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Telematics tech: what are the benefits for transport operators?

22 February 2024 #Features & Interviews #TNB News

 From vehicle tracking and incident recording to fuel efficiency and safety measurement, transport firms are benefitting from increasingly advanced telematics systems to carry out tasks that improve their business-wide performance.

Given telematics systems provide such a wide range of options, commercial fleets naturally pick the ones best suited to their operations.

North West Leicestershire District Council (NWLDC), for example, recently adopted the Fleetclear Connect software platform that is enabling each of its departments to use a data dashboard that’s customised to their particular needs.

Fleetclear Connect combines vehicle safety hardware with GPS tracking, advanced data analysis and processing techniques, providing a powerful fleet management tool – one that encompasses all aspects of vehicle and driver safety, operational efficiency and compliance.

All the data is displayed on a customisable dashboard and stored on Fleetclear’s cyber secure servers, where it can be accessed via the internet.

Another feature of Fleetclear Connect is the ability to customise the dashboard with the specific information that’s critical for each service or operational area.

In the case of NWLDC, each council department can now view a customised dashboard and data particular to its own needs.

Innovative features include heat mapping to highlight potential safety concerns, and fleet managers are able to drill down to specific events, find an exact moment in time and share a video of it.

Andrew Mintram, Fleet Manager at NWLDC said: “Now we can incentivise and reward best driving practice as well as identify any specific training needs quickly. This helps us to mitigate vehicle damage costs and improve fuel efficiency as we can set up alerts for harsh braking, poor driving technique or speeding.

“In the case of waste collections we have set up alert zones where there are weight limits, so we don’t overload any of the vehicles. We can even add hire vehicles onto the same system thanks to an On Board Diagnostic tracking unit.”

Meanwhile, some 4,187 of Stagecoach’s bus drivers have been awarded top Fleet Elite status by GreenRoad following its comprehensive safety and telematics assessment.

Using a simple traffic light LED system on the dashboard, GreenRoad gives drivers instant feedback about their driving manoeuvres, encouraging smoother and more fuel-efficient driving.

To gain Fleet Elite status, drivers must achieve an average of five or fewer events, such as harsh braking or acceleration, per 10 hours of driving over a 500-hour minimum period the entire calendar year.

GreenRoad’s safety technology is used across all of Stagecoach’s buses in England, Scotland and Wales, and the transport operator has also deployed the first new bridge alert technology, developed in partnership with GreenRoad.

Sharon Vye-Parminter, Stagecoach’s Health, Safety and Environment Director, said: “To see so many of our drivers receive Fleet Elite and Master Fleet Elite status is a real testament to the quality of our teams across the UK and their commitment to driving safely and efficiently.

“Smoother, fuel-efficient driving is safer and provides more comfortable journeys for our customers, as well as helping to cut our carbon footprint and meet our sustainability targets.”

The cost-saving impact of telematics, meanwhile, have benefitted Newport haulier Jaga Brothers in recent months, saving £35,000 in fuel costs across its fleet of 42 trucks. It also saved a further £5,600 in tyre replacements on its 130 trailers, after partnering with Michelin Connected Fleet telematics.

It follows analysis of vehicle data over a six-month period by Michelin Connected Fleet consultants, which helped Jaga Brothers streamline driver operations by lowering the number of harsh driving events, while delivering fuel savings of 0.6mpg per vehicle.

The family-run business, which specialises in the transportation of construction materials including steel, and bricks, expects to make additional savings when it embraces an add-on for brake testing technology.

James Hill, Jaga Brothers Managing Director, believes the technology could save the company about £9,000 per year on brake maintenance.

“Our aim was for the service to start paying for itself in the first year and the figures so far have exceeded our expectations,” added.

“We have seen major improvements in driver behaviours such as harsh braking and harsh accelerating, which has increased fuel efficiency to the extent that we expect to save more than £50,000 in our first year of working with Michelin Connected Fleet.”

Creed Foodservice, provider of food and beverage products to the catering industry, has implemented Microlise’s Journey Management and Electronic Proof of Delivery (ePOD) modules across its 87-vehicle fleet.

The ePOD module empowers drivers with advanced sign-on-glass functionality and image capturing capabilities, enabling them to seamlessly execute tasks while on the road, eliminating paperwork, and streamlining operations.

With the adoption of its Journey Management technology, Creed can now provide its end customers with accurate Estimated Time of Arrival data, ensuring transparency and real-time communication about their deliveries and departure status.

Richard Frost, Creed’s Head of Operations, said: “Creed was looking for a partner to improve our customers’ service experience by being easier to do business with. In addition, to enhance our own efficiencies, while reducing the cost and environmental impact of our operation.”

DAF dealer group Motus has installed 30 Smart Nano Trackers from Durite on its service vans in the South West of England. This enables the company to locate its vehicles in real time, and installation is simple, as it connects to any power source on the vehicle.

The fleet manager can view vehicle location and historical journeys in the Durite telematics portal as well as generate more than 80 valuable reports.

Mark Price, Head of Aftersales South West, including Motus depots in Avonmouth, Swindon, Frome, Gloucester and Hereford, said: “We are able to set up geofencing around Clean Air Zones so if one of our vehicles enters a zone in Bristol or Bath, we are instantly notified and can pay the fees in good time.

“It helps us to avoid issues further downstream and that makes us more efficient.”

Transport businesses are constantly looking to deliver their goal of improving driver and vehicle standards, and telematics specialists are there to support them on that journey.

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