competitions. Friendly rivalries between departments can promote a positive safety culture, where peers encourage one another to do better. Breaking the Driver Score down either by an individual team or department has the potential to foster a sense of healthy competition.

By merging individual scores into a larger ‘team score’ you negate instances where individuals are singled out for their poor performance. Instead, the competition provides a positive environment that can encourage individuals to improve their driving behaviour, potentially further motivated by a bonus or reward.

As long as the focus is on celebrating success, rather than punishing individuals who aren’t currently performing at their best, a competition can help kickstart a positive, safer, driving culture within your organisation.

Combining GPS tracking with driver identification in Smartrak provides organisations with the ability to identify and address behaviours that lie outside accepted norms. By doing so, it provides an opportunity to kickstart a safer driving culture that can be championed by all staff. At the end of the day, a safer driving culture ensures staff avoid accidents, and can go home safely to their families.