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Driver Behaviour Monitoring & Your Business

Posted by on in Duty of Care

The way your employees drive can have a much bigger impact on your business than either they or you might think.

Consider for a moment a hypothetical scenario where you've hired drivers who have only just passed their driving test, are in their mid-20's and have a heavy right foot, poor attitude and an extreme lack of patience.

Now imagine those drivers in your vehicles tearing around towns, cities, rural roads and motorways.

5 Ways Driver Behaviour Can Hurt Your Business

  • Brand Image
  • Fines & Insurance Premiums
  • Unrecorded Accidents
  • Sky Rocketing Service Costs
  • Poor Petrol Performance

Your vehicles are nicely emblazoned with your company logo, contact details and branding. Members of the public take notice of this branding as they are cut up, tailgated, honked at and aggressively overtaken by your employees.

Suddenly people are calling up to complain, while others are choosing to go to your competitors as their only experience of your business is the terrible way your drivers treat the roads of the UK.

Your employees are constantly deluged by speeding fines, parking penalties and strong words from the local constabulary.

A number of these imaginary employees are also banned from driving and are now lurking around the business looking for something else to do.

Meanwhile, your insurance company gets wind of the issue and your premiums go through the roof.

Without vehicle tracking or dash cams to monitor poor driving events, your employees are involved in a multitude of accidents with fellow road users (and inanimate objects) and there is doubt as to where the blame lies.

There is no way to prove responsibility either way, so your business suffers from payouts, vehicle repair costs and a bad reputation.

WheelChange-300x221Aggressive acceleration, hard braking and a rally driver style attitude to cornering mean your vehicles are constantly in the garage for new brake pads, discs and fresh tyres.

Engine wear and tear means clutches are being replaced with disturbing regularity and your service bills are becoming unbearable.

With an attitude to driving that would make drag racers frown, your drivers are making the MPG of your vehicles feel more like 'meters per gallon' and racking up ridiculous fuel bills at a rate of knots.

Taking the shortest route possible also means they're cutting right through the centre of town and stop-starting in heavy traffic. So, regular trips to the local petrol station are also on the rise.

You can imagine these drivers might at least be getting your goods or passengers to their delivery point in time, but you have to wonder - how much more efficient could they be in doing so?

Sound Familiar?

Of course this is just hypothetical, but some of these points may still be hitting home. Without proper training and a good quality driver behaviour monitoring system in place, the chances are your fleet is experiencing some of the negative effects of poor or inefficient driving.

For fleet managers, the challenge is to improve drivers’ attitudes and driving techniques without having it feel like big brother enforcing his will upon them.

Getting Your Drivers On-board

Employees are unlikely to appreciate being told how to drive, but if the logic behind your decisions is explained, or some sort of reward is put into place, it might help to encourage improvement.

GYR-Rating300x221A simple example is passing on the cost savings - if the monitoring of drivers and tracking of vehicles demonstrates a saving of £XXX's per year, perhaps that can be reinvested in the company employees to reward them for their efforts.

Other non-financial rewards may also work well. You could 'gamify' driver behaviour by creating league tables, creating a competition to be the best driver in a given period - or simply encourage drivers by providing positive feedback when they have improved their habits and attitude.

Adjust your drivers’ attitude and combine this with better tracking and fleet management and you will certainly cut costs, improve efficiency and generally enhance your business performance. It might seem daunting at first, but once you’ve started to see the benefits you will be glad you went through with it.

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Ever wondered how vehicle tracking systems work? In this article we’ll look at what makes GPS tracking technology possible and why it’s such an important tool for fleet managers.

Tracking a vehicle through the Global Positioning System (GPS) involves communicating with a network of satellites that orbit the Earth.

These satellites are intrinsic to how GPS tracking works, as they allow us to take advantage of trilateration.

What is Trilateration?

Trilateration is a more complex version of triangulation, and operates on the same principle. Essentially, it relies on using three points of reference to determine the location, speed and direction of an object.

GPSSatGPS vehicle tracking uses the satellites mentioned before as these reference points.

A GPS satellite times how long it takes to bounce a signal from the receiver and back to itself. Then, by knowing how fast this signal travels it is possible for the satellite to calculate the distance that the signal has travelled.

Once three satellites have this information, by combining the results of these calculations and their relative positions it becomes possible to work out the position of the receiver.

By keeping track of this information – for example, how that position changes and the rate at which it’s changing – we can work out the speed the vehicle is travelling at and the route its taking.

Getting Access to the Information

So, this is how GPS tracking works. It all sounds very complicated and, in some ways, it is. Thankfully, once you have receivers installed in your vehicles the benefits of fleet tracking technology are available to you.

Technology has now progressed to the point where you can get access to real time updates on the locations of your vehicles through an online dashboard – taking the incredible power of the GPS network and putting into the hands of fleet managers.

The Power of GPS Vehicle Tracking

The applications for GPS vehicle tracking are widespread.

GPSMapAt the most basic level, it can give you more security. If you can always track the positions of your vehicles, it makes it far easier to locate and retrieve them if they’re stolen.

Beyond that, it gives you access to hard data about what your fleet is doing. If you want to learn about the challenges your business faces, then this kind of information is invaluable.

Consider being able to analyse the routes your vehicles take. Are there some routes that always result in your vehicles being late? With vehicle tracking you can start to work out why, without having to make uninformed assumptions.

Is there something wrong with the route itself or is the way the vehicle is being driven the problem? Once you start tracking your fleet, you can start to answer these kinds of questions.

Get Access to the Information

Now you know how GPS tracking works and the kinds of information it can give you access to, it’s time to talk about applications.

If you want to find out how you can get fleet tracking installed, and how you can get access to an online dashboard that gives you up to date information from a network of GPS satellites, then get in touch with us today and let’s give you the power of GPS vehicle tracking.

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How to Improve Driving Standards

Posted by on in Duty of Care

Driving standards are often overlooked by businesses, despite the fact that they can have an impact on many of the factors that determine the success of your venture.

Improving driving standards in your fleet can not only reduce costs to your business but also help improve efficiency and results, as well as the public perception of your business.

HowsMyDriving

When it comes to business image, people always remember the negatives – after all, as a nation we love a good moan!

If you're being cut up, honked at or aggressively/dangerously overtaken by a van with business branding on it, you're going to negative feelings toward that business. There's a reason why those 'how's my driving' stickers became so popular!

Monitoring & Reporting Infractions

Many of the companies we work with monitor the feedback on their fleet. Members of the public call in, get in touch via social media or use contact forms on websites to report the wide variety of negative occurrences they see.

Some of the things we’ve seen reported include:

  • Throwing rubbish out of their windows
  • Using mobile phones while driving around roundabouts in built-up areas
  • Aggressively overtaking on bends, hills and other dangerous spots
  • Honking, flashing and tailgating
  • Dangerous driving that caused other motorists to perform emergency manoeuvres
  • Overtaking multiple cars and causing danger to oncoming traffic

These are just samples of the problems recorded, but it's quickly obvious that this is a serious problem for the business and the brand. Only a small portion of people are going to make the effort to complain, but a larger portion might have been put out by the bad behaviour.

Often, drivers might not think about their actions and the negative impact they can have on the company’s brand. All these small actions can add up to create a significant impact, the implications of which are worth considering.

Improving Standards = Improving Results

The idea of driver behaviour monitoring is simple, we're trying to improve the way your drivers use their vehicles. Advanced driver training can also make a big difference – monitoring performance can work alongside this to support overall improvement.

Driver behaviour influences numerous elements of vehicle costs and associated performance which can and will affect costs to your business.

speeding

You can see a sample of the data above – monitoring and tracking the way your employees drive the vehicle shows how they drive. This includes excessive speed, harsh braking and aggressive acceleration.

This sort of driving behaviour in turn leads to increased fuel use, excessive wear and tear on brakes, tyres, etc and unnecessary speeding fines and penalties. Improving driver behaviour results in reductions in these sorts of costs to the business, and will also support the overall image of your business on the road.

If drivers are aware of the fact that they shouldn't be driving quickly/aggressively then they'll hopefully be less likely to take that stance and offend other road users.

6 Ways to Improve Driver Behaviour

There are a variety of approaches you can use to improve the overall performance of your fleet. We’ve put together a list of 6 you could consider using – a combination of these should lead to a far improved attitude on the road and thus a reduced cost to your business in financial terms and credibility.

  • Advanced driver training
  • Feedback and debriefing sessions
  • Behaviour monitoring
  • Cost education
  • Tracking
  • Rewarding success
  • Beyond the standard driving test, not many drivers opt for any sort of advanced training.

However, there are official courses that are recognised by insurance companies and will reduce premiums. These courses are also great refreshers for drivers who may have years of experience but are stuck in old habits that are no longer useful with modern vehicle technology.

An example of this might include engine braking – where using gears to slow down was often practiced in previous years but now isn't as efficient. Other simple things might include not being up-to-date with the Highway Code which can result in driving infractions and speeding fines.

If you're monitoring and recording public feedback about driver attitude on the road then it's worth taking the time to educate drivers on what's being said and how to address it.

They might not be aware that their behaviour is even an issue. They certainly won't have considered the repercussions of it. Obviously, this needs to be carefully handled to avoid victimising particular drivers – group sessions might be preferable.

driver-behaviour-monitoringIn-vehicle monitoring equipment can help drivers to improve their performance. A traffic light system will let them know when there's an infraction and get them to consciously consider how they're driving.

Training drivers and educating them on how their driving impacts the cost of the business may highlight the benefits of better driving.

If you can demonstrate how much fuel is wasted through poor road attitude, then you can show the knock-on cost to the business and demonstrate how an overall reduction in profit also means less benefits for them in the long-term.

Rewarding improved behaviour or gamifying driving attitude with league tables and performance reports may also encourage better attitude.

Vehicle tracking also indirectly supports improving driver behaviour. If you're monitoring how your fleet operates then you can advise drivers on routing, timing, breaks and optimising their journeys.

LeagueTableIt seems like an obvious thing, but people respond well to being rewarded for doing a better job. Due to vehicle tracking and behaviour monitoring technology, the tools now exist to do this in a scientific and fair way.

Instigating some sort of reward or bonus system for improved driving will naturally lead to better results.

The Business Benefits

All of these options will help improve the attitude of your drivers and how they act on the road. This in turn will lead to better results for your business in a variety of ways – ultimately leading to both reduced costs and less hassle.

Based on this, it’s worth considering all your options when it comes to improving driving standards. With all the technological options available, you’re sure to find something that work for your fleet.

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Driving a heavy vehicle isn’t like your average office job, which is why health and safety takes on a very different meaning for fleet managers. That’s the reality of dealing with a human being at the head of several tons of machinery!

We’ve put together a list of 9 tips for making sure your HGV drivers are as safe on the road as possible.

1 – Safety is a priority

HGVBlue-144x144Safety should be your number one priority. For your drivers, it should be more important than speed or efficiency, for the company it should be more important than your profit margin.

After all, what’s the point of your drivers getting to their destination in a damaged vehicle with a broken cargo and injuries that mean they need to take a quick detour to hospital?

Safety is good for everyone – you don’t want your drivers to get hurt, and you don’t want to lose income or business due to accidents.

Encourage your drivers to speak up if they have ideas about safety – they might have insight that you or your safe inspectors do not.

2 – Check your vehicles regularly

Checking your vehicles thoroughly and regularly can give you the opportunity to stop problems before they happen!

Regular maintenance and inspections are key to keeping your vehicles in a safe condition. Ensure they are booked in and that the schedule is stuck to. Encourage your drivers to report missed inspections – after all, they are the one behind wheel and thus the one at risk.

A good best practice tip to pass down to your drivers: make a pre-trip inspection before each journey. This can help them avoid being caught out by the little things, like not having enough petrol!

3 – Weed out dangerous driving

DBI-144x144This is a difficult one – how can you know which of your drivers are serial tailgaters?

Thankfully, there are tools available that allow you to monitor how your vehicles are being driven. At Ctrack we’ve developed Driver Performance Solutions, which allow you to work out which of your drivers need further training – as well as how you incentivise and reward good driving.

 

 

4 – Alcohol and drug testing

You'd like to think that your drivers wouldn't put their own lives at risk by coming to work under the influence of drink or drugs, but at the same time you can never know what other stress factors in their lives could potentially push them down this path.

The best thing you can do, both for your yourself and for your drivers, is implement a testing regime. This will allow you to avoid anyone under the influence from getting behind the wheel of one of your vehicles – and also allow them to get the help they need.

5 – Have a pre-defined accident procedure

Crash-144x144You can have all the procedures and policies in the world, but sometimes accidents do just happen.

The best thing you can do as a fleet manager is be prepared for this eventuality. Create a procedure for drivers to follow in the event of an accident and then ensure the drivers are aware of It.

How you do this is up to you, but it could involve a training course on what they need to do in this kind of situation.

 

6 – Supply ‘hands free’ setups for mobile phones

In those situations where something changes and you need to contact one of your drivers, you want to be able to do so without the worry of what happens when they answer the phone.

Ensuring your drivers have hands free peripherals for their mobile phones will mean they can take the calls they need to without putting themselves and other drivers at risk.

7 – Route planning

Route-144x144While route planning is good practice from an efficiency and cost reduction standpoint, it also has safety considerations.

By ensuring your drivers have enough time to complete their journeys, based on actual data about the routes they take, you can avoid stressful journeys where they have enough time and feel forced to rush – when heavy vehicle drivers rush and feel pushed to take risks, bad things happen.

Technology can give you the edge here. Vehicle tracking systems allow to collect accurate data about the routes your drivers take, that way you can see if there are common problem areas that are putting drivers under unnecessary stress.

 

8 – Be aware of the weather

Make sure you stay appraised of up to date weather reports. All your route planning can go out the window if the weather takes an unpleasant turn.

High winds are particularly worthy of concern, if you see this is going to be a problem then you should consider re-routing your vehicles away from open rounds.

9 – Policies and training

Training-144x144So, now you have all these things to look out for and to educate your drivers on. But how do you action it all?

The key here is policies and training. Things like vehicle inspection and drink/drug testing need to be enshrined in policy, and those policies need to be followed and enforced across the business – for example, you can't expect drivers to follow the policies that inconvenience them if you ignore the need for a vehicle inspection because it's inconvenient at the time.

Things like accident procedure, and other driver-side safety concerns you may want to consider like the importance of a seat belt and securing your load properly, are more likely to be dealt with through a training course. But once again, appreciate that there needs to be a measure of good will. For things like this to be effective, you need to ensure the professional relationship works both ways!

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fleet-management-problems

Fleet managers face a clutch of difficult challenges every day. What many don’t realise is that technology has now advanced to the point where many of challenges can be solved.

Read through this list of 11 common fleet management headaches, and find out how fleet tracking systems can help you overcome them.

Operations are taking too long

Fleets run on a schedule. Your credibility and your reliability are intrinsically linked. Do you find that your schedule is always going out the window? That drivers don’t arrive when they should? That the knock on effects make planning your fleet’s activities a nightmare?

This is a common problem for fleet managers, but is actually caused by two other issues...

You can’t optimise your routing

Without vehicle tracking, it’s extremely difficult to see the route your drivers are taking.

There may be problem areas and patterns that can emerge with the kind of data fleet tracking systems can provide. Is there a particular route that gets slowed down at the same time every day?

Knowing this kind of information can allow you to improve the efficiency of your drivers’ journeys.

You can’t monitor driver breaks

Unscheduled or long breaks can throw your timings out, but it’s impossible to find out if this is the problem without data.

Equally, you don’t want to come down hard on all your drivers as many of them may taking perfectly reasonable breaks – their delays may be caused by other problems.

This is closely linked to another problem many fleet managers have...

When it comes to your drivers, you don’t know the good from the bad

Whether we’re talking about aptitude or attitude, tracking and monitoring solutions allow you to determine which of your drivers are and aren’t operating at the standard you expect.

This will also allow you to accurately assess your drivers, so you can incentivise good driving and reward your best drivers. It will also allow you to determine where additional training may be required.

Your vehicles suffer unsustainable amounts of wear and tear

Irregular amounts of wear and tear can be caused by a multitude of factors.
Drivers not being given enough time to complete their journeys will cause them to rush which will put undue stress on their vehicle. Equally, heavy acceleration and aggressive breaking will put a strain on your vehicles.

Fleet tracking systems will allow you determine exactly what is causing excessive wear and tear – and then you can work out what to do about it.

You are dealing with the reality (or the risk) of vehicle theft

Ultimately, tracking systems allow you to a simple question – “where are my vehicles?”

Whether it’s recovering a stolen a vehicle, or simply having a peace of mind that if this worst case scenario comes up you will know where your vehicle is, fleet tracking can put this major headache to bed.

You can’t check on your vehicles in the event of a crisis

Ranging from a major accident on a main road to an unexpected extreme weather event, a crisis can put both your drivers and your vehicles in danger. Fleet tracking allows you to quickly know if you have any assets in an effected area, giving you both peace of mind and the ability to take action if necessary.

You spend too much time doing reports and paperwork

As a fleet manager you have a huge number of responsibilities. You need to make sure customers are happy, that your drivers are motivated and that your vehicles are good condition.

Unfortunately, we find that many fleet managers end up over-stretched and unable to tend to their duties. Why? They have to spend all their time doing paperwork

With our dashboard, stats collected are from your tracking systems and then delivered through reports and statistics that will massively reduce the amount of paperwork you have to do – meaning you can focus on managing your fleet.

Your running costs are too high

Fuel, insurance, vehicle maintenance... the lists of costs your fleet can incur will go on and on. Your fleet is a business venture, and you want it to turn a profit. Even if you already turn a profit, increasing that margin can only be good for you, your business and your drivers.

That’s why it’s important to optimise. If better routing can reduce fuel costs or improved driver behaviour can reduce insurance costs, then investing in the technology to do this will result in an upturn in profits over time.

Your customers are unhappy

You might see unhappy customers as a problem, but it’s more likely that is an indication of other issues.

If you’re suffering from one or more of the above issues, like late deliveries of aggressive driving, then the end result of that will be that your customers won’t be getting a good service. That, in turn, means they will be unhappy with your company.

Ultimately, you are losing money!

Unnecessarily high fuel costs, speeding fines, excessive maintenance bills, unhappy customers discontinuing their business. All of these things lead to your fleet making less money.

Fleet tracking systems allow you to find out what the real problems in your business are, get the data you need to fix them and make your fleet a more profitable, less painful, venture.

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Ctrack releases solutions overview video

Posted by on in Media

Our latest video provides an inside look at the many benefits offered by Ctrack’s Vehicle Tracking and Fleet Management solutions.

Ctrack offers technically advanced hardware solutions which are suitable for all types of vehicles or plant capturing data which is processed by the powerful Ctrack Online web-based or mobile applications. As a result of this, meaningful management information is presented to our customers in an easy to understand and intuitive formats which includes dashboards, automated scheduled / ad-hoc reports and real-time alerts. 

This allows our customers to address business critical performance issues resulting in greater operational visibility, control, efficiency and therefore achieving reductions in costs. Some of the key focus areas are reducing fuel consumption, vehicle maintenance costs by improving driver behaviour, fleet productivity, duty of care compliance and improved utilisation. 

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