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Social responsibility: Using telematics to sustain your business

Every extra mile costs. Not just fuel, man-hours and engine wear, but by adding CO2 and other GHG (greenhouse gases) to the environment, known to contribute to climate change.

Not only does reducing emissions have a clear reputational benefit for fleets, but also due to various legislative changes linked to carbon dioxide emissions, going green now has serious fiscal benefits for a business.

So how can managers use telematics to cut fuel costs across a fleet and dramatically reduce carbon emissions?

Using data to reduce carbon emissions

Data from driver behaviour is key to fuel reduction and therefore carbon efficiency. Telematics can examine data on driver behaviour, highlighting harsh acceleration, harsh braking and excessive speeding – all serious fuel burners and carbon emitters. Once highlighted, these carbon heavy habits can be removed, benchmarked against and changed.

Telematics can also help managers optimise routes, plan according to granular territory information and navigate to real time information. It goes without saying that a vehicle which travels fewer miles will burn less fuel and will be more carbon efficient. Tools such as the Telogis Fleet platform can help managers and drivers take routes that require the shortest distance, the least amount of turns, the fewest stoppages and it makes it simple to re-route to respond to real time traffic updates.

Another clear carbon reducer enabled by optimised routes is a reduction in idling. Idling across the trucking industry uses more than six billion gallons of fuel a year - roughly £15 billion of fuel wasted, but equally, it reduces unnecessary emissions pumped into the environment. Using telematics can significantly reduce this idle time, therefore impacting a fleet’s carbon footprint.

Finally, telematics can offer a flexible reporting engine of reports, run by vehicle, fleet, driver or team and generated in an easy to read format that can be printed, saved or set to send automatically to one or more recipients. This makes it simple to report on and demonstrate and prove carbon reduction - vital in order to reap the reputational and fiscal benefits that come with implementing a successful green strategy.

Green fingers - mobile innovation

Innovative mobile apps and gamification initiatives can also reduce driver emissions. For instance, Telogis Coach available on Android and iOS, takes key driver data gleaned by the Telogis platform and feeds it back into a game-based application. It then presents this information in the form of a scoreboard and ranking performance on efficiency – crucial to low carbon driving – compared to others, encouraging them to improve performance. Using their driving record to calculate a score out of 100, they are positioned in comparison with other drivers. As their carbon efficient driving improves, so does their place on the leaderboard.

Ultimately, gamification like this helps fleet managers inspire mobile workers to drive efficiently using positive reinforcement and friendly competition. How does this improve efficiency and create a low carbon fleet? The cumulative effect of a fleet of drivers not driving at optimum speeds is vast. For example, reports from our customers suggest that a fleet that adheres to the speed limit can save 25 per cent on fuel.

But drivers, of course, aren’t robots – they drive for long hours in ever changing conditions, and regardless of experience, there are inevitably cases of harsh braking, speeding and heavy acceleration. If drivers are involved in a game, however, a competitive nature takes over. They want to average as close to the speed limit as possible to beat a fellow driver in the same or different fleet. They want to have the best braking statistics, and to be top of the national leaderboard.

When rolled out across a fleet of vehicles, this competition to increase fuel efficiency can have a huge impact on fuel consumption and carbon efficiency. Even the smallest difference in individual driving habits can reduce emissions across a fleet.

Looking to the future

To help them on this journey, businesses should look to those market-leaders who continue to invest in research and development to meet changing business needs, environmental concerns and changing legislation. Companies that are able to derive the right insights from such a vast amount of data will be able to create new and significant value for their own and for customers’ businesses.

If managers follow the green initiatives discussed above, they will this year be able to significantly reduce carbon emissions, become leaders of industry and drive significant impact on the bottom line.

Sergio Barata, General Manager EMEA, Telogis

Image Credit: Riopatuca / Shutterstock

Sergio Barata
Sergio has been General Manager EMEA at Telogis for eight years, overseeing the rapid growth of the company across EMEA. Telogis, a Verizon Company, is a leading global cloud-based MRM software firm based in Aliso Viejo, California.