If your trucks are not on the road, they are not making money. Conversely, the longer your truck is on the road, the more risks both the vehicle and the driver face. These risks are especially high for long-haul companies: things like compliance, cargo safety, and driver wellbeing become even more of an issue on long journeys.
As a fleet manager, you should ensure your team is providing an efficient, reliable, and timely service while staying safe and productive. It’s not an easy job, but fleet management software can help ease the burden.
Vehicle tracking allows you to automate tasks and gain more control over your fleet. This helps to reduce costs while improving safety, security, and productivity. Here’s how telematics can benefit long-haul logistics.
1. Reduce Fuel Costs
Fuel is a major expense for logistics companies—all the more so for those that specialize in long-haul logistics. It takes up a whopping 30% of your total fleet operating costs. This is why curbing fuel-wasting habits and activities can save you significant sums of money, depending on the number of vehicles you operate.
GPS truck tracking systems can work to help reduce fuel costs. Thanks to automatic data collection, you can accurately and easily analyze metrics related to fuel consumption, including spend per miles traveled. You can also track indirect costs, such as unauthorized vehicle usage, harsh driving, and idling—all of which drain fuel.
Wrong turns, getting lost, and inefficient planning are other reasons fuel consumption may be higher than it should be. GPS tracking software can assist in planning routes before the driver sets off and then alert you to things like bad traffic or diversions. This gives you the opportunity to redirect your drivers to a more efficient route in real-time and notify your customers of a potential delay.
2. Curb Bad Driving Practices
Bad driving practices—such as speeding, rough acceleration and excessive idling all contribute to increased fuel usage. It also increases the rate of vehicle wear and tear and the likelihood of your vehicle being involved in an accident.
In 2018, the average cost to repair a fleet vehicle that was involved in an accident was $3,053. Already a steep price tag on its own, imagine if aggressive driving becomes a widespread issue among your drivers. It can easily become a profit leak for your company.
Hazardous driving can increase the average fleet maintenance cost by 13%, while good driving behaviors can reduce it by 12%. Fleet maintenance-related costs are on the rise, so additional maintenance expenses due to aggressive driving should be minimized.
GPS tracking software allows you to automatically collect engine data in real-time and translate it into reports that you can use to inform your driver feedback and training. Drivers who are lagging in good practices can get some additional training, while those who perform well in these areas can be rewarded: recognition is a strong motivator.
3. Ensure Compliance and Safety
Monitoring Hours of Service (HOS) is vital in the long-haul logistics industry. With Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs)—which are now mandatory—you can automate driver timesheets and simplify your sideroad Inspections by having digital copies of your HOS records.
Ensuring HOS compliance goes hand-in-hand with looking after the health and safety of your team. Long-haul drivers, who are on the road for long periods of time, are susceptible to the unique mental and physical stresses this brings, including fatigue.
Marija Jamontas, Vice President of Safety and Human Resources for GP Transco explains how their company is making it a priority to check in on drivers every 30-60 minutes to ensure they’re not falling asleep.
“If they are tired, we tell them to stop completely and take their full break...We plan to first and foremost make sure our drivers don’t have to go over their hours, if that’s a possibility, but we do normal check-ins to make sure our drivers are not fatigued.”
4. Increase Vehicle Security
Long-haul vehicles are at greater risk of theft, simply because there are more stopovers—a time when the vehicle and its cargo are more vulnerable. GPS systems can help you recover an asset and any onboard equipment or inventory quickly in the event of a theft.
Geofencing can also play a part in fleet protection. The majority of fleets follow designated routes. Hence, if a vehicle leaves a specific geofence, an automatic notification can be transmitted by your telematics system. The fleet manager can contact the driver to determine if there’s an issue or contact the authorities.
5. Better Customer Service
According to one study, 14% of respondents will abandon a business altogether if they receive a late delivery just one time.
On long-haul trips, your cargo is at a greater risk of being delayed or held up, simply because it has more road to traverse. You can’t always predict traffic, accidents, or delays. However, with good communication, you’ll find that most customers will be understanding. Fleet managers can use GPS telematics to access the location of every single vehicle in their fleet. This information can be used to keep customers informed.
Real-time (or ‘active’) tracking is the more popular method. It offers managers live updates—allowing them to make on-the-spot decisions and reroute drivers, as well as informing customers of their cargo’s exact whereabouts.
6. Use Reports and Alerts
GPS truck tracking systems make it easier to gather vital information and assemble it into an easy-to-understand report. You can access fleet-wide overviews and hone in on individual vehicles and drivers. This makes it easier to monitor performance, violations, HOS, and more.
Once you have this information, use it to provide support, feedback, and training to your drivers.
How to Get Drivers and Staff on Board
The success of telematics depends on the willingness of everyone in your company to use the software. Clearly explain all of the benefits, using industry data to support you. Some key benefits to the driver include:
- Protection against false complaints and overcharges
- Evidence to protect drivers in the event of a road accident claim
- Higher profits and lower operating expenses, resulting in better job security
- More training opportunities and incentives due to more detailed information
- Shorter driving times due to more efficient route planning
With Fleet Complete, managers can closely monitor the usage of every single vehicle—from fuel usage, ELDs and automatic scheduling, to sensor technology that helps maintain temperature and humidity conditions for long-haul journeys. View your entire fleet, every route taken, load and delivery details, and more on one screen.
If you want to use telematics to improve your long-haul logistics business, learn more by requesting our demo.