Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD May-Jun 2017 Contents WALTER SCREMIN
YET MANY SYSTEMS ARE
ransport fleets are under ever-greater
pressure to perform, squeezed by
efficiency and always rising customer
expectations, yet many transport operators
aren’t properly using the technology available.
Telematics systems, which use GPS to
track goods and vehicles, are nothing new
but research shows many Australian transport
fleets do not have any systems in place and
are missing out on an opportunity to improve
efficiency, keep customers happy and protect
themselves from misplaced deliveries.
A 2015 survey by ACA Research showed the
telematics take-up rate among large truck fleets
of more than 25 vehicles was 76 per cent. Take
up fell dramatically for fleets between six and 25
vehicles, with only 49 per cent using telematics.
For fleets with fewer than six trucks the take-up
was a miserable 18 per cent.
This doesn’t tell the full story. From many
years’ experience analysing transport fleets for
efficiency and developing telematics systems
such as Ontime Earth and the Gopher app, I
know many fleets which do employ telematics
aren’t enjoying the full benefits of the technology.
For some, it’s a bit like a gym membership –
they are enthusiastic at first, but they stop paying
attention to it after three months.
Telematics is not a ‘set and forget’ deal.
The full benefit from deploying telematics
occurs when you treat it like a muscle and
keep exercising it. Few businesses have fixed
scenarios on their delivery runs, which means
there are always opportunities to improve
efficiency by leveraging the information collated
by this technology.
Some fleet operators have a perception that
telematics is expensive, yet set-up costs have
plummeted, with systems now available via
smartphone starting from $150, meaning any
sized fleet can benefit from features such as
vehicle tracking and proof of delivery (ongoing
costs for Ontime Group’s own Gopher app are
as little as $20 a month).
What is the cost of not getting the most out
We all need to put ourselves in the mindset
of the ‘want-it-now’ shopper. Consumers see
innovations like next-day or half-day delivery,
or parcel delivery tracking, and it becomes a
standard expectation. Can same-day delivery
become same-hour delivery? This is a B2C and
B2B issue. If customers come to expect it, we
will need to figure it out.
The wrong transport option fundamentally
affects a product’s cost viability to market, and
customer satisfaction, which determines future
sales. How do we measure the performance? No
matter what the method, you need a mentality to
continually question and analyse to get results.
Getting the most from your telematics system
comes down to five main keys:
1. Make it transparent
for your customers
Telematics increase transparency and
customers love that because they can promptly
get an answer on how far away their item or
customer service person is.
Supply chains across the board benefit
from telematics and RFID technology to track
deliveries – it doesn’t even have to be the latest
technology. Just being prepared to use existing
tech more openly is a good start.
Technology plays a big role in customer
service by automatically updating customers on
a parcel’s delivery status, location and estimated
time of delivery.
2. Be vigilant on your efficiency
We know of businesses that have used
telematics to achieve more deliveries with the
same number of vehicles. The technology
strengthens communication between managers
and the fleet, which therefore lifts efficiency.
Unless they are being monitored, it can be
difficult to measure the efficiency of a fleet. Once
you see your delivery runs shown on a map, areas
for improvement quickly become obvious. But the
biggest enemy to this breakthrough is to become
complacent – the transport divisions that are most
efficient keep monitoring, keep measuring.
Transport costs and inefficiencies have
traditionally been difficult to pin down with true
accuracy, but more organisations are digging
deeper and seeing the benefits of understanding
their full transport costs, and measuring them
constantly for efficiency.
THE 5 KEYS TO
3. Employ proof-of-delivery systems
Being lax on the proof-of-delivery process can
result in enormous risk if you are unable to
prove the whereabouts of supposed lost or
misplaced parcels, which may cause arguments
with customers and ultimately cost you.
Having your telematics system properly
set-up to record proof-of-delivery is critical –
both you and your customers will appreciate
4. Ensure vehicles and equipment
aren’t being misused
Telematics can employ geo-fencing, which
alerts you when a vehicle has left a designated
area. There have been many cases of misused
vehicles, or drivers dropping in at home when
they are not supposed to. If one of your drivers is
doing a bit of freelancing on the side using one of
your vehicles, will you know about it? Telematics
is a proven way of detecting these issues.
5. Manage driver performance and fatigue.
Telematics is a great tool for assessing
driver performance and keeping them safe,
by assisting with compliance of chain of
Walter Scremin is the general manager of
national transport firm Ontime Group, developer
of Ontime Earth. For more information visit
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS — MAY / JUNE 2017
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