By RAM Tracking on 30 Aug 2017

What is Telematics?

The word telematics comes from combining the words telecommunications and informatics. So, in the broader sense, telematics can be regarded as any integrated use of telecommunications technology with information technology and communication.

Telematics is a pioneering way to track fleet assets as it provides the company with the ability to receive, send, and store data concerning fleet cars, such as maintenance schedules and, of course, mileage, using telecommunication equipment.

However, besides allowing fleet managers to track all kinds of data related to the fleets they manage, telematics also helps them track the location of the fleet vehicle at specific times and monitor the use of fuel cards, both of which can reveal potential abuse of vehicles. Right now, it is a widely used method to help optimise fleets of vehicles.

How to Use Telematics for Route Optimisation

The miles driven by fleet employees is a large area for fleet savings. Reducing the miles a fleet vehicle travels per day even by a little can have significant savings. Telematics has route optimisation capabilities that can not only help fleets save fuel but also eliminate personal use or unauthorised usage of the fleet. Cutting out unnecessary, out-of-route trips is a great way to reduce fuel costs, considering that a large part of your fuel bills may come from the out-of-office usage of take-home fleet vehicles. Plus, you increase the security and safety of your fleet, reduce operating expenses, and minimise labour costs from repairs and early maintenance.

How Can Telematics Monitor Fuel Card Use

You can get an accurate measurement of the use of fuel, meaning the distance covered per litre, as well as when the employee has used their fuel card (time and location) when driving the vehicle for personal use. This can be attained by integrating fuel card transaction data with data derived from telematics. Being able to monitor the fuel type, location, and tank volume with the assistance of telematics gives fleet managers the ability to determine whether a fuel card has been used for company operations in fleet vehicles or if it has been purchased for personal use (hence, unauthorised use, which is big, especially if your company has set specific personal use policies). In addition, it allows managers to track fuel slippage that may have gone unnoticed otherwise.

As a fleet manager, you can now know when a fleet vehicle is being driven away from the company premises (i.e. the employee's home) and used after business hours.

Telematics & GPS Vehicle Tracking

Telematics and GPS have a lot in common. Despite what some people think, they are not competing systems. On the contrary, GPS is part of a telematics solution. In fact, it is the very heart of the system that collects real-time key data about the fleet vehicles' engine status, asset operation, and current location. To be honest, a GPS vehicle tracking unit connected to the fleet vehicle's electronics can monitor just about any vehicle metric. Then, a telematics solution takes that data and sends it to central computers through the cellular network. The data can be converted into usable information through an elaborate processing system before it can be accessed from any computer connected to the Internet.

However, for all this to work, it is paramount to have your employees' support. So, you may need to explain how their behaviour can affect the company and why the new parameters have been put in place. Make sure they understand that whatever decisions you have made are for a reason. Studies have shown that one of the best ways to ensure you have your employees' support with your route optimisation efforts is by providing incentives to the ones that manage to maintain the safest and most efficient records.

Overall, telematics solutions save the fleet quite a lot of money, allowing managers to run a more profitable fleet and improve business efficiency.

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