With connectivity costs decreasing and GPS devices becoming commonplace, “telematics” has become a term that’s frequently heard in the trucking industry -- but what, exactly, does it mean, and how can it be used to drive true value?
Telecom + Informatics = Telematics
Telematics is what’s known as a portmanteau. That is, it’s a word that’s created from putting other words together. In the case of telematics, those words are telecommunications and informatics. Informatics is the science of gathering, processing, storing, and using data -- and when combined with all of the various sensors and logging devices available to modern trucking fleets that use cellular connectivity to remotely report data, it’s easy to understand why telematics is such a hot topic in the trucking industry.
But it’s often the case that GPS tracking platforms are barely scratching the surface of everything that telematics has to offer, in the sense that many fleets are using telematics for little more than locational awareness of where their trucks and trailers are at any given moment. That kind of location awareness was state-of-the-art ten years ago. But the possible uses for telematics has grown over that same timeframe -- and savvy fleets that have realized the potential in telematics have grown along with it.
Turning Data into Actionable Information
That growth is made possible by a focus that’s placed on the processing and use of data to generate business intelligence -- or BI, for short -- for a fleet that’s both insightful and actionable. And that’s the true power of BI, for those that can achieve it: It tells a fleet manager not just what is happening at the moment, but also provides signposts for ways in which what will happen in fleet operations can be more efficient and more profitable.
Consider Idealease, a national leader in truck leasing and rental with which everyone in the trucking industry will be familiar. Idealease operates with the understanding that the primary reason why their customers are in business is not so that they can operate fleets. Rather, trucking fleets are simply a means to an end -- and the more efficiently that a fleet can be operated, the lower the operational costs will be, and accordingly, the greater the profit margins. It’s a virtuous circle in which both Idealease and their customers win.
Creating the Virtuous Circle with Telematics and BI
To help their customers succeed with efficient fleet management, Idealease began making use of telematics-based BI in areas such as fuel economy and driver behaviors. This kind of BI is insightful, because it reveals things like how even a small improvement in MPG can lead to hundreds of thousands of dollars of annual fuel cost savings, but it’s also actionable: Idealease provides its customers with concrete plans based on the BI that reduce idle times, which lowers fuel costs and extends engine life, as well as improving driver behaviors like hard braking and cornering, which in turn also improves fuel economy while lowering accident and insurance rates at the same time that it also increases uptime.
Indeed, the value of BI to Idealease and its customers is so great that CyntrX, the telematics platform provider that Idealease uses across its national accounts, has been named by Idealease as its 2019 Supplier of the Year -- a notable achievement, given the wide variety of suppliers that Idealease uses across the national scale of its operations.
Nor is Idealease alone in realizing the value of the telematics and BI that’s provided by the CyntrX platform -- another CyntrX customer, a national direct-to-store delivery fleet, has seen a 400% ROI on the CyntrX platform. But those kinds of numbers are only attainable if your fleet telematics platform is offering more than just dots on a map, and also provides truly actionable business intelligence.
We know that every fleet is different, and has its own unique needs. If you’d like to talk with us about your fleet’s needs, and how we can bring our years of experience and our unique telematics platform, CyntrX Xtra, to bear on meeting those needs, feel free to request a demo and we’ll take care of the rest -- and you’ll be on the road to truly realizing all that telematics and business intelligence has to offer.