The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Commercial Fleets See Cost Savings from Telematics

Commercial fleets are utilizing telematics to increase efficiencies and driver safety and save money. One fleet uses its system as a dispatch tool for service technicians.

February 2010, by Lauren Fletcher - Also by this author

Simple route mapping and vehicle tracking characterize yesterday's telematics devices and systems. Today's commercial fleet managers are adopting telematics to maximize mobile workforces, decrease accidents and increase driver safety, boost productivity, track costs, and reduce speeding.

Walgreens-OptionCare Reduces Costs

Walgreens-OptionCare, a division of Walgreen Co., provides accredited infusion services, respiratory therapies, and home medical equipment to patients with temporary or long-term needs. Based in the northern suburbs of Chicago, Moni Islam, manager of operations improvement & analysis, operates about 750 vehicles comprising cars and vans used mostly for delivery purposes.

"We are currently using the Donlen Telematics vehicle tracking solution in the majority of our delivery vehicles and piloting it on our sales vehicles," noted Islam. The telematics program has been installed in the company's delivery fleet for approximately one year.

"We have been able to reduce our total fuel cost by approximately 10 percent," said Islam. "We also were able to curb, and in some cases eliminate, unnecessary and unauthorized driving."

According to Islam, some drivers expressed concern when first notified tracking units were being installed on the vehicles, but no major issues emerged during the program's rollout and installation.

Managing Walgreen-OptionCare's mpg and emissions reductions across its vehicle segments has been critical in the company's ongoing Fleet Optimization Scorecard process.

Carrier Saves $1 Million in Fuel Costs

Carrier, a global manufacturer with more than 40,000 employees, embarked on a systematic analysis of its truck and car fleet. Through a variety of strategies, including gathering data from telematics equipment and reducing vehicle weights, Carrier reduced its fleet emissions by 30 percent and is saving $1 million each year in fuel costs.

Denise Cross, Carrier's fleet manager, is responsible for a fleet of more than 3,000 vehicles in North America. The company worked with its fleet management partner, PHH Arval, to deploy a variety of strategies, including monitoring driver behavior through telematics data.

Carrier rolled out PHH Onboard telematics devices in its service vehicles in early 2008. Program results include a 40-percent reduction in speeding and a 45-percent reduction in at-fault accidents.

Since 2006, the manufacturer has been utilizing telematics in its fleet through Trimble, a provider of advanced positioning solutions.

The telematics installation created other efficiency opportunities as well.

"We're starting to look at it as a dispatch tool," Cross said. Service technicians can be deployed more quickly in emergencies because the company knows their exact location.

The company has also used generated GPS data to make other changes. Managers saw that carrying more equipment in the trucks increases gasoline use, so they have taken steps to ensure each truck carries only necessary tools and parts.


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