Managing safety, risk and profitability with the latest in telematics technology

Managing safety, risk and profitability with the latest in telematics technology

Mark Sargent, Director of Solutions Engineering at Telogis

Mark Sargent, Director of Solutions Engineering at Telogis

Today’s sophisticated telematics solutions offer a lot more than simply monitoring your staff’s bad driving habits. Clever use of the latest location intelligence technology can reap dividends in terms of improved safety, employee productivity and business performance. Mark Sargent, Director of Solutions Engineering at Telogis, explains why integrating technology with safety policies and procedures should form an intrinsic part of your organisation’s corporate risk management programme and is vital to maximising return on investment.

Before the invention of telematics, fleet management was a time-consuming, manual process prone to error. Most organisations had little control over what was happening to their vehicles until a driver had an accident, a tyre went flat or a member of the public phoned in to report anti-social or dangerous driving. Quite simply, they had no idea what safety issues were at stake or the litigious risks they were running by using transport to operate their business.

That was until rapid advancements in wireless technology combined with IT to create telematics and transform fleet management completely. For years, companies around the world have successfully deployed fleet management software to help track features and behaviours that affect the environment and the business. Independent research reports published in the USA indicate that average fuel efficiency improves 8% simply by reducing speed by 5 miles per hour. Monitoring driver speed and bad habits such as hard braking and

acceleration leads to safer driving, lower petrol costs and reduced carbon emissions, a win, win situation for other road users, the company’s operating expenses and the environment.

 

Deep integration gives clearer insight

Forward-thinking vendors of fleet management systems are forging commercial relationships with leading manufacturers to take a strategic approach to research and development. At Telogis, our partnerships with Ford have enabled us to provide a much deeper level of integration with onboard computer systems, enabling us to extrapolate a much richer level of telematics detail that has proven critical to our customers, enabling them to see a faster return on investment.

Working with the industry means our systems provide a distinct competitive advantage for our clients. By incorporating intelligent features into new technology, we give customers the framework they need to take a proactive approach to fleet safety management. At a glance, they are able to detect potential mechanical problems before they turn into dangerous safety hazards.

 

Monitoring driver safety minimises risk and liabilities

Developing driver safety scorecards is an effective way of managing risk around the use of company vehicles after hours, at night, for example, or during certain adverse weather conditions. Furthermore, extending the functionality of telematics to monitor the utilisation of specific features such as safety belts enables fleet managers to measure their performance against corporate policies and even monitor their compliance with important industry or government legislation. Breaching seatbelt regulations or failing to provide adequate rest breaks to drivers can have damaging effects on a company’s safety record and lays them open to significant financial penalties.

Using telematics data to rigorously monitor safety incidents has been proven to have a very positive impact on minimising a company’s safety – and insurance – liabilities. A prime example of this is at a global beverage company where they have noticed a direct correlation between the number of reversing incidents and the number of accidents reported back to head office. As a result, they have introduced enhanced and targeted driver coaching that is already yielding good results.

 

Central management supports companywide safety initiatives

The latest integrated telematics and fleet management technology is able to save significant amounts of time and money for fleet managers. All data relating to an entire fleet of vehicles can be stored dynamically in one central place, alleviating the headache of having to sift through and administer information from different parts of the organisation, often days or weeks after incidents have occurred. Furthermore, in the UK, where managing driver safety scorecards is of paramount importance, the ability to drill down into statistics that create a clear and complete picture of the safety aspects of fleet vehicles and their drivers is critical. Fleet managers can then pull out historical data that identifies trends over a period over time, a powerful business intelligence tool that helps companies to actively manage their future safety initiatives.

Deploying an automated telematics solution is all well and good but it needs to interface with a company’s existing safety programmes to leverage its full potential. A major global vegetation management company were keen to integrate all information relating to their vehicles into their ‘Safety First Programme’. Up until recently, they could only react to an incident if and when a member of the public called complaining about one of their drivers. Working with us, they have introduced a self reporting mechanism that tracks drivers in real-time, so, for example, should a driver exceed the 70 mph speed limit, this information is automatically fed into the Telogis system so that unsafe driving can be nipped in the bud.

 

A well maintained fleet pays dividends

There is a strong business case for introducing an integrated fleet management framework. The ability of modern telematics systems to identify wear and tear on specific vehicle components affects servicing schedules. A regularly maintained and well cared for fleet extends vehicle lifecycles and reduces depreciation costs, a sentiment backed up by one of our customers who claimed their overall depreciation rates improved by 50% per month after installing the latest location intelligence software. Similarly, another customer whose business involves numerous safety risks such as using chainsaws and large trucks to remove obstructive trees away from power lines, used telematics to monitor the movements of their supervisors on site. By ensuring that supervisors spend more time with their teams, the company has not only succeeded in decreasing safety incidents by 67% but it has boosted productivity by an amazing 22%.

For businesses on the move, taking an integrated approach to telematics is essential to managing safety, risk and profitability.