Beverley Wise, director UK & Ireland for Webfleet Solutions, discusses how telematics tools can help fleets control costs in the months ahead
The wheels of UK road freight have continued to roll throughout the pandemic, but the impact of coronavirus on the transport industry has been considerable, placing a great deal of strain on trade and supply chains.
According to the Webfleet Solutions Commercial Mobility Recovery Dashboard, at the end of January UK commercial vehicle activity was averaging around 80 per cent of pre-Covid levels.
The vaccination programme has offered a light at the end of the tunnel, but as the sector plots a course for recover, it must continue to overcome a range of challenges – from rising fuel prices to skills shortages.
Smart technologies that help transport operators better control the cost factors that impact their bottom line will prove pivotal to their success in the months ahead – and telematics solutions sit at their very heart.
Webfleet for example, the cloud-based fleet management solution from Webfleet Solutions, combines a wealth of reporting information to help cut fuel costs, automate vital business processes and improve workflow management.
By being able to analyse where and how employees are driving, businesses can better identify the reasons behind fuel usage patterns. A low mpg, for example, might be attributable to journeys in residential areas or built-up locations, or it might be caused by harsh, inefficient, driving behaviour which needs addressing through targeted driver training programmes.
Using OptiDrive 360, these performance insights can be fed back to drivers in real time and enable transport managers to work with them collaboratively to improve driving styles.
In other areas, telematics solutions can help ease the considerable administrative burden facing operators.
Almost a third of transport companies, for example, spend at least 30 minutes per vehicle per month just retrieving tachograph data – a task that can have a significant impact on productivity.
The solution digitally downloads tachograph data from vehicles and enables users to share it directly with their analysis software. This means it can be integrated with the existing IT environment with less disruption.
Connected driver terminals, meanwhile, not only provide drivers with truck-specific navigation to route around access restrictions, they can also host a range of applications to simplify and streamline transport processes.
The Pro 8 series truck, for example, can be used to simplify order management, scan barcodes and capture signatures for proof of delivery, conduct DVSA-compliant daily vehicle checks, record photos of defects, report accidents and scan trailers.
Apps on the device can also send rest break alerts to drivers and pinpoint appropriate truck stop locations to help minimise the risk of DVSA fines.
The evolving challenges facing the transport sector can be a significant drain on the bottom line, but telematics offers the digital key to smarter ways of working.