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The 5 most common mistakes when implementing telematics and ways to avoid them

Apr 11, 2023 11:09:47 AM

When considering an investment in a telematics system, you are usually aware of the benefits you can get from this decision. Any provider of this solution will fully spell them out for you. However, the question arises - can this project fail at some stage?

In this post, we will highlight the 5 most common mistakes you can make when implementing telematics, which can ultimately affect the failure of the entire project We will also suggest how to avoid these mistakes.

Mistake No. 1 - lack of a defined goal

There are projects where the decision is made to implement telematics, without knowing what results in it is supposed to bring. What happens to be the reason for implementation? "A colleague from another company has implemented it", "everyone already has it", and "It would be useful to automate something". Simplifying - "I want to have it, and then we'll see...".

What happens if you start a project without a defined goal?

- You will not motivate your team, who will eventually lose commitment. No one likes change, especially if there is no understanding of the benefits of the change. You will end up with an underused system (we will write about incomplete implementation in a moment)

- You will lose commitment yourself and will only see monthly invoices from the telematics provider

- You will remain where you were before you bought the product, but with higher operating costs

How to avoid this?

- Do a factual needs analysis. It could be about reducing fuel costs, speeding up payments to your customers, or reducing manual work in the office (your employees' time is a real financial resource. It could also be the need for quick analytics to help you achieve higher profitability. Do your own audit and define real needs

- With your needs defined - calculate the ROI of your telematics investment. The system can very quickly affect cost reduction in many sections of operational work. With knowledge of how much you will gain and how quickly it will pay off - you will have an objective goal to achieve.

If you are aware of the goals you set for yourself when implementing telematics, you will also motivate your team to get involved in the project.

Mistake No. 2 Lack of commitment in the office

Despite awareness of your goals, the problem of lack of commitment in the team is still real. We have already mentioned that it is human nature to resist change. In an industry as specific as transportation, this is even more evident. Your employees probably spend much time talking on the phone with customers and drivers. According to them, this is the way they can most efficiently manage the dynamically changing situation with the cargo they are driving. By offering your team a program where they have to start "clicking" and "typing" data, you will significantly "slow down their work". That's what they may tell you 😊 They may still add "That's not what you pay me for". From there, it's a short way to a lack of commitment to the telematics project.

What happens if your office team doesn't get involved?

- You won't achieve your goals, even if you define them precisely

- You won't use the system to its full potential - you'll be paying for functionality you don't use

- Your employees will continue to waste valuable time on unnecessary activities instead of focusing on work that will bring profit to the company

How to avoid this?

- Take adequate time to implement your team fully. Talk to your telematics provider and ask for support in this regard

- Introduce the team to the benefits they will experience: they will regain valuable time for work that can bring them profits, and you will relieve them of manual reporting work

- Be honest - implementation will take some time and will "hurt" for a while

- Find a project leader in the team - it will help you convince the other employees

- Motivate positively - your employees are part of the whole company and have an impact on its development

- Explain what their role is in the project and what the goals are for the whole company

If you involve the team, you will achieve full standardization of work in each position and automate processes. You will achieve your goals, and the office will be calmer and quieter 😊

Mistake No. 3 Uncommitted driver

"We were hired to drive, not to click on a tablet", "I will not work like a robot, I will move somewhere else". Drivers often put up strong resistance to using new work tools. This is often the main reason why business owners do not undertake significant improvements. Lack of driver involvement can cause even the most goal-conscious bosses to fail at system implementation.

What happens if your driver doesn't work with a telematics tool?

- You won't relieve the office of a rush of phone calls - productivity will remain at its original level

- You will still be waiting for customer payments - you will not shorten the cash cycle

- Documents will be processed on a 1- or 2-week cycle, instead of the planned reduction of this time even to 1 day

How to avoid this?

- Explain to the driver that this will minimize his work with paper documents

- Bet on training and dialogue - make the driver aware of his role in the company's development

- Think about instructional videos - your telematics provider can help with this

- Find an understanding with your driver leader - he will help you convince the others

- Think about an incentive system to support driver engagement

- Point out a clear perspective - digitization will happen in any growing trucking company

- Explain that their responsibility is reduced, if only by preparing a dedicated route sent from the office to the driver's navigation system

- By fully involving the driver, you will gain full control over the transportation process, at every stage.

Mistake No. 4 Incomplete system implementation

We touched on this topic earlier. The risk is that not every position in the office may use the system in the same expected way. It may be that not every functionality you purchase and want to implement will actually be used by employees.

What happens if you don't fully use the system?

- You won't achieve your intended goals

- You will not implement the expected automation and standardization of work

- The return on investment will be lower than expected

How to avoid this?

- Consistently enforce with your employees the need to use the system

- Repeat training and monitor progress

- Maintain transparency about the company's goals and the meaning of the project

- Don't compromise

Be assured, after the painful period of system implementation, there will come a point where your team will begin to work habitually with the tools available. Moreover, they will feel the benefits of automating their work.

Mistake No. 5 Improper installations

Installing devices in a vehicle requires proper knowledge and skills. Vehicles of different brands are characterized by varying "compatibility" with telematics equipment. Therefore, there is a risk of making mistakes at the system installation stage.

What could be the consequences of installation errors?

- Incomplete use of the system across the fleet

- Lack of data or inconsistent data on the operation of the fleet

- Impaired work in many operational sections: driver accounting, order control, or in customer service

- Incomplete cost analysis

- Costly returns of vehicles for the need of installation corrections

How to avoid this?

- Use experienced, authorized installers or service centres

- If you have your own technical facilities - invest in technical training for your employees

Proper installation of equipment in vehicles is key to a successful project launch. Particularly when vehicles operate for long periods of time in international transport and personal service is difficult.

When deciding on an advanced telematics solution, it is important to guard against mistakes that can affect project failure. Your awareness of the set goals, proper communication with employees, motivation and consistency are key. You also need to be mindful of the risks involved in installing equipment without properly preparing the process.

But keep your head up!

At the end of this road, a reward awaits - your company will spread its wings, and you will feel the comfort of your and your entire team's work.

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Łukasz Dabrowski

Written by Łukasz Dabrowski

Łukasz jest menedżerem sprzedaży w firmie Astrata w Polsce, gdzie na co dzień pomaga firmom różnej wielkości we wdrażaniu komunikacji elektronicznej oraz w poprawie wydajności floty. Jako były kierownik projektu i specjalista ds. rozwoju biznesu w Air Liquide i Gaspolu, wie, jak bezproblemowo przeprowadzać poważne zmiany operacyjne. Łukasz jest także ojcem, zagorzałym kibicem piłki nożnej oraz biegaczem.

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