February 3, 2020

How to onboard telematics in your fleet

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Telematics software offers greater visibility into your fleet’s operations and has quickly become a must-have technology in the industry.

Some of the key benefits of telematics for fleets include:

  • Improve driver productivity with real-time GPS tracking and geo-fences
  • Reduce accidents and mitigate risky driver behaviors
  • Improve fuel efficiency, decrease idling, and reduce fuel costs
  • Bring down maintenance costs
  • Track assets and reduce theft
  • Track and analyze operational trends
  • Improve overall business efficiency and asset utilization

But not all telematics software is created equal and oftentimes fleet managers find their drivers reluctant to add new technology or make changes to their day-to-day processes and workflows.  If you want to ensure a successful implementation of telematics in your fleet, read on to learn how to correctly onboard the technology.

5 steps to telematics adoption in your fleet

1. Communicate

No one should be blindsided in your fleet by finding out that overnight there was new technology installed and new work processes created. Start communicating with your staff early on why you’re looking to add telematics and how it benefits everyone the fleet.

Set aside time to ask for input and understand what different employees need out of the technology. Dispatchers and shop technicians will have very different ideas for must-have features in telematics and you should have your own set of capabilities and reporting you need to do your job.

Clearly communicate the timeline, rollout process, and individual responsibilities during implementation. Talk about how the technology will change workflows and procedures but highlight how telematics will help your employees do their jobs better and how they might be rewarded for adopting it, like getting bonuses or gift cards based on driver scorecards.

2. Research

Take your time researching different software partners and share your fleet’s goals and expectations for a software implementation to make sure you pick the right telematics solution for your fleet.

Perhaps managing fuel efficiency and costs are your biggest reasons to invest in telematics. Your goals could be something like reducing fuel spend by 5%, reducing speeding incidents by 20%, and reducing idling by 10%. Sales representatives can walk you through how to track those metrics in their systems and how their software can help you achieve your goals.

Once you’ve identified your goals, tie those to specific features you can add to a telematics checklist. Your checklist could include items like:

  • GPS tracking
  • Fuel tracking
  • Routes/dispatch
  • Geofences
  • Driver-pairing
  • Enforce compliance
  • Driver scorecards and speed monitoring
  • Vehicle servicing records and scheduling
  • Vehicle alerts
  • Reports
  • Customer support

Next, you’ll compare telematics solutions. Now keep in mind that while cost is an important factor, it’s much more important to look at the long-term ROI instead of monthly cost. You might find software that only costs $20 per month per vehicle but is missing preventative maintenance features. Now you have to add a second software to fill the gap and pay more for it. Focus on a holistic solution that includes the features from your checklist.

You may want to look at fleet management solutions that mix and match vehicle optimizations and technology to get the biggest return on your investment. At Derive, we offer telematics plus calibrations to limit vehicle speeds, reduce idling, and offer Active Vehicle Management features that automate safer driving. You choose what features you want and we optimize your operations accordingly.

3. Installation and training

Most telematics systems assign a customer service rep or account manager to make onboarding telematics as easy as possible. This dedicated person should coordinate the installation process as well as training for your staff.

When it comes to the install, you and your telematics provider should know where the installation is taking place, what vehicles it’s being installed in, and be able to pair drivers with their vehicles. You both should be on the same page with the timeline of the installation process and who’s responsible for what.

Everyone should be trained on the software or it won’t be as effective. Host several on-site training sessions and record a session for online viewing for those who can’t attend an in-person one. You may even ask for documentation from the telematics provider or an FAQ document you can share with your staff.

4. Designate a champion

One way to ensure a smooth rollout of telematics in your fleet is to choose a technology champion to lead the initiative and help others through it. Your champion should be enthusiastic and excited about adding the new software and can understand the benefits to both the fleet’s operations and their fellow colleagues.

5. Report on wins

Come full circle by showing the wins telematics has brought to your fleet and provide confirmation to why it was needed in the first place. Be transparent with employees on how this data is being collected and used and how reports are created and shared.

Interested in how Derive can help you get the most out of telematics by pairing it with our Active Vehicle Management? Download our free guide to learn more!

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