Overhead view of vehicles on a motorway with digital tracking overlay.

What’s the Difference Between Telematics and Vehicle Tracking?

You’ll no doubt have heard a lot about technologies such as vehicle tracking and telematics in recent years. These tools are an increasingly important part of any business’ fleet operations. Without them, firms won’t have crucial insight into what their drivers are doing or how to improve efficiency.

But if you’re unfamiliar with these technologies, you may be asking ‘What’s the difference?’ Vehicle tracking solutions and telematics are sometimes used interchangeably. But in fact, there are a wide range of differences that separate the two. Therefore, if you’re looking to reduce fuel costs, boost safety or increase productivity, you’ll need to know exactly what they do.

Understanding vehicle tracking

Vehicle tracking, as the name suggests, lets you keep an eye on your fleet at all times. Using satellite-based GPS technology that feeds information back to base via mobile networks, you can see where all your vehicles are in real-time. This includes who’s on the move, who’s at an appointment and who might be available.

This can assist you in making better decisions about how to run your fleet. As well as helping drivers find their destination, the data gleaned from this can be used to help fill in mileage reports and other records.

The key benefits of this technology

Vehicle tracking solutions help you build a picture of where your vehicles are and how to best optimise their routing. Real-time tracking can ensure drivers avoid any congestion points and provide accurate estimates for when they can expect to arrive at their destination. In turn, this helps with overall planning and can even boost customer satisfaction by giving them more info on when to expect your employees.

GPS tracking tools can also help you spot any vehicles that are being used where or when they shouldn’t. For example, you’ll be able to see if a car or van is being used out of hours. Geofencing solutions can also enable you to set up a designated area for your operations. If a vehicle strays outside of these restrictions, you’ll quickly be able to see this. This will also be hugely valuable if you fall victim to theft, as it can help the police home in on the vehicle.

What is telematics?

Speedometer with 'telematics' written on it

Vehicle tracking services alone, however, only offer a partial picture. This is where telematics comes in. A key factor that separates telematics from simpler vehicle tracking solutions is the amount of data and reporting tools you have available.

A good telematics solution will offer all the same benefits as a GPS tracking system, but will also build on this with much more detailed information about the vehicle and its driver. For instance, telematics tools offer more insight into how the vehicle is being driven. It can record not only speed, but also information about how frequently or harshly the accelerator and brakes are being used. It can also show you how long engines spend idling.

Elsewhere, integration with the vehicle’s diagnostic computer can give you an early warning of any potential issues, letting you better plan for any repairs or maintenance.

Telematics software can also integrate directly with reporting tools. This helps you easily calculate fuel usage, driving hours and expenses claims, to name but a few. With information displayed in easy-to-use dashboards, you have a complete picture of everything your fleet is doing at your fingertips.

The benefits of going beyond vehicle tracking

One of the key benefits of a good telematics solution is the impact it can have on driver behaviour. With the system recording a wide variety of metrics, you can easily see who’s driving sensibly and who could be putting themselves and other road users at risk. This lets you step in with training programmes, a warning or even disciplinary action for those who are frequently speeding, tailgating or otherwise driving erratically.

As well as making your fleet safer, this also has a direct impact on your fuel consumption. Smoother driver inputs and less time spent idling means you use less petrol or diesel. As this is one of the biggest expenses for any fleet, this is a simple way of reducing your expenditure and saving the company money.

This is before you take into account the fuel savings that can be achieved through better monitoring and route planning. As well as ensuring your drivers are following routes that provide the best efficiency, fuel tracking systems offer a quick and easy way of reducing your consumption and protecting your business.

Cracking down on fuel fraud

Close up of hand holding a fuel pump at filling station

You can also see at a glance where and when fuel cards are being used by your drivers, and ensure the time and location match the vehicle. This is a vital tool in cracking down on fuel fraud issues such as people sharing cards and using them to fill up personal vehicles.

Fuel fraud is a significant problem for many firms, with research from Shell revealing that almost two-thirds of fleet managers in the UK (65 percent) view this as a major issue. If left unchecked, it could easily end up costing you huge amounts of money, so you must be able to spot this and take action.

Improving your day-to-day workload

A good telematics system also means much less time spent on paperwork. With detailed reporting on everything from fuel efficiency and mileage to emissions, it automates and streamlines what would otherwise be tedious manual tasks. This also ensures accuracy and leaves you free to spend your time on more worthwhile, value-adding activities.

A complete fleet management solution

A telematics solution therefore offers a full fleet management and vehicle tracking solution. Compare this to a more limited GPS-only monitored service and it’s easy to see where the extra value lies.

Research by Verizon suggests effective telematics software offers a wide range of benefits. Among the results businesses have seen include:

  • Fuel economy improved by 18 percent
  • Economical driving increased by 15 percent
  • Harsh braking incidents down by 77 percent
  • Engine idle time reduced by 64 percent
  • Driving hours decreased by 24 percent

If you’d like to know more about what telematics can do for your business, get in touch with our experts today.

How can telematics improve your fleet's operations?

What is Telematics and Can It Improve Your Fleet Management?

Telematics is a big deal for the fleet sector. Deploying this technology lets you transform your fleet management, giving you better insight into every part of your operation. This can be used for everything from better route planning to ensuring safer driving.

If you aren’t using telematics, you’re in an increasingly small minority. According to Teletrac Navman, 86% of fleets used this technology in 2019. That’s up from just 48% two years earlier, showing just how quickly telematics is growing.

So what is telematics, and what do you need to know to make it a success?

What is a telematics box?

A telematics box is a small device that’s fitted to your vehicles. It’s sometimes called a ‘black box’ and it works in much the same way as one on an aeroplane. It collects a wide range of data about the vehicle, letting you know exactly what it’s been up to.

Key information collected by telematics systems include:

  • Location
  • Speed
  • Driver inputs
  • Fuel consumption
  • Vehicle faults
  • Idling time

These are just a few of the systems telematics technologies can monitor. With an advanced solution, you can keep an eye on every aspect of your fleet’s performance and your drivers’ behaviour.

How do telematics work?

There are a few key parts to any telematics system. The first is a GPS tracker. This monitors the vehicle’s movements and provides you with a clear map of exactly where it’s been and how long it took to get there.

Secondly, there are a range of sensors hooked up to various parts of the vehicle to gain further information. These can measure throttle, braking and steering inputs, for example, but it doesn’t stop there. With the right sensors, you can measure everything from when the doors are opened to the temperature of a trailer.

Finally, there’s a mobile data connection to transmit the data back to your system. After all, the info is useless unless it can be collected and analysed. This typically uses a 4G mobile connection or a radio network, though some can even connect via satellite.

All this data is then fed in real time back to your business, where it’s evaluated by fleet management software. This then provides insights into your fleet’s activities and highlights recommendations for improvements in a range of areas.

Why you should be using telematics

Having a telematics device installed therefore offers many benefits to your business. For instance, insurance companies often offer discounts to customers who have this technology installed. This means you can start saving money even before the key is turned in the ignition.

However, the advantages of telematics are very wide-ranging. Here are some of the key ways it can give your fleet a boost.

1. Reduced fuel costs

Cutting your fuel consumption is a key benefit of telematics. The technology does this in a number of ways.

For instance, data from GPS systems can be used to improve your planning. Fleet management software can identify more efficient routes that cut out unnecessary mileage or minimise time spent in traffic with the engine idling.

Telematics also helps your drivers understand how they can change their behaviour to use less fuel. If an employee is accelerating or braking too harshly, for example, this can be picked up by the black box’s sensors. This information can then be used to give them advice on how to adopt a smoother driving style.

Indeed, according to Verizon Connect, users of GPS tracking technology report an 8% drop in their fleet’s fuel consumption since adopting the technology.

2. Safer driver behaviour

It’s not just improving fuel consumption where driver behaviour can be improved. The use of telematics also plays a vital role in making sure your drivers are as safe as possible on the road.

One of the simplest ways it does this is by making drivers aware their actions are being monitored. This is often enough to change their behaviour, encouraging them to take fewer risks such as speeding and steering erratically.

If the system does detect concerning driver inputs, this allows fleet managers to step in and offer training. They can even deliver a warning if an individual is found to be frequently breaking the rules of the road.

3. Improved maintenance

Telematics boxes are often connected directly to a car’s main computer. This allows them to access and report on any error codes or other diagnostics flagged by the vehicle’s sensors.

Being able to view data on wear and tear in real time means you can schedule maintenance proactively. You can set up systems to program a service based on mileage, time or engine use, for example. This is much more accurate than relying on manual tracking and greatly reduces the chances of anything going wrong.

It also allows you to spot faults as soon as they occur, removing the need to rely on driver reports for any issues such as engine warning lights. Therefore, you can fix these problems  before they have a chance to lead to a breakdown or unplanned time off the road.

4. Better planning and management

We noted above how telematics can help optimise route planning for fuel efficiency, but this is far from the only way it can improve your fleet management.

For example, it can provide firms with a clear, accurate picture of exactly how long employees spend behind the wheel. This can be vital in ensuring you’re meeting rules for driving hours and keeping the correct records.

Elsewhere, if someone is using a vehicle on their own time without permission, you can spot this easily. You can even set limits on where a vehicle is allowed to be, so you can be alerted by the GPS systems if a driver travels outside this perimeter.

The benefits of telematics solutions are clear. If you’d like to learn more about these options and what options are available, get in touch with our experts to see how you can save time and money.

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

The big shift toward e-commerce was one of the most notable by-products of the coronavirus pandemic, and now, well into 2023 – the era of online shopping remains in full swing. With four in five UK consumers buying digitally, the supply chain considerations made essential by the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 remain pertinent to today’s vendors and suppliers.

As a fleet operator, then, how do you put in place infrastructure that allows you to make the most of the thriving ecommerce landscape, and get your goods to consumers with competitive costs, timings, and customer satisfaction?

This is the challenge many businesses are still 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 last mile 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.