More than fuel savings from telematics trials 19 April 2010

MiX Telematics reckons that, in the last year alone, its technology has saved bus and coach operators a staggering £8 million in fuel bills.

That's impressive, but the firm, which grew out of a South African personal security company and what was Siemens VDO fleet tracking technology, is now looking at haulage.

MiX marketing director Alan Johnson says his company is well aware of trucks' greater sophistication in terms, for example, of auto transmissions, and of speed limiters etc that might hold back the potential for savings.

Hence the trials over the last 18 months, with three fleet operators, all of which indicate that similar savings are indeed available.

Hemel-based Keystone Distribution was one, and its fleet has notched up an average 10% saving, while Crayford, Kent-based Solstor reckons its trucks are coming in with 12% fuel savings.

The operators say that's due to MiX systems' focus on key driver performance indicators – namely over-revving, excessive idling, harsh braking, hard acceleration and speeding.

Drivers see the systems' judgement of their actions in real time on a dash-mounted display; fleet managers also see the data; and drivers know they do.

But Johnson insists it's not just about the telematics: essential to the success of any such project is driver coaching and mentoring, he insists.

"Fleet operators can use the reports to see who needs further training, and it's not always the younger drivers. Older drivers may not be as used to new vehicle technology as some of their younger colleagues," he advises.

All of which should become clear, with the introduction of MiX Insight, a new reporting system launched at the CV Operator Show, aimed at making driver and truck statistics clearer.

Either way, Johnson suggests that where a consultative approach is taken with drivers, and incentives offend, the results are real, rapid – and go far beyond fuel savings.

ETS Distribution, which has also been trialling MiX systems agrees. Operations director Paul Wreaves cites reduced wear and tear, meaning less replacement components and maintenance costs, as well as improved truck residual values.

"We have seen fuel savings of 10—15%, which, on an annual fuel bill of £600,000, is a lot of money. And we've seen a similar saving on our insurance premium as well," says Wreaves.

"We've also been able to improve the efficiency of our pickups, by getting guys closest to the job to divert – not just those that tend to say yes," he continues.

"We began by piloting the system on six vehicles [but] the benefits immediately became apparent and convinced us to roll out Fleet Manager across our entire fleet of 24 trucks," he adds.

Add to those the savings that come from reduced accidents and improved brand image, he says, and using Telematics on any mid to large fleet is a no brainer.

Brian Tinham

Related Companies
MiX Telematics UK Ltd

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