Now a must-have for most drivers, satellite navigation devices and telematics also have a big role to play in not only cutting fuel and operating costs for companies running fleets, but also reducing their carbon footprint
Forward-thinking organisations are discovering that in today?s 24/7, hi-tech world, satellite technology and telematics has a crucial role to play in cutting operating costs, reducing a fleet?s carbon footprint, improving business efficiency and, ultimately, increasing productivity.
While satellite navigation devices have become a standard feature in many vehicles ? or a ?must have? driver acquisition fitted to the dashboard of cars, vans and trucks ? telematics is starting to revolutionise the way in which companies run their vehicles and employees drive them. Long forgotten is, it seems, the old-fashioned prejudice of ?Big Brother?. Instead telematics or the ?spy in the cab? has become established as a must have in the armoury of many businesses as they utilise the ?track and trace? telematics systems to improve fuel economy and reduce their organisation?s transport emissions through effective journey and mileage management. Further spin-off benefits of telematics include cutting at-work driving risk exposure and aiding health and safety compliance.
OfficeTeam is expanding its use of tracking and vehicle reporting technology to ensure that each journey is as environmentally friendly as possible - lowering the impact of our fleet on the environment through the reduction in the total mileage driven.
There are a myriad of telematics systems on the market. However, in simple terms telematics is a ?black box? fitted to a vehicle relays a raft of data on its use and performance via satellite. That information is then delivered via the internet to a PC where it can be viewed and management decisions implemented. Today?s sophisticated telematics devices are frequently combined with satellite navigation, meaning that drivers can find their way directly from ?A to B?, while their bosses can track journeys mile-by-mile from their operational nerve centre.
Additionally, telematics provide downloadable management reports provide transport managers with detailed information on how a vehicle has been driven on a mile-by-mile basis ? acceleration, braking and cornering details: journey times, stopping times, fuel usage, and so on.
Industry data suggests that the benefits of telematics include:
There are a host of reasons why most organisations use far more fuel than is necessary to run their operations and therefore see their vehicles emit more emissions that may otherwise be required. Fuel and emissions savings can be achieved using telematics, according to Cybit, one of the UK?s leading telematics providers, through the:
Meanwhile, rival telematics provider Quartix calculates that better vehicle utilisation can save up to 600 litres of fuel per year per vehicle, depending on mileage. On a fleet of 100 vehicles, that can add up to 60,000 litres per year ? an environmental saving of 162 tonnes of CO2 per annum. Indeed, TomTom WORK, the business-to-business division of TomTom, last year added a new feature to its Webfleet vehicle management and communication telematics system that helps fleet chiefs to manage their carbon footprint, so the telematics ultimately reduces their organisation's impact on the environment. Businesses can use telematics to run carbon footprint reports on their vehicles ? for the whole fleet, a group or an individual car, van or truck. Webfleet telematics automatically calculates carbon emissions from the recorded mileage and fuel consumption of the vehicles. Fleet managers can then use that information to take action to reduce fleet carbon emissions.
The introduction of telematics technology also helps to improve and optimise the overall eco-friendly driving style in a fleet by detecting and reporting fast acceleration and harsh breaking events, which have a negative influence on fuel consumption, carbon emission and the safety of drivers, cars and the total risk profile of the fleet. Talking about their telematics system a spokesman for TomTom WORK said: ?These features make a real difference to the overall carbon output of a fleet, especially when combined with the overall benefit of reducing the amount of miles driven by smart scheduling, better routing and vehicle management.? OfficeTeam, the UK?s leading business services and products company, is one company that is using telematics technology to support corporate strategies to reduce carbon emissions.
The environmentally-focused organisation already has a number of electric vans on its fleet and has added another 30 Mercedes Sprinters with start/stop technology, with a further 50 on order. Now the company is using telematics by fitting Cybit?s Fleetstar-Online system to provide real-time vehicle information on a further 100 vehicles. The telematics technology will provide OfficeTeam with more efficient vehicle routing, which will maximise productivity and, ultimately, reduce the environmental impact of each vehicle across each of its 18 UK depots.
Bill Appleton, group operations director at OfficeTeam, said: ?Environmental issues are at the top of the agenda at OfficeTeam and vehicle telematics fits in perfectly with the strategies we already have in place. ?The expansion of our use of tracking and vehicle reporting telematics technology helps to effectively monitor vehicle usage to ensure that each journey is planned as efficiently and as environmentally friendly as possible ? lowering the impact of our fleet on the environment through the reduction in the total mileage driven.? John Wisdom, group sales and marketing director at Cybit, said: ?All businesses are looking at how they can maximise existing resources in the current climate and telematics is one way in which businesses can achieve these goals. The data and reports produced by Fleetstar telematics can inform and support important business strategies, from cost savings to environmental targets, as OfficeTeam shows. There are significant benefits that companies can gain by investing in a telematics system.?
Northgate Vehicle Hire, Britain?s largest vehicle rental company with a fleet of more than 60,000 vehicles, says it has seen corporate demand for its cutting-edge telematics technology soar on the back of the economic crisis as businesses look to cut fleet operating costs. More than 5,000 light commercial vehicles on hire to fleet customers are equipped with the telematics technology. Marketing director Ross Clarkson said: ?The economic slowdown has prompted an increasing number of fleet decision-makers and company directors to focus on cost control. Our Vehicle Monitoring technology enables businesses to slash bills and improve business efficiency to the benefit of customers.?
While telematics technology has its roots in commercial vehicles, ALD Automotive, one of the UK?s largest vehicle leasing providers, has seen demand for its unique ProFleet2 telematics system rocket to the extent that it is fitted to around half the vehicles ? mostly company cars ? on its 50,000-strong fleet. Commenting on telematics, Marketing director David Yates said: ?The data available from telematics enables companies to use accurate information to compile a detailed picture of their overall fleet operation, which enables journey planners to improve operating schedules. This not only helps them meet key performance indicators laid down by customers, but also enables operating efficiencies to improve with related financial savings.
?Improved efficiencies particularly relate to driving down travel time through better mileage management, which not only reduces fuel costs and vehicle wear and tear, but also cuts fleets? carbon footprint.? Ashley Martin
OfficeTeam is expanding its use of tracking and vehicle reporting technology to ensure that each journey is as environmentally friendly as possible ? lowering the impact of our fleet on the environment through the reduction in the total mileage driven.
Added the 19 April 2010 in category Innovation UK Vol6-1