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Posted by Graeme Corner

You’ve heard the word telematics. But you’re not sure what it is, how it works and why increasing numbers of businesses are talking about it. Let’s take a look and try to answer the key question: is telematics right for your business?

First things first. What is telematics?

It’s the technology that’s transforming life for busy fleet managers and streamlining operations for businesses with vehicles on the road. Think of telematics as a technology platform that collects data on vehicles – such as where they are and how they are being driven. This data is then sent over the internet to a secure central database, where fleet managers can get a real-time view of each vehicle’s fuel consumption, speed, location and lots more. The platform allows data to be sent in the other direction too: from a central hub to individual vehicles. That can dramatically improve things like vehicle despatching and re-routing based on live traffic conditions. For a slightly more detailed intro to telematics, you need our earlier blog post called “what is telematics vehicle tracking?”.

Who is telematics for?

The short answer? A good telematics system can benefit any business that has vehicles out on the road. The more you drive, the more ROI you can drive. Savings of thousands of pounds per year are achievable – even with a small fleet of 4 or 5 vehicles. Fleet management software is for fleet managers and businesses that want to cut unnecessary overheads and simplify fleet management. It gives you incredible insight on key metrics, empowering you to trim your fuel spendimprove driver safety and boost the efficiency of your fleet.

The benefits go on and on. Some of the best fleet management systems enable you to stamp out risky driving behaviours that waste fuel and cause accidents. They remind you when it’s time to complete key vehicle maintenance checks to keep your fleet performing efficiently. And they help you share accurate ETAs with customers or react to last-minute requests. If you have vehicles on the road and want to cut costs, improve driver safety and streamline your despatch operations, your business could benefit from telematics.

Choosing the right product for your business

Telematics is never a one-size-fits-all service. There are a number of different providers, offering a number of different fleet management platforms. The product that one business swears by may not be so good for yours. Here are three of the biggest questions to ask before considering a telematics provider.

Question #1: What type of contract would you prefer?

Different providers, different contract types. Some lock you in to long-term agreements. Others work on a month-by-month, rolling basis. Some ask you to pay for the cost of the telematics system upfront. Others bundle it into a fixed monthly fee. It boils down to how much flexibility and financial freedom you want.

Question #2: What’s the installation process?

If your business depends on vehicles being out on the road, choosing a provider that’s going to take your fleet out of action for a week is no good. If you have more freedom, a lengthy installation process may be fine. Otherwise find a provider that works around you, setting-up each vehicle at a time and place that suits you and staggering the installation process to ensure you have wheels on the road at all times.

Question #3: How will your staff react?

People don’t always react well to change – even when it’s obviously in their best interests. (It’s human nature.) Without a good onboarding process, switching to telematics could spark a little unrest among your staff – particularly if you have a lot of employees. The problem is, not all telematics providers offer free training. Those that do often limit it to one or two sessions. If you value staff engagement and stakeholder buy-in, find a provider that offers unlimited training and support to streamline your transition to telematics.

What next?

Thanks for making it to the bottom of the page! We know telematics can feel like a big step. Sometimes it’s hard to know whether it’s really suited to your business. We wrote an eBook to address those exact queries. It’s short, it’s waffle-free and you can download it for nothing.

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Graeme Corner

The majority of my time is spent ensuring that our team delivers simple and cost-effective solutions to our customers that face the challenges of running a fleet of vehicles.
Occasionally I manage to sneak away to enjoy time with family and friends or a quick game of golf ….