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What Can Telematics Do For Fleet Management?

Telematics not only enables the smooth management of fleets, it can also identify problems before they occur

Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine running a car or truck rental business by paperwork, let alone managing a fleet of commercial vehicles. It’s an extremely complicated business with a vast and varied supply chain that must provide an efficient and timely service, ensure driver safety and optimize vehicle usage. It should come as no surprise, then, that fleet managers have always been early adopters of technological innovation.

Starting from the nineties, the Internet introduced universally accessible web-based services and, by the turn of the century, the advent of mobile technology and GPS propelled the industry into the arms of telematics.

Today, fleet management is facing new and increasing challenges to run an efficient and cost-effective service. The global market and fierce competitiveness mean that fleet managers are increasingly confronted by operational issues ranging from the ever present need to improve activity coordination and optimization to increasing fuel costs and new legislation, such as revised carbon emission regulations, that requires timely revision and replacement of fleet vehicles.

In this complex scenario, telematics has become the fleet manager’s best friend. Telematics provides visibility. It allows fleet managers to see the full picture. They are constantly updated, in real-time, on where their vehicles are, what they are doing, and how they are performing.

The acquisition of a vast array of data, including information on driver behaviour, fuel consumption, vehicle geo-location, local traffic and weather conditions, maintenance requirements, real-time task rescheduling, etc., allows businesses to run more efficiently and cost effectively and to ensure optimal logistic and commercial activities.

Telematics allows fleet managers to instantly identify a range of common problems that may affect the performance of vehicle fleets, such as dangerous driving, mechanical problems, traffic and excessive fuel consumption. Naturally, identifying issues and active prevention translates into greater performance and less operational cost.

However, the benefits provided by state-of-the-art telematics and data analysis reach far beyond the day-to-day performance of fleets. The information provided by the telematics devices installed on each fleet vehicle is recorded day after day, providing the company with what is commonly referred to as “big data,” which can be analysed and used to extrapolate precise overviews and trends on the macro-performance of their vehicles, drivers and business. This is an invaluable tool that allows fleet managers to improve a vast range of issues ranging from driver safety to fuel consumption to operational management. Indeed, telematics also provides fleet managers with alerts when the performance of older vehicles drops significantly.

Fleet telematics is currently evolving from “simple” tracking, data analytics and platform services towards a seamless integration of fleets, drivers and enterprise. It is integrating vehicle data with the greater connected ecosystem to provide better service, greater safety for drivers and map new opportunities for companies by reducing all operational bottlenecks.

In a world that is speedily moving to embrace total connectivity, self-driving vehicles, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, automated safety systems and smart cities, telematics is clearly the future of transportation and certainly that of fleet management.

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