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Overcoming fleet challenges with telematics

By Verizon Connect November 10, 2022

Fleets across all industries find themselves dealing with similar challenges going into 2023 as they faced going into 2022. 

According to the Verizon Connect 2023 Fleet Technology Trends Report, this is the second year in a row that the top three challenges fleets face are: 

  1. Increasing costs
  2. Driver shortage/lack of quality workers
  3. Meeting customer demand

However, even more fleets are citing each of these issues as a challenge to daily business operations this year.

While larger issues currently impacting fleets, like supply chain disruptions, rising fuel prices and labor shortages, are out of a fleet manager’s control, there are steps that can be taken to address the top three challenges discovered in the report. Investing in GPS fleet tracking technology is one of them. 

Reducing operational costs

More organizations cited increasing costs as their biggest challenge this year (80%) compared to the 2021 report (63%). Given the current business environment, this isn’t surprising. Inflation has impacted goods and services across all industries, including fuel prices.

Telematics technology can help organizations mitigate several operational costs, putting them in a better position to improve their bottom line.

Fuel costs: GPS fleet tracking can help organizations track fleet fuel usage by keeping tabs on speeding, aggressive driving and idling events that unnecessarily waste fuel. Additionally, by integrating fuel cards to run reports that show total fuel spend per vehicle, the location of each fill-up and tracking miles per gallon and fuel slippage (i.e., stolen fuel), telematics technology gives fleet managers key insights. 

Repair costs: Telematics data can highlight the state of all vehicle engines in near real time. Fleet managers can track diagnostic data like battery voltage, coolant temperature, powertrain malfunctions, intake valve issues and oxygen sensor problems to identify potential issues before they occur and get vehicles serviced before more costly major repairs are needed.

Accident costs: According to the report, of those fleets that implemented video telematics, 44% were able to achieve their goal of reducing accident costs. Video telematics creates a record of driver behaviors and conditions inside and outside the vehicle. This can help in coaching drivers to drive safely, potentially reducing the chance of accidents. If an accident occurs, video can also help to defend against false claims that can increase insurance costs. Thirty-seven percent of fleets realized reduced insurance costs post-video telematics rollout, and 68% experienced protection from false claims.

 Labor costs: Telematics can provide visibility into how drivers and employees are spending their time. Fleet managers can see vehicle history for a specific day, including all trips taken, stops and idling events. With this technology, it’s easier to identify where labor inefficiencies exist and uncover opportunities for improvement to overall staff productivity. 

After implementing telematics technology, fleets overall were able to realize positive improvements in fuel costs, accident costs and labor costs at the same or greater level than last year. 

According to the report, all industries saw improvements, but when broken down by industry, construction and transportation realized the greatest cost benefits.

Improving resource utilization

Given that 59% of fleets identified driver shortage/lack of quality workers as a top operational challenge, it’s more important than ever for fleet managers to ensure quality drivers stay with the company and that currently employed drivers are as efficient as possible.

Telematics technology can help set up both employee and vehicle resources to achieve high levels of productivity. 

  • Asset utilization: Telematics software includes dashboards that show operational efficiency and fleet utilization and monitor a range of metrics including idle time and miles driven for each vehicle. This allows fleet managers to track how individual vehicles are being driven and balance vehicle availability with driver capacity to help keep vehicles ready for when drivers need them.
  • Maintenance: Telematics helps fleets proactively stay on top of routine vehicle maintenance to prevent issues before they occur. This improves the chance of keeping as many fleet vehicles as possible in good condition and on the road. With the current driver shortage, this is especially key to keeping drivers productive instead of sidelining them due to unexpected maintenance-related downtime.
  • Routing: Among transportation and distribution fleets who use telematics, 44% improved routing. More efficient routing means drivers can get to destinations faster, reducing unnecessary travel and curbing overtime.

Elevating customer service

Customer service emerged as the top area of improvement for the third year in a row, and meeting customer demands has become a growing issue. Fifty-two percent of fleets listed it as a top challenge this year versus 49% in the 2022 report.

GPS fleet tracking technology can help organizations increase transparency for processes directly linked to customer service, such as:  

  • Rerouting: During unexpected weather events or construction, telematics can help identify optimal routes and direct drivers, diminishing potential delays and helping them arrive at the customer’s location safely and on time.
  • ETAs: Telematics helps provide customers with more accurate information regarding arrival and delivery times for specific jobs, and can communicate delays in near real time, helping to manage customer expectations.
  • Communication: With telematics, companies can better support customer inquiries, service requests, online scheduling, service reviews and questions. Notifications via text or the mobile app can help to improve responsiveness to customer needs.
  • Information: Telematics provides a centralized point of contact and data repository where all parties can view the same information at the same time, including detailed job history. 

Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect Staff represents a team of professionals passionate about everything telematics. Get to hear about the latest trends, product features and industry best practices from the desk of Verizon Connect Staff.

Tags: Cost control, Customer retention rates, Customer Service, Data & Analytics, Dispatching & Scheduling, Field management, Fleet utilization, Fuel cost management, Productivity & Efficiency, Routing, Vehicle Maintenance

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