Fleet telematics: An essential management tool for government fleets

fleet telematics

Fleet leaders at all levels of government are saving time and money by using connected transportation solutions like telematics and tracking software. With continuing pressure to tightly manage operational costs, telematics can help agencies find more savings across the board.

Fleet telematics collects critical data on:

  • Location
  • Usage
  • Fuel consumption
  • Idle time
  • Speeding
  • Harsh driving
  • Asset tracking

Telematics is a combination of telecommunications and informatics and includes remotely monitoring government fleets using GPS, sensors, and onboard diagnostics to provide in-depth information about the vehicles.

Benefits of fleet telematics for government agencies

Fleet telematics can be installed after market in nearly every modern vehicle, providing critical insight into vehicles and drivers. Here are a few key benefits that have made telematics an essential tool for government fleets.

Predictive maintenance

Fleet telematics can monitor vehicle health and report in real time. You can get warnings for vehicle fault codes that need attention and tightly monitor vehicle usage to improve efficiency. Rather than waiting for breakdowns that cause extended downtime, predictive and preventative maintenance can keep fleet vehicles running efficiently for longer periods.

You can also maximize uptime by dealing with minor issues before they become significant problems.

Right-sizing fleets

By maximizing capacity and utilization, government agencies can right-size their fleets. Monitoring the time of day that vehicles are used, how often they are used, and their locations can uncover which vehicles are being underutilized and which ones are getting heavy usage.

This enables government agencies to be more efficient in usage and spread miles more evenly across fleets to extend vehicle lifespans.

More efficient dispatching

Telematics can play a crucial role in dispatching units. Calls for service and emergency response, for example, can be determined by the closest vehicle available. Real-time logistics using telematics enables dispatchers to use efficient routing.

Better fuel utilization

For fleet vehicles, fuel is the biggest operational expense if you exclude depreciation. On average, fuel costs account for about 60% of the total cost of ownership, so even small reductions in fuel consumption can lead to significant savings.

More efficient dispatching and routing can help reduce miles driven, and tracking driver behavior can also create efficiencies. For example, rapid acceleration and sudden stops can use as much as 20% more fuel.

Increased security

Telematics can increase fleet security in several ways. Monitoring fuel levels makes it easier to spot whether fuel theft is occurring. Many telematics solutions can also monitor multiple conditions, such as when doors are opened or unlocked, and provide alerts if someone opens a door or starts up a vehicle when it is unattended.

Reduced idle times

Idle time causes premature wear of engines and wastes fuel. Telematics can track engine idling time and locations to show areas where improvements can be made. With this data, agencies can evaluate the impact of rerouting fleets and changing schedules, thus making more efficient use of vehicle wait times to reduce unnecessary idle time.

Excessive idle time can also void warranties. There have been cases where warranty claims have been denied due to excessive engine hours, even when vehicles are properly maintained.

Improved driver safety

Besides tracking driver locations and fuel usage, telematics can identify unsafe driving behavior, such as traveling at high speeds or aggressive driving. Accelerometers can uncover hard braking or cornering, as well as the use of cruise control.

By monitoring driving habits, government bodies can isolate areas where fleet drivers need improvements and provide additional training or education to improve overall safety. Agencies can choose to install vehicle cameras to help in the review process or augment telematics.

Some telematics can provide alerts when accidents occur, so emergency responders can be dispatched. Other telematics can also help alert drivers to unsafe conditions, such as when booms are engaged on a boom truck or tow beds are not fully down on tow vehicles.

Cooperative contracts for fleet telematics for government agencies

Cooperative contracts combine the purchasing power of multiple public agencies, enabling governmental units to reduce their costs and accelerate procurement. By opting for competitively sourced contracts, agencies can avoid the time-consuming solicitation and review process while still meeting requirements for competitive procurement. In most cases, cooperative contracts will provide cost savings in leveraging bulk buying power.

Sourcewell competitively solicits cooperative contracts on behalf of state and local government bodies. Agencies can identify the telematics that they need, opt into an existing contract, and contact the supplier directly with pre-negotiated pricing. Sourcewell offers contracts for fleet telematics from multiple suppliers, including GPS, diagnostics, vehicle cameras, and fuel monitoring. Some contracts also offer installation.

There is no cost and no obligation to use Sourcewell.

Here at Sourcewell, we help public agency buyers procure fleet vehicles faster by fulfilling the time-consuming bid process for them. Through cooperative contracts, we expedite the fleet vehicle procurement process so you can better serve your teams.

Want a faster procurement process? Contact one of our specialists today to buy the fleet solutions you need!