Australia’s transportation industry is at a pivotal crossroad. Operators and fleet managers continue looking for new ways to reduce operational costs, but a critical skills shortage is impacting ability to meet demand.
In the recent 2019 Telematics Benchmark Report, Teletrac Navman spoke with more 2,000 fleet operators and fleet management professionals globally, to understand the biggest challenges faced by the transport sector and how technology is helping businesses conquer these issues and prepare for the future.
Overcoming The Biggest Hurdles
The research revealed that the top goal for businesses in the transport and freight industry is reducing overall operational costs. This is followed closely by risk management (21%), growing revenue (19%) and business expansion (16%). Unfortunately, fuel costs threaten to counteract cost management efforts, representing the second-largest expense at 41 per cent, right behind payroll.
Many businesses are looking toward implementing telematics solutions to monitor their fuel usage and other factors contributing to overall spend, with telematics usage up 13 per cent from last year’s Benchmark Report.
Used primarily to track vehicles and equipment, fleet operators that use telematics to monitor their overall fuel use have noted an average reduction rate of 9.5 per cent. As the price of fuel continues to rise and becomes a bigger operational cost, a 9.5 per cent reduction in fuel use can translate to a six-figure saving for some businesses.
Traffic congestion is cited as the biggest external threat to the industry, and many managers use telematics to identify and plan alternate routes, resulting in reduced fuel usage and improved customer service. The use of the real-time information arms businesses with ways to overcome hurdles by making better decisions quicker and helps drivers complete more jobs within a shorter timeframe.
Improved Driver Safety
Ensuring the safety of drivers remains a key concern. More and more businesses are using telematics to keep their drivers safe by monitoring location, speed, fatigue, maintenance and more. Nearly half of those surveyed reported that telematics has reduced driver incidents, up significantly compared to the 23 per cent from 2018.
Telematics is also helping businesses stay on top of compliance requirements, primarily driver fatigue management. The number of businesses considering implementing fatigue monitoring technology is up 29 per cent from last year’s report.
Room for Progress
While the number of businesses implementing telematics continues to rise, advancements in technology aren’t being used to their full potential.
While the top reason for considering implementing the technology is to monitor fatigue, only 19 per cent of businesses surveyed are currently using electronic work diaries (EWDs), despite the clear efficiency and safety benefits of an electronic solution. EWDs make it much easier for businesses to monitor and manage fatigue by automating in-cabin alerts for rest breaks and reducing errors, keeping you compliant with Chain of Responsibility (CoR) requirements. However, most non-users intend to use EWDs when they become voluntary replacements for paper logbooks.
Many businesses also fail to realise the potential impact of big data on how they operate, with only 23 per cent of fleets using analytics to guide their strategic business decision making.
Using big data to forecast hiring needs is a distant second to manual, paper-based processes, with only 8 per cent considering implementing. This is a huge missed opportunity as research shows that businesses using big data see a profit increase of 8 to 10 per cent, along with a 10 per cent reduction in overall costs.
Preparing for the Future
The average age of an Australian commercial truck driver is 53, meaning that companies need to act now if they want to attract a new generation of drivers to the transport sector.
39 per cent of fleets are currently experiencing a driver shortage and turning to pay increases and flexible work arrangements to attract talent. More than half plan to increase the number of drivers in their fleet over the coming years, using online job boards and referrals as their primary recruitment methods.
While talent retention is not a primary objective for most businesses, many have used pay rises, equipment upgrades and driver appreciation programs as retention tools. Of the 78 per cent of companies monitoring driver behaviour, one-third reward safe driving behaviour. Those that invest in rewarding positive behaviours see tremendous impact across their business, with fewer safety violations the biggest benefit.
With fleet operators across the country facing more challenges that ever before, the 2019 Telematics Benchmark Report reveals that telematics technology helps fleets to stay safe on the road while staying ahead of the competition.
Conducted between April and May this year, our 2019 Telematics Benchmark Report includes responses from more than 2,100 fleet operations and fleet management professionals.
With respondents spanning from for-hire and private fleets to government agencies, this report is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of fleet management trends across Australia and an understanding of best practices regarding business, telematics, technology and security.