Many companies are looking at telematics solutions for their fleets. This may be in the form of a simple question ("Do we need to track our vehicles?"), seeking quotes ("I see a need but what will it cost?) or even full-blown requests for proposals ("I have specific requirements and need a vendor to meet those requirements").
In all these situations, it is easy to gravitate to the easiest answer.
Some companies will select on price. They will focus on meeting their budget or choosing the lowest-cost solution, perhaps without analysing what they will get for their money. Others will tick through their list of requirements and choose the supplier with the closest match to their needs. All too often the value and vendor selection is based on what is available now, without consideration of the future.
Most telematics agreements have a 3-5 year contract. If you choose the wrong vendor, what you buy today might not have advanced by the end of the contract, even though technology has.
While price and features are important in any decision, some other considerations are discussed below to ensure that the supplier you choose today will be the best decision into the future.
It is important to have a supplier that is aligned with your focus areas. For example, if you are installing telematics to improve staff wellbeing, the provider may be more interested in compliance matters than actively focusing on enhancing their product in this area. Also, consider the size of your business: if you operate only locally, a large multinational may not be the right fit.
Another consideration is the company's innovation philosophy. Do they innovate for the masses - you will only get whatever enhancements are delivered to all their clients - or are they customer focussed, delivering a solution that matches your evolving needs?
A focus on constant improvement of the system is critical to the success of any telematics solution. This can come from incremental improvements but, more importantly, it comes from the company listening to and working with their clients to come up with solutions that will solve the customers' real problems (design-led thinking). An example of this is when the two companies work jointly to develop a solution that meets a known industry problem.
For a telematics company to innovate with their customers in mind, they need to embrace a partnership mentality throughout their organisation. An example of a partnership model includes things such as Customer Success Managers (rather than Account Managers) whose primary purpose is to help customers get the most success from their system.
The provider should also be garnering insights and information from customers and using this to drive how the system is being developed and share what is learnt with others.
As telematics is a technology with broad applications, it is important for a provider to be constantly showing 'thought leadership' with customers and the wider industry. A provider that is always challenging and thinking about the future will make smarter decisions about the future of their technology. Similarly, as they scan and understand the market they will be able to provide insights to their customers that will ultimately lead to the customer having a better experience of the solution and getting more out of it long term.
Telematics is not simply 'speeds, feeds and price'. There are a number of other factors that make a telematics company great. Consider those factors next time you are talking to your provider.