New research shows that nearly half of Australia’s road transport fleets now use telematics systems.

The survey, conducted by ACA Research for fleet management company Teletrac Navman, found that 46 per cent of Australian transport companies use telematics to manage their fleets more efficiently.

“It’s no surprise that vehicle tracking is easily the most commonly used feature,” the report said.
“And yet although the ability to plot and visualise exact locations in real time is undoubtedly helpful, it’s not a game changer.”

The study found that the value of telematics increases the more embedded into operations it is. At Level 4, when systems are used to streamline business processes, we see a significant improvement in productivity and operational efficiency in every link of the supply chain.

“Our assessment of the Australian telematics market is that it’s transitioning towards Level 3. So how can you move your fleet up the maturity curve to Level 4 and beyond?” the report says.

ACA recommends following these tips to put in place the necessary foundations to achieve Level 4 status:

  1. Integrate systems into a single insights platform: Many operators have invested in telematics as standalone systems, rather than integrating with fuel card data, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and accounting software. Consequently, the ability to address strategic business questions is limited.
  2. Ensure data is simple to understand and actionable: Telematics generates astonishingly large volumes of data so it’s easy to get lost in the detail. To avoid getting bogged down, ensure data delivers clear and actionable reports, with alerts set up to flag exceptions.
  3. Leverage data to inform the future: Data science is the new frontier for telematics. As global subscriber numbers increase, so does the volume of data collected. This can be used in numerous ways to improve fleet performance, such as building predictive models for equipment maintenance.
  4. Use data to gamify driver behaviour: Rather than adopting a punitive approach to non-compliance, use performance data to build a game-like incentive into driver safety programs. This will help meet your safety goals but modifications in driver behaviour will also reduce fuel consumption and maintenance bills.
  5. Employ a telematics specialist: This person needs a blend of technical, equipment, operation and fleet skills. Businesses often place great emphasis on technology but not enough on the skills required to extract full value from the investment. If you can’t justify a full-time role, consider upskilling an existing employee.
  6. Telematics investment is part of a broader, ongoing digital transformation that’s helping to significantly streamline business operations and improve customer experience:
  • Increased automation helps to drive down expenses while increasing productivity and performance.
  • Managing vehicle dispatch, job allocations and route management more effectively has a positive impact on customer satisfaction.
  • Real-time operations feedback, actionable reporting and predictive analytics are being used to generate better business decisions and inform future strategy.

“Transport operators with a leadership that embraces this transformation are more likely to be leading change and to succeed in the long run,” says ACA.
“Those that adopt a more incremental approach risk being left behind while those who ignore digital technology do so at their peril. The future is unpredictable, but telematics has an important role to play in the road freight transport industry. Only a fool would bet against an accelerating rate of change.”

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