Telematics fleet management: A guide for small businesses in 2020
Telematics fleet management allows UK businesses to track their vehicles efficiently and effectively. Discover how your business could benefit here
For many businesses, vehicles form an integral part of day-to-day operations. Whether you’re responsible for one company car or an entire fleet of trucks, it’s important that your vehicles are managed as efficiently and effectively as possible.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of businesses using telematics to track and manage their fleets – allowing them to monitor their drivers, improve efficiency, and reduce fuel consumption.
If you’re interested in joining these businesses that use telematics services, we’ll provide all the information you need to know. This includes the various different telematics services available, and the benefits they could provide your business. And since budget is a major concern for everyone from the smallest of startups to huge corporations, we’ll shed some light on how telematics pricing works, too. Plus, we’ll highlight the factors that can impact how much you’ll be expected to pay for your business telematics software and hardware.
What is telematics fleet management?
Telematics is a term that refers to the integrated use of telecommunications with information and communications technology. Indeed, the name itself comes from the blending of “telecommunications' and ‘informatics'.
Telematics fleet management services work by using telematics technology that’s integrated with GPS technology. This is known as vehicle telematics.
Vehicle telematics is an in-depth method for tracking a fleet of vehicles, collecting data on a wide range of metrics in order to help fleet managers get the most out of their businesses.
Telematics works by tracking the movements of your vehicles using GPS systems and mobile technology. This allows you to monitor the location, movement, status, and behaviour of the vehicles within your fleet.
In addition to the simple GPS location method used by most vehicle tracking systems and security devices, telematics also calls upon Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to collect data.
The operational data collected by telematics tracking systems can include:
- Vehicle speed
- Miles per gallon (MPG)
- Fuel consumption
- Driving style
- Weight of load
- Braking intensity
- Activation of panic alarm
As well as this, they can inform you of whether the ignition is on, or if a vehicle's doors are open.
Telematics business services
Telematics services can be used by businesses within any sector, whether they're sole traders with a single motor or a company with thousands of employees and dozens of vehicles.
However, your business may find this technology particularly useful if you operate in the following sectors:
- Business services
- Distribution services
Your business can use telematics in a number of ways, including:
- Staff vehicle tracking
- Monitoring driver behaviour for training purposes
- Providing accurate mileage reports for tax and expenses reasons
- Supporting customer service by tracking delivery vehicle progress
- Monitoring vehicle health
Top UK telematics providers for business
Discover some of the leading suppliers of telematics fleet management for UK businesses in this dedicated section.
|Verizon Connect||Driving behaviour alerts|
|Samsara||Efficient fuel usage and driving performance|
Best for driving behaviour alerts
Verizon Connect is a telematics system that’s jam-packed with features. Its alerts functions are particularly impressive, allowing you to monitor a driver’s behaviour for everything from speeding to delayed starts or lengthy stops. And with bespoke reporting, you can drill down into the details of your fleet’s fuel consumption.
As a well-known brand in this space, Verizon Connect can offer your business its expertise on vehicle tracking, and offers a range of vehicle tracking and fleet management software services. It’s particularly suitable for large fleets with dedicated resources for managing data.
- Extensive, high-level features
- Stand-out tracking functions
- Customisable reports
- Lengthy contracts
- One of the more expensive providers
Best for efficient fuel usage and driving performance
Samsara’s fuel consumption reporting outshines its competition, allowing you to view usage based on miles per gallon (MPG), current consumption, and expected prices.
Another highlight is the driver messaging function, which permits in-dashboard driver communication. Departure times can be worked out easily with the ‘calculate departure times’ button, simplifying scheduling and routing tasks.
These features make Samsara an ideal choice for fleet managers operating in the transportation industry, as well as those that want a focus on safety – and don’t mind doing the work to manually configure the code for alerts.
- Strong fuel consumption reporting feature
- Stand-out driver messaging facilities
- Focus on safety
- Manual configuration required for alerts
- Only offers long contracts (3-5 years)
Best for short contracts
Quartix's shorter contract lengths and affordable pricing are well-suited to fleet managers who are looking to test drive a vehicle tracking product, without breaking the bank.
Offering daily data logs from your vehicles, Quartix allows you to easily understand the times and locations that your staff will begin and finish routes.
If you’re new to vehicle tracking, and pressed for time, Quartix could be an ideal solution for your business telematics requirements – and the free on-site installation is a bonus!
- 12-month contract (other providers typically tie you into three year terms)
- Clear pricing
- Free installation
- No driver messaging features
Learn more about the best vehicle tracking systems for UK businesses with our dedicated guide.
How can telematics benefit your business?
Telematics systems offer a whole host of benefits that can help a range of businesses.
This includes reductions in…
- Labour costs and overtime hours claimed
- Speeding incidents and fines
- Maintenance costs
- Operating expenses
- Unauthorised vehicle usage
…as well as increases in:
- Fleet safety and security
Telematics can also help to improve customer service and control fuel costs.
Telematics is extremely useful when it comes to managing the fuel costs of fleets of all sizes.
By monitoring driver behaviour, the system can advise staff on excessive speeding, harsh braking, and erratic behaviour in general.
Over time, this can save a considerable amount of expenditure on fuel costs.
Telematics systems not only allow you to track a vehicle’s location, but they can also alert you to any unauthorised usage. For example, you can be informed in real-time of your vehicles’ movements outside of working hours or beyond set boundaries.
This boosts security, plus it optimises the chances of vehicle and cargo recovery in the event of theft.
Whether you’re using your telematics system for tracking, navigation, or security, it’s equipped to store vast amounts of detailed information about your operation.
This information can then allow you to simply adjust or adapt areas of your business in order to improve efficiency.
Lower insurance premiums
Telematics insurance involves a telematics box, often referred to as a black box, being fitted into your vehicles.
This is then used to measure various aspects of how, when, and where you drive. This can be beneficial for a variety of businesses, including those with multiple vehicles.
Having telematics boxes fitted in your business vehicles allows you to prove to your insurance provider that your team members drive safely. This, in turn, should help to bring down your insurance premiums, as you’ll pay based on how safe your drivers really are, rather than paying for insurance based on the average driver.
By tracking the movements of your company’s vehicles, your insurance provider will be able to assess the skill and ability of your drivers, based on factors such as:
- How long they’ve been driving for
- How rapid or measured their acceleration is
- How harsh or smooth their braking is
Telematics insurance products can also offer other benefits, such as anti-theft tracking and personalised online driving records.
How much does telematics for business cost?
The cost of telematics products and services can vary significantly, depending on a range of factors. These typically include:
- Number of vehicles
- Type of vehicles – are you working with cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles or something else?
- Length of contract
- Accuracy – how accurate is the data that is generated?
- Where you’re located
- The features and tools you’re looking for
- Whether you opt for an active or passive system
There are a wide variety of telematics service providers out there, and it’s important to choose the best one for your fleet's requirements. As well as offering different services, each service provider will also offer a different pricing structure.
The price of telematics systems and services are usually provided via a quote upon inquiry, so it isn’t easy to provide accurate fixed costs. However, it is possible to pull together some general costs and guidelines.
For example, RAM Tracking offers the following pricing structure for its vehicle tracking service:
|Contract length||Monthly price|
Head over to our vehicle tracking costs for businesses page for more detailed insight.
Which additional factors should you consider?
Some telematics services will also include an initial installation charge, which can typically either be paid up front or incorporated into your monthly payments.
In addition to this, it’s important to be aware of hidden extras. For example, some companies will charge extra roaming fees if your vehicles go out of the country, or fees for changing vehicles. Others charge termination fees, or costs for removing tracking units from your vehicles at the end of your contract.
When considering the cost of telematics for your fleet, it’s important to take into account the potential savings that telematics services can offer your business.
- Reduced maintenance costs – Because telematics monitors driving performance, any inefficient or reckless driving practices can be addressed quickly, before they have a negative impact on the condition or safety of the vehicle. Over time, this should reduce maintenance costs.
- Save money on fuel – Telematics promotes efficient driving, meaning that your business vehicles’ fuel consumption should improve. This ultimately means that you won’t be spending as much money on fuel.
This page uses research collected by two independent researchers, examining 200 companies on 500 metrics, including add-ons, cost, features, and support. This detailed and wide-ranging research of the vehicle tracking market informs the article, and aims to provide clear, current, and precise information.
Compare telematics fleet tracking quotes for business
In a business context, telematics combines with GPS technology to offer fleet managers the opportunity to monitor vehicles easily, quickly, and efficiently. It can be applied across the spectrum of business sizes and industries, although it’s particularly suited to certain industries, such as manufacturing, transportation, and distribution.
Telematics can provide insight on drivers’ behaviour, fuel consumption, vehicle health, and more. This can help you to cut costs, ensure safety, and improve productivity in your business. The number and type of vehicles that you want to track, along with the contract length and complexity of features that you’re looking for, will contribute to the price you’ll pay.
Overall, telematics is an excellent tool for managing fleets, improving efficiency, and saving money.
To compare quotes from top UK telematics providers for your business, you can fill in the form at the top of this page. Our quote comparison process is quick, easy, and free, and it could help your business save time and money.