On this page in the last issue of Utility Fleet Professional, we asked what exactly constitutes telematics in the realm of fleet management. Our question was based on the widespread use of the term “telematics” to denote automated vehicle systems. We also promised to focus more closely on what fleet managers need to know.
It turns out we had some very valuable information at our fingertips. During the 2012 Electric Utility Fleet Managers Conference (www.eufmc.com), two of the presentations in a session entitled “GPS/AVL – Looking for ROI” offered key insights.
Alan Riddle, director of transportation services, and David Guerrero, fleet asset manager at Southern California Edison, presented “SCE and Telematics” about the evaluation of this technology on vehicles operated by the SCE Transportation Services Department. The SCE Fleet Performance Management System, they noted, provided management with real-time data on fleet vehicles, which can be utilized for more effective decision-making in three key areas:
• Fleet utilization including managing fleet size, vehicle reassignment, reducing the number of rentals, creating vehicle pools for short-term use, making informed vehicle replacement decisions, assigning the right vehicles for the right job and tracking unauthorized vehicle use.
• Fleet maintenance including improved preventive and corrective maintenance, increased safety during vehicle operation, and identification of poor performing vehicles and vehicle tampering or misuse.
• Fleet efficiency including reduced fuel consumption, decreased nonproductive idle time, improved driver performance, increased fuel economy, decreased emissions, fuel cost tracking, optimal routing, maximized fuel tax credits and increased compliance.
Findings from SCE pilot testing indicated that if this system lowered indirect idling to under 10 percent, speeding to under 5 percent and underutilization to less than 10 percent, and mpg increased, SCE would realize a return on investment from telematics within three years. Additional benefits include improved public and employee safety, better job planning and routing, vehicle life extension, faster response times to an incident and enhanced storm resource management. Also included is resolution of customer complaints regarding driver behavior, less theft and fraud, fuel tax savings and improved environmental stewardship through fleet efficiencies.
Tim Taylor, customer success officer at Telogis Inc., was also on the panel. He began by detailing four levels of telematics systems:
Level 1: Traditional AVL/GPS indicates where the vehicle is located; if it is driving, idled or stopped; how fast it is moving; and if it is in the right place compared to the location of the work.
Level 2: Vehicle intelligence includes getting data about the vehicle and its key components; how the vehicle is performing; if it is being utilized effectively; and if maintenance performed is based on real hours and miles.
Level 3: Connected intelligence uses customizable scorecards, dashboards and benchmarking to monitor and manage safety; utilization for emergency response coordination; and for coaching driver behavior about idling, speeding and hard acceleration/braking.
Level 4: Integration, interoperability from the connection between mobile intelligence and other enterprise applications, creating improved visibility, unique metrics, interoperability/integration with vehicle telematics, maintenance applications, and ERP and HR, inventory, cost, work order and fuel management systems.
In Level 1, Taylor noted, ROI for telematics comes from fuel cost savings, reducing miles driven and maintenance costs, and improving fleet utilization by identifying underutilized vehicles, as well as reducing capital investment and operating costs and the number of safety incidents.
“Telematics initiatives are about the creation of intelligence via the connection of mobile assets to the needs of the enterprise; providing operational levers for measurable improvement in operations, costs and efficiencies; driver performance and safety; emergency response and visibility; asset utilization; and customer service and satisfaction,” Taylor concluded.
To answer our own question, we couldn’t have summed it up better.