Preparing your business for a telematics rollout

Implementing a telematics system in your business will bring considerable benefits. You can cut fuel consumption by over 10 percent, the cost of accidents by over 21 percent, and labour costs by up to 12 percent. However, telematics systems are the same as any other type of technology, in that you must plan the implementation carefully. Here are seven things you should do to prepare your business for a telematics rollout.

1.  Identify the Assets You Want to Track

This is the first and simplest step in the process. It includes identifying the vehicles, plant, machinery, and equipment you want to track with your telematics system. The more you include in the rollout, the greater the benefit to your business.

2. Discuss the Plans with Your Staff

It is common for staff to feel apprehensive when their employer implements telematics in the business. This apprehension is exacerbated if the business is not honest and transparent with its telematics implementation plan.

Therefore, it is important you are upfront with your team about the telematics rollout. Explain why you are implementing the system, making sure you stress it is not about micromanaging or trying to catch employees out. This is what employees will fear in addition to being concerned about their privacy.

Instead, explain the telematics system is about improving the business by making it more productive, efficient and safe. In addition, explain the steps the business plans to take to protect each employee's privacy.

You should also discuss the benefits for the employee. This can include less paperwork and a more accurate recording of hours worked. There are also safety benefits to the employee, particularly in relation to helping them improve their driving skills. Plus, increased efficiency and business success will lead to greater employee satisfaction.

3. Understand the Metrics You Want to Track and Measure

The telematics system you implement will be able to measure a wide range of metrics. You should decide which ones are the most important to your business. This will let you focus your efforts so you can make specific improvements rather than having an inefficient scattergun approach.

The metrics you can decide to track and measure can include:

  • Fuel consumption - to reduce the cost of fuel in your business.
  • Wear and tear - to ensure your vehicle and equipment maintenance schedule runs optimally. This can include reducing repair costs and maintaining high resale values for your assets.
  • Distance travelled - optimise the routes your drivers use to reduce time spent in traffic and better utilise your resources. This can cut both fuel and labour costs.
  • The size of your fleet - this includes monitoring vehicle availability and utilisation. In particular, do you have vehicles or equipment available when you need them, or are some assets underused?
  • Driver performance - to improve employee safety and reduce accident and fuel costs.

4. Create Baseline Metrics

Creating baseline metrics means getting an insight into how your fleet currently performs. You can then use this information to benchmark future performance as you identify areas for improvement. Baseline metrics also help you measure the return on investment from the telematics system.

How do you get baseline metrics, however, if you don't currently have a telematics system in place? You can use existing data you have available as well as data from pilots you may have run while testing the telematics system.

In most situations, however, the best way to get baseline data is to implement the telematics system and run it for about two weeks without taking any improvement measures.

5. Identify Internal Systems the Telematics System Can Be Integrated With

You are likely to have internal systems that your telematics can be integrated with. This will give you even greater insights into the operation of your business and how you can make improvements. In addition, integrating systems often automates many processes which deliver further efficiency savings.

The process of integrating telematics software with your internal systems is typically straightforward and is achieved via APIs. Examples include integrating with your financial software, fleet management system, routing and scheduling software, dispatching software, etc.

6. Identify Internal Systems That Are Redundant

The implementation of telematics in your business may make some systems you currently use redundant. After all, there is no point having two systems performing the same function. An example is a third-party fleet servicing management system - most telematics solutions can handle this.

You will make even greater savings by removing internal systems that are no longer needed.

7. Review Your Insurance Arrangements

Implementing fleet telematics can reduce the cost of insurance in your business. This is primarily because you can easily identify the location of a vehicle or piece of equipment if it is stolen. Therefore, you may decide you no longer need theft insurance, particularly for non-powered assets like generators or trailers. If you choose to remove theft insurance from these assets, you can negotiate a lower premium or move to a self-insurance arrangement.

With proper planning, you can ensure your telematics rollout not only runs smoothly but also generates maximum benefits for your business as early as possible.

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