Many articles and reports have sung the many praises of good fleet management systems and telematics. This has made it relatively easy to find information about all the benefits of integrating such systems. These systems have proven their worth as fleet management solutions time and time again. So much so, in fact, that this continual proof prompts another question: what is the cost of not integrating fleet management systems into your fleet?
There are plenty of real-life examples proving that successful implementation of fleet management systems and telematics doesn’t just help a fleet thrive–it helps it survive. Washington DC’s local government recently found this out the hard way: DC’s entire metro system is currently under a great deal of reconstruction and renovation to correct the disrepair caused mainly by a lack of a cohesive fleet management system.
Regardless of whether your fleet extends across an entire city, is attached to a single small business, or is anywhere in between, you stand to benefit from an effective and cohesive system for managing fleet risks. With that in mind, the following are a few of the risks you are taking by not including fleet management systems in your business’ strategy.
1. Vehicle Theft
Vehicle theft is likely one of the biggest risks your business will face when you fail to integrate fleet management systems. Telematics make it easier than ever to tell when a vehicle departs significantly from its given route or is stolen. In fact, fleet managers can be immediately alerted when a vehicle diverts from its assigned path, and they can track the vehicle’s location, which can then be given to the police. Some systems will even enable you to remotely disable the vehicle’s engine.
Of course, many systems are designed to prevent theft from occurring in the first place. Many telematics systems come with security and locking devices that not only increase the security of your vehicles in the first place, but also allow you to know whether the doors of any given vehicle are locked or unlocked. You can even define the parameters of a locking system and designate when and where a vehicle can be locked and unlocked.
Fleet management systems have proven effective against potential thieves many times. There have been quite a few instances wherein company vehicles were stolen but were able to be returned almost immediately thanks to their installed GPS tracking and location devices.
Of course, while the above-mentioned is an extreme example, there are other ways that telematics can help prevent theft. In some instances, this theft can happen over a long period of time, slowly draining your business of its potential productivity…
2. Employees Taking Advantage of Unmonitored Activities
Vehicle theft may be costly, but so is time theft! A lack of driver accountability and visibility can lead to problems that can go undetected by fleet managers for years. Without the benefit of a fleet management system, it can become all but impossible to know whether drivers and other mobile workers are being responsible and adhering to their schedules.
This relates to another employee-related issue, that of poor behavior behind the wheel.
3. Damage to Vehicles Caused by Unchecked Driving Habits
Telematics can inform you when drivers repeatedly brake too hard, accelerate too quickly, speed, or make hard turns. This information can serve a manager looking to minimize fleet risks in two key ways:
- Having data related to the driver’s actions on the road can help determine whether the driver is exhibiting harmful driving habits that could be endangering company equipment or, even worse, themselves. Being able to pinpoint these habits with the data provided by telematics can enable you to build a much safer fleet, and can enable you to reward drivers who develop safe driving habits.
- Harmful driving habits can also damage your vehicle’s equipment. For example, slamming the brakes or accelerating too hard on a daily basis can damage the vehicle parts involved, which can cost your business over time. Bad driving habits can also lead to a dramatic spike in fuel consumption.
When analyzing telematics data in light of driver performance, however, it is important not to go overboard. Employees will resist fleet management systems when they feel micromanaged by the data and if their every move is being scrutinized. This acquired data is most accurate when used to pinpoint general trends and it is always best to emphasize this when introducing the system to your employees.
4. General Decrease in Productivity
Fleet management systems are crucial for determining the most productive and efficient way of performing even everyday tasks. For example, some systems enable you to assess the routes your drivers take every day and determine whether any of these overlap. That way, you can see how you can rearrange the routes of your drivers to improve efficiency.
Many companies find this to be a necessity in the modern age, especially those in the emergency services and those who are responsible for larger fleets that need to cover as much ground as possible.
5. Decrease in Market Competitiveness
The reality of the times is that the overwhelming majority of fleet managers have chosen to integrate these systems into their fleet. Not investing in these can leave you vulnerable to common fleet risks and hold you back in markets where you are competing against those who are successfully implementing telematics.
In an economy where everyone is looking to boost their productivity in order to get ahead, it is vital for you to invest in smart fleet management solutions. Using these will enable you to lower costs on fuel, cut back on unnecessary repairs, and eliminate inefficient driver routes.