There can’t be that many (if any) companies that don’t have a computer system that helps with the running of their business. In fact Warehouse & Logistics News would wager that most companies have two, or more systems. But how many of the systems in these companies share information between them? The chances are that, for example, your tracking & telematics system comes from one provider and your tachograph analysis from another. With this being the case it’s very unlikely that the two systems will interact with each other.
The obvious and simple downfall of this is double entry. When you buy a new vehicle you have to ‘create’ it on both systems. The same, of course, is also true if you employ a new driver. But what about the advantages of having two systems that exchange information?
Your tracking system no doubt does a fine job of letting you know where your vehicles are. If you also use telematics then it will, I’m sure, be providing lots of useful information about the vehicle such as fuel consumption and how it’s been driven.
However, with the tracking / telematics ‘brain’ in the vehicle being a black box hidden deep inside the truck, it has absolutely no idea as to who is actually doing the driving.
Now, consider the tachograph in the same truck. Its job is, of course, to record the drive, breaks, other work that the driver has performed. Therefore, it knows who is driving but has absolutely no idea about where the vehicle is, or how much fuel is being used.
If these two systems shared the information that each has, all manner of useful benefits would suddenly appear…
The telematics system would then be able to report on not just the vehicle, but on the drivers themselves. This would mean that instead of wondering why, for example, the fuel economy of one particular truck was so bad (or good), you’d be able to see which drivers were returning what mpg figures.
The same would be true for speed, throttle usage, use of cruise control, etc. Even better, and if the system was capable, you’d be able to see a grading system to give you a clear guide as to how your drivers were performing.
Let’s start juggling with a third ball in the shape of drivers’ daily checks. As you’ll know, operators & drivers of vehicles have a legal responsibility to ensure that the vehicles they use are kept in a safe and roadworthy condition at all times. So the driver’s daily walk-round check is an essential inspection.
Rather than using a defect book, or daily check sheet, there’s no reason that these checks can’t be stored using a mobile phone, smartphone or PDA.
Once again, the information gathered by such a system could, in fact should, be shared with the other systems that an operator has.
If it did then thanks to its talking to the tracking, the daily check system can show where a particular check took place.
The tracking system can tell the daily check system when a vehicle has moved. If no daily check has been done for any day that the truck has been driven, all the users of our now three systems can be alerted.
In fact, you wouldn’t necessarily need to have tracking for this to work. In this case the tachograph analysis could come to our aid, as it also knows (albeit not yet in ‘real time’) when a vehicle has moved.
Now if you’re reading this and thinking that it’s all well and good writing about the sharing of information by different systems, but that it’s not going to happen any time soon – if at all – then we have some good news for you.
Warehouse & Logistics News have been to the Hertfordshire countryside to visit Road Tech Computer Systems Limited. Whilst that name might not ring any bells, we’re fairly certain that you will have heard of Tachomaster, their tachograph analysis solution.
With Tachomaster firmly established and processing over 50% of all Drivers’ Cards issued, Road Tech turned their attention and expertise to tracking & telematics and electronic daily vehicle checks. The result is two new products; Falcon (tracking & telematics) and PreDrive (electronic daily vehicle checks).
Operators can choose to have one, two, or all of the products. If two or more of the systems are implemented, they will automatically integrate with each other as described above.
All three of the systems are charged at fixed rates (£1 per driver per week for Tachomaster, £29 or £49 per vehicle per month for Falcon and £1 per vehicle per week for PreDrive).
There’s no minimum contract period for any of them either. If, at any point, you decide a particular product is not for you, simply stop using it. Tachomaster and PreDrive also offer a no restriction, full access, 28-day free trial too.
Road Tech says that it would like to be able to offer a free Falcon trial as well. But with the ‘brains’ requiring fitting into a vehicle, this simply isn’t possible.
Having seen all three systems working and, more relevantly, working together, Warehouse & Logistics News can see that this integration really is the way to go. It’s a cliché, but together the three solutions certainly are more than the sum of their parts.
Falcon Tracking: www.falcontracking.co.uk
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