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The A-Z series of fleet management: O for Odometer—a key piece of the puzzle

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jun 11, 2019 9:01:00 AM

The A-Z series of fleet management O for Odometer a key piece of the puzzle

Our A-Z series today focusses on something we all take for granted as it is an essential component of any vehicle—the odometer. This instrument, integral in every vehicle, continually logs the distances that a vehicle travels and displays it digitally. But rather than just functioning as a basic mile/km counter, the humble odometer can provide you with the all the data necessary to better manage your vehicles.

#1 – Age and value of your vehicle. The odometer reading and particularly the number of kilometres travelled is key to establishing the value of a vehicle and whether it is still a suitable asset for your business but possibly requiring rotation within your company, for example. Getting odometer information and supporting it with other types of vehicle data related to its performance might help you succeed in the remarketing process or, if you are buying, complete a successful purchase as you have plenty of reliable information upon which to base your decision.

#2 – Maintenance milestones. When we think about odometer readings and vehicle manuals, we immediately think about regular checks that need to be completed once a specific distance is covered. In order to remember when these checks have to be done, it is essential to check the odometer or set up alerts so you can schedule them at the appropriate time. The odometer information in this case is paramount to keeping your vehicle maintained and roadworthy.

#3 – Fuel consumption. It is no easy task keeping an eye on everything, but you should definitely make sure your odometer reading is noted every time your vehicles are filled at the pump and see how much the purchased fuel is lasting and how much your vehicle is consuming. From there you can actually check if there is any action you can take towards saving more fuel.

#4 – Starting and finishing a job. When your drivers are heading to a specific site to carry out a job to completion, it would doubtless be of benefit to record the odometer reading for efficiency purposes. But it can get complicated and prone to errors if done manually. On the other hand, extracting the same data from a vehicle onsite or offsite can be done without your drivers wasting time on tedious admin tasks.

The odometer value is extremely important of course, and delivers instant data in key fields; but if you multiply the time spent on checking each odometer reading by the number of vehicles and drivers you have, things can easily get out of hand.

If you have an automated system able to capture vehicle data and cross-check it with your odometer, you will be in best possible position to take full advantage of all the relevant information without having to worry about getting accurate data manually. There are systems that can be set up and can do the work for you. Contact us if you have any questions and if you wish to learn more from your vehicles and their odometers...

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking

4 more fleet management KPIs your fleet should capture

by Eleonora Malacarne on Mar 21, 2019 9:04:00 AM

4 more fleet management KPIs your fleet should capture

In the latest chapter of our A-Z series of fleet management we dealt with ‘K’ for Key Performance Indicators that are typical in fleet management. With this follow-up article we want to focus once again on KPIs by adding some more into the mix that are not directly connected to financial aspects but do have an impact on your fleet budget.

#1 – Productivity. Any utility that provides insight into how much a vehicle is used is clearly valuable, but it is definitely essential for those who manage a fleet to also gain insight into actual productivity. There are a number of parameters you can apply in order to measure the productivity of your fleet, some examples include journeys and job completion, time spent on site and the activity of your vehicles in general. If you are able to track these metrics you can see whether it is possible to squeeze more out of your fleet, minimise waste and even improve on deadlines and deliveries.

#2 – Safety. Thanks to technology today it is possible to collect different metrics that can be used to improve the safety profile of drivers, the overall safety of the fleet as well as use the safety alerts to adequately train and advise drivers on ecodriving and safe practices. Fleet managers can generally have access in real time to this type of data so that it can be addressed quickly with scope for rapid improvements.

Some of the KPIs related to fleet safety that can usually be tracked by fleet management systems are speeding, rapid acceleration, harsh braking and harsh cornering. These appear to be not only the unsafest driving behaviours but also those that consume more fuel. When talking about driver behaviour there is another metric, idling, that is also generally measurable and really avoidable just by sensitising drivers to the costs of this habit.

#3 – Incidents frequency. Something that is associated with safety—the more accidents the company has, the greater the expense and the lower (most likely) the level of safety. Why accidents? Why not just the costs related to them? This isn’t to say the latter should be ignored. There are costs related to accidents that go far beyond just the cost of repair or the net loss when a vehicle is totalled. However, using this metric is simple, and provides a bigger picture of how efficient, for example, a fleet safety program is.

#4 – Fuel economy. Fleets cannot simply skip over the tracking of fuel economy as it is probably the top expense that motivates fleet directors into constantly seeking out reductions, which is also essential to minimise environmental impact. Also related to fuel economy—you can look at the consumption of your vehicles in either mpg or l/100km, double-check purchases carried out by drivers and establish targets in order to gradually lower consumption so long as your drivers avoid certain driving styles.


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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking

Coventry bus-crash company failed to address telematics risk management alerts

by Eleonora Malacarne on Feb 7, 2019 9:01:00 AM

Coventry bus-crash company failed to address telematics risk management alerts

Midland Red South, a division of Stagecoach, admitted last year breaching health and safety standards and was consequently sentenced alongside their driver, 80 year old Kailash Chander, in the prominent Coventry bus crash case. The risky behaviour and poor driving of Chander, who had been working an inappropriate number of hours for his age (he was well past retirement age but still working as a casual driver for the same company), meant the company was later fined £2.3 million (€2.6 million)  for failing to act on telematics risk management alerts that allegedly led up to the fatal collision.

The telematics system that was used by the bus company at that time had in fact consistently made a number of alerts regarding the driving behaviour of Chander, though none of them had been properly addressed by the company and Chander was allowed to continue driving and working for them right up until the Coventry crash.

What happened to Midland Red South with regards to their telematics system could easily apply to other companies, which often have non-realistic expectations about telematics systems, or either do not carry out proper onboarding of the tool where company requirements are not shared with the telematics staff or whoever is responsible for doing the necessary follow-up once the technology is implemented.

The telematics tool employed had actually worked well, providing a good number of timely alerts to the company management (it has been stated that after the system had flagged poor driving, eight warning letters had been sent to the driver), which to be fair was acted upon. But despite this, nothing had changed and Chander missed a one-to-one meeting with his manager as the company needed him to be out and driving, and the meeting had not yet taken place when the fatality happened.

While driver hours were respected and the company was compliant on other levels, telematics activity was not supervised as closely as it should have been, and it seems rather that the company was not motivated enough to fully install the technology or did not adequately examine the needs of the business before choosing their provider.

According to Ian Hesselden, a partner at Jardine Lloyd Thompson, an insurance broker, "Technology provides an invaluable aid to fleets that wish to increase safety and reduce operational costs, but data obtained through telematics needs to be properly assessed and the system needs to be user-friendly for fleet operators and managers in order to capitalise on the opportunities to make improvements or neutralise threats."

If you are looking for a reliable telematics provider who can ensure you a smooth onboarding and help you with an easy-to-use system, talk to us or sign up for a free trial.

 

 

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Topics: GPS & Tracking, fleet safety

Advantages of telematics: 30% of UK drivers still sceptical

by Eleonora Malacarne on Jan 31, 2019 9:02:00 AM

  Advantages of telematics: 30% of UK drivers still sceptical

While telematics has largely been recognized as an advantage for companies running fleet operations the world over, and the fact that insurance companies have started to both promote and incentivise the usage of dash cams for end-users, a survey published towards the end of last year still reveals some lingering doubts amongst a sizable percentage of drivers, especially in the UK, as to whether telematics really do make their life easier and their driving much safer.

According to the survey, carried out by Redtail Telematics in cooperation with YouGov, around 30% of the UK drivers interviewed still feel sceptical about telematics really being useful and delivering any benefits to drivers. In those claiming that telematics does provide advantages for drivers, it is quite significant to see that the top two reasons for getting the technology is the reduction in car insurance premiums and the potential help telematics will provide in locating the vehicle if stolen. According to the same research, less quoted reasons for getting telematics would be the invaluable evidence that could be provided in the case of an accident, the incentive to switch to a safer driving style and the higher self-awareness, for a driver, of their own driving style.

From the survey it seems clear that adopting telematics is still seen in general as advantageous for British motorists; but it is still associated with prohibitive costs that, in the minds of some, outweigh the opportunity to assess and change driving habits with technological assistance. The help the technology might provide in drawing attention to the way we drive is much more constructive than simply claiming a discount on an insurance premium, the importance of which still eludes those fixated on the more obvious ways to cut costs.

A recent research conducted by The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) on the number of telematics policies active in the UK reports that the total number of active telematics based policies recorded in 2017 was 975,000 (almost one million). The number also showed an increase of about 30% on the figures made public in 2016. With this trend continuing, and if we only had greater awareness of how telematics could improve safety for all participants, chances are that the number of global road traffic incidents would definitely decrease, thus providing a powerful ethical incentive to acquire telematics-based insurance policies.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking

Dear fleet owner, here is why tomorrow might be the best business day of the year

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 22, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Dear fleet owner, here is why tomorrow might be the best business day of the year

The rise of Black Friday is no longer simply a popular phenomenon, it has become the inspiration for labelling other noteworthy business occasions. For example, collateral events such as Cyber Monday (the “cousin” of Black Friday) and Green Monday (which is actually referring to the December Monday generating most sales—also known as Cyber Monday 2) make the season kicking off tomorrow one of the most critical periods for any type of business, as it has been calculated that it can account for as much as 30% of annual sales.

Retailers and parcel delivery companies pay special attention to the beginning of the holiday season, and the strong growth of online shopping is quite promising: potentially every sector is expecting a record shopping season.

If we want to look at some relevant data, the National Retail Federation in the US is expecting the sales happening in the holiday season period, that is, starting with Black Friday and continuing through the Christmas period, to increase by around 4-5% from last year to a global value of something like $680 billion dollars (£529 billion or €603 billion). According to the same source, potentially 136 million holiday shoppers will be active during the Black Friday weekend.

Forbes expects Christmas sales to increase by about 5%, with peaks close to a $2 billion spend on Black Friday and $2.5 billion on Cyber Monday. According to an infographic dating back to last year, 225,000,000 extra parcels are delivered on Black Friday and translate to an extra 82,050 vehicles on the road and 49,000 more staff to be hired. Some of the big names that are expected to excel in their performance in particular during this period in the UK and Ireland are Amazon, Argos and Royal Mail. Black Friday parcels do indeed need resources and efforts in order to reach consumers and huge plans are needed for any type of business to fit and succeed in the “Black Friday machine”.

Logistics is definitely what really makes everything possible at this time of the year. Despite the digitalisation of most sectors, it is a fact that as per now, envelopes and parcels still have to be delivered and pressure is often kept on destination delivery companies, with custom clearance from faraway places adding extra days to the original shipping estimate. It is then not surprising that professionals involved in the supply chain and logistic sectors and also fleet experts spend a considerable amount of time analysing data, thinking about speeding up processes and getting ready for this time.

Make sure you plan well in advance for your business during this time: dealing with Black Friday business can become stressful and challenging, with a considerable impact on safety, vehicle and personnel demand, but it can really represent a huge opportunity if you are able to catch it in time. It is also one of the most predictable high turnover periods of the year, so make sure you are helping your driving and office team with intelligent tools able to save time on admin and maximise driving time. If you are not sure how, we can show you how to make the most out of Black Friday—and, in fact, out of any other time of the year.

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking

How to correctly manage expectations from fleet management systems

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 13, 2018 9:00:00 AM

How to correctly manage expectations from fleet management systems

When we think about a company’s expectations as to the performance of their selected fleet management system, or before they actually make the final choice, a lot of possible scenarios spring to mind—we usually imagine the sceptical company manager as the ideal candidate for one of our free trials through to the health and safety officer wishing to improve on global safety and compliance within his/her fleet. But perhaps we haven’t really given enough thought to how this may differ from the actual expectations people have regarding their fleet management systems as these are available in a wide series of formats and packages which guarantees, at least apparently, a huge variety of choice. So what should you expect when approaching your fleet management system solution?

#1 - Is less always more? When some companies approach their chosen fleet management system for the first time, they are sorely tempted to get as many features as possible. As the old adage goes, “less is (usually) more”—but is that actually true? We don’t think having tons of features or just a few is either the best or the worst strategy—and there should never be a one-size-fits-all approach. We believe that before listing all the features available that you focus specifically on what is actually needed for your fleet depending on its usual activity. Don’t be tempted by expensive features that you might never get to use, nor should you just discard anything just to make savings—probably the best approach is to have the system consultant help you out or run through a trial option.

#2 - The power of expectations bending reality. We tend to think that our expectations actually correspond closely to the future of our fleet, when sometimes they don’t at all, or on other occasions they can help us understand what we want from our provider. The secret is having a realistic approach; do a thorough analysis of the fleet and act according to the needs and requirements of the fleet and according to the experience you have gained.

#3 – Predicting the future. If you have a certain type of expectation from your fleet management system, it needs to take into consideration developments over the course of the next five years. Doing so will help you shape the system according to your requirements and without making mistakes, as you might actually be able to anticipate some of your future work or features and prepare for its adequate implementation.

#4 – Level of support required. Are you going to be helped on a regular basis by the fleet management system’s support team or not? Do you want to be able to count on their help? Do you assume the support is always going to be included in the payments? This is another expectation you’d better check with your provider.

#5 – Fleet data and data formats supported and provided. Here you have another point where you might actually have specific expectations, but this is something that is always better to check up on. Will you be able to get data for all the aspects you need? Should you set up specific tracking or metrics? Will the whole be exportable? The golden rule is to know in advance.

 

 

 

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Topics: Fleet Management, GPS & Tracking

Coventry bus crash might push authorities to make telematics legally compulsory

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 8, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Coventry bus crash might push authorities to make telematics legally compulsory

A fatal bus crash dating back to October 2015 which took place in Coventry city centre may push authorities into making a decision as to whether fleet telematics should become compulsory, at least for public service fleets and HGVs, according to the legal firm Stephenson’s.

Last month, the Birmingham Crown Court established that dangerous driving was the factual cause of the fatal collision which involved a bus from the company Midland Red South, a subsidiary of Stagecoach, which crashed into a local Sainsbury supermarket. From the investigations carried out, it seems the driver mistook his accelerator for the brake, initiating the collision which resulted in the death of a passenger who was travelling on the upper deck and a pedestrian.

According to a reconstruction of the event, it turned out that the driver in question had been warned on multiple occasions by the same companies via letters highlighting his risky behaviour and poor driving; and this was down to the fact that all buses were fitted with telematics equipment and could therefore disclose this kind of information. A total of eight warning letters had been sent to the driver, but no further action was taken by his company. It has been revealed that the same driver had already been involved in four other incidents during the period 2011 to 2014.

Apparently, he had retired at the age of 65 but was again hired by the company as a casual driver at the age of 77. Furthermore, it is alleged that the driver, Kailash Chander, had been working for a total of 75 hours per week in the three weeks leading up the fatal crash; something that is actually legal according to GB Domestic Rules, but probably not appropriate for a person of his age. Chander was also diagnosed with dementia at an early stage after the crash.

As the driver was judged mentally unfit to attend the trial, Stagecoach pleaded guilty to the charge relating to the Health and Safety at Work Act in September 2017 and will be sentenced on November 26th. According to public opinion, it is incredible that Stagecoach continued to allow this particular driver to work despite his age and the stark fact that his unsafe driving practices were detected by the telematics system. In this particular case, the operator has been prosecuted for not maintaining safety despite the tracking system revealing driver behaviour issues.

This might be an example of how telematics itself definitely helps with the implementation of a risk assessment program, but it is completely pointless if companies do not act fully upon the data they receive from vehicles and act before it is too late. Operators should use data in a proactive way, especially when they are repeatedly informed of a driver who is particularly at risk, as was the case in this instance. Traffic commissioners and transport organisations still do not consider telematics a compulsory feature of fleet operation, but similar accidents in the future may actually prompt governments to make it so.

 

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Topics: GPS & Tracking, News, Stats & Facts

Telematics helps organisations to be proactive with fleet safety, says ETSC

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 6, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Telematics helps organisations to be proactive with fleet safety, says ETSC

The ETSC (European Transport Safety Council) has recently issued a new report focussing on the role of fleet telematics in the improvement of risk assessment for companies whose commercial activity depends on vehicles. The study, entitled “Using Telematics In Professional Vehicle Fleets” was published October, 2018 and focusses on the positive role of this technology for companies dependent on vehicles.

According to numbers published by the ETSC, more than 25,000 people lost their lives during the whole of 2017 on European roads and around 135,000 suffered injuries deriving from collisions. All in all, it has been estimated that around 40% of the people involved in those accidents were driving for work: 40% of the fatal collisions were in fact work-related.

Governments have taken different measures towards safer roads, adapting their legislation and helping road safety organisations to implement new schemes and programmes with the common aim of reducing those numbers. In this environment, the use of fleet telematics as systems able to capture vehicle data is no longer seen as a tool providing evidence only in the event of a collision, because of its ability to reconstruct what happened leading up to it, but is increasingly being used to monitor driver behaviour. Telematics offers a wide array of data that can potentially be used not only as a risk management tool, but also to identify fleet-wide issues or to improve the sales side of a business.

According to the ETSC, this powerful tool can minimise risks within a fleet by adopting different types of approaches:

  • Some road safety issues can in fact be global, such as speeding, which has an impact on both professional drivers and any other road user.
  • Then there are driver-specific issues that relate to a particular member of staff and can be monitored in real time. Strengths, weaknesses and areas of concern can be worked on for all drivers, and the publication makes the specific example of drivers particularly prone to speeding or less than perfect driving which might be attributed to poor eyesight.
  • Finally, some issues highlighted within the fleet might actually be related to the wider company and help with the organisation of business practices through policies or the implementation of superior processes; for example, in the loading and unloading of vehicles, the prevention of idling and fatigue and in order to identify risky patterns.

To make the best use of telematics data, the ETSC publication offers a number of suggestions:

  • Collecting data should be carried out correctly and regularly. The data obtained thanks to the technology available might be converted into a more relevant format for drivers, and such collections should be done on a regular basis over a reasonable length of time so as to fully realise the benefits of the system. The continuous collection of data and its analysis will not only help implement positive improvements but also assess behaviours and eventually modify them if inappropriate.
  • It is important to have a risk assessment programme that focusses on the most important issues and that does not let the benefits go due to the abundance of data available.

  • Regarding data protection, it is important that the implementation of telematics follows the legal guidelines of the country where it is implemented and pays special attention to the drivers. Staff need to be informed about the data collected, the potential use of it and should be in a position to discuss this usage.

  • It is fundamental that everyone in the business is involved in the telematics process and shares joint responsibility for its success, as a team.

 

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Topics: GPS & Tracking, fleet safety, fleet risk assessment

Transpoco partners with Timing Ireland for the 2018 SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon

by Eleonora Malacarne on Nov 1, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Transpoco partners with Timing Ireland for the 2018 SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon

The SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon has become a yearly appointment and 2018 has not been an exception. 20,000 participants ran last Sunday during the 39th edition of the event, which has become a yearly fixture for Transpoco and Timing Ireland too.

Transpoco’s technology, regularly used by companies to track their vehicles and run them safely and efficiently, has on this occasion been used to track the runners who took part in the Dublin Marathon event. As usual, with the invaluable help of Timing Ireland, the API data provided by the GPS tracking software has been converted into the on track position of the participants, displayed on special screens to make it easier for everyone to follow the competition.

Transpoco partners with Timing Ireland for the 2018 SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon_2

It is not the first time that Transpoco has successfully been involved in similar events. The company provided GPS tracking technology during a past Dún Laoghaire running event and at the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon 2017.

If you want to learn how the benefits of the GPS tracking technology can help you in better running your vehicles, contact us. You can also sign up for a free trial and start getting all its advantages for free!

 

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Topics: GPS & Tracking, News, Stats & Facts

A-Z series: G is for GPS vehicle tracking—how technology changed the fleet sector

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 4, 2018 9:00:00 AM

A-Z series G is for GPS vehicle tracking—how technology changed the fleet sector

Time for letter G in our A to Z series, and an opportunity to review what has probably been the primary technology behind the revolution of the fleet sector—GPS vehicle tracking. GPS (Global Positioning System) is satellite navigation technology that, by way of a specific receiver, can transmit the GPS coordinates of an object, thus pinpointing its precise location on Earth. GPS tracking is now widespread after being first introduced for military purposes—vehicle tracking technology and telematics have been around for almost 20 years now; these days it is possible to track virtually everything.

In our complete guide to vehicle tracking for fleets we have provided a panorama of this technology: the type of trackers that are used in fleets, the advantages of the system, plus some tips on how to choose your vehicle tracking system and on the main features you can find in GPS vehicle tracking software. With this post, we would like to answer some questions that are still often asked, especially by those who are getting interested in this technology but still have not implemented it into their fleet.

  1. Can’t I just track the position of a driver via their phone? You would not necessarily be tracking the position of the vehicle of your driver if you were tracking their work phones; there is always the chance that the phone is switched off or the tracking can easily be inactivated. GPS tracking and GPS vehicle tracking are two different things—of course you are able to find your phone if it gets lost, but tracking a vehicle is a completely different story.

  2. Can I just start tracking my vehicle straight away? It really doesn’t take long. You should install a tracker inside the vehicle and from there the vehicle tracking software will start receiving vehicle data and match them with the GPS location of the vehicle. Which data might depend on the type of package and contract you have with your GPS vehicle tracking provider.

  3. Are GPS vehicle tracking systems and fleet management systems the same thing? GPS vehicle tracking systems usually include software packages that have features merely related to location and positions of vehicles. Fleet management systems tend to have a larger number of features, including safety alerts, fuel modules, maintenance software, but it actually depends on what your provider can offer. It’s not necessarily the case that someone defines their software as a GPS vehicle tracking system and it only involves very basic features. You will only experience the full potential of a specific vehicle tracking software package for yourself once you see a demonstration or sign up for a free trial—so it is definitely something you should check out with your provider.

  4. Can a GPS tracking solution be integrated with my back-office system? APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) generally allow integration of some GPS tracking systems and some providers already offer them, but once again it is something definitely worth checking with your provider. If you are looking for a specific GPS tracking feature that might not necessarily be immediately visible, make sure to inquire into that as well.

 

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