Peter Kelly, Group Transport Compliance and Fleet Manager, Berendsen, offers best practice advice for introducing telematics to improve fleet operations.
Generating the right data to improve fleet performance requires a best practice approach that involves strategic planning and prudent system implementation.
Having introduced a number of different telematic systems across Berendsen’s business divisions over recent years, our experiences have given us first-hand insights into what works for us and what we require as we continue to grow. With this knowledge in the bag, we’ve been able to hone our approach.
By harmonising our fleet systems and successfully introducing an integrated technology solution, underpinned by telematics, we have improved both our environmental performance and employee safety.
A word to the wise – it you’re looking to introduce a new telematics system, the following considerations were vital in helping us achieve our goals. They may also hold the key to success for you and your fleet.
Plan ahead to minimise business disruption
Whatever the size of the company, introducing technology to improve business operations involves some degree of change management. Effective planning will help minimise business disruption and help ensure a positive outcome.
This process should be overseen by a delegated project manager who can ask the right questions of all the right people across the business, assume responsibility for coordinating implementation and track its progress.
To simplify the process at Berendsen, implementation was strategically undertaken one depot at a time. By breaking the implementation process down in this way and assigning responsibilities, the technology’s adoption could be tackled in a pragmatic way, making it a more manageable task.
Do your homework – telematics systems are not made equal
Engage to empower
Engaging all relevant business stakeholders was vital for Berendsen when we were spec’ing our system. We knew different users would have different agendas and the functionality the system offered had to meet everyone’s needs.
With numerous National Logistics Managers working across our different business divisions, all had to be on board with our choice of a single solution that could offer company-wide governance.
A driver training programme, which paid heed to the road safety benefits of telematics, was implemented and this proved central to engaging perhaps our biggest stakeholder – our mobile workforce.
It was vital for us to scrutinise the integration capabilities of available systems.
We wanted to invest in a platform that not only offered ready-made robust camera integration potential, but one that would also interface with important back-office software, including our transport management and fuel card systems. This called for a telematics system which could boast stable, open application programming interfaces (APIs).
A tech partner for the future
A preferred technology provider had to be ahead of the game – not only would it have to meet our current requirements, but it also had to be well placed to meet the future needs of your business.
This meant due diligence had to extend to ensuring systems were future-proof and to consideration of suppliers’ records on R&D investment and innovation.
Ease of use
Moreover, the solution had to offer an intuitive, user-friendly, interface. You can deploy the most advanced technology in the world but if it’s not easy to use – and consequently doesn’t get used – it’s a wasted investment. TomTom WEBFLEET delivers fleet insights fast.
The proof in the pudding
This integrated telematics system adopted by Berendsen has enabled us to take full control of our fleet’s performance. In addition to a significant uplift in our road risk management, we have seen a 12.7 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency with carbon emissions cut by more than 2,000 tonnes.