The industry can trace its roots back to 215BC, when a mathematician
called Hero invented a machine to vend holy water in Egyptian
temples. Today’s vending machines and services are sophisticated and
technologically advanced. They are intended to provide the highest
quality service, reliably and hygienically, 24 hours a day.
Every year, UK consumers insert around £1.85 billion in the slots of more than 462,000 refreshment vending
machines. Every day, 8 million cups of coffee and 2 million cups of tea are vended, and to service that
demand requires a legion of vehicles.
The challenges facing the vending industry today are not uncommon to many other distribution and service
sectors. Competition is tough and margins tight so it is vital that business seek solutions to help them keep
costs to a minimum while impr oving customer satisfaction. And a key component of t his is the fleet that
needs managing efficiently to meet these exacting goals. By using a GPS tracking system companies can
understand and take control of their fleet to improve their productivity.
The consensus amongst vending companies questioned by Fleetmatics was that the dual trials of managing
and improving the driver’s performance together with improving customer service through providing
accurate and accountable delivery times were top of the list of problems. For Simon Ovenden of Ovenden
Hire, the ability to locate vehicles wit hout a telephone call was the chief reason that he sought a fleet
management system in the first place.
When it came to improving the performance of the
drivers themselves Ovenden found that the plethora
of options available within the system meant that
improvements took care of themselves without the
need for any special activities by the company. “The
drivers are all very well aware that the Fleetmatics
system can pinpoint their location and provide us with
detailed analysis of how they have performed behind
the wheel including real-time alerts,” he says. “With
the system in place their performance improved
without any real intervention on our part.”
From the Fleetmatics dashboard you can view the
performance of the drivers in a myriad of different
ways providing the incentive to curtail bad practices
and improve their driving. It offers an easy to view,customisable graphic interface that allows
operators and drivers to understand the true
impact their performance has on the business.
When driver performance improves the result is that
productivity is increased and costs are reduced. Bad
driving practices such as speed violations, average
speed, engine on-time, vehicle idling, vehicle
mileage and number of stops can all be identified.
As well as this the system allows you to identify and
report individual driver and vehicle performance.
However, sometimes figures and numbers are
hard to appreciate. But one thing that all owners
understand is cost. The system delivers performance
data into the metric that really matters: money. Using
cost assumptions you can customise the system to
show where money is being wasted, and track how
improvements affect profitability in real terms.
One of a fleet’s biggest opportunities to drive savings and productivity comes from coaching their workforce
and changing driver behaviour. But as drivers change vehicles, reporting becomes incomplete or inaccurate, and
capturing which driver is assigned to a vehicle using a key fob or card swipe isn’t enough to solve the problem.
Fleetmatics REVEAL provides comprehensive flexibility to organise the account and all of the insight in the system
by either vehicle or driver.
Another useful tool is the Timeline View, a visual, interactive representation of vehicle activity enabling customers
to easily consume vehicle and driver activity information without investing time in reading detail-intensive reports.
Customers can scan activity for multiple vehicles at a time, quickly revealing exceptions such as late starts, early
finishes, long idles or long stops and drill directly down to the incident details. The level of interactivity and drill
down capabilities of this feature sets a new standard for the industry.
For Ovenden, the myriad of reports that are available from the dashboard function gives his company a key
business advantage. “We can provide instant answers to customers about the location of the load along with
expected and accurate arrival times,” he explains. “We can generate reports for key criteria such as delivery time
as well as records of driver’s hours on the road.”
An unforeseen advantage of the system came when Ovenden Hire were involved in a dispute with another
company over a delivery. “We had a dispute over when and where we had returned a machine back to another
company. However using the Fleetmatics system we were able to produce a report that identified the location,
the time and the date that the machine was returned,” Ovenden explains. “The company had to concede that the
machine had been returned and the dispute was quickly ended, saving both time and money.”
The Fleetmatics system can help companies to respond to customer needs faster and with greater accuracy;
improving dispatching, increasing customer satisfaction and saving valuable company time.