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How to put telematics to work for your fleet

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How quickly has GPS tracking, also known as telematics, adoption for commercial trucks advanced? Back in 2003, The U.S. Mobile Resource Management Systems Market Study estimated that less than 5% of U.S. fleet vehicles were equipped with telematics. Fast-forward to the 2016 study and that percentage has grown to approximately 30% equipped with telematics devices. That significant growth shows no signs of slowing down, as truck software technology continues to be integrated with increasingly sophisticated hardware.

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In a recent white paper, entitled “The 2016-2017 Fleet Manager’s Almanac”, GPS Insight detailed the top four areas in which telematics can boost a fleet’s productivity and increase the bottom line through data-centric fleet management decisions. Chances are that a number of your trucks sport a telematics solution—be it from a carefully vetted vendor or pre-installed on your new truck purchase. According to GPS Insight, integration of data systems is a key component to building a successful telematics platform within your operation.

“Put simply, data from one source meets data from another source and together they yield more powerful data,” the whitepaper stated. “For instance, pair vehicle location data with mapping functionalities and you get better customer service. To respond to emergencies, many utility companies combine vehicle location data with an outage management system. Combining the two can get the nearest responder to the right place faster, ultimately improving outage response times. No logging into multiple systems.”

At this point in the evolution of telematics offerings, the secret to finding the solution that best fits your fleet isn’t a conversation comparing and contrasting the vendor’s hardware—it’s a conversation about how the data is provided through dashboards and reports–the software. With so much data streaming off today’s trucks, it’s easy to drown in data. Being able to quickly access your trucks’ vital data and make an informed decision at a glance is where you will realize the power of telematics.

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“These days, users can customize dashboards so it takes less time to drill down to the information needed,” GPS Insight said in the whitepaper. “Dashboards are also more visual than ever, with powerful mapping and graphs that allow a straightforward look at the data. Event notifications and emailed reports also make grabbing valuable data faster than ever.”

Take fuel efficiency monitoring, for example. Knowing exactly how much fuel your fleet is using and how a new equipment or technology offering is improving your fuel usage can make all the difference in terms of asset acquisition. Telematics can help fleet managers track those crucial fuel usage data points. “With automated reports, fleet managers can identify drivers who waste fuel through unsafe driving behaviors like rapid acceleration, hard braking and cornering and speeding.”

For more on how telematics data will change the way you manage your fleet, as well as an in-depth look at the bottom line impact vehicle acquisition and safety data can have on your fleet, click here to download and read the full report.

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