Your fleet is plugged in…now what?

Your fleet is plugged in…now what?

Read these three tips for avoiding data blindness with fleet telematics

Adopting fleet telematics requires a significant commitment of resources to ultimately get your fleet vehicles connected. When making the decision to invest, you’ll need to align the various stakeholders in your organization, obtain financial buy-in, coordinate implementation with the least impact to your operations and manage the impact to the drivers.

We talk about these considerations associated with setting up a telematics program, but often times the real challenge comes after the program is launched. The work doesn’t end once the devices are installed, in fact, it is just beginning! Even with implementation in your rear-view, you can’t set the cruise control on your new technology solution.

What you ultimately do with your new fleet data is just as critical as winning support to collect it in the first place. Unfortunately, having too much information at hand can lead to “data blindness”, or the inability to act upon the data you have painstakingly collected. If you’re not acting on the data you’re collecting, then you’re likely not going to deliver the value promised during your pitch.

So what can you do to keep your eyes on the prize? Here are three tips to sharpen your long-term fleet telematics vision:

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Don’t let off the “adoption” accelerator

Your proposal for investing in telematics technology was successful, but sustaining your momentum requires ongoing support from your organization. Make sure you’re staying in front of key stakeholders, reminding them how fleet telematics will make their jobs easier. Continue educating drivers as to why monitoring actually protects their interests. Show your field contacts how telematics consolidates a variety of vehicle information all in one place, saving them time. As long as you continue showing your internal customers “what’s in it for them”, the road to telematics success will be much smoother.

Don’t try to solve all the problems at once

When crafting your business case for fleet telematics, you likely included a long list of areas of where data could add fleet value. However, it can be overwhelming to drive change when your attention is spread too thin, so pick a couple of top priorities to focus on. Do you want to immediately tackle driver behavior assessment, or start identifying cost reduction opportunities?

  • If controlling variable fleet costs is on that list, then you may want to zoom in on the functions that aid in maintenance. By acting on the ability to have updates from the vehicle’s computer sent directly to you, you can proactively identify potential issues before it is too late and direct drivers to lower cost repair facilities in the area. Once the vehicles are in the shop, geofencing technology can be used to track the vehicle’s location and help reduce downtime by getting the vehicle back on the road as soon as repairs are completed.
  • For other fleets, driver accountability is paramount. For example, if you’re subject to the new electronic logging device (ELD) mandate, telematics can pull in vehicle data on when the vehicle stopped and started in order to confirm drivers are taking all required breaks. The electronic logging component also limits errors from logging manually and gives you access to logs quicker than ever before.
  • Leverage your telematics partner to help ensure you are focusing on the opportunities that help show the value of your investment.

Narrowing your focus down to several key priorities and dedicating your efforts to making progress in those areas can change the way you see the value of telematics.

Don’t be afraid to share incremental wins

Confidence in a new initiative is earned over time, and the best validation comes from actual results. That being said, you don’t need to wait until you fix all of your fleet problems before sharing some small wins along the way. For example, an ARI customer grappling with increased tire expenses across their fleet rolled out a fleet telematics initiative with the sole focus of monitoring tire pressure readings. While tire spend may seem like a small piece of the pie for many fleets, the technology’s success in addressing this critical cost area will lay the groundwork for support of future opportunities.

To learn more about getting the most out of your telematics initiative, check out ARI’s recent features in your favorite industry publications.