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How telematics could benefit your business fleet

If your business owns and operates a fleet of vehicles, telematics could have a number of significant benefits. Join us as we explain how.

What is telematics?

Before we get into the benefits, let's explore the telematics meaning. Telematics refers to technology that can be installed in cars, vans and other vehicles. This is typically in the form of a combination of GPS and mobile phone trackers. 

A ‘black box’ (or telematics box) is installed within the vehicle, which then uses GPS tracking to obtain location data, among other things. This data is sent to special software via mobile technology and is plotted on a map. Fleet telematics uses this technology to monitor and map all of your vehicles and their activities in one dashboard.

Organisations with the largest fleets and the most complex fleet requirements tend to benefit most from the introduction of fleet management telematics. In these cases, businesses can save money, reduce workloads and minimise errors while increasing productivity and customer satisfaction levels.

However, even if you’re not running a large fleet, you could still enjoy some of the following benefits of fleet telematics:

1. Easily Locate Vehicles, Drivers and Packages

Your fleet of vehicles may be used by your employees to drive to meetings, to transport equipment and other items for work purposes, or to deliver goods and products to customers. In all cases, you have multiple vehicles out on the road, many of them taking different routes each time they’re out. 

With so many details to consider, it can be easy to lose track of vehicles, drivers and the items being transported, unless you carefully manage your fleet.

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Fleet telematics systems use GPS tracking so you can easily locate each vehicle in real-time, so you’re never in any doubt. This data can often be accessed 365/24-7 via mobile applications, which can even rank drivers in performance charts based on different driving criteria.

2. Minimise Your Fleet Operation Costs

When businesses install and use black box telematics systems, they are typically looking to reduce fleet operating costs. 

One of the biggest, ongoing expenses associated with managing a fleet is fuel. By using your telematics fleet management to monitor routes, track fuel consumption and optimise your fleet vehicle usage, it is possible to reduce fuel costs and even cut the total number of miles covered – all of which saves your business money. 

This can also go some way to reducing your business’ carbon footprint, giving your sustainability goals a handy boost too.

In addition, money can also be saved when it comes to expenses. Fleet telematics solutions remove the need for estimates on expenses forms, ensuring you only pay for the actual fuel your employee has used.

Taken all together, these cost reductions could help to cover your fleet telematics costs. In some cases, the reductions may even be enough to outsource fleet management tasks!

3. Improve and Monitor Driver Behaviour

No matter how skilled and experienced a driver is, they may not adopt optimal driving behaviour. 

Erratic acceleration and braking, last-minute cornering and other bad habits can lead to an increase in fuel consumption and increase the chances they will be involved in an accident.

A black box telematics device can be fitted to a vehicle’s on-board computer so it can report on everything from driver hours to acceleration and braking. This information can be used to identify any areas that need improvement and additional training.  

Camera systems can also be added to work in tandem with telematics. The raw telematics box data can be assessed against video footage to get a clearer understanding of an incident. For instance, heavy braking might suggest the driver was late to react to traffic, but the footage might show something unexpected moving in front of the vehicle (such as an object, someone running across a road or an animal).

To ensure that drivers and employees welcome the telematics system, it is important to point out that the data collected will not be used to reprimand drivers. You can, however, use the data to implement a reward system and training programmes, encouraging your employees to make improvements. You may even want to create a league table to showcase the best drivers and incentivise the others in your fleet.

4. Carry Out Optimal Maintenance

Being able to closely monitor your vehicles via fleet telematics means that you can track wear and tear on individual vehicles. As a result, you can schedule timely maintenance. This reduces the risk of unexpected breakdowns and ensures that your vehicles are always operating efficiently.

Better route management and driver monitoring will also reduce wear and tear on your vehicles, giving them more longevity and saving you money in emergency repairs. 

5. Get Early Theft Alerts

With fleet telematics, you can also pick up any unauthorised movement by your fleet, or unexpected movement out of hours. This could signal that a theft is taking place, giving you the chance to alert the police quickly. 

Read More: Is Your Business At Risk of Fuel Theft?

6. Benefit From An Incident’s Evidence

Sometimes the worst happens and your vehicle is involved in an incident. On occasion, it can be difficult to prove what happened. However, with a telematics box, you can provide your insurer and/or the police with detailed evidence about your driver and the vehicle. 

Some fleet telematics also come with dash cams, which you can provide to support your claim.

7. Boost Levels of Customer Satisfaction

There are many ways that fleet telematics can help improve customer service. By ensuring optimal routes and shrinking the time spent at your depot, for instance, you can minimise delivery times, so customers receive their items faster. Plus, because you can track the vehicle and monitor where on a delivery route it is, you can share this data with a parcel delivery system. Customers can log into the system, check the progress of their delivery and stay informed.

A well-informed customer is a happy one, and a happy customer is more likely to use your services again in the future. They will also be more likely to give your name and company details to friends and family looking for the products or services you provide.

8. Manage Driver Hours and Details

A fleet manager not only manages the vehicles and routes driven, but they also monitor driver details and driver hours. A fleet telematics system can help to ensure your drivers do not exceed legal limits and spend too long behind the wheel.

Your fleet manager can also monitor factors such as break times, route deviations and additional miles covered. 

While the clear majority of drivers are honest and complete routes efficiently and effectively, some may take extended or excessive breaks. Others may use the company vehicle, company fuel and company time, to complete personal tasks and journeys. Fleet telematics makes it possible to monitor and manage drivers as well as vehicles and deliveries.

9. Potentially Reduce Fleet Insurance Costs

Black box telematics have become increasingly common in private cars and for personal use. That’s because they have the potential to reduce high insurance costs, especially for new and young drivers, as well as those that have made claims in the past. That’s because driving behaviour and activity are closely monitored.

Some insurance companies offer benefits to businesses that have black box devices and telematics systems installed in their vehicles. Check with your existing insurer, or talk to One Broker, to see if having a fleet telematics policy could save you money on your Business Fleet Insurance.

For larger fleets, certain insurers will only offer access to their products if there is an approved telematics device installed and they are allowed to review the data to monitor driver performance. 

Safer driving also means fewer accidents, and fewer claims made against your Business Fleet Insurance policy. Every time you make a claim, you increase the risk associated with your Fleet Insurance. This increased risk means that you are likely to see higher insurance premiums, and vehicle insurance can be a major expenditure for businesses that have a large fleet of cars and vans. 

Keeping accidents down means reducing risk for insurers and this, in turn, leads to reduced insurance premiums for your organisation.

Talk to us about Fleet Telematics Insurance

Some organisations may be able to secure a risk bursary from their insurer to install telematics systems in as part of their Business Fleet Insurance policy.* Speak to Mark Ling on 01223 949002 to find out more today.

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