Response times cut by telematics for energy firm

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Fuel economy is pretty much the big seller for telematics, as well as companies looking in on workers to make sure they’re doing what they say they’re doing, but one aspect that doesn’t’ get quite so much coverage is business efficiency. No, not at the Fleet Manager’s end, as everyone knows their job gets easier with telematics, but at the service end of things. If you have a job call come in and need to send someone to it, with telematics you can send the best person for the job, which more often than not, is the one who’s the closest.

In the case of Teesdale Renewables (TR), that’s exactly what happened when it implemented telematics in all of its vehicles, leading to it decreasing response times to call-outs, even with a fleet that’s only six vans strong.

“We use the Live Map feature all the time. It’s invaluable to us. In cases where there’s an emergency, we know immediately which engineer is nearest and send him or her to the job,” said Kevin Maughan, media and marketing manager at Teesdale Renewables (via FleetNews). This means they get to the customer much faster than they would if we were still having to manually check the location of each engineer. In addition, the system helps the engineer takes the fastest route to a job, which not only improves our service but saves fuel and time.”

fleetmatics

TR has had the Fleetmatics’ system in its vehicles since September and since then has noticed a marked improvement in emergency call-out response times, simply because the closest person to the job site can be sent to it and it doesn’t require ringing round to each of the drivers to see who is closest – the fleet manager can just see it on their screen. It has also been able to cut back on unlawful use of the vehicles outside of work hours. Fortunately, that hasn’t resulted in workers feeling that their privacy was being invaded or that their employer didn’t trust them, which can come about with the introduction of telematics.

“The engineers have embraced the technology very well,” said Maughan. “It is fair to expect a little resistance to this change in working practices but we were pleasantly surprised by how well it has been taken on board by the staff.”

Perhaps the best use of the technology however, was during an incident of a customer complaint, which had one of the drivers pulled up for driving excessively quickly while overtaking an elderly driver. Understandable, TR investigated the matter and thanks to the telematics data, was able to discover that in-fact, the TR driver had not been driving too fast, but that the elderly driver they were overtaking had instead been driving incredibly slowly. This avoided a lambasting of personnel who had done nothing wrong and allowed the company to defend itself publicly with verified evidence.

As the company expands, Teesdale Renewables expects to roll out new telematics solutions to its other assets and vehicles also.

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Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.