The delivery and freight industry is an ever-changing landscape and the National Transport Commission (NTC) are projecting growth of 26 per cent over the next decade. Meeting this demand will require more thought that just doing it the old way, especially as automation is reshaping the sector. Yet navigating through this uncertainty is often easier said than done.
In a recent benchmarking survey undertaken by Teletrac Navman, it showed that 94 per cent business owners intend to invest in technology within the next year. Where do you start?
Instant event replays, geofencing, GPS tracking, alerts & notifications, electronic work diaries; these features are just the beginning. Looking at all the available options for fleet management systems can be overwhelming and knowing what you actually require can be difficult. Taking advantage of the available innovations but keeping spending under control is a big concern - the last thing you want is to sink money into a confusing and ill-fitting system that creates more work than it does.
Here are five of our top suggestions for technologies to implement and the real-world benefits they bring for your fleet.
Your drivers and vehicles are your most important assets and their effectiveness determines your business’ success. If deliveries are constantly late or you’re over-servicing your fleet, time and money goes into addressing customer complaints and performing unnecessary maintenance. Vehicle tracking allows back office to not only see how your drivers are tracking with their jobs, but how the vehicle is performing and when it’s due for a scheduled service. GPS-based technology generates the most efficient route for your drivers instantly, so planning jobs becomes hassle free. If a driver goes on a detour due to roadwork, your office knows instantly and can notify the customer of the delay. You’re never out of the loop and can better utilise your drivers and vehicles to maximise the return on investment, and get to the task at hand in an efficient manner.
Driver Performance Tools
Speeding is a major concern for businesses, with 74 per cent of them monitoring it with telematics. Not only does it endanger the lives of your driver and other road users, but an incident can slow down your productivity and puts your business at risk of audits or breaching Chain of Responsibility (CoR) obligations. Speeding can be an unconscious action, so real-time driver alerts means they know they’re notified and can instantly correct their behaviour. This information is then displayed within driver scorecards, which allows managers to identify patterns of unsafe behaviours. Events can be replayed and used as education and training tools, so your staff get a better idea of their actions and potential consequences. It gives insights into what happens when you’re not around and allows you to stamp out behaviours that cause damage to vehicles, drivers and the business.
Whether it’s long haul or within a 200km radius, drivers spend long hours on the road. A 2017 university report showed that 82 per cent of driver’s weekly work schedules exceeds 50 hours. Fatigue is highly dangerous, and failure to manage it properly attracts heft fines for your business. Australia’s fatigue laws are complex and calculating hours worked and rested against rule sets can be difficult. Things such as using longer routes, missing exits or delivering the wrong cargo to customers, might not seem like a big deal, but they all chip away and weigh-down a driver’s mind.
When you’re managing multiple drivers, it’s difficult to track everyone’s working hours. An in-cabin device outfitted with an electronic work diary (EWD) helps drivers record and calculate their rest breaks. The system sends an alert before it’s time for a break to give the driver pre-emptive time for a break while it helps enter start and stop times. Each driver’s fatigue information is sent back to the office so managers know exact work and rest details for all their staff to ensure a compliant operation. This means you get access to detailed reports on fatigue, hours worked and violations so you can detect any short falls on rests or better allocate overworked drivers. While you’re not yet able to replace paper work diaries entirely with an electronic system, it makes filling logbooks in quicker, more accurate and hassle free.
Keeping vehicles in tip-top shape is just as important as your driver’s health. A bad tyre or faulty engine could spell disaster on the road. But over-servicing vehicles mean that you are paying for unneeded parts and repairs, as well as taking vehicles out of commission more often. Automatic alerts mean that drivers and managers don’t need to worry about manually booking. Scheduled by time frame or distance, you know a vehicle’s exact maintenance schedule and when to service it.
Both you, your back-office staff and your drivers face a mountain of paperwork, and nothing is more daunting than the pre-trip checklists and delivery forms. Tracking down the correct paperwork for a specific vehicle and cargo, especially during audits, means cutting into precious operational time. Checks gets rushed or skipped entirely, leading to unaddressed issues that can cause bigger problems. Paper forms can be easily lost or damaged, so deliveries become riddled with errors. An in-vehicle device means both pre-trip check lists and forms are completed digitally and all in the one place. Drivers can also bring up the relevant document on their device and send the data back to the office. It also means drivers can scan barcodes, take photos and acquire digital signatures from customers from a single platform.
A safer, efficient fleet get jobs done faster, satisfies customer demands and increases profit margin. Getting the one-up on competitors is as simple as doing a good job. Telematics lets your business do just that.