From dispatching tow trucks to customers in need to keeping an eye on maintenance and fuel costs, managing your towing fleet can be a rigorous and often demanding task. However, it's a task that can be made much simpler with the help of vehicle telematics. With this technology, you can streamline your towing operations and improve customer satisfaction through faster, more responsive service.
If your business still relies on a hodge-podge of outdated technologies and techniques for fleet management, you might want to take a look at how telematics can improve your fleet and your towing firm.
The term "telematics" refers to the collection and transmission of real-time data from various vehicle monitoring systems through the use of advanced wireless technologies such as GPS and cellular networks. Telematics can provide a wealth of real-time information about a vehicle, from its current location to total idling times, remote diagnostic information and safety system activation alerts (such as an airbag deployment).
Vehicle telematics are nothing new to the automotive industry. A number of major automakers have put telematics to good use for providing subscription-based concierge-type services to their customers. Insurance companies are also studying the use of telematics to promote mileage and usage-based insurance models.
Diagnostics Made Simple
In the towing industry, having one or more trucks in your fleet sidelined due to mechanical issues can mean heavy losses in revenue. For this reason, fleet managers rely on proactive maintenance to prevent minor mechanical problems from snowballing into major ones. Telematics systems can play a key role in keeping your fleet maintained and mobile.
Today's vehicles rely on the On-Board Diagnostic (OBD-II) system to provide mechanics with diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) and other relevant information on the vehicle's current state. With telematics, the OBD-II system can push real-time alerts to mechanics and fleet managers about potential maintenance issues that require proactive service. The use of telematics allows mechanics to quickly and accurately address minor mechanical problems, thus reducing repair costs while limiting downtime.
Mechanics can also review the gathered data and create a comprehensive history for a particular vehicle, giving them an opportunity to predict when vehicle overhauls are needed, as well as the projected working life of the vehicle itself. With this, it becomes much easier to predict and streamline both repair costs and the overall cost of replacing an entire vehicle.
Keeping Track of Your Drivers
Dispatching drivers to customers in need can be a difficult task if you don't know where they are. With the right telematics solution, you can keep track of each vehicle in your fleet through GPS tracking, as opposed to waiting on radioed descriptions of a driver's current location. By pinpointing current driver locations, you can easily dispatch the nearest available truck to a nearby accident or breakdown scene.
With telematics software, GPS driver tracking can also be combined with navigation to direct drivers along the quickest and least congested routes available for lower response times. Geo-fencing can also help keep your drivers within specific service territories, with instant notifications available whenever one strays outside of those virtual borders.
Keeping Track of Fuel Costs
Telematics can also make a difference when it comes to fuel efficiency. In addition to tracking driver whereabouts, telematics software can also keep tabs on overall fuel consumption. These systems can even track acceleration, braking and other driver behavior, which can be useful for comparing fuel consumption among the entire fleet.
With this information, you can work with drivers to modify driving behavior with an eye towards improved fuel cost savings. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many benefits that vehicle telematics offer for your towing business.