Alongside such developments as Artificial Intelligence, telematics are seen as a new wave of smart technologies that are revolutionising how transport companies operate. Telematics have changed the central concern of the haulage industry: whereas the broad objective of reducing fuel usage was once the main goal, driving style has now become the predominant focus. This has been aided by the development of technology that measures the driving style of delivery work drivers in order to reward efficiency. For the haulage industry, this development is beginning to show four key advantages which will be highlighted below.
A major benefit of using this technology is the saving on insurance premiums that can be made. Hauliers can expect to save a significant sum of money by fitting out their fleet with telematics. By doing this, insurance companies can actively track how safely vehicles are being driven and will have a direct impact on premiums if safe driving is encouraged. Hauliers can then promote this safe driving style by incentivising delivery drivers with leader boards and financial rewards. All in all, the use of telematics could well spell the end to rip-off insurance schemes.
Many fleets who use this kind of information technology have found that driver engagement has increased as a result of its installation. The introduction of leader boards based on efficient driving makes both management and drivers happy. Drivers are eager to be at the top of the leader board to earn financial rewards whilst management get to see the benefits of lower insurance costs. With delivery work often requiring long distance travel it is easy for drivers to become detached from the company they serve. With this new technology and a responsible rewards system, drivers are encouraged to keep an open dialogue with their company to check on their leader board status.
With safer, more consistent driving comes more efficient fuel usage, which provides another substantial saving brought about by the introduction of telematics. This indirect route to achieving fuel consumption targets is a novel way to save costs. With lower fuel costs, businesses engaging with haulage companies can expect lower prices, in turn making UK businesses more competitive. In a post-Brexit Britain this will only become more important.
The technology also encourages reduced vehicle maintenance costs. Unsurprisingly, as vehicles are driven with more care and fewer insurance claims are taken out, the wear and tear of vehicles is less extreme. This means that vehicles can be used longer with less to worry about and inevitably tends up saving hauliers money. Of course another advantage to this is a greener fleet of vehicles with less impact upon the environment through inefficient fuel use or frequently changed parts.
A Technological Revolution
All in all, telematics are a novel way to improve four central components of delivery work: insurance costs, driver engagement, maintenance costs and fuel consumption. The case for their use is very strong and points towards the future of the haulage industry.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching delivery work with available drivers. Over 5,000 member companies are networked together through the Exchange to fill empty capacity, get new clients and form long-lasting business relationships.