Having introduced fleet telematics into your vehicles, it’s important for all fleet managers to use the data effectively in order to improve workflow by creating a strategy that can drive the business forwards.
If you take the data from each of your vehicles and interpret it correctly then it can help to push all drivers towards driving excellence which is only going to benefit those drivers and the business alike.
A driver who knows what they’re doing well and what could be improved upon, who has an incentive to improve and remain with the business is likely to become a valuable asset for the company, who in turn will have its reputation enhanced and costs reduced.
So as a fleet manager how can you utilise the data available in order to turn telematics into driver excellence right across the fleet?
Driver debriefs and performance evaluations
If you’ve ever been in, or given a performance evaluation to a colleague then you’ll understand just how important it can be to have physical data available when you’re analysing their performance. Some people respond better to cold hard facts and the information available from telematics systems can help fleet managers to deliver accurate, informed evaluations and debriefs to drivers.
It is entirely possible for fleet managers to analyse the telematics data to identify weaknesses in driver performance – and the positives, as it’s important for morale to point out when someone is doing something well. The data could identify that a driver gets lead-footed at certain times causing them to brake too harshly, or that they are using too much fuel, and it could also be used to indicate how a driver is performing in terms of specific business KPIs or in comparison to his or her colleagues.
These evaluations and debriefs can then be kept on-file and referred to at the next catch-up you have in order to explain whether or not the driver has improved and where extra assistance may be required.
Devising tailored training sessions
This extra assistance may include a tailored training session based on a specific weakness identified by the telematics data. Some drivers will respond more positively to training sessions that have been devised especially for them on a key area, as opposed to a generic training exercise for the whole fleet of drivers to partake in.
With fleet managers paying close attention to the individual needs of each and every driver, even in a stressful and often hectic position in the company, it can help to provide drivers with the motivation they need to improve and to drive the business forward with them.
The training sessions, coupled with the real-time data available, can help the driver and fleet manager to monitor progress and whether or not they have improved since the evaluation and training session or whether further training is required.
Creation of driver incentives
Of course, another option is to create an incentive for each of the drivers in an attempt to change the business for the better through improved driver behaviours and styles.
The formation of a driver league table, for example, may inspire each of the drivers to improve their fuel efficiency (which will help the company to save money on fuel) or a particular behaviour or area of weakness if they know that there is a reward at the end of the time period (even if it is simply to finish higher than a friend).
Another incentive might be to take the data from the latest debrief and compare it again at the next evaluation, having challenged the driver to have shown an improvement in a particular behaviour or an area of weakness.
This could be linked to the training sessions laid on and may motivate the driver to improve his or her behaviour behind the wheel in the long-term and not just in the days or weeks immediately after a training session or performance evaluation.
An incentive may also help with driver retention and motivation. This is a major concern for the transport industry as a whole due to retirements and the failure to find young drivers looking to step into the cabs to replace them. Having the latest technology and data-led incentives will only help businesses to create an environment that is attractive to drivers, making the stand out it in very competitive employment market.
In-vehicle feedback for drivers
Real-time data is available to both the driver in the cab and the fleet manager back at the depot, and this means that drivers can be given instant feedback from the system on their performance during each trip.
Information could be displayed relating to certain business KPIs, including fuel efficiency and the harshness of braking, meaning that the driver can adapt their driving style accordingly if they receive a warning or indication that they are violating any particular business goals or objectives.
The latest telematics systems are designed to be more like driver aids than tracking devices, meaning that the real-time data can be used to help with performance right there and then inside the vehicle.
Drivers can act upon the data in order to make the all-important adjustments that may help them to learn how to become a safer, better and more efficient driver.
What can driver excellence help businesses to achieve?
By striving for change within the business, especially in terms of driver performance, companies can enhance their reputations, increase their client base – and profits – and maybe even generate more applications for job vacancies when they arise thanks to their flourishing reputation in the industry and the commitment to driver wellbeing and improvement.
Improved driver behaviour and safety, saving money on fuel and insurance are all achieved by a dedication to driver excellence. The most important thing, however, is that there is continued and sustained progress. If drivers are making changes immediately after training sessions and debriefs, then falling back into their old ways, then the business is only improving in the short-term.
The aim for all fleets should be to improve driver behaviour and performance in the long-term, and not allowing for lapses to creep back in. By creating incentives for drivers and holding frequent debriefs and training sessions based on the telematics data available, fleet managers can do everything in their power to ensure that drivers progress towards excellence.