Whether you are an independent courier or own a whole fleet of vehicles, a vehicle tracking system can boost your profitability through greater efficiency, support the health and wellbeing of your drivers, save on fuel usage, as well as preserving the longevity of your fleet and keep down your fleet insurance or commercial vehicle insurance costs.
In our first blog Vital Use of Telematics for Fleet Management, we looked at the benefits of management software. But, finding the right system for your business can be time-consuming and confusing.
Here is our quick guide of what to look out for when choosing a telematics system to help you find the one that suits your van or fleet.
Choosing the Right Provider
- What are your priorities? - Make a list of what you want to achieve from your telematics system, for example, better fuel efficiency, more visibility over your fleet, global coverage, ease of use and whether you need it to be used across a broad range of devices such as mobiles and tablets.
- Cost and budget - What is your budget and how much will the vehicle tracking services cost? How are the charges made up? Some companies charge a monthly fixed fee for each vehicle while others may charge for individual services. Look for any hidden costs such as installation charges and what’s included in the monthly charge, such as software and hardware.
- Fleet size - Some systems are much more suited to an individual or small number of vans, while other suppliers specialise in larger enterprises. This will also depend upon the type of information you want to collect and how data will be reported to you.
- Vehicle compatibility - Which telematics hardware are your vehicles compatible with and can this be linked back to your current management system? Remember that every vehicle’s internal computer system will vary, so ensure the system can be installed throughout your entire fleet.
- Your industry - Generally, a telematics system caters for all industries that require tracking. However, you may find that some will be more suitable. For example, a food delivery company will have different requirements to that of a courier company.
- Request a product demonstration - Most suppliers will offer a free product demonstration. Remember to include a variety of team members to assess both the hardware and the different management systems that may be available. It’s important that employees find the equipment user-friendly and easy to manage.
Check whether the data collected is based on estimated readings or real-time data. Suppliers should also have data security ISO 27001 certification and be GDPR compliant.
- What do others say - It’s easy to research customer satisfaction online. Find reviews, check social media and the company’s website. Ask for case studies of companies they have supplied with a system in an industry similar to your own. It may even be worth checking with other companies on how the system works for them and whether it meets their expectations.
- Installation and customer service - When installing a new telematics system, you need as minimal disruption to your business as possible and customer service support when you need it. As well as the financial implications of installation, check what the process involves and how long it’s likely to take. You may want to self-install if possible.
Check on your warranty – how long is it for and what does it include? Is there 24-hour customer support accessible for the whole team?
- Data Collection - Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you clarify exactly what the offer includes – is the supplier just the hardware provider or will they supply regular reviews of the data? How flexible is the contract if you need to increase your fleet size? Can the provider scale flexibly without unexpected high fees?
Lower Insurance Premiums
As telematics help you to monitor your fleet and cut down on dangerous or erratic driving, insurers know that this is likely to result in fewer accidents and damage to vehicles, as well as enabling the recovery of any stolen vehicles or cargo more easily.
This makes the fleet less of an insurance risk and helps to protect the company’s no claims bonus and reduce premiums. This also makes it easier for your insurance broker to monitor appropriate premium costs for the whole fleet.
Not all telematics providers are accepted for discounts by Insurers, check with your insurer if the devices and provider are acceptable before entering into any agreement.