When the concept of GPS fleet tracking was introduced about a decade ago, it was just "dots on maps" says Daron Brinsdon, National Integrated Solutions Manager for Navman Wireless, and its main purpose was for fleet managers to identify driver location. While basic, this added visibility had a very positive impact on businesses as managers could allocate their fleets more efficiently and were able to have better fleet accountability. Since then, GPS fleet tracking has become much more advanced with the ability to measure everything from driver locations to time spent at a job, to traveling time and driver behaviour.
Daron shares some insights into how GPS fleet technology is continuing to revolutionise the way companies do business.
What are some interesting and new ways you're seeing GPS fleet tracking being used in Australia?
Traditionally GPS technology has been focused on internal business benefits, but we're beginning to see a shift to using the technology to improve the customer experience. With technology being at everyone's fingertips, we've seen customers' expectations change.
One great example of a company using GPS fleet tracking for a competitive advantage is Domino's Enterprises Limited (Domino's) Pizza. Domino's has outfitted all their delivery vehicles across Australia with GPS fleet tracking, which has dramatically improved business efficiency and fleet safety. The tracking ensures that staff do not get lost, dispatch runs as smoothly as possible, and delivery routes are fast and efficient, ultimately ensuring hot and fresh pizzas are delivered to customers.
The unique part of Domino's GPS fleet tracking, however, is that instead of the data just being available to the store manager, customers can see drivers en route via smartphone apps and web browsers and follow the pizza's journey to their doorstep. This added engagement has been positively received by customers and Domino's is opening new stores around the country to meet growing demand.
Do you see this trend continuing in other industries?
This is something that I think we will be seeing much more of in the next six to 18 months. Today when you hire a plumber or electrician you're often given a five hour window of when they may arrive at your home. Soon this will be a thing of the past as GPS fleet tracking will be able to notify you when the plumber is en route, greatly helping customers manage their time.
What are some other ways that companies in Australia are using telematics?
One area that Australia has lagged behind in comparison to the United States and Europe is using GPS fleet tracking for route optimisation. This area is now becoming more of a focus for Australian businesses as they see the business value of saving time and petrol ? especially as fuel costs rise in Australia.
Route optimisation is figuring out how many job destinations you have in one day and planning the most efficient way to get there. It allows managers to consider time obstacles such as city during peak rush hour or school zones during drop-off and pick-up times, which can have a big impact on a fleet's efficiency. To make the most of route optimisation, it must link to electronic job allocation and scheduling. Many Australian businesses are still running their business off pen and paper when it comes to scheduling, which prevents optimising workloads for each employee. I see this changing in the next six to 12 months.
Do you have any predictions of how technology will continue improving fleet efficiency in the coming years?
Biometrics is something that we've seen consumers rapidly adopt with the increasing popularity of technologies such as wearable heart rate monitors. I think this type of technology will be embraced for very practical purposes in fleet management.
When it comes to drivers, there are a lot of misconceptions about driver performance. For example, most fleet managers would logically think that driver incidents would take place towards the end of a work week ? when drivers have been working long hours and are fatigued. However, data shows that most accidents actually occur on Mondays after drivers have been out partying over the weekend. We need to have better insights into this type of thing to help protect our employees. This is where biometrics can help us. There are companies already doing some really exciting things to keep drivers safer. For example, SmartCap makes baseball caps outfitted with sensors monitoring driver fatigue. LumeWay has EyeAlert which focuses entirely on the driver's alertness levels or inattention to the road ahead. I think we will see biometrics being used for these practical purposes much more in the future.