There are various estimates for how much the commercial fleet telematics industry will be worth in the coming years. Whatever the case, the numbers are high. According to Telematics the number is $26.8 billion by 2018. The news about telematics and vehicles is usually around the growth of telematics and consumer road-driven vehicles like cars and trucks. But telematics has been making material handling vehicles “smart” for some time, which is newsworthy to us.
Anyone in the materials handling industry knows that one of the biggest benefits of telematics has been increased safety. Being able to assess how close (to the inch, if you’re using TotalTrax products) the vehicle is to a surface prevents accidents, injuries, and damages. Being able to monitor and track operators doesn’t necessarily mean that blunders will be punished. Rather, new safety routes, rules, and regulations can be set. Perhaps a route within a factory isn’t the safest one. This will become quite clear and will provide a more solid argument for change if demonstrated in a spaghetti graph. With the help of telematics, instead of penalties for accidents, operators can be rewarded for safety.
In a Business Fleet article Brad Penneau, the safety program consultant for Telogis stated, “I have some 30 years in motor vehicle fleet safety, and I wish I had this technology 10, 15 or even five years ago. You start moving your safety culture from reactive work — dealing with the outcome — to moving it toward a more preventive safety program.”
If we look at some of the reports coming out of the on-road commercial world of vehicles such as trucks owned by plumbing, electrical, delivery, and landscaping companies, we can see a large cost saving thanks to telematics. In addition to safety, the benefits are:
- Gauging maintenance
- Eliminating idling
- Keeping track of vehicles
- Improving routing
In a Fleetmatics report, 20,000 commercial service fleets in the U.S. and Canada were studied. The report showed that the average workday fell by 20% from roughly 8.6 hours down from 10.6 hours. Engine idle reduction also bore cost savings. Fleets saved, on average, $45 per vehicle per month, which is $540 per vehicle per year. There was a 12% reduction in idling minutes per day.
The Fleetmatics report is not focused on forklifts, or other material handling equipment, but a comparison is easily made. Safety, energy, time, cost – these are also our concerns. We may not use fuel, but we do use batteries. Telematics is what we’re about and our clients see changes immediately, reporting that their ROI is realized within 12-24 months, not to mention the increase in safety.