For more than a decade, fleets have benefited from the use of telematics. Improving routing, reducing idling, and monitoring driver behavior are among the most common uses of telematics among vocational fleets.
The gains have been impressive — efficiency increased, waste reduced, and the bottom line improved.
While these are the best-known benefits of using telematics, because of advances in the technology, they’re far from the only ones. In fact, there is a host of other not-so-obvious ways that telematics can play a role in your vocational fleet.
Among them are verifying payroll, identifying side jobs, providing proof of service, maintenance scheduling, customer service, and public perception/brand reputation.
Veracity with Verification
Since your drivers do the bulk of their work away from headquarters at the businesses or homes of customers, it can be difficult to verify that the work has actually been done.
This was an issue that faced construction company ABM Industries. The company, which has over 500 vehicles in its fleet, found that customers were disputing the number of invoiced hours they were receiving from the company, and had no way to prove to clients that its invoice was, indeed, correct.
To solve this problem, GPS Insight was able to integrate its data with the company’s FieldCentrix mobile app. Now the fleet was able to track all of the dispatch, work order, billing, and repair data via FieldCentrix with all of the mileage and fuel use data from GPS Insight that wasn’t available to FieldCentrix prior to the integration.
With this kind of integration, fleets are able to improve efficiency — eliminating both disputes by customers over billing and drivers over their hours.
Having a well-maintained fleet is crucial to keeping vehicles up and running and safe. Telematics gives fleets the insights they need on the health of their vehicles, helping to strengthen preventive maintenance (PM) schedules so maintenance is minor, routine, and relatively inexpensive. By monitoring the health of a work truck or van, fleet managers can also help keep their drivers safe.
In addition to needing a way to verify their drivers’ work was being done, ABM also needed a way to improve the way it was handling its vehicles’ maintenance and, as a consequence, safety. In particular, management needed insights about when important maintenance should be performed. With its GPS Insight solution, ABM fleet personnel are now notified when maintenance is due, which has minimized overall maintenance costs and general vehicle wear and tear.
Minimizing Side Jobs
Since many vocational vehicles are taken home at the end of the day, unauthorized use — either by the driver employee or a friend or relative — can be a common, expensive problem, resulting in excessive wear and tear, unnecessary fuel costs, and potentially costly liability.
For Phoenix-based Pool Agency curbing unauthorized use after hours was a challenge. The company knew it was occurring — in one notable incident, the fleet manager was sent a photograph of one of the company’s trucks doing work off hours — but had no way of holding drivers accountable for unauthorized use of their assigned vehicles.
With its GPS Insight solution in place, Pool Agency now has access to all of its vehicles’ real-time locations, which has made employees accountable and has stopped unauthorized usage of company vehicles in their tracks. Company managers are alerted the moment a vehicle is working outside of company hours or its geofence.
Being Good Corporate Citizens
In today’s interconnected world, it’s crucial to cultivate and maintain a good corporate image. How a vehicle looks and, more importantly, how it’s driven can be a direct reflection on public perception of your brand.
Foris Solutions, which specializes in the repair and replacement of garage doors, wanted to make sure it was presenting its best foot forward to the public. However, they had some drivers who had received speeding tickets and managers had received a few calls from citizens concerned about the way the company’s drivers were operating their vehicles.
To strengthen its public image and the overall safety of the fleet, the company implemented a GPS Insight solution targeting four risk areas: harsh acceleration and deceleration, speeding (over 80 mph), and speeding events in which vehicles traveled 10 mph or more above the posted speed limit. The result was improving both the fleet’s image with the public and, more importantly, making the fleet even safer.
But Foris did more — it gamified the measurement of safety by posting the names of those who have had an incident. Not having their name on the list is now a badge of honor for the drivers, who actively compete to see who can get the best score. The company has also created a driver policy — including metrics tracked through GPS Insight — that has to be signed and acknowledged by every driver as part of their employment.
Having drivers who act responsibly in their day-to-day roles as representatives of the company will go a long way in creating the kind of image that will win loyal customers and improve bottom-line profits.
Leveraging Existing Technology
In the above examples, the fleets applied existing telematics technology in new ways to solve a specific challenge.
As telematics technology continues to advance and understanding of its use matures, vocational fleets will find increasingly new ways to leverage existing telematics technology in new ways to solve any challenge. Flexibility is the common theme uniting all of these not-so-obvious applications of telematics, and shows that there are few, if any, limitations of the way fleets can or will be able to use telematics today or in the future.