The rise of telematics in refrigerated van hire specifications

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Mary Tinsley • Jun 21, 2017 • Refrigerated

How helpful would it be to be able to retrace the itineraries taken by your vehicles? How much time and money could you save if you were able to optimise your delivery rounds, and calculate the active and inactive ratios of your on-time delivery rate? How much peace of mind would you gain from the reliable monitoring of your refrigerated units? 

With telematics technology, all these figures are readily available, which is why it is quickly becoming top of the extras requested by our refrigerated van hire customers.

Research conducted by the RAC in May 2016 revealed a 65% rise in the number of businesses using telematics technology in their vehicles. Those surveyed were from the manufacturing, retail, business services, construction and transport and distribution sectors.

What is telematics technology?

Telematics technology enables you to access both live and historical vehicle information on your vehicles, directly from the web. The technologies have clear interfaces with simple navigation features, accessible via any PC, smartphone or tablet.

When researching your potential refrigerated vehicle  hire options, adding telematics technology to your checklist could offer your business a wealth of benefits.

As a part of its function, telematics technology has a connection interface that is dedicated to reporting on refrigeration units. This means that the temperature in each compartment, the set point temperature, unit operation, error codes, battery and tank levels, and door opening can be monitored at all times. The technology’s interface displays error codes, run times and temperatures.

Such control offers vital support for businesses that deliver temperature-sensitive goods, like fresh food and flowers. It is particularly vital in the pharmaceutical industry, where medicines and vaccines can be damaged and rendered ineffective by either frost or being left out at room temperature.

The US Center for Disease Control writes, “Vaccines must be stored properly from the time they are manufactured until they are administered. Assuring vaccine quality and maintaining the cold chain is a shared responsibility among manufacturers, distributors, public health staff, and health-care providers.” (CDC)

In fact, such is the importance of temperature control in pharmaceuticals, the CDC says, “Exposure of vaccines to temperatures outside the recommended ranges can decrease their potency and reduce the effectiveness and protection they provide… It is better to not vaccinate than to administer a dose of vaccine that has been mishandled.”

The rise in telematics use

Transport Engineer reported on a study, conducted by MiX Telematics in January 2016. The study highlighted a number of key areas in which telematics are playing a greater role within the commercial vehicle industry in the UK, France, Germany and Spain.

“The growth of the temperature-controlled delivery market sees telematics being used by cold chain operators to ensure compliance and efficiency – monitoring onboard temperatures with remote sensing, and the frequency and duration of door-opening events.”(Transport Engineer)

The RAC’s 2016 report outlines six key uses of telematics technology use: staff vehicle tracking, driver behavior monitoring for training purposes, to provide accurate mileage reports for tax and expenses purposes, customer service support by monitoring delivery vehicle progress, and monitoring vehicle health.  

It also highlights key benefits, including:

  • 55% reduction in fuel use
  • 49% reduction in speeding fines/incidents
  • 43% reduction in accidents involving staff
  • 39% reduction in overtime hours claimed
  • 31% reduction in maintenance costs

Indeed, studies have shown using a telematics system can achieve a reduction in fleet mileage of as much as 10%. The greatest fuel savings come in the initial route planning, where telematics can select the most effective routes depending on multiple drivers and drop-offs.

In total, 85% of the 1,000 people surveyed by the RAC drove HGVs (a rise from 51% in September 2015), 66% drove vans (a 39% rise in the same period) and 67% drove cars (an increase from 41%) (RAC).

Telematics enable you to:

  • Access real time updates on your deliveries
  • Check your drivers’ on-site arrival times
  • Verify your service personnel’s movements

All of which gives you valuable added insights into where your business processes, timings and staffing rotas could be streamlined, with a resulting potential boost to your bottom line.

The reassurance of increased compliance

Telematics can be employed to improve your fleet’s compliance, and because both live and historical information on your fleet can be accessed directly from the web, you can receive all the vehicle data you need with ease, ensuring your duty of care, road transport, and working time directives are being met.

If you are unsure as to what to look for when formulating your vehicle specifications, our refrigerated vehicle hire team is on hand to answer any of your questions and you may also find this guide useful: 'What to look for when hiring refrigerated vehicles'

What to look for when hiring refrigerated vehicles


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