The continued evolution and improvement of advanced technology used in commercial fleets has made telematics a critical part of fleet risk management. Incorporating telematics into a risk management strategy improves a fleet manager’s ability to mitigate potential risks, leading to safer and more efficient operations.
Fleets can use data gathered through telematics systems to analyze and identify high-risk areas of an operation, such as certain routes during specific times of day. By using the insights gleaned from telematics data, managers can develop a more targeted approach to risk management.
Telematics now play a central part in creating a smart fleet risk management plan that covers everything from buying the right vehicles and training drivers to creating routine maintenance schedules and monitoring vehicle performance.
Fleet Operations That Telematics Can Improve
Fleets now can use telematics in almost every phase of the operation. This includes:
- GPS Tracking Solutions
- Dash cams and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)
- Maintenance Management Platforms
- Fuel Solutions
- Route Planning and Dispatch
- DOT/FMCSA/FDA Compliance
Better performance in all of these areas reduces both monetary and safety-related risks. Some uses of telematics increase operational efficiency and the bottom line, while others focus on driver safety and crash avoidance. Whatever the specific area, managing risk is at the heart of why fleets incorporate telematics into every day operations.
Benefits of Telematics for Fleet Risk Management
Examples of the use of telematics to improve fleet risk management come from all phases of the operation. The following are three examples involving common issues.
This is one of the biggest issues in fleet risk management. Most crashes and collisions occur because of human error, such as taking eyes off the road, resulting in drivers losing precious seconds they need to avoid or mitigate a crash.
Data from telematics provide insight into driver behavior, such as how often they engage in risky behaviors that include speeding, hard braking and aggressive driving. This allows fleet managers to provide targeted training to address areas where a driver needs improvement. Some dash cam-connected systems also provide drivers real-time alerts when they engage in risky behaviors.
Maintaining a maintenance schedule involving dozens of vehicles (or more) is time-consuming, but telematics systems offer fleets managers key support this area. These systems provide alerts when vehicles are due for maintenance such as oil changes or tire rotations. Taking this proactive step can reduce the number of costly roadside breakdowns caused by mechanical failure of the vehicle.
Connected devices placed on a vehicle also can monitor engine performance and other important systems (as well as tire pressure). They send a real-time alert if a potential problem is identified, allowing drivers and managers to address an issue before it becomes a larger problem that leads to a costly roadside breakdown.
Route optimization is much more than just finding the shortest distance between Point A and Point B. Software systems quickly integrate a number of factors into choosing the best route, including time of day, weather, the type of vehicle and even the historical performance of the driver on certain routes. They also seek to choose routes that reduce fuel consumption and minimize the risk of crashes or collisions.
Through telematics, dispatchers can choose routes that avoid high-traffic areas and hazardous road conditions. If used routinely, software for route optimization can greatly reduce safety concerns, fuel consumption, the chance of a late delivery and the risk of an accident involving a fleet vehicle.
For modern fleets, telematics play a crucial role in creating a fleet risk management strategy. They also help fleets more safely manage everyday operations, leading to big gains over time both financially and in driver safety.