View source: Matt D'Angelo

Collect data to keep your fleet and heavy machinery working as efficiently as possible.

Telematics technology is becoming a staple among businesses that use fleets of vehicles and heavy machinery. Telematics is more than just GPS tracking; it’s tech that offers you a gold mine of data that you can use to improve your bottom line and run your business and worksite more efficiently. The best telematics systems keep track of dozens of aspects and components, allowing you to build an improvement plan for your worksite.

The combination of GPS, monitoring systems and a data-gathering interface make up modern telematics systems, allowing you to keep track of individual vehicles when they’re out in the field. Not only is it smart to know where your vehicles are at all times, but you’ll also have a complete history of the fleet’s journey. Diagnostics allow you to monitor the status of machinery, whether it’s onsite or out in the field.

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What is a telematics system, and how does it work?

A telematics system is installed in a vehicle to collect data. A cellular network transmits the data to the cloud so that it is available on any device. The Global Navigation Satellite System triangulates the vehicle’s location at any given time.

The device can collect many different types of information that can be beneficial to your business. It can monitor speed, fuel costs and the condition of the vehicle. It can also find the vehicle if it’s stolen. Given the cost of most industrial vehicles, that’s a huge win.

Tip: If you are in the market for telematics, you have several highly rated GPS fleet tracking systems to choose from. Learn more about some top options in our Samsara review, our review of ClearPathGPS and our Azuga review.

How does telematics improve your business? 

While telematics provides a host of opportunities for all businesses to improve efficiency and save on fuel, it’s important to fully understand the wide-ranging benefits of incorporating data collection and analysis into your fleet management strategy. We live in a data-driven world. If your business isn’t taking full advantage of all the cloud-based tools at its disposal, it may be lagging behind competitors.

Money savings

The most significant benefit to incorporating telematics into your fleet management strategy is saving money. By signing up for these cloud-based services, you’re taking the first steps toward improving your bottom line. From the outset, telematics services can be written off as a deductible business expense. This can help you decrease your taxable income, which can save you money come tax time. Typically, any hardware components needed to outfit your vehicles, such as electronic logging devices, can be written off as capital expenses, and monthly subscription fees can be credited toward operational costs.

Improved fuel efficiency

By decreasing fuel consumption, your business can save money. A significant feature of telematics software is improved visibility into fuel usage and efficiency. Telematics solutions include driver fuel usage statistics, overall miles-per-gallon figures and even driver coaching tips to encourage efficiency. This, combined with better insight into when to hit the pumps, will allow your business to increase its bottom line.

Better management of your business 

For small business owners, it’s essential to audit and adjust your management style constantly. Great managers evolve. They don’t get stuck on one philosophy. Telematics is a tool you can use to manage your workers and assets better. You’ll know when assets and drivers have left your location, where they are, when they’ve arrived at their destination, and how long it took them to get there. You’ll be able to work with drivers to ensure they’re operating in a safe, responsible manner, and you’ll be able to coach them on improving fuel efficiency. A major facet of running a business is ensuring everyone is functioning at the highest level possible: Great managers make their workers better versions of themselves. By using all the tools at your disposal, you can do this.

Did you know? The average trucker drives about 500 miles per day, or roughly 125,000 miles per year. Saving just a few pennies per mile can end up saving your business a bundle.

What are the benefits of telematics for fleets?

Telematics has the potential to save your fleet time and fuel while improving safety and communication between management, drivers and operators. What telematics can do for you will depend on the type of data you’re seeking.

FYI: When choosing a GPS fleet tracking system, you should make sure it has all of the features and tools you need to support the type of fleet you operate and that it is easy for both managers and drivers to use.

Here are several factors you can track with telematics and how you could use them to improve your fleet.

Routes

You can track your fleet’s regular routes and use the geodata to plot better routes for faster delivery and less fuel consumption. Pairing your telematics with real-time traffic reports will allow you to reroute vehicles to avoid slowdowns. If your vehicle is stolen, telematics can help police track it down.

Vehicle status

Many telematics systems can record when the vehicle is on, off, moving and idling. You can track a driver’s efficiency to ensure they are making reasonable time and not making unnecessary stops. You can also monitor vehicle speed and know when drivers are speeding or participating in other reckless driving. This data will help you compile driver reports and identify where drivers need improvement.

Vehicle condition

Knowing how much fuel your vehicle has, as well as how much it’s using for trips, optimizes your fleet planning and lets you know how efficiently each vehicle is running.

Tying monitors to specific systems, like fuel level and tire pressure, will let you know when a vehicle is not running as efficiently as it could and when it’s time for a tune-up. You can prevent serious breakdowns by identifying problems as they materialize, thus increasing safety and saving on maintenance costs, according to telematics provider Traxxis GPS.

Customer relations

Telematics isn’t only for the benefit of drivers and those in the office. You can share the data with customers who are expecting important orders so that they can plan accordingly.

Dispatching

For businesses that deploy vehicles for fieldwork, telematics helps you with dispatch services. Knowing a fieldworker’s location and job status lets you easily reroute them to new jobs nearby without their having to return to the garage.

What are the benefits of heavy machinery telematics?

Telematics offers several benefits to construction businesses that regularly operate heavy machinery at worksites or on field assignments. Equipment with this capability can be operated more efficiently and safely, which can result in savings. Major equipment dealers offer versions of their vehicles and machines with telematics installed. Remote diagnostic capabilities allow you to monitor your inventory of machinery and can provide you with valuable data points.

Maintenance tracking

Routine inspections of equipment are commonplace on construction sites; however, constant diagnostic reports are an even better way of tracking a machine’s health and knowing when it’s time for maintenance or to retire the machine. Remote diagnostics can even identify problems that the operators and inspectors may be unaware of. These systems can detect if a machine’s engine is working harder or struggling more to accomplish a job compared to its past performance.

Usage tracking

You’ll be able to see the daily usage of your company’s machines as well as how they’re being used. Knowing how often a particular machine is being used can help you plan how many machines should be deployed to the next worksite. You can also see when a machine has been idling for too long or if an operator is misusing a piece of equipment, such as overloading it. You can know when you’re using too much fuel and if there are practices on the worksite that you need to correct, according to iSqFt.

Insurance

Many top insurance providers will offer you better commercial insurance rates and other benefits if you use telematics to track your machines’ and fleet’s safety and maintenance. If you want lower deductibles, provide proof to your insurance company that your machinery can be tracked via GPS, which can help prevent theft and misuse.