Over the years it has become a stereotype that GPS monitoring solutions are mainly installed due to security issues or to play “Big Brother” on their employees. In reality, these requirements have shifted and security is low on the list of requirements if it’s a requirement at all.
I have heard many reasons why companies are interested in starting a telematics program. Although the requirements differ from business to business, one thing is always a static reason to why they are calling. I often hear, through several ways, they have a business problem.
These business problems usually start from the idea that companies can do better. Better at manufacturing, transporting, protecting the integrity and brand of their product. In each phase of a company there are key metrics in which that process can be measured. If there is a fleet of assets involved in a phase of moving their product, this is where fleet telematics will play a part, operational efficiency.
As data analytics platforms grow smarter there also grows a need for smart hardware with the ability to drive data from the field in a frequent and accurate fashion. GPS tracking and monitoring is not just a dot on a map it’s what you add to the dot and how you use the info to transform it into dollars.
A couple of my favorite phases I have heard from customers are “we don’t know what we don’t know” and “You can’t improve on what you don’t measure”. These are my favorite quotes because they indicate that this prospect is screaming for more data and they are screaming to buy our products even if they don’t know it yet.
There are a few ways that telematics products have changed over the last 10 years. Devices and data have become cheaper. Devices have become faster and more accurate. Data analytic tools have because more accessible and cheaper.
Many companies pursue the idea of monitoring their fleet only to have the project lose budget at the final phase of the decision. Why? Because until a few years ago, telematics monitoring solutions were looked at as almost a luxury item. They were not needed but nice to have and the data was not used like it is today. Since this new era of smarter, more accurate and affordable telematic solutions have emerged, the value of telematics data has become general knowledge to any fleet/logistics operations professional.
Historically, telematics systems have been used for individual exception reports, or manual case by case security reporting. Today, a broader picture is painted with big data in relation to operational KPI’s. Sure, if you recover a stolen asset or catch an employee stealing company time it saves money. However, if you can accurately measure the length of a delivery based on geo-location and door sensor activity, and can quickly cross-reference this data to all the other data you have collected in the last year; you now have a powerful tool to highlight positive and negative trends. These trends can be acted upon for a better bottom line.
Having location itself delivers a large portion of ROI to telematics projects, however where location data has been integrated makes the big impact. Integrating location into dispatching software is growing in the transportation space. More and more companies in different verticals like Rail, Service and Construction are using integrated location into 3rd party business software systems. Things like asset utilization, production, billing and inventory have all been subjects of discussion and business challenges where a telematics solution has added a tool set to measure what needs to be improved.