date13 September 2017

Telematics and driver engagement: How to get it right

Vehicle telematics is a hot topic in the logistics sector at present, and rightly so. This kind of performance data can be a hugely powerful tool in the transport operator’s search for maximum safety and efficiency - use it properly and there are some brilliant rewards to reap.

Driver engagement is essential if you’re to get the most from any telematics system. Your staff need to be involved at some level, the question is: how involved? You need to determine what kind of access your drivers have to their own performance data, and how is best for you to use it. The following tips should help.

Stay on the driver’s side

Introduce a telematics system out of the blue and your drivers could react defensively; they’ll assume you’re doing it just to keep tabs on them. While that might be part of the intention, it’s crucial that they understand the benefits on both sides. Having access to performance data will help drivers to better understand how they work and where they can improve. If some have been performing poorly, it may not be down to a lack of effort – it could be that they just don’t understand how to get better. A telematics system will undoubtedly help with that.

Help your staff learn

Involvement is the key to driver engagement – it’s crucial that your team knows what’s happening from the very start, so brief them at every stage. And, when everything is in place, give them the training they need to use their system and its data properly. Most important is the ability to understand how the data is recorded and exactly what each element means. They should be able to clearly see how they’re performing against certain criteria – including things like braking and cornering intensity, speed and fuel efficiency. Giving your drivers ownership of this information will help them to feel more valued.

Spark some healthy competition

You want your staff to drive safely and efficiently for the right reasons, but you shouldn’t rule out a little healthy competition. When drivers have full access to their telematics data, it can be used to incentivise through league tables and rewards. Light-heartedly pit your drivers against one another day-to-day, and give prizes to those that perform best. It needn’t be a financial incentive either – consider extra holiday time too.

Debrief regularly

An open telematics policy will allow you to manage by exception. Some drivers will essentially take care of themselves and improve with minimal outside input, giving you the chance to focus on those who need a little extra steering. That said, it’s important that you make sure everyone is kept updated on how they’re doing. Hold regular debriefing sessions with all drivers, so they can see what impact the telematics data is having. Positive feedback will no doubt provide further motivation, and anything else is a chance to address any concerns you or your driver may have. Once again, remind staff that this is all about getting the best possible results for them and the business.

Vehicle telematics for your business

Implementing a telematics system is the first big step on the road to more efficiency, reduced costs and fewer on-the-road incidents. Having a better understanding of how your operators drive every day will help you get the most from them. To find out more about our solutions and how we can help your business, get in touch with our experts today.