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A recent study shows that a high percentage of fleets using telematics systems are very satisfied with what the solutions have to offer, and some feel that these systems are indispensable.

So, why don’t all fleets use them and what is necessary to have the market for these solutions continue to grow at the current rate of 10-15% in the coming years?

A recent survey conducted by C.J. Driscoll & Associates looked at over 500 American fleets between April and June 2017, with participating fleets varying in size from five to over 10,000 vehicles.

Participants included fleets in a wide range of categories, including local and long-haul common carriers, private trucking fleets, utilities, construction, oil and gas, transportation, public safety, and more.

Use of Telematics Systems

A stand-out observation of the study was that nearly two-thirds of surveyed fleets (64%) currently used a telematics system.

Further still, the study also focused on telematics systems currently being used by participating fleets, and satisfaction with these solutions.

Among the conclusions was that use of these systems is more common among larger fleets than smaller ones.

The Financial benefits of using telematics

The majority of fleets surveyed in the study reported having recouped the investment in their fleet management systems. Indeed, approximately 66% of fleets in the study said they had. Meanwhile, 25% said that, so far, they had not, while 9% were uncertain if they had.

The operations manager of a furniture delivery fleet noted that it took six months for his company to recoup its investment in the system. Meanwhile, a utility fleet with fleet of about 7,000 vehicles said that their return on investment from their GPS fleet management solution has been about $50,000 a month.

Just how long it will take for your organisation to recoup its costs depends on the size of your fleet and the ways in which you are using your vehicles.

What are the challenges in launching telematics?

The biggest issue the survey found was coordinating the installation of the equipment in fleet vehicles, with 23% of respondents reporting issues. This was followed by problems of staff education/training on how to optimize use of the system at 12%. Finally, 6% reported that acceptance of the systems by drivers, employees, and contractors was an obstacle.

However, some fleets outright say they don’t find the technology necessary. The CEO of an electrical and mechanical contractor with 62 vehicles, a smaller fleet indicated that he doesn’t see a need for the technology in his business.

“Most of our technicians go to the same site for months at a time. We’re not really a service company. We don’t have 50 cars going in 50 directions every day,” he said.

Overall satisfaction with GPS Fleet Management Systems

The study found that 39% of respondents were very satisfied with their GPS fleet management systems and 40% were somewhat satisfied.

Indeed, one fleet boasting the benefits of the technology is a water utility that has a fleet size of more than 1,400 vehicles, who gave their GPS fleet management system a “5” rating. The fleet manager gave it high accolades “because the fleet is so large and diverse that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to manage all the assets if we did not have it.”

Interestingly, the user satisfaction ratings remained virtually unchanged from the C.J. Driscoll 2013 fleet survey.

Other Trends

The 2013 edition of Driscoll’s study reported that 45% of fleet drivers were using smartphones while on the road, and 67% were utilizing basic mobile phones.

However, the 2017 study found that 77% of operators were using smartphones, and 37% were using basic mobile phones — an almost complete reversal.

Another emerging trend is fleet use of video cameras to help monitor driver performance and to reduce liability.

While only 19% of surveyed fleets currently use camera-based solutions, use of these systems is growing in segments such as people transportation, government, trucking, and some service fleet segments such as waste disposal.

The final word

Telematics are vital for any medium to large organisation and even small ones are advised to start introducing them to their fleet if they aren’t already. They are an excellent tool to examine trends among your fleet and also to identify good and bad drivers within your organisation over a period of time.

Telamatics solutions have the potential to seriously improve your overall fleet safety, while also reducing your overall expenses. See below a video from AFMA Fleet Award winner Tourism Holdings Limited to see the real-life benefits that a telematics solution could provide to your organisation:

This article has been adapted from an original post from Automobile Fleet. For more information on the original CJ Driscoll & Associates study, click here.