Vehicle tracking provides real-time feedback and data on driver behaviour, which can be used as a fleet management tool to help businesses make strategic decisions about their operations. The telematics industry is proven to add significant value to fleet operators, with some of the key benefits including: better workforce efficiency; lower fuel and maintenance costs; safer driving; and improved business sustainability.
Sustainability is a trending topic within all industries, as it has grown to become more than simply an environmental gesture. Embracing ‘greener’ operations makes long-term economic sense, as it will not only save your business money, it has the power to highlight your company as a socially responsible corporation – in short, it shows that you care.
Whilst fleet management and environmental concern may not go directly hand in hand, the transport industry has been identified as the proliferating contributor to climate change. As such, there is considerable pressure for fleet managers to concentrate on business sustainability goals, to lower the emission generated by company vehicles. By installing fleet tracking software, businesses can monitor key metrics that will help you to achieve these sustainability objectives.
How can businesses define and approach sustainability goals?
Introducing business sustainability goals has become an essential part of corporate social responsibility initiatives, however, it can be counterproductive to over-estimate these targets. Sustainability goals should be realistic, with considerations on:
- The age of the vehicles within the fleet
- Driving patterns – including when vehicles are used & the routes travelled
- The services each vehicle in the fleet undertakes
- Impact of vehicle breakdowns and services
Keeping these key factors at the forefront will not only help to determine the viability of your sustainability goals, but will provide you with the necessary data that can be applied to a realistic project timescale.
Going ‘green’ is progressive, businesses cannot expect immediate results, therefore it is best to break down your sustainability plan into small milestones, prioritising areas you can directly control. Structure your plan to cover ‘quick wins’, short-term goals, and long-term goals, this way you will be able to track the progression over time.
How improving driver behaviour can help sustainability?
Driver behaviour can be effectively monitored and improved with the use of intelligent vehicle tracking tools. This hardware can track harmful driving behaviours, like speeding and harsh braking. The data can then be fed back to management and collated to monitor fleet performance which in turn can then be used to inform ‘green’ initiatives. There are also in-cab coaching devices, which offer real-time feedback to act as a learning tool for drivers, alerting them about driving behaviours that are deemed by their manager as being unsafe. It is proven that when the in-cab coach is active, drivers reduce their speed and businesses see an overall improvement in driving style, road safety and running costs.
Research compiled by the UK government concludes that driving above the speed limit increases the risk and severity of accidents, as drivers have less time to react to hazards. Speeding is the main cause of fatal road collisions in the UK, so implementing preventative solutions is essential to minimize this risk.
As well as improving road safety, minimising speed and acceleration is also proven to significantly affect fuel economy, as miles per gallon is dramatically reduced as speed increases. These figures demonstrate efficiency versus speed against the average vehicle according to our recent study:
- 3 per cent less efficient at 60 mph
- 8 per cent less efficient at 65 mph
- 17 per cent less efficient at 70 mph
- 23 per cent less efficient at 75 mph
- 28 per cent less efficient at 80 mph
How can GPS technology influence sustainability?
GPS tracking can provide valuable insights that enable fleet operators to optimise route structures and schedules. When properly implemented this data directly correlates with reduced fuel consumption and emissions, because of a collective decline in fleet mileage.
This technology can also be used to monitor vehicle idling – when the engine is running, but the vehicle is not in motion. Idling frequently occurs when drivers are paused at red lights and when stuck in traffic congestion. Using GPS data fleet managers can evaluate patterns in idle vehicles and re-coordinate routes to avoid problem times and areas. In turn, this will reduce fuel consumption and emissions, whilst improving productivity and business efficiency.
When evaluating fuel consumption, businesses should consider the vehicle type, size, and average miles per trip, in additional to variable factors like weather, road conditions and average speed. Although these variables usually level out over the course of the year, failure to review them could have negative implications on your businesses sustainability goals.
Properly implementing data gathered from GPS tracking devices and in-cab coaching technology is invaluable for businesses relying on fleet management. These systems can not only help you to reach your business sustainability goals, by lowering CO2 emissions, but they can also save your business a significant amount of money on fuel. The improvements in driver behaviour will also enhance road safety and enable your business to demonstrate its duty of care towards both employees and the general public.
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