The Dirt Magazine_Issue 9

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Page 18 of 23 │ 19 │ issue 9 TELEMATICS Another hot area in telematics is leveraging the technology to proactively manage vehicle maintenance and repairs. This goes beyond just alerts for when oil change intervals and other regular maintenance items need to be addressed. Advanced algorithms help predict when certain components might fail on a vehicle, based on numerous factors, letting managers address those potential issues early, instead of dealing with costly field repairs. A flood of new data is coming from the growing line of telematics abilities. This can be a double-edged sword, though, by giving managers new ways of improving efficiency, while simultaneously drowning them. Making sense of all this new data and using it to lower operating costs could prove tricky, without the right tools. One survey found only 35 percent of fleet managers said they saw a return on investment in their fleet telematics system. In that same survey, 48 percent said using every telematics features is challenging. To effectively manage a fleet, managers must be able to synthesize large data sets and leverage it for smart decisions. Many data analysis programs exist, even converging data from multiple sources into a single set. This info can be shared with other departments. Organizations that resist adopting these innovations will find that in five or so years they are far behind those that are implementing the technology into their practices now. Another factor affecting the overall usefulness of fleet telematics is driver training. It used to be trucking school and passing the CDL licensing exam was enough, but as new onboard technologies are introduced, drivers need to know how to use them, or the benefits are diminished. The first thought most managers have is a group of drivers sitting in a classroom, being lectured on proper use of the technology. More effective is leveraging online learning modules, which are available through professional training companies and other resources. Drivers can take the trainings at their own pace, plus they can review useful information at any time using a smartphone, just in case they forget certain details.

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