Five things to think about when choosing your fleet telematics partner

“The demands on all fleet decision-makers have changed and continue to change” according to Geoffrey Bray, a fleet industry veteran of 50 years and chairman of the Fleet Industry Advisory Group (FIAG). Speaking at the Group’s launch event he also highlighted how fleet managers must become smarter and better at what they do.

A need to improve efficiency while driving down costs is daunting for those of us who have been in the industry for years. But, as Bray points out, for anyone just starting out, getting the best out of your fleet looks especially challenging.

And with a plethora of solutions on the market, deciding exactly who offers the right product and support to match your needs can be hard. Here are some of our top tips for finding the right partner:

1)    Ease of installation and use

The best telematics systems are those that are easy to install and use. Technology has advanced to such an extent that fitting the devices should be quick. This is essential for fleet managers who need their vehicles on the road rather than sitting with an engineer.

Any solution that a fleet manager chooses should be easy for all users; everyone from the drivers on the frontline, to those analysing the data.

Make sure your system is configured exactly how you want it. There are endless items of data that you could pour over, but is it all relevant to your fleet? Your solution should be tailored so you know you’re only looking at the information that will make a difference to you.

2)    Account management and support

With significant amounts of data on driver speeds, locations, distances, vehicle wear and tear, and fuel consumption all being collated from multiple vehicles, fleet managers need an intuitive web interface that makes their job easier.

The task can seem daunting, but knowing you always have an experienced team sitting on the other end of the phone to support you helps. The best fleet telematics providers understand that the nature of the fleet manager’s role can demand high level of support. Selecting a provider that offers the best possible support framework is an absolute must.

3)    Scaleability

Can your telematics provider scale up as your fleet demands change? Make sure that there are no delays in deployment if you need to upgrade your system.

Do they offer a wider solution that goes beyond your fleet vehicles? The benefits of telematics in terms of driver behaviour and vehicle maintenance are obvious but can these benefits be extended across the business?

Phase two of your telematics implementation, for example, may include installing devices on your plant machinery and equipment or you may wish to arm your lone workers with devices to enhance safety and efficiency. Having one provider that can meet all of these needs will save you time and money.

4)    Transparency

Your telematics partner is one of the most important components in delivering a more efficient fleet. Choose one that might cause problems further down the line and fleet managers risk having to invest more money trying to correct issues that could have been prevented.

A partner who will be transparent about their pricing structure throughout the process will get the relationship off on a good footing – and one-off and ongoing charges such as installation fees, future upgrades and data fees all require consideration and discussion.

Although there is no shortage of companies offering cheap telematics solutions, in this industry, you really do get what you pay for and an attempt to save money at the beginning may come back to bite you when maintenance costs and poor performance hamper productivity.

5)    Reputation

Choose a firm with a strong pedigree in telematics and one who is well respected in the industry. The company’s credentials should demonstrate a commitment to investing in the latest innovations so that your solution can evolve alongside advancements in technology.

Make sure you research the market and ask your peers for their opinions. What sort of relationships does the provider have with its customers? Can they show you any case studies or provide you with customer references? Have they got experience of working with fleets like yours?

Ask their customers all of the questions that matter the most to you: speed of implementation, return on investment and client service levels, for example.

Managing a fleet and maintaining its efficiency is an ongoing challenge. But by doing your research and finding the right telematics partner, you can arm yourself with the insight you need to make better decisions. You’ll then be able to boost productivity, reduce fuel consumption, improve driver behaviour and time management – and ultimately benefit your bottom line.

Contact us to find out how our telematics solutions can help your business grow.

About the author

Mark Packman is the Chief Executive of Matrix Telematics. 

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