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A beginner's guide to buying and implementing fleet telematics

Finding the right telematics supplier should not only ensure you select the right system for your business, but that you also get the best possible after-sales support. Here are ten top tips on how to avoid signing up with the wrong supplier – and how to build a long-lasting, sustainable partnership:

1) Set realistic objectives

Telematics can provide millions of data points. Prioritise your objectives and select a few key performance indicators (KPIs), before gradually expanding. For example, these could be cutting total fleet mileage, improving average fleet MPG, or reducing instances of speeding by your drivers.

2) Find a good listener

When contacting telematics suppliers, seek one who asks you what you want and genuinely listens to your needs, rather than a supplier who thinks they know what is best for your business.

3) Keep your focus

Focus solely on one or two KPIs at any given time, and start with the highest priorities for your fleet, such as fuel consumption or driver safety. This will help you to avoid drowning in data; achieve tangible, evidence-based results for your business; and gain valuable experience of how your telematics system works before you expand.

4) It’s good to talk

Take the time to explain the benefits of fleet telematics to your colleagues. It is not just about enhancing the bottom line for the business – it is also a way of improving driver safety. This should help allay any fears from employees who are concerned that telematics is a Big Brother-style monitoring system.

5) Make it fun

Incentivise employees with prizes for the best-performing driver. This type of gamification introduces some healthy competition and makes it fun for the workforce.

6) Analyse the results

Any telematics system worthy of the name should enable fleet managers to download reports with just a few clicks. Regularly generate and read these reports to measure the effectiveness of your vehicle tracking. Be prepared to make tweaks or even wholesale changes if it isn’t delivering the results you expected.

7) Keep in touch

Don’t be afraid to contact your supplier with any questions or issues you may be experiencing. A good supplier will provide a high level of after-sales support.

8) Leave room for growth

Your use of telematics should be an evolving process, so choose a provider and a solution that can grow and develop in line with your business objectives. This could be a modular system, or one with the ability to integrate with other technologies further down the line.

9) Integrate your solutions

Work with a provider that can offer you integrated hardware and software. For example, telematics cameras which combine the best features of dash cams with all the benefits of vehicle tracking; or route optimisation that integrates with your ERP, coupled with electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) for a digitised, paper-less system. Choosing a single-source supplier not only makes your life easier, it also increases your purchasing power – in effect, you become a more important customer to your telematics provider because of your higher spend.

10) Protect privacy

Make sure your supplier and their telematics solution are fully-compliant with privacy and data protection laws, including the new GDPR legislation.

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