The rapid adoption of telematics for fleet management has left operators overwhelmed by the data they now have to deal with.
That’s the view shared by local industry players, who point out that the rapid evolution of the technology in SA and Africa has left fleet operators with many options when it comes to telematics.
A fleet telematics system allows the information exchange between a commercial vehicle fleet and its central authority.Steven Sutherland, sales director at MiX Telematics for SA and Africa, says fleet managers are facing challenges in regards to telematics use.
“At the heart of this misunderstanding is the fact that fleet managers don’t realise that advanced telematics, and the big data that can be derived from it, is more than just a device that spits out a whole lot of information.
“It’s an end-to-end solution – implemented in close collaboration with your service provider – that makes continuous improvement possible.”
Sutherland believes that while obtaining fleet information may not be new, harnessing it at today’s volumes and understanding what it means in the context of a fleet’s operating environment is the challenge.
“As fleet owners move from merely tracking their vehicles and drivers to implementing a comprehensive solution, they’ll soon realise huge benefits, including a significant reduction in fuel consumption and improved driver behaviour.”
Shadab Rahil, Joint CEO of Payment24, says with some telematics systems, too much data and notifications can become overwhelming for fleet managers and result in missing out on critical alerts.
In recent times, he notes, telematics is being utilised for private drivers by some insurance companies. “Insurers are using this data to evaluate the risk a particular driver poses to the insurer’s business. This has been one of the biggest new adoptions of telematics.”
“For traditional commercial fleet managers, Shadab Rahil adds, some of the major benefits include improving vehicle utilisation, driver allocation, route management, accurate fuel monitoring, maintenance management, monitoring driver behaviour, speed monitoring, and idling.
“All these collectively improve the ROI for commercial fleet operators. Telematics provides the most accurate way of capturing mileage and vehicle performance, which increases the life of a vehicle and keeps drivers in check as well. Managing driver behaviour is one of the biggest challenges faced by fleet managers and using telematics is one way to manage it.”
According to Sutherland, the use of ‘big data’ in telematics bodes well for businesses and fleet managers alike, as it allows them to track and monitor drivers, field workers, vehicles and other mobile assets such as forklifts.
“Effective mobile asset management takes care of your assets and monitors those who spend their days operating the equipment,” he concludes.