A ‘fitbit’ for fuel economy?

A ‘fitbit’ for fuel economy?

Pay-for-performance program helps foster driver satisfaction

Arrow Paper Co. was looking for a telematics solution to improve the fuel economy of its truck fleet. But the company, which provides food service products, hotel amenities, and office supplies in the Boston area, faced a significant hurdle: Its Teamster drivers required that the technology include a pay-for-performance program that would compensate them for good driving behavior. And that was easier said than done, until Arrow Paper discovered that there is indeed an app for that.

LinkeDrive’s PedalCoach application leverages a cloud-based platform to provide real-time, adaptive feedback for improving fuel efficiency and safety. The solution’s proprietary algorithms set a unique fueling target for each driver communicated in a simple red-yellow-green interface that allows drivers to earn “points” for achieving optimal behaviors and patterns.

And the pay-for-performance capabilities included in PedalCoach enable drivers to be financially compensated on their ability to meet goals related to performance and safety. These incentives are enabling Arrow Paper to increase the job satisfaction and performance of its drivers significantly, drivers and company officials say.

“PedalCoach has made me a more engaged and positive driver,” says Mike Scammon. “Similar in nature to how one may use a Fitbit device for tracking their exercise and weight loss, PedalCoach encourages me to drive within a range that saves fuel and increases efficiency. By following the screen’s simple-to-read gauge, I am able to quickly achieve compensation for driving well. It’s really setting up a win-win solution for everyone.”

PedalCoach can be deployed on LinkeDrive’s Android device and also integrated easily on Android-based tablets installed within cabs. Installations take under 15-minutes per truck. Fleets can securely access driver and truck analytics to track trends, compare drivers, assess differences in truck models, and evaluate regional and seasonal variances in performance.

“We take tremendous pride in providing our customers with outstanding products coupled with the highest levels of sales, service and support,” says Scott Penna, president of Arrow Paper. “We also believe that in order to meet our goals of total customer satisfaction, we must ensure that our employees are happy and are challenged in the work that they do each day. LinkeDrive’s PedalCoach is helping us to achieve up to a 19% increase in mpg on our trucks, while also providing incentives to our drivers for driving in a manner that saves fuel.”

The key is communication with the driver from the outset, Jeff Baer, president and CEO of LinkeDrive, tells Fleet Owner.

“We have to have a conversation with the driver before they show up and just see this inside of their truck. That’s fundamental: They’ve got to know what this is about on the front end,” Baer says. “We’ve been doing that during installations, and it works really, really well.”

The advantage to the PedalCoach system is that the coaching is done in real time, in the cab—not during a driver meeting, typically after a fleet manager has had a chance to figure out the drivers’ comparative performance over the previous weeks and bring in those who aren’t measuring up to their peers. And even then, because of differences in equipment, routes or driving conditions, those comparisons are not necessarily valid.

With PedalCoach, the driver is simply competing with himself—and the technology works for any size fleet, Baer emphasizes.

“We have a lot of customers that had some success using ECM downloads or reports from telematics platforms—but the problem is that doesn’t scale very well. They couldn’t talk to every one of their drivers on a regular basis,” Baer says. “The customers that were doing some of those things saw immediately that with PedalCoach they get a lot more leverage. It’s more engaging with respect to the basic principles of trying to get guys to drive more gently, more moderately. It’s a conversation between our application and the driver, and it takes care of 90% of what needs to happen with respect to behavior changes.

“With PedalCoach’s pay-for-performance capabilities, drivers are motivated to keep their gages within the green, save fuel and understand how well they’ve performed.”

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