The phrase “your employees are your most valuable asset” is more than just a nice saying to make your people feel valued.
Your heavy equipment, service vans, or semi trucks may all come with a large capital investment, but without reliable drivers, operators, or service technicians, you’re essentially left with expensive yard decorations.
From both an intangible and financial perspective, good employees are difficult and expensive to replace. On the other hand, an employee with bad habits or a poor work ethic can end up costing a business more than they generate.
So how can you ensure you’re getting the most out of your employees, while also showing them how much value they bring to the company? The answer is surprisingly simple: with data.
Fleet telematics solutions, like GPS tracking and monitoring, provide a huge wealth of data and information that is invaluable to business owners and fleet operators.
Knowing what to do with data can be the difference between safe, happy employees operating a well-oiled machine, and irresponsible employees taking advantage and costing you money.
This article will walk you through how to protect your employees, business, and your bottom-line by holding drivers accountable, how to foster positive employer/employee relationships, and how to engage your most valuable assets in a way that benefits everybody.
Keeping Drivers Accountable
Holding employees accountable can be a major hurdle for fleet operators. Without hopping into a vehicle and riding shotgun every day, it’s impossible to know which drivers throw their good habits out the window once they leave the yard or the shop.
Even though many Americans consider themselves “good drivers”, most of them also admit to dangerous behaviours like excessive speeding, distracted driving, and aggressive driving.
About 40% of Americans in the survey admitted to driving more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit at some point. Drivers north of the border aren’t innocent either; a startling 70% of Canadians admit to occasionally exceeding the speed limit.
If your fleet drivers are occasionally making unsafe driving choices, you may not even know until a costly mistake has been made. Unfortunately, these mistakes can endanger your employees, your reputation, and other drivers and pedestrians. Here are some methods of protecting your business and drivers from disastrous mistakes by adding additional layers of driver accountability.
Fleet GPS Tracking
Fleet GPS tracking solutions are an excellent investment to protect your drivers and business. Simply knowing that a fleet vehicle is GPS-equipped is often enough to curb aggressive driving behaviours.
Titan GPS has collected over millions of data points from our customers, and analysis of that data shows customers typically seeing a 50-99% reduction in aggressive driving events after implementing our solution.
If knowing they can be tracked isn’t enough to encourage better driving behaviours, Titan GPS has an extensive suite of features designed for driver monitoring and accountability.
True Costs of Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving can be the root cause of a number of issues for a fleet-based business. Beyond the obvious safety factor, aggressive driving also burns more fuel, increases wear-and-tear, damages company reputation, violates the law, and can lead to increased insurance rates and premiums.
Despite most of us knowing at least some of the costs behind aggressive driving, it is still one of the most common financial leaks for fleet businesses. With a GPS fleet monitoring solution like Titan GPS, there are plenty of tools available for fleet operators to reduce or eliminate aggressive driving altogether.
The Titan GPS Real-Time Alerts feature is essential for fleet managers who want to be updated on the activity of their fleet assets, no matter where they are, or when violations occur.
If you want, you can monitor your fleet’s status via live tracking on your preferred device (smartphone, tablet, or desktop) at all times. However, if like most fleet managers, you don’t have time to keep your eyes on all your assets, Real-Time Alerts are an efficient method of knowing when a driver is operating outside the rules or company policy.
Easily create customized rules to trigger email and/or text alerts when your drivers drive aggressively. Set exceptions for those that are performing well, or set tighter restrictions for those that need it the most.
Receiving real-time alerts is incredibly useful, but while you are getting the information, the driver in question may still be exceeding whatever threshold set off the initial alert. With distracted driving laws in effect throughout the vast majority of Canada and the United States, fleet operators may not be able to call the driver to correct the behaviour.
At Titan GPS we developed a solution that can alert drivers when they are exceeding certain thresholds without the need to pick up the phone, in-cab Driver Coaching.
Automatically notify drivers of policy violations with audible in-cab alerts. Once it has been decided which events should trigger an alert, you can simply leave the system to work and coach drivers whenever necessary.
Configure thresholds and events, enhance safety and efficiency, and verify improvements in driver behaviour
Titan has a suite of Reporting options that are as flexible as they are granular. Titan GPS reports cover everything from fleet fuel consumption to maintenance records and driver behaviour analysis.
One report that has been shown to substantially improve driver behaviour is Driver Scorecards. Titan GPS Driver Scorecards are the perfect fleet management tool for those who want to enact noticeable, organizational change. Compare and contrast your drivers with metrics that you customize to create your very own Driver Scorecards.
Identify your best and worst performers, and set targets to incentivize the kind of driving behaviour that saves you money and protects your driver’s well-being and your company’s reputation.
Despite a fleet manager’s best efforts, it’s not always easy to keep track of who is operating which asset, and where. Even with a GPS tracking solution, some fleets see different operators in different vehicles on a day-to-day basis, making it difficult to keep everyone accountable all the time.
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution for the confusion that can come with pooled vehicle fleets. The Titan GPS Driver ID system offers additional insight into the behaviour and whereabouts of your drivers. It identifies the driver of each vehicle, so you get reporting by driver, as well as by vehicle.
The Titan GPS option add-on Driver ID key fob monitoring system is easy to install and easy to use, and provides a wealth of benefits to billing, timesheet management, driver accountability, and even emergency response. The reader is installed in each vehicle or piece of equipment in combination with your GPS tracking device. If the driver changes vehicles or equipment during the day, the system aggregates driver-tracking information to give you a comprehensive view of the driver’s behaviour.
Distracted driving and safety are at the top of everyone’s minds. Statistics suggest that drivers are up to 8x more likely to be involved in a crash if they are using a cell phone. In fact, 27% of fatal accidents in British Columbia were attributed to distracted driving.
The potential cost to both your business and your employee’s health is incredibly high. Keeping drivers accountable for their actions while driving is an absolute must; not just for the benefit of your business, but for the safety of everyone on the roads.
Titan GPS In-cab Fleet Cameras
Our sophisticated Titan GPS In-cab Fleet Camera system allows fleet managers and business owners alike to virtually be next to all of their drivers simultaneously. Ensuring safety policies are being followed, having video evidence of incidents and events, and being able to historically track behaviour is key to a safe and efficient fleet operation.
Fleet video cameras record continuously on tamper-resistant internal-looping SD memory storage. The advanced devices also separately catalogue, and optionally transmit video of critical events such as a sudden deceleration or impact to the Titan GPS cloud‑based servers.
When outfitted with both front and driver-facing cameras, fleet managers can ensure that drivers are where they are, and doing what they are supposed to be doing. Fleet camera video systems have a proven track record of reducing collision incidents by more than 35%.
Driving events captured on video will provide your drivers an objective view of their behaviour to help bring unsafe habits to light. The safer and more skilled your drivers and technicians are, the better your business performs.
With these advanced tools you are able to continuously develop safe and productive driving behaviours, reduce collision frequency, maximize fleet efficiency, and turn good drivers into great drivers.
With an objective witness onboard, you’ll be able to exonerate your drivers for collisions they didn’t cause and avoid false insurance claims. Drivers that know you have their back take greater pride in their performance, and feel more appreciated as a result.
Introducing GPS Tracking
Did you know that a simple speed reduction of 1 km/h (.62 mph) leads to a 2-3% reduction in crashes on the road? Do your drivers know that?
Engaging employees to explain that their driving will be monitored isn’t always an easy discussion. Often, drivers feel like they aren’t trusted, or their privacy is being invaded. But offering statistics like the one above can prove the value of GPS tracking, and help drivers understand that implementing these systems is in their best interest as well.
The following tips can help ease the tension and make the transition to a fleet tracking solution as pain-free as possible.
Show Employees That GPS will Benefit Them, Too
Though employee concerns about being “watched” all the time are understandable, let them know that GPS tracking will benefit them, too.
For example, explain that tracking equipment might eliminate their paperwork and mile-tracking responsibilities. Tracking software also makes it easier for managers to send help to a driver’s exact location in an emergency. Focus on positive aspects alongside negatives for a smoother transition.
Be Open About Your Concerns As A Manager
Drivers will want to know your motivation for tracking their routes. Explain that in order to stay competitive with other companies, GPS tracking is the best way to boost efficiency and keep the business afloat (and keep your drivers employed).
Explaining safety benefits and the added efficiency of helping drivers through bad weather, traffic concerns, road closures, construction, and inefficient routes can go a long way to getting buy-in from your employees.
Catching more flies with honey than with vinegar is an apt metaphor when it comes to employee engagement.
Incentivizing employees based on data is one of the most effective ways of getting buy-in throughout the company. Titan GPS customers have had success in the past by implanting safety bonuses for drivers that consistently perform well (tracked with driver scorecards or Driver ID) or go without aggressive driving events for specific amounts of time (e.g., cash bonuses for drivers that don’t record a speeding event for 6+ months).
Rather than punishing undesirable driving behaviour, use GPS tracking to reward desirable driving habits for a more positive employee-manager relationship.
Fleet Management By Exception
Showing employees that they are valued is key to everything discussed in this article. Monitoring drivers can show them that they are valued by providing data and evidence to support business decisions that will benefit the employee (through job retention, better profit margins, potential bonuses, and increased safety). Despite these very real benefits, it might not be enough for the employee.
Getting buy-in from drivers eases tensions, promotes job satisfaction, and can result in more efficiency and better results, which again, results in an employee feeling more valued.
Promoting Value Through Management by Exception
The core idea behind Management by Exception is a focus on, as the name suggests, exceptions. These are the conditions that deviate from the norm in a significant way, either positively or negatively. Management by Exception is a good strategy for fleet managers because it is relatively hands-off, which helps with employee empowerment, while retaining the capability to make adjustments when necessary.
To illustrate this, imagine one of your drivers is traveling down a freeway where the speed limit is 110 km/h. You probably wouldn’t want to be notified if the driver goes above or below that limit by 5 km/h. However, you would probably be interested if they suddenly started driving 20 over. This is Management by Exception. You would only be made aware in cases of a change in performance that you would deem as significant.
The process begins by establishing norms or benchmarks based on historical data (e.g., excessive idling) or regulations (e.g., speed limits). Once these benchmarks have been determined, you’ll need to decide the thresholds that will dictate when notification and reporting criteria are met. These thresholds are up to you, based on criteria you deem most important regarding safety and operational efficiency. Once set, your job is done until a violation occurs and the Titan GPS system notifies you via text, email, or reporting.
Using this form of management means that no news is good news. Rewarding employees who trigger few or zero exception events promotes a healthy and positive work environment, while the correction of poorly performing drivers can also have positive organization-wide ripple effects.
No matter the size of your business or fleet, fleet management is a demanding job. Micromanagement, although effective in some other industries, is not ideal for fleet management. The freedom to operate within a set of reasonable boundaries empowers employees so that they can perform optimally and increase their value to your business.
Monitoring your drivers doesn’t need to be a punishment. With Titan GPS, you can increase safety, optimize your business, show your employees how valuable they truly are, and ultimately boost your bottom line.
Request a Quote today and get started toward building a better fleet business.