Fleet management guide

Fleet Management Guide

For operators of commercial fleets, going about managing those fleets in the right way is absolutely crucial. That’s because fleet management impacts a business’ profitability, staff, and customer base.

In this guide, we’ll cover off the key aspects of fleet management to help operators stay on top of the best practices used in industry. We’ll specifically touch on subjects including:

What is fleet management?

Fleet management involves the coordination and organisation of a business’ vehicle portfolio and drivers. This includes not only company-owned cars or vans, but also grey fleet vehicles which are owned by employees but used for work purposes.

Exactly what a fleet management model should look like differs from company to company, and can depend on the number of vehicles managed and the infrastructure and systems in place. However, there are some universal truths to effective fleet management that apply to all businesses at any given stage during their lifecycle.

Some of these key components include:

  • Monitoring operational cost.
  • Ensuring vehicle safety and compliance.
  • Vehicle maintenance and repair.
  • Employee management and training.
  • Managing operational efficiency and optimisation.

A good fleet manager should be able to keep a legal and safe operation running, engage and motivate workforce, and do so while making cost savings wherever possible.

The role of the fleet manager

The job of the fleet manager is to oversee both the wider strategic movements and the day-to-day operations of a business’ cars, vans, or trucks. Fleet managers have a wide range of responsibilities and so need to be versatile in their skillsets and able to dabble in everything from accountancy to strong communications and the ability to multitask.

Some of the key responsibilities of a fleet manager role include:

Controlling costs

Ensuring operating costs are kept as low as possible is a primary task of the fleet manager. This can include getting a good deal on initial purchases or rentals, as well as keeping ongoing costs down, which could be achieved through improving fuel efficiency or managing the use of services like fuel cards.

Overseeing vehicle maintenance

Keeping your fleet on the road is vital to the success of any business. This means ensuring cars and vans are regularly serviced and checked for any faults. The latest smart technology can alert you to any potential issues before they become a problem, allowing you to plan your schedule and reduce the risk of a breakdown.

Ensuring driver safety

As well as ensuring your fleet is mechanically sound, a good fleet manager should also be keeping an eye on driver behaviour. Tools like telematics systems can keep a full log of their actions, and show you if they were speeding, for instance – or if any harsh inputs have been made on the steering or brakes. This information can enable you step in with training or advice where necessary.

Driving a car with closeup of dashboard

Tracking vehicles

It’s essential that you know where your vehicles are at all times. GPS tracking tools give you a complete picture of your current situation and let you make changes. For instance, it can show you if drivers are taking inefficient routes between jobs and therefore help better plan your operations. What’s more, it can quickly alert you to any unauthorised vehicle use or track down a stolen car.

Ensuring compliance

It’s also up to the fleet management team to ensure their vehicles are road legal and that drivers are meeting their requirements. However, this doesn’t just include keeping MOTs and insurance valid. You should also be tracking any mileage claims for expenses and tax purposes and ensuring drivers aren’t breaching working time rules. This also covers ensuring your drivers are fully licensed for the vehicles they operate. And you’re keeping a record of any issues such as penalty points.

How to improve your fleet management

The most efficient and profitable fleets are likely to be those with the best managers at the helm who can provide structure and processes that are easy to follow, while also ensuring communication with drivers is clear.

Our tips on the key areas in which most fleets could look to upgrade include:

1. Accessing real-time information

The first thing any fleet manager needs in order to work effectively is full visibility of their cars, vans, and drivers. This means having access to real-time data that can show them, at a glance, the location of each vehicle and employee, their current status, and whether they are experiencing any issues.

The most effective way of achieving this is by implementing an effective telematics system. This system connects to a vehicle’s computer and uses a range of sensors to feed data back to a central computer detailing everything a vehicle’s location and speed to driver inputs. Real-time data is also a pre-requisite to many of the solutions we’re about to cover, so if you don’t have it, you could be working with one hand tied behind your back.

2. Implementing GPS tracking

A key part of any real-time information solution will be instant details of your fleet’s locations via GPS. This can be vital if you need to dispatch an employee to a certain destination, as you can see at a glance who is available and best-positioned to respond.

However, it can also be used to help record mileage and hours spent on the road, divert drivers away from areas of congestion and even provide customers with real-time updates on when they can expect your employees to arrive.

3. Improving route planning

GPS tools can also be used in combination with other tech solutions to improve your firms’ route planning. This isn’t just about finding the shortest way from A to B. It should also take into account factors such as expected fuel consumption along the route and the distance to the cheapest filling stations.

For example, if a vehicle is spending a lot of time stuck in traffic with the engine idling, this results in greater fuel consumption and higher costs. With good route planning tools, this can be avoided.

4. Monitoring driver behaviour

Being able to keep an eye on how your employees are driving is also essential. First and foremost, this improves safety. If fleet telematics data shows frequent speeding, or sensors detect harsh control inputs, you can step in to address this. You can even generate league tables that show your best and worst-performing drivers, highlighting who you need to speak to most urgently.

Dashboard view of person driving a car down motorway

This can also help reduce fuel consumption. By monitoring inputs such as acceleration and braking, you can educate employees to drive more smoothly as well as safely. Indeed, almost half of businesses (49 per cent) using telematics have seen a reduction in speeding incidences and fines, while 55 per cent experienced a drop in fuel usage.

5. Reducing your fuel costs

While better route planning and driver monitoring can help improve your fuel consumption, you should also make sure you’re not paying over the odds at the pump. To do this, it pays to have a suitable fuel card for your usage.

There are a wide range of products to choose from, so it’s important to get this right. It may be the case that the cheapest option isn’t very convenient for your firm. You also need to consider whether you’d benefit from cards with wider motorway networks, for example, and which brands have locations nearest your most common routes.

6. Predictively scheduling maintenance

Breakdowns can be a major headache for fleet managers. Beyond the direct costs associated with fixing vehicle problems, having vehicles off the road unexpectedly also hurts the firm’s productivity. You can avoid this by using the data taken from telematics systems to predictively schedule maintenance. These tools can highlight potential issues and allow you to step in before they turn into serious problems.

7. Automating your expenses

Admin work is often among the most time-consuming parts of a fleet manager’s job. Working out details such as mileage claims, expenses, fuel MPG and other details are essential but tedious activities. But with the right fleet management systems, this doesn’t have to be the case.

Closeup of people calculating expenses with receipts and pen and paper

Being able to calculate these figures automatically, based on data recorded by the telematics system, doesn’t just free up your time. It also ensures the data is accurate and can highlight any unusual events – such as vehicles doing significantly more miles than expected – for investigation.

8. Setting up security alerts

Spotting and cracking down on unauthorised vehicle usage is also essential. For example, you can set up alerts that let you know if a vehicle is being used outside normal office hours. You can also establish geofencing to warn you if a car from your portfolio travels beyond a certain area.

This isn’t only useful for identifying any employees using company assets for personal use, but it can also help you quickly track down any stolen vehicles – using GPS tracking to guide police precisely.

9. Tackling fuel fraud

Another major concern for many fleet managers is the risk of fuel fraud, such as employees filling personal vehicles using a company fuel card or making claims for miles they haven’t done. Telematics can help spot issues with expenses, while a good fuel card can also help by ensuring vehicle locations match fuel card usage, for example.

10. Managing your vehicle inventory

A good fleet management system can also help keep track of your vehicle inventory. This allows you to better plan ahead for replacements, get alerts when services or MOTs are due, and prepare your finances.

You can also see at a glance details such as the types of fuel used, which will be important to know when selecting a fuel card, and can factor into future buying decisions. For instance, if the majority of your fleet is petrol-powered, you may want to consider phasing out any remaining diesels to simplify your operations.

11. Procuring the right fleet vehicles

It’s crucial that your vehicle portfolio is properly equipped to meet the needs of your business, and there are a lot of considerations you could make around whether to bring new vehicles on board, or upgrade existing cars and vans. A good starting point is to analyse the fuel they’re currently using, and gain visibility over all car running costs.

Procuring the right commercial fleet vehicles

From there, you can factor in market movements such as the growth of electric vehicles when making judgements on how to go about upgrading your fleet over the coming months and years.

Fleet management software solutions

Many of the efficiencies fleet operators can look to make stem from using the latest and greatest technology in market to automate, track and calculate ways to improve performance.

To recap some of the key pieces of commercial fleet technology we’ve mentioned in this article, the essential software includes:

  • A thorough telematics system, such as our Tele-Gence service – which can help businesses take control of vehicle management.
  • A mileage tracker system, such as our MileageCount service.
  • Fleet software for automating vehicle checks. This can be done through our My Drive Safe mobile app service.
  • Software to cheapen maintenance costs. The team at Fuel Card Services can help fleet operators get access to pre-negotiated maintenance rates at thousands of garages across the UK.
  • Software to help drivers with their daily operations. For example, our My Drivers Club app can help drivers find their nearest fuel pumps with ease.

Having a good technology stack behind a fleet operation can also prove an attractive prospect for new drivers and partners, who may be accustomed to enjoying these benefits when offered by rival businesses.

Why is fleet management important?

In this article, we have covered what fleet management is, an overview of the fleet manager role, and helpful software solutions, but what is likely to be the impact of upgrading your fleet management processes today?

Some real-world benefits you could see within your fleet include:

  • Improved employee productivity.
  • A reduction in fuel costs – which could have a significant impact on your bottom line.
  • Saving time by controlling your fleet online and eliminating administrative tasks.
  • Reduced mileage claims.
  • Automated reporting dashboards.
  • Improved driver safety and security.

If you want to know more about how Fuel Card Services could help you and your business, you can get in contact with our fleet management experts today.

Man delivering package from delivery van

Last mile delivery strategies for fleets

One of the biggest trends to come out of coronavirus is an acceleration of a pre-existing trend that could have well been inevitable; the shift toward e-commerce. Thousands and thousands of businesses in the UK upgraded or introduced ecommerce platforms as brick-and-mortar stores became inaccessible during the pandemic.

With this shift, though, comes a whole new set of supply chain considerations for businesses. How do you put in place infrastructure that allows you to get your goods to consumers with competitive costs, timings, and customer satisfaction? That’s the challenge a lot of businesses are facing, and perhaps the most complex part of that supply chain problem is the last mile of delivery, which is exactly what we’re going to explore today.

What is first mile and last mile delivery?

Within any supply chain, whether regional or global, it’s typically the case that the first mile and the last mile of delivery is the most strategically challenging for commercial fleets. That’s why these parts of the freight journey are referred to with special terminology.

Last mile delivery, for example, is often the most complex part of a supply chain. In terms of cost alone, it typically amounts to around 40% of the total cost of delivery, and as you can imagine requires a bunch of technical considerations such as:

  • Route efficiency; how best to navigate the (typically) urban environment in which parcel recipients reside.
  • Environmental impact; are our methods of transport and delivery having a particularly negative impact in terms of pollutants? Are there greener methods through which journeys can be completed?
  • Customer-focused challenges; how can we give customers realistic delivery times and maintain a high quality of service?

This same set of considerations applies, to a lesser extent, to the first mile of deliveries – whereby goods must often be transported from a manufacturing plant to a distribution centre.

Last mile logistics

To understand the scale of the logistical challenges associated with final mile deliveries, here are some real-world practicalities that must be factored into supply chain management:

1. Maintaining a competitive cost per kilometre

Tracking the exact routes covered by your fleet and reporting on those journeys digitally is a challenge in of itself (one in fact, that we can help you with), but beyond this- how do you ensure that your drivers are pathing from destination to destination in an efficient way?

Particularly for smaller businesses, it’s essential that you have the right technology in place to GPS track routes for the sake of efficiency. This allows you to calculate optimal routes to enable timely deliveries without resulting in lorries of cars racking up too many miles.

Naturally, an ideal solution would factor in how many legs are associated with each trip, which is typically the more the merrier unless individual legs cover lots of kilometres. These challenges are made much more discoverable and digestible with the right tech in place.

Delivery van with open back doors showing cardboard boxes

2. Maximising vehicle capacity

Every fleet operator in the UK would love to be able to claim that each of their vehicles operates at 100% capacity, but this is virtually never the case. That’s because customers expect timely deliveries, which we’ll get onto, but the key element to consider here is cost.

If your vehicles are covering vast distances while at half capacity, you’re going to quickly find each delivery becoming less profitable. That’s especially an issue if you aren’t already taking steps to reduce the cost of fuel for your drivers.

3. Managing customer expectations

When you think of efficient last mile deliveries, relatively accurate delivery time windows and quick deliveries, made not long after products or services have been ordered, which companies come to mind?

For us, it’s Amazon deliveries and Uber services.

The sheer speed of Amazon deliveries, backed by a well thought-out, nationwide distribution network sets the bar very high for consumers when they consider what they should expect from a delivery service. For smaller businesses who will likely never be able to match these distribution capabilities, it’s important to focus on understanding which elements of last-mile delivery customers expect, and channelling efforts into improving in these areas.

As a starting point, a good place to focus may be on expected delivery windows. Gone are the days where simply allocating a day, or perhaps a 10-hour time window for delivery, is considered adequate by customers.

When services such as Uber can provide pinpoint accuracy with drivers’ arrival, or Tesco deliveries can allocate a two-hour window, customers come to recognise that as the norm. So, as a fleet operator or small business, you’ll need to ensure you’re taking reasonable steps to modernise and upgrade your last-mile delivery service to maximise customer satisfaction. If this is a real struggle for you, then it could at least be worth ensuring you’re realistic with your customer base.

Boosting your last mile delivery strategy

We hope that we’ve given you a good idea of the key areas within last-mile deliveries to look out for when trying to improve your operation. There’s also a huge contingency element to last mile deliveries that are worth investigating; what if your vehicles encounter bad weather while moving freight? What if certain routes become inaccessible?

One final piece of advice from us would be to look out for the innovations that are coming to last mile deliveries. For example, what if drones could prove to be a sustainable, automated, and effective way of delivering certain goods for local businesses? While this technology may feel like it’s not quite on our doorstep, keeping an eye on the latest industry news around this topic could be worth your time.

How could Fuel Card Services help?

At Fuel Card Services, we specialise in supporting drivers and fleets with the right technology needed to track last mile deliveries, maintain vehicles, and record mileage. Our range of fleet services is designed to give you access to:

  • Advanced telematics – a fully customisable tracking system tailored to your fleet’s requirements that can improve safety for your drivers.
  • MileageCount – an intelligent, automated system for accurately reporting mileage claims.
  • DriversClub – our fast and free fuel-finder app that helps your drivers quickly locate their nearest fuel pump.

If you’re serious about improving your last mile deliveries through upgrading your fleet technology, then contact our friendly experts to find out how we can support you. Or see how we can help you save money on fuel cards to improve every journey.

Unlock fuel savings using Tele-Gence Telematics

Knowing how to save fuel must be a priority for any fleet manager. This is typically the largest expense involved with running company vehicles, accounting for up to 60 per cent of operating budgets.

What’s more, fuel prices are on the rise. According to government figures, a litre of petrol cost an average of 115.39p at the start of 2021. Yet by the end of May, this had risen to 128.15p. Over the same period, the cost of diesel rose from 119.97p to 131.82p per litre.

However, there are a range of things businesses can do to make fuel savings. One of the best solutions is to secure the right fuel card, which can give you crucial discounts on petrol and diesel. But another is to use telematics.

This technology works well alongside tools like fuel cards, and our Tele-Gence solution can offer big savings. So how does this work and what benefits could it bring to your fleet?

What is telematics?

Telematics refers to a collection of technologies that work together to offer fleet managers much more data about the performance of their vehicles.

It’s sometimes conflated with vehicle tracking, but there’s much more to it than this. While GPS tracking tools are a central part of a good telematics solution, it also uses vehicle monitoring sensors, analytics tools, cameras and other real-time information to build a complete picture of your activities.

This has a wide range of benefits. For example, it can improve the safety of your fleet and provide detailed reporting that takes much of the hassle out of paperwork such as calculating expenses.

But telematics’ ability to reduce your fleet’s fuel consumption is one of the biggest advantages of this technology, and it can do this in a number of ways.

5 ways Tele-Gence helps your fuel usage

Fuel Card Services’ Tele-Gence is an advanced solution that offers a wide range of benefits to businesses of all sizes. But when it comes to telematics fuel saving strategies, there are several ways you can use this technology to your advantage.

1.  Better route planning

GPS navigation system on car dashboard showing roadworks

One of the easiest and most obvious ways to use less fuel is to do less driving. Driver tracking and route planning tools help you achieve this. If an individual is taking a less-efficient route to get from A to B, the technology can identify this and suggest a better alternative.

However, the most fuel-efficient route isn’t necessarily the shortest. If the most direct route by mileage takes you through a busy section with many traffic lights, or an area of high congestion that means a lot of stopping and starting, this will use more fuel than a longer, but smoother route.

A key feature of telematics is its ability to spot when a vehicle is idling. One reason for this may be if it’s stuck in traffic, or if a driver has left the engine running while making stops. Either way, this is highly damaging to fuel efficiency. For instance, if your vehicle has a three-litre engine, just ten minutes of idling could use almost a third of a litre of fuel.

Telematics can greatly reduce this idling time. Better route planning is one way to do this, but another is by helping adjust driver behaviour.

2.  Improve driver behaviour

Telematics lets you see exactly how your cars and vans are being driven, and in turn, this allows you to step in and offer advice to those who are getting from A to B in the least fuel-efficient way.

As well as idling, harsh acceleration, speeding  and heavy braking all result in more fuel being used, and telematics software can track all of these parameters in real-time. Tele-Gence even allows you to collate this vehicle telematics data in a ‘league table’ that shows your best and worst-performing drivers.

You can then use this insight to improve driver training and make sure it’s targeted where it’s most needed. The Energy Saving Trust, for example, noted that smart driving training can reduce drivers’ fuel consumption by around 15 per cent, leading to typical annual savings of between £200 and £250 per driver a year.

Continuous monitoring of driver behaviour lets you check if the advice is sinking in. What’s more, in addition to reducing your fuel speed, this is a great driver safety tool, and can help prolong the life of your vehicles.

3.  Find cheaper fuel

Selection of petrol and diesel fuel pumps

Using fuel cards to secure cheap petrol and diesel is essential for many firms, but this only works if drivers know where they can use these solutions.

Looking for the cheapest fuel can often be a careful balancing act. If you go too far out of your way to find a cheap filling station, you may end up using more fuel to get there and back than you’d save in reduced costs. However, telematics fleet savings can help with this by directing your drivers to the cheapest and most practical fuel sites.

4.  Keep your vehicles in top condition

Poorly-maintained vehicles tend to use more fuel than those in good condition, so having a clear plan for maintenance and being able to spot potential problems early is another way to reduce your spend. Again, telematics tools can help with this by connecting to vehicle diagnostics units to identify issues proactively, as well as provide alerts when scheduled maintenance is due.

This can help your fuel spend in a number of ways. From simple steps such as helping ensure your tyres are at the correct pressure to replacing filters and keeping your engine in good condition, solid maintenance offers many benefits.

5.  Prevent fraud

Finally, telematics can be hugely useful in cracking down on issues such as fuel fraud and unauthorised usage of company vehicles. For example, these tools can be used to alert fleet managers if a vehicle is being used outside of approved hours or is in a geographical area it shouldn’t be. This enables you to investigate further and provides undeniable evidence if there’s a dispute.

It can also work alongside fuel cards to track any fuel fraud. By comparing GPS data from the telematics with info from fuel cards, it can tell instantly if someone is using a company fuel card to fill another vehicle.

Fuel saving is just one of the many telematics benefits you can enjoy with the right technology. Contact us today to find out what else Tele-Gence solutions can do for you.

Bird's eye view of motor way with telematics data monitoring vehicles

Creating a business case for introducing telematics

Whilst we know that telematics can offer fleets a great deal of benefits, it is worthwhile for fleet managers to craft a business case that outlines the potential return in investment.

In some scenarios, the prospect of saving on fuel won’t be enough to sway a business to incorporate telematics into their fleet. However, a strong business case that details the other advantages of telematics could be the way to persuade a boardroom.

Would your business benefit from telematics?

Before you consider proposing the introduction of telematics to you fleet, you should evaluate whether it is in the best interest of the business.

The upfront cost of telematics is often the reason some workplaces reject the idea. However, it is important to consider the long term benefits. When used to efficiently, businesses have the potential to achieve a 100% return on investment in their first few months of using telematics.

Even if business owners are made aware of the potential fuel savings and increased productivity, they are still cautious to opt into the use of telematics.

They may be worried that drivers would view its installation as a breach of their privacy. Maintaining a good relationship with drivers is a key part of fleet management, so this concern is shared by many.

When used correctly, however, telematics do not pose a threat to the drivers’ privacy. The technology helps to improve communication amongst the fleet. This saves time and boosts efficiency.

When building a business case in favour of telematics, expect any resistance to come in the form of the above concerns. Knowing the full benefits of telematics can help to remove any doubts your business may have.

How can telematics improve fleet management?

Birds eye view of road showing telematics connecting the vehicles

Reduced fuel costs

The benefit that is likely to appeal to many businesses is that you can reduce fuel costs. The 2016 RAC Telematics Report states that users were reducing their fuel use by up to 55%. By following the most efficient routing provided by the telematics, drivers are reducing their overall miles.

Fleet managers can see when their vehicles are frequently idling and make adjustments so this is avoided in future.

If drivers are consistently wasting fuel by speeding and aggressively breaking, the fleet manager will be notified and can take action accordingly.

Reduced maintenance costs

Telematics can warn fleet managers when there are mechanical issues in their vehicles. Getting these issues fixed early on reduces the risk of breakdowns in the future.

This reduces not only the maintenance cost, but unexpected downtime as well. The less time your vehicles spend being repaired, the more time they can spend on the road.

Reduced administrative costs

With the extensive data received through telematics, fleet managers can reduce time spent on admin. Accurate mileage reports mean filing taxes and expense reports is a painless task. With more time to spend on other aspects of fleet management, the business is saving money.

Improved customer service

Your business case should acknowledge the customer service benefits of telematics. Customers are able to stay informed about the location of their deliveries, and be given estimated time of arrival.

Seeing the business run smoothly and meeting deadlines is likely to improve customers’ impression of your services, making them more likely to return.

Increased driver safety

A benefit of being able to keep track of a driver’s location is that, in case of an accident, emergency services can be sent directly to them.

Feedback about a driver’s dangerous habits can also help them to improve their driving. This will greatly reduce the risk of accidents in the future. Fleet managers can use the data to train drivers to amend specific, dangerous habits they have developed.

A business case should always highlight the financial benefits

Hands on iPad with telematics graphics connecting a fleet of lorries and a plane

Remember that your business will need to understand how telematics can save them money. Fleet managers need to give a strong business case that gives a clear outline as to how this technology will keep spending down, despite the initial costs.

If your business remains unconvinced, remind them that their competitors will adopt the use of telematics. Get there first, and you’ll be able to reap the rewards.

For more information about what telematics can do for your fleet, get in touch with the team at Tele-Gence.

Tele-Gence helps to reduce costs across your fleet, as well as offering improved safety and security. It also integrates seamlessly with your fuel card account, further reducing administration time and costs.

Birds eye view of road showing telematics connecting the vehicles

Telematics for fleets: Debunking common black box myths

There are many add-ons to vehicles today that are designed to improve life for drivers. From heated windscreens to reversing cameras, we enjoy a more luxurious life on the road than our grandparents could have dreamt of.

One development that is coming ever more to the fore in our always-on, internet-connected society is telematics. Not only does this provide benefits for the casual driver, but the phenomenon could also be a real boon when it comes to fleet management too.

However, many businesses have a number of negative preconceptions about telematics. Let’s take a look at some of them and whether they might be unfounded.

What is telematics?

First: what exactly do we mean by telematics? The term itself is a compound derived from the Greek ‘tele’ (distant) and the information processing word ‘informatics’.

It was first used in a French government report in 1978 discussing the mass computerisation of society. Telematics refers to the transmission of information over long distances, but it generally now relates to vehicle technology in particular.

A telematics system is simply a piece of tech that fits within a crash-resistant box inside a vehicle. From there, it can receive wireless information, communicate with a server and display data, whether that is to drivers themselves or fleet managers.

With the advent of better connectivity and factors such as 5G, telematics is really taking off and many businesses are using it to better manage their fleet-based workforce.

Indeed, according to the recent Insurance Telematics Market report from ResearchAndMarkets.com, it is expected that the insurance telematics market alone will grow by 18.5 per cent per year between 2021 and 2026.

Myths and misconceptions

Despite this, many people remain suspicious of telematics. Let’s take a look at some common myths and try to debunk them.

1.   It’s too much like Big Brother

Contrary to popular belief, telematics won’t tell tales to the police and it can’t record your conversations. Your smartphone is actually far more invasive than any black box. Fleet drivers may understandably feel concerned about monitoring, but managers should reassure them that they are protected by company policies concerning privacy whenever they’re at work.

With this in mind, meetings to showcase and demonstrate new fleet telematics systems may be a great way of preventing any ‘Big Brother’ concerns. Even better, competitions using telematics data for merit points are likely to help persuade staff that this type of tech could really be the future.

2.   It will cost too much

There will of course be an upfront cost when it comes to installing telematics. However, as with most technology, it is becoming less expensive as it is more widely rolled out. In addition, although vehicles will be off the road while they are updated – and therefore not part of the fleet – installation time has fallen to less than an hour in most cases.

What’s more, telematics could actually save fleets money in the long term. Servers can send users monthly reports about the condition of every vehicle in a fleet, flagging up problems and preventing potential breakdowns.

They can also find petrol stations where fuel cards can be used for discounts; check vehicle locations to ensure drivers are within designated routes; and monitor fuel management to identify where economising could take place.

Other benefits include:

  • Automated pre-trip inspections
  • Regular expense reports to assist with tax compliance
  • Electronic distribution of tasks to prevent drivers needing to return to depots

According to the RAC, businesses could expect to save up to 15 per cent a year on fuel, wear and tear and accidents through using telematics.

An electronic display showing diagnostics being run on a car

3.   We’ve already got GPS and apps. As a small business, we don’t need telematics

Telematics is so much more than simply GPS tracking, as we’ve touched on above. Whether you’ve got two employees or hundreds, having dedicated technology to better understand and improve performance could be a real boost for compliance and your finances.

Consider also the following situations:

  • Telematics can call for help automatically if drivers are ever in a crash
  • Users have an SOS function to summon assistance themselves if there is an emergency other than an accident
  • Time-series data can be collected to keep freight in the optimum condition, e.g. ensuring cold food stays cold
  • Audible warnings can be issued for hazards such as upcoming roadworks
  • Telematics can connect with clients and customers to boost satisfaction by showing them expected delivery times and other data
  • Black boxes can be activated in the event of theft to track vehicles

All of this is far more than single apps can do – all in one place.

4.   It’s a distraction for drivers

Unlike smartphones and traditional sat nav devices, telematics can read and dictate things like messages and maps. Therefore, although they have more functionality, they don’t bother drivers as much with visual notifications. This could actually help to reduce stress and incentivise better driver behaviour.

Furthermore, since reports can flag up unwanted habits such as idling for too long and harsh cornering, fleet drivers may find themselves keen to concentrate more on the roads, not less.

5.   It’s data overload – we can’t cope

Telematics doesn’t necessarily require a lot of resources: it can be customised for particular alerts and reports to improve efficiency. That way, you can ensure you’re only getting the information you really need, when you want it.

Simply setting aside a little time every so often to monitor it should be enough – and it could even save time and money, not cost them.

As you can see, telematics is far more than glorified GPS. It has an ever-growing list of functions that could help fleet managers in all kinds of industries, whatever their size.

If you want to know more about how to incorporate this type of tech into your operations, just get in touch with Fuelcard Services today for expert advice.