7 Ways the Right Telematics Solution Can Improve Your Fleet’s Margins

March 12, 2020

Is your fleet looking for a telematics solution? If so, you may feel intimidated by all the different available features, or you may be unsure if the long-term investment is worth the upfront costs.  

“There are a lot of operational levers that a telematics solution can pull to deliver substantial ROI to an organization,” said Tyler Willibrand, Business Value Strategist at Samsara. “To make it less overwhelming, I tell customers to think about the two to three biggest operational challenges they have today. When we look at just that data, they are amazed at the impact telematics has to eliminate expensive inefficiencies.”

To help you focus on where telematics can make the biggest impact on your business, we created a buyer guide that includes the top considerations we heard from our customers when they were selecting a telematics vendor. Read on to learn about seven things your fleet should consider before selecting a telematics solution and how those features can provide significant ROI to your business.

1. Streamline maintenance

Regular vehicle wear and tear or an unexpected accident can cause significant vehicle downtime,  not to mention substantial maintenance costs for your fleet. 

So how do you keep your fleet healthy and your vehicles on the road?

While vehicle downtime can be unavoidable, it can be managed and minimized by adopting a telematics solution that helps you create a proactive maintenance program. 

In order to keep your fleet healthy and your vehicles on the road, select a telematics solution that provides real-time visibility into your vehicle’s diagnostics. This means getting insight into things like engine data to monitor fuel and energy use, coolant temperature, battery voltage, and more. This level of detail makes it easier to schedule preventative maintenance based on mileage or engine hours and understand when a maintenance-related issue needs your attention.

Certain telematics providers, like Samsara, allow you to set up maintenance alerts via email or text when it’s nearing time for a regular service check, reducing the risk of an unanticipated issue. This also allows you to proactively spot issues that help avoid road breakdowns and quickly identify vehicles in need of service.

How much could you save? Dohrn Transfer Company saw a 40% faster response time to maintenance issues by setting up Samsara alerts for unsafe DVIRs.

2. Improve routing

Whether you have regularly scheduled routes, create new routes daily, or do a mix of both, telematics can help you make data-informed decisions for efficient routing and dispatch. Using a telematics solution to analyze the performance of your past routes can help you plan the most fuel and time efficient routes for future deliveries and better predict departure and arrival times.

Some telematics providers analyze the performance of planned versus actual routes so you can identify deviations from plan in terms of time or distance, pinpoint trends in performance over time, and drill into individual route histories. This coupled with a Time on Site Report can give you visibility into where drivers are spending their time and how much time they're spending at each location, making it easy to quickly flag unauthorized or suboptimal activity. 

How much could you save? Sunrise Produce saved $200,000 in driver overtime by using the Samsara Time on Site Report to see if drivers were spending time at unauthorized sites.


3. Simplify integrations

If you manage a fleet, you probably have a number of existing internal systems that you’ve invested in—everything from ERP to maintenance and dispatching systems—that are integral to your business. This means that if you do introduce a new system to your operations, you probably don’t want to do so at the expense of existing data and important workflows. 

Merging workflows and data sources from a handful of vendors can easily improve fleet efficiency and remove any blind spots. With certain vehicle tracking systems, like Samsara, fleets can easily connect their most important third-party applications and capture the benefit of real-time data for all their operations. Samsara's open architecture enables integration opportunities with a variety of partners in transportation and industrial segments, including payroll applications, fuel consumption cards, inventory management, and more. 

How much could you save? Cash-Wa Distributing was able to consolidate to one vendor from four by switching to Samsara for everything from GPS and temperature monitoring to driver safety, fuel savings, and Hours of Service.

4. Track vehicles in real-time

Understanding where your drivers and assets are is a key part of managing an efficient fleet. But GPS tracking devices that only offer breadcrumb or ‘near real-time’ data can’t provide live-to-the-second insights and vehicle location, making it difficult to prevent theft, dispatch drivers, and provide customers with accurate ETAs. 

Instead, opt for a telematics provider that offers real-time tracking data so you always know exactly where your vehicles are. Also consider a telematics provider that lets you configure  geofences—or predefined zones—so you can be automatically alerted if your vehicles or assets unexpectedly move. This can help you take immediate action in case of theft. 

If a vehicle that shouldn’t be moving is suddenly on the go, a GPS tracking solution like Samsara can provide you with instant access to a real-time “helicopter view” of your vehicle, which you can share with authorities to retrieve your assets.

How much could you save? Uniti Fiber saw a 76% increase in dispatch productivity by using Samsara real-time GPS tracking to gain greater visibility into their fleet and route technicians more efficiently. 

5. Remain fuel and energy efficient

Fuel spend is the second leading fixed expense for fleets and on average amounts to 60% of the total operating cost, making fuel use a significant portion of a fleet’s budget.

If you’re a fleet manager, this means an uptick in gas prices or excessive vehicle idling can have a major financial impact on your entire operations. But fuel management can be a challenging feat, especially if you don’t have visibility into how your vehicles are using or spending on gas.

To help your fleet improve fuel efficiency and cut down on gas-related costs, opt for a telematics solution that is able to help you identify areas of excessive fuel use. Specifically, look for a telematics provider that can help you track idling time, DEF levels, and fuel theft to make sure your fleet is optimizing its fuel use. 

How much could you save? City of Fort Lauderdale was able to save $70,500 in semi-annual fuel costs by leveraging Samsara’s Fuel Usage Report. Through this reporting, the city was not only able to understand their fuel use, but they were able to pair it with driver behavior data to help supervisors coach their teams on best practices for fuel-efficient driving.

6. Coach drivers effectively

If you don’t have full visibility into driver behavior on the road, it's difficult to address safety concerns proactively. 

That’s why it’s important to select a telematics solution that surfaces actionable data that can help you identify coachable incidents and provide you with relevant feedback for drivers. Consider a telematics provider that not only helps you identify trends—like harsh braking and speeding—but also provides a straightforward framework to coach drivers on safer driving behavior. 

Leverage a telematics provider, like Samsara, that offers coaching tools that help you deliver results, better manage those in-person conversations, and ultimately improve safety on the road.

How much could you save? Dohrn Transfer Company saw a 50% reduction in vehicle idling after implementing a coaching program based on Samsara Dashboard reports.

7. Support your mobile workforce 

If your vehicles have routes in remote locations, it can be challenging to maintain connectivity with your drivers. This can make it tricky to upload documents electronically, causing significant processing delays in critical paperwork such as DVIRs or supervisor safety audits. 

Consider selecting a telematics provider that includes high-speed LTE connectivity. This can help enable a connected fleet and can speed up your back office operations, providing more accurate information in real time, with less reliance on paper trails. For example, with the Samsara Driver App, drivers can stay up to date with changes in routes or deliveries, and with high-speed Wifi, they can instantly submit paperwork on the go—even in low connectivity areas.

How much could you save? Cash Wa Distributing was able to save $60,000 annually on cellular data plans by using Samsara's built-in WiFi hotspot to connect the tablets used to process pickups and deliveries.

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