Geofencing can provide insights into fleet utilization.

Geofencing can provide insights into fleet utilization.

Illustration by Ajay Peckham.

Telematics is no stranger to the fleet world, but some business owners and fleet managers have yet to embrace the technology. Many of those who do employ telematics have failed to take advantage of new and exciting features. If your company is late to the connected-vehicle game, here are five ways the latest systems can make a noticeable difference to your bottom line:

1. Wasted Fuel

So you're spending too much on fuel and you've tried everything — more efficient vehicles, optimized routes, and a stern lecture on the evils of idling. That's a good start, but without an electronic record, it's difficult to inspect what you expect. Telematics can produce detailed reports and analyses and even deliver real-time alerts when fuel-wasting behaviors — including unauthorized use — rear their ugly heads.

2. Maintenance Lag

Poorly maintained vehicles are a drain on fleet budgets, and it's not their fault. Telematics can help keep cars, trucks, and vans in fighting trim by keeping them on a strict maintenance schedule and alerting fleet managers when diagnostic trouble codes arise. The data produced by connected-vehicle technology also can help produce more comprehensive utilization analyses, reducing or eliminating overuse.

3. Insurance Claims and Rates

When driver-employees cause collisions, even in the absence of injury, there is a near- and long-term cost. Smart fleets use telematics to monitor and analyze driver behavior, including speeding, rapid acceleration, and hard stops and cornering. The data informs customized training sessions, helping to reduce the risk of future accidents or moving violations, and can also be used to recognize your safest drivers.

4. Noncompliance

Fleets that are subject to the federal Electronic Logging Device mandate must now meet standards set forth by Phase Two, which went into effect in December 2017 and requires the use of ELDs or grandfathered automatic onboard recording devices. Pairing your ELD solution with telematics or investing in a connected-vehicle suite that includes ELD offers a path to compliance and a reduced risk of fines.

5. Lost Revenue

Many fleets, including service fleets, are discovering the revenue-building potential of feature-rich telematics systems. Imagine a scenario in which driver-employees are empowered to identify revenue opportunities, share them with headquarters, get customer approval, and requisition the equipment and materials needed to get the job done — all in minutes, all on one interface. It's happening now for connected fleets.