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Vtec Solutions, based in Scotland, are pioneers of fleet management and fleet efficiency. They are the UK’s leading suppliers of TomTom Telematics. This blog has industry relevant news and helpful articles.
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We consider ourselves lucky to be based in Scotland and to work with a range of Scottish businesses. Of course, our business isn’t limited to Scotland. […] The post Running a Commercial Fleet in Scotland? 3 Reasons Why Route Optimisation makes sense appeared first on Vtec...
We consider ourselves lucky to be based in Scotland and to work with a range of Scottish businesses. Of course, our business isn’t limited to Scotland. However, we’ve found that through developing relationships with businesses here, we’ve come to appreciate the unique demands that our clients face. If you’re running a commercial fleet in Scotland there are some unique challenges which mean that route optimisation makes sense.
We’re glad to say that the products and services we offer help our clients to keep trading. In particular, software that offers route optimisation can be a real help. Here are just three of the ways route optimisation could benefit your business in Scotland.
Long distance travel
Scotland may be the second largest country in the UK by area, but some parts are harder to reach than others. Around 2% of Scotland’s population live on islands. If your business supplies produce to any of the major supermarkets or even a local post office, you’ll need to be prepared for a trip on the ferry. When you’re travelling a long way it’s easy to rely on your driver to choose their own route, but that may not be the most efficient way to do it.
If your drivers are heading for more remote areas they might also need to work around roads with weight restrictions. Route optimisation helps you to calculate routes that help your drivers to get to your customers (or the ferry) on time. It could also help you to select the right vehicle for the job. If a delivery would be completed more quickly and easily by a van rather than an HGV, optimised routes for different types of vehicle will tell you in advance.
We know it’s a cliché, but bad weather can have a huge impact on travel in Scotland. Snow caused chaos across the UK earlier this year but it was particularly bad in Scotland. We’re sure we don’t have to remind you of the chaos on the M8 with drivers being trapped for hours at a time.
Whilst that was an extreme example, bad weather can cause delays and result in road closures. Your delivery routes could be affected by ice and snow on higher ground or flash flooding elsewhere. Optimised routes won’t help when the whole country is shutting down due to snow. However it can help you to avoid localised problems. You can opt to receive weather warnings and design your routes accordingly. You can also monitor traffic in real time to help your drivers avoid heavy traffic and road closures.
Optimised routes can help you to keep moving and get to your customers on time. However that’s not the only benefit. Sitting in traffic wastes fuel. An optimised route doesn’t just give you the shortest possible journey, but also the most fuel efficient one. Your drivers can avoid heavy traffic and slow moving routes that increase their fuel consumption. That means that you’ll save money on your fuel bills too.
If you’d like to know more about the ways that route optimisation can help you to do business in Scotland, get in touch.
The post Running a Commercial Fleet in Scotland? 3 Reasons Why Route Optimisation makes sense appeared first on Vtec Solutions.
When it comes to the best commercial tracking software, there’s only one fleet tracking system we recommend. We’ve worked with a number of different systems over […] The post Best Commercial Vehicle Software 2018 appeared first on Vtec...
When it comes to the best commercial tracking software, there’s only one fleet tracking system we recommend. We’ve worked with a number of different systems over the years and, in our opinion, TomTom WEBFEET stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Here’s why we think WEBFLEET is the best choice for your business.
It works well with other systems
It’s one thing choosing a good fleet tracking software system, but we know that’s not all. It needs to be able to integrate with your other systems. We’ve worked with businesses that link their vehicle tracking software to inventory, accounts and maintenance to name just a few.
A lot of the frustrations that our customers have with fleet management software is that they don’t work together well. They spend hours transferring information across. We’ve found that whilst WEBFLEET doesn’t integrate automatically it’s a straightforward job for us to link systems together, making your life easier and reducing your admin time.
Real time vehicle tracking
WEBFLEET is one of the few systems that allows you to identify exactly where your vehicles are at any given time. This allows you to work flexibly by identifying which vehicle is closest to a new assignment or making changes to a route at short notice. This is really useful when you spot problems on the road, for example if one of your vehicles is heading for a traffic jam. You can upload a new route or contact your driver to help them avoid problems and keep moving. Being able to see whether your driver is parked up or on the move makes it much easier to ensure that they’re complying with working time regulations.
It’s also great for customer service. You can alert customers if there’s going to be a delay so your drivers deal with fewer complaints. Your tracking software also helps you to show proof of delivery so makes invoicing more straightforward.
More efficient management
One of the main benefits of any kind of fleet management software should be that it makes management easier. After all, the clue is in the name. We think that WEBFLEET has one of the most useful features for high level data analysis. It will keep a record of hours spent behind the wheel and where your vehicles have travelled during the past 90 days. Our customers have told us that this helps them to track patterns and identify efficiencies much more easily.
It’s also useful for managing your employees. If a vehicle is restricted to a particular area you can set up an alert if it travels elsewhere. You can even keep an eye on how a vehicle is being driven. If heavy braking or overuse of the clutch is increasing your fuel costs or maintenance bill you’ll be able to take swift action to solve the problem.
Different reporting levels
One of our favourite things about WEBFLEET is that it gives you a range of options. That means you only pay for what you’ll actually use. You can opt for entry level tracking which offers basic, reliable reporting, right through to expert level tracking which includes a built-in tracking device and a driver terminal. This allows you to give real time guidance to help your driver negotiate the traffic and they can contact you immediately. You can also add a driver terminal whichever level you choose.
If you’d like to discover more about how TomTom WEBFLEET could benefit your business, get in touch.
When you’ve been working as a fleet or transport manager for years, your experience counts. Your insight into the day to day logistics is invaluable to […] The post Fleet management: are you adopting best practice? appeared first on Vtec...
When you’ve been working as a fleet or transport manager for years, your experience counts. Your insight into the day to day logistics is invaluable to the smooth running of the fleet and the business as a whole. We’d be prepared to bet that you’re well versed in the way that professional drivers work as well. However, what was best practice a few years ago may well have changed. Are you keeping up to date with the latest industry guidelines?
Familiarising yourself with the latest developments helps you to keep your fleet efficient and competitive. That’s great news for your staff, vehicles and your business. Here’s our guide to keeping yourself up to speed.
Know your numbers
We’re willing to bet that you spend quite a lot of time tracking and analysing figures. In theory, at least. When TomTom Business Solutions commissioned research into the use of tachographs amongst fleet managers they found that 28% never analysed their tachograph data to ensure compliance. 20% had had a tachograph infringement recorded against them in the last three years and 15% had missed download deadlines which could have resulted in a financial penalty. The potential for breaches of the regulations and financial penalties were a growing concern.
If meeting your legal obligations is becoming a struggle, what could you be missing out on elsewhere? Thankfully, there are new technologies that can make the process quicker and easier, freeing you up for more high level analysis.
Adopt new technologies
If you haven’t already invested in fleet telematics there could be any number of reasons. A lot of our clients had explored the idea in the past but found that it wasn’t user friendly. Others who had existing systems found that the various different software packages didn’t work well together. They ended up spending just as much time transferring data from one place to another.
Things have changed. TomTom have now introduced telematics that you can download whilst a vehicle is still on the road. It collates automatically so that you can get on with analysis. There are a wide range of systems available that enable different products to work together seamlessly. That doesn’t just allow you to track vehicle data. It can also give you valuable information about your drivers and even track vehicle maintenance issues.
Look after your drivers
Driver welfare is a key concern for all employers. Whilst you may already have good procedures in place to look after their physical health, new research has shown the importance of addressing their mental health too.
A driver struggling with stress or depression can drive erratically and make poor decisions on the road. Addressing those issues early helps your employee but could also help to prevent accidents. Software can’t help you to read minds. It can tell you if a driver is behaving erratically. Put that knowledge to work alongside a communication policy that helps driver to raise any issues and it will help your business in the long run.
When you run a service transporting people from place to place in a bus or coach, customer safety should be your number one priority. Of course, […] The post Bus and coach fleet management in 2018 appeared first on Vtec Solutions.
When you run a service transporting people from place to place in a bus or coach, customer safety should be your number one priority. Of course, you need to monitor your bottom line in the same way as any other business. However, you need to consider all of the human elements, whether that’s your staff or customers. Ensuring that everyone arrives safely and that your customers are happy is vital to the ongoing success of your business.
If you’re not already using coach tracking software on your vehicles, you could be making extra work for yourself. Read on to discover how increasing your software use could improve your coach fleet management in 2018.
Lower costs and higher productivity
Many business rely on their drivers to come up with the best routes. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with using your drivers’ experience, there could be a better way. Using coach tracking software will provide you with an optimized route. You’ll also have the flexibility to tailor the route, for example if there are designated pick up or drop off points along the way. You can also use the software to allocate work more efficiently. That means that you can increase productivity and cut costs by reducing vehicle idling time.
What’s more, simply installing coach tracking software could reduce your insurance bill across the fleet. Most major insurers offer a discount of around 10% to 15% to operators that use software.
Less time stuck in traffic
Optimized routes don’t just increase productivity. They can reduce your fuel consumption too. Coach tracking software allows you to monitor your vehicles and identify any potential problems on the road. If a vehicle is heading for a traffic jam you can take action in real time to help your driver avoid the jam. They’ll spend less time stuck in traffic which reduces their fuel consumption and emissions which is great news for the environment and local residents.
In addition, helping your drivers to avoid delays can reduce their stress levels. You won’t just be reducing your costs, you’re looking after your people as well.
Better safety standards
Coach tracking software can improve safety in a couple of different ways. The two major factors to consider when it comes to improving safety are driver performance and vehicle reliability. Coach tracking software allows you to monitor how a vehicle is being driven and whether there are any potential maintenance issues. Some systems will alert you if vehicle issues are detected or if a routine check is due. You can also monitor whether time idling in traffic could impact on the vehicle. For example, your driver may have spent extra time on the clutch. They may also be prone to heavy braking.
What’s more, a stressed driver can be a dangerous driver. Helping your people to avoid excessive time in heavy traffic can lower their stress levels. That means that they’re less likely to make mistakes that result in an accident.
Improved customer service
If you want your business to grow, you need happy customers. Coach management software can help to make your service more predictable so that your customers know they can rely on you. It can also help when problems arise. If one of your vehicles does get stuck in traffic, you can let your customer know at an early stage. That way they’re not standing looking at their watch wondering where on earth you are.
If you’d like to know more about how coach tracking software can benefit your business, get in touch.
Every transport manager we’ve worked with has had a fleet management policy in place. We promise we’re not trying to teach you how to suck eggs. […] The post Is your fleet management policy working for you? appeared first on Vtec Solutions.
Every transport manager we’ve worked with has had a fleet management policy in place. We promise we’re not trying to teach you how to suck eggs. However, we’ve often found that policies aren’t always treated as living documents. We think they should be. A robust policy helps everyone, from top level management through to the drivers and office staff, know where they stand.
If you haven’t updated your fleet management policy in a while, perhaps it’s time for a review. Here are some of our suggestions for things to consider.
There are some basic provisions that you need to address when you put a driver in a company vehicle. The licencing requirements for motorists, HGV and PSV drivers are clear.
But where do you go from there? Is your policy clear on what a driver’s responsibilities are when they’re out on the road? If you don’t already have a training programme or handbook it’s well worth considering. Well trained drivers can carry out basic maintenance checks to their own vehicles and report problems. You can also be confident that they know what to do if they break down or are involved in an accident.
When you’re choosing vehicles, cost is going to be a primary consideration. A vehicle’s safety record is also an important factor, along with its environmental credentials. If you allow company car drivers to choose their own vehicle from a specified range, your fleet management policy helps to make your reasoning clear.
If your decision making process factors in fuel costs and ease of maintenance your policy should set this out. Your drivers will also want to know how the policy benefits them. Low emission vehicles can help you to save on fuel but may also entitle your drivers to a tax reduction. The technology for these vehicles is constantly evolving so your policy should too.
Whilst appropriate licencing is important, so is your driver’s health. If you want to be sure that your drivers are physically up to the job your policy may need to include health checks. Mental health difficulties can also impair a driver’s judgement whilst out on the road – does your existing policy set out ways for employees to raise issues that affect their work?
A good telematics system can also have a part to play. Whilst you may be reluctant to ‘spy’ on your drivers, it can help you to support them. Fleet management software can allow you to monitor how a vehicle is being driven. If your employee is driving erratically that could indicate an underlying problem and you can intervene to help. It also means that you can ensure that your drivers are taking adequate rest breaks.
As a fleet manager you have a legal responsibility to ensure that your vehicles are safe and fit for purpose. Whilst physical checks are essential, fleet management software can also help you to identify potential maintenance issues and keep an overall check on the vehicle.
Fleet management software allows you to immediately access information about mileage and fuel usage among other things. The software can track a wide range of metrics and collates the data automatically, saving you time. You may discover that a driver is particularly heavy on the brakes or drives in a way that increases wear and tear. Having the information readily available means that you can not only intervene with the driver, but bring the vehicle in for maintenance early, reducing potential down time.
If you’d like to know more about how the right software can support your fleet management policy, get in touch.
As a society, we’re all becoming more aware of mental health issues. Our culture is beginning to change in a way that means people are now […] The post Have you considered the mental wellbeing of your fleet drivers? appeared first on Vtec...
As a society, we’re all becoming more aware of mental health issues. Our culture is beginning to change in a way that means people are now willing to talk about their mental health. However, there’s still a long way to go.
We’ve talked before about how an EPOD system can offer a practical solution to reduce fleet driver stress, but what else should we be doing? What could the impact on our businesses be if we don’t take mental health issues seriously?
How does stress affect driving performance?
When you work in an office based job, you might get into your car a couple of times a day. A daily commute will probably involve a bit of traffic congestion and maybe the odd incident. Another driver who stops suddenly or a pedestrian who steps out in front of you. Occasionally you have the journey from hell because there’s been an accident. When you’re behind the wheel all day there’s a greater chance of facing a problem.
Mostly, your drivers will be able to cope with normal road conditions and the occasional problem. It’s part and parcel of the job. But if your drivers are struggling with stress, anxiety or other mental health issues, their capability decreases. They’re more likely to get tired, angry or just act hastily when they usually wouldn’t.
What impact could stress have on my business?
When your drivers are stressed their decision making is impaired. They might pull out into traffic when it isn’t safe or simply misjudge the conditions. Simply put, a stressed driver is a safety risk.
At its lowest level, their standard of driving could be affected. That could mean heavy braking or sharp acceleration that increases wear and tear on your vehicles and raises fuel costs. At the other end of the scale, distracted drivers get into more accidents. You could be faced with the costs of vehicle repairs or even an expensive personal injury claim.
How does work affect mental health?
We all want to make sure that deliveries get there on time. That can mean added pressure on drivers. Even a traffic jam can be stressful when you’re on a deadline. Some people cope well with long days on their own behind the wheel. That may be why they chose the job, but it can still get lonely over time.
Encourage your drivers to talk about the things that cause them stress. That can have a major impact but there are also practical steps you can take.
How tracking can reduce fleet driver stress
When you install a fleet telematics system, your business benefits from optimized routes. You can monitor your drivers’ progress and make them aware of any issues on the road ahead. That means that they don’t have the stress of being stuck in a traffic jam. You can also let customers know ahead of time if traffic problems are delaying their delivery. We all know how stressful it can be to be met by an irate customer when you’ve spent hours in a traffic queue!
A fleet tracking system also allows you to monitor driver performance. That might feel a bit like ‘Big Brother’ but it allows you to spot problems early. If a reliable driver suddenly starts driving erratically you can take steps to find out why.
If you’d like to find out more about how fleet tracking can improve your drivers’ mental health, get in touch.
The post Have you considered the mental wellbeing of your fleet drivers? appeared first on Vtec Solutions.
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