GPS Insight report: Fleets talk telematics

Dec. 22, 2016
When it comes to adopting a new telematics system, about one in five fleets say they’d test a system before purchasing it. That’s according to the fleets surveyed in a GPS Insight-sponsored technology report.

When it comes to adopting a new telematics system, about one in five fleets say they’d test a system before purchasing it. That’s according to the fleets surveyed in a GPS Insight-sponsored technology report.

The 2016 Fleet Management Technology Report, which is free and available for fleets to download, questioned 614 fleets across the U.S. about fleet management and telematics to examine the current state and experiences of the marketplace.

Ryan Driscoll, marketing director at GPS Insight, told Fleet Owner that initially fleets worry about pricing and features when it comes to implementing a new telematics system. However, according to the report, those fleets ended up experiencing a bit of buyer’s remorse.

“A lot of fleets recommended doing a pilot rather than buying over the phone,” Driscoll said. “They end up going with the lowest cost providers, and it’s not a good decision, because, in the end, they can’t use [the telematics system].”

According to the report, here’s what fleet managers would have done differently after implementing telematics:

  • 33% test customer service first
  • 32% compare telematics providers
  • 30% nothing
  • 28% make sure the product solves business challenge
  • 22% include a pilot or trial period

Based on those findings, Driscoll suggests fleets focus on other areas besides features and price when it comes to buying a telematics system. “You’re going to get what you pay for,” he said. “But you won’t recognize that savings and return on investment (ROI) until you try it. There are a lot of businesses that do free trials, so why not try it.”

GPS Insight Fleet Management Technology Report

According to the report, 44% of fleets surveyed use telematics, while 56% don’t. And adoption rate by industry varies: Utilities came in highest with 78% of fleets using telematics, followed by delivery at 55%, service at 49%, and construction at 41%.

“Utilities tend to go off the grid a lot and work on power lines,” Driscoll explained. “They typically have huge service areas and they’re far away from their home base, so the managers, from a safety perspective, want to make sure they’re crews are OK. Having telematics involved could certainly increase their safety.”

The report also shows that larger fleets have a higher adoption rate than smaller fleets. And, as Driscoll notes, that’s not a surprise. He explained that when truck drivers for a company with 100 trucks idle an hour a day over a given month, the result could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in wasted fuel compared to a few thousand or so for smaller fleets.

Fleets surveyed also noted that the top five benefits experienced after using telematics are: improved productivity, improved vehicle maintenance, decreased fuel consumption, improved dispatch efficiency, and improved customer service. And, within the first year of using telematics, fleets received an average 43% ROI compared to a 34% expected ROI.

“The whole point of this is that most of these reports go out to the telematics providers, but I really created this for the fleets themselves,” Driscoll explained. “I want them to understand what their peers are saying so they can make better decisions when it comes to buying telematics.”

About the Author

Cristina Commendatore

Cristina Commendatore was previously the Editor-in-chief of FleetOwner magazine. She reported on the transportation industry since 2015, covering topics such as business operational challenges, driver and technician shortages, truck safety, and new vehicle technologies. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

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