Precise data on the location of vehicles and drivers’ driving times is extremely important for the cost-effectiveness of trucking companies. Small and medium-sized companies also perform better with fleet management solutions. Five reasons for using modern telematics.
“It doesn’t always have to be a large and costly solution,” says Dr. Lutz Scholten, Head of Tachographs, Telematics and Services at Continental. “There are attractive entry-level solutions for small and medium-sized fleets. All the information required by fleet managers and dispatchers must be available quickly and in the appropriate form. This helps them to manage their fleets and logistics processes more efficiently and to save costs.” Solutions like TIS-Web Motion from VDO do more than simply store the legally required vehicle and driver data, they also provide tracking, tracing and tire status data.
Tachographs have been built at the Villingen site of the automotive supplier Continental for almost 100 years and the technology company has been offering the TIS-Web solution for fleet management under the VDO brand since 1996 – so it’s no wonder that with all this vast experience behind him, Dr. Lutz Scholten can name the five most important reasons for investing in a fleet management system. “We know exactly what is important for fleet managers, both operationally and economically – and we know all the technical parameters too.”
Fleets become more efficient when they measure fuel consumption. The fuel consumption of a vehicle can be directly recorded by the digital tachograph, either via a vehicle CAN bus or with an additional control device such as the DTCO Fuelgate. Drivers can print out a report and fleet managers can conveniently evaluate the data onscreen, so they can see when and where fuel consumption is unusually high and pinpoint potential savings – and users also confirm that their fuel consumption has been sustainably reduced. Tire pressure monitoring systems also increase safety, because when a tire unexpectedly loses pressure, they warn drivers in good time.
Online solutions like TIS-Web Motion work with the latest browsers. Users are billed monthly, based on the number of vehicles. There is no minimum contract period. “Fleet management systems pay off quickly in practice,” says Dr. Lutz Scholten of Continental. “After just a few weeks of using the systems, trucking companies that had already considerably improved their logistics processes didn’t want to do without the technology!”
Entering and archiving driving times and rest periods is compulsory. Trucking companies want to do everything legally in this case, but they also want to minimize the time involved. With the latest generation of tachographs, the fleet manager can choose whether the Break, Driving Time or Availability mode is automatically activated when the engine is switched off. With the mode set to Break, the driver doesn’t need to do anything at all, so he won’t forget to stop his driving time when he switches off his engine in a parking area. Two minutes before the end of his 45-minute break, the ‘Wake-Up’ function notifies the driver that he will be able to continue shortly.
The greater transparency created by fleet management software makes it easier to fully exploit drivers’ working hours within the framework of the law. If a load arrives at short notice and must be delivered on the same day, for example, the dispatcher can see at a glance whether one of the drivers in the area can still pick it up during his driving or rest periods. If the trucking company also has Guided Navigation to assist with route calculation, the dispatcher can then have the system calculate which driver is best placed to pick up the load, optimally integrating drivers and vehicles into the company’s day-to-day transport operations – and that’s a real advantage in today’s highly competitive business.
Fleet management solutions also create greater simplicity and satisfaction for the driver. Thanks to an app (such as the TIS-Web Fleet app from VDO), the driver always remains in close contact with the office, e.g. sending and receiving text messages. The app also sends the tachograph data and data entered manually by the driver from the driver’s smartphone to the dispatcher via the mobile network.
Even entry-level solutions transmit the routes, locations and other data of the vehicles and drivers to the dispatcher’s dashboard in real time. The dispatcher can therefore react in real time and decide whether additional loads can be picked up at short notice and how the route must be changed as a result. The evaluation of the data also promotes economical and efficient driving.
With more comprehensive fleet management solutions such as the VDO FleetVisor, additional information can be obtained via hardware components that are permanently installed in the vehicle or trailer. This enables the fleet operator to see where his trailers are currently located and to which vehicle a unit is coupled, ensuring additional transparency.