Transportation organizations are utilizing telematics across their fleet to think outside the truck.
Commercial truck and equipment manufacturers, owners, operators and drivers view telematics as a technology that allows fleets to wring maximum efficiency and productivity from their assets. That is only part of an overall picture: organizations that use the full capabilities of telematics find these productivity and efficiency gains in more places than the road.
Telematics can streamline operations considerably in the back office. Fleet managers are already accustomed to using the technology at their desks, or wherever they happen to be, for scheduling trips and deliveries, routing and dispatching, fleet tracking and overall fleet management. Increasingly, other departments in construction, trucking or transportation organizations use an integrated telematics system to help them reduce administrative overload, cut expenses, and contribute to the company’s return on investment.
Accounting, billing and payroll
Telematics data from a vehicle and a driver is an electronic record that can be transmitted to the office with driver hours, miles traveled and other information in accurate digital form. Application Programming Interface (API) allows third-party software applications to easily share information with other fleet systems. Compared to the old system of handwritten paper records, and the necessity for administrative staff to compile these numbers into the office database, there are clear gains in time and money saved.
This data is not only invaluable for employee management, it helps simplify customer management as well. A billing department with access to this database can produce invoices directly from it. If a client has questions related to hours worked on their account, telematics location tracking can show when a vehicle arrived at the site, and how much time workers spent on the job.
Telematics tracking systems allow the back office to notify customers when a delivery is on the way, and provide a more precise estimate for time of arrival. Automating these functions can save on customer service costs and increase customer satisfaction.
Dispatchers with telematics data know each driver’s location in real time and no longer have to rely on a combination of driver reports and guesswork to decide which vehicle is nearest to the next delivery destination.
When dealing with shippers or carriers, the office staff can share real-time information for scheduling dock loading and unloading. Delivery organizations can keep their customers happy by helping them reduce out-of-stock events and have a better handle on inventories.
Transportation, trucking and other organizations that are subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules, are committed to keeping the company’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score in the positive range. Telematics provides managers and office staff the data that facilitates monitoring driver behavior — valuable support for regulatory compliance and for helping to keep insurance costs in check.
For fleet management, navigation and tracking, telematics devices may have made their first appearance in the vehicle, but managers and owners who make the most of what this technology offers are finding it useful — and remunerative — both on the road and in the office.