Automation has taken the world by storm. Complex tasks that required human intervention earlier, and were thus more prone to errors, have been simplified; all credit goes to automation. And, the trucking industry is at the forefront of adopting automation.
While automation undoubtedly makes tasks simpler and cost-effective, a study suggests that it might also make about 47 percent of American jobs vulnerable by 2037, and, by 2030, the American trucking industry may lose around 1.7 million truckers due to automation.
If there is one technology that has had the most positive impact on fleet management and vehicle tracking, it is telematics. To put it in perspective, despite the COVID-19-triggered global recession, the telematics industry is slated to grow 10% YoY and touch the $17.1 billion mark within 2025.
The fleet telematics technology, with the help of a GPS tracker and other devices, makes vehicle monitoring easy by sending real-time data about everything related to vehicle movement and maintenance, to the fleet manager.
However, while using a telematics system, users often face several challenges that result in vehicle theft, increased fuel consumption, and ELD non-compliance, among other things.
This article will give you the ultimate list of everyday challenges that Telematics users face and the ways you can solve such problems without creating a furor.
1. The Lack of a Proper Monitoring System
Unlike what many new telematics users perceive, a telematics-enabled Vehicle Gateway is not a one-time ‘plug, play, and forget’ affair.
While it is true that a telematics device can make tasks like GPS tracking, ELD compliance, engine diagnostics, route optimization, driver workflows, and analytics easier, not keeping a tab on real-time data can spell doom for the fleet company.
Imagine you are a fleet owner who oversees 50 trucks, and each truck travels 10 hours a day. The total data that you receive by the end of each day is humongous. Now, suppose one of the drivers face an accident, and after analyzing the records, you find that the driver had a history of reckless driving.
As the authorities begin their inquiry, they will be quick to assume that you did not perform your task efficiently; had you paid attention to the historical data, you would have found out much earlier that the driver was susceptible to face an accident.
Too much information and the inability to process it fast enough can be a spoiler.
Hence, the best way to avoid this is by keeping dedicated staff who are adept in handling real-time data and can accurately point out the need for expert intervention.
2. Too Much Distraction
A telematics device is intended to make fleet management, in general, and driving, in particular, distraction-free. However, quite often, the situation becomes exactly the opposite, and a telematics device is held responsible for distracting the driver.
As part of its ultra-modern safety features, a telematics device constantly alerts the driver with beeps and lights. The frequency of alerts increases when there is a mechanical failure or deteriorating weather condition, among other factors. While the alerts are meant to make driving safer, sometimes, it leads to erroneous mistakes on the part of the driver.
Hence, before installing a telematics system on your fleet, you better form a team of drivers and let them experience the change first-hand and provide first-hand.
As a modern fleet owner, the last thing you can do is to make your drivers feel intimidated. Unfortunately, when fleet managers upgrade their system with the latest telematics technology, drivers often feel that their jobs are at risk.
The only way to mitigate this concern is by making the drivers a part of the decision-making process. As they involve themselves in the change process, you can save the money you had allocated on training and upskilling the drivers.
3. Users May Feel That Their Security Is Being Compromised
A telematics system uses a set of complex processes to record and transmit data. For example, while the GPS tracker records and sends the driving data, the accelerometer measures the g-force and transmits the data to a data center, which is then decoded to generate a detailed report.
During the process of the transmission of data, there might be a security breach, and sensitive user data might get stolen. The problem can be specially compounded if the telematics system provider does not use advanced encryption technology to mask the data being sent.
With technology advancing at a faster pace, security is never an issue with reputed telematics system vendors.
Samsara, for example, secures user and organization data with technologies like TLS 1.2 protocols, AES256 encryption, signatures, redundant software service, and advanced administrator security tools.
Hence, before installing a new telematics system or upgrading an existing one, check the security rating of the system, which is often in the form of a SOC 2 report.
4. Not All Drivers Are Trained Alike
The data obtained from a telematics device can be huge and sometimes daunting. Fleet owners installing the system often overlook the need for grouping drivers, which leads to erroneous or biased evaluation.
For example, it would not be wise to club the driver of an 18-wheeler truck, with an experience of 20 years, with the driver of a light truck who is a new entrant to the field.
As a result of the insensible clubbing of drivers, fleet owners often make rash decisions that can have widespread repercussions on the day-to-day operation of the fleet.
Hence, the first task you should do while installing the telematics system or analyzing the effectiveness of it is to group drivers based on experience or type of vehicle.
As you divide the drivers on such parameters, it will be easy for you to compare the performance and filter out the fleet class that has been contributing the most to your bottom line.
5. Communication With Drivers Become Redundant
As technology takes full control over owner-driver communication, there may be a lack of bonding between them. Bonding is critical to fleet management. It helps to increase the productivity and efficiency of your fleet.
Hence, to foster a healthy relationship between the fleet owner and driver, you must consider frequently engaging with the driver through face-to-face communication, in-cab live feedback, text messages, or email messages. You may also consider conducting timely workshops and briefings.
If communication is the key, a telematics device is only meant to make engagement simpler. Make sure you avail of the benefits of ongoing support as part of the monthly package. Regular interaction with the system provider can help you to pick out some fascinating tips that would improve the quality of communication with stakeholders.
If telematics is the future, it is imperative that you are not only aware of what is GPS, but you also need to overcome the challenges of using a telematics system. With ultra-modern technology and real-time data, Samsara has been revolutionizing the trucking industry with cost-effective and reliable solutions.