Most telematics systems give their users a lot of data. But how useful is that data when it’s not organized in an understandable way? Greg Spohn, Director of Operations and Fleet for Tolt Solutions, a retail-focused IT services company, says that Tolt got stuck in this scenario. With a high risk for accidents, Tolt Solutions knew that it needed to obtain actionable data from the fleet beyond their current telematics — allowing them to further ensure the safety of the drivers.
“With these companies you can get an overload of data — with GPS you can pull essentially everything you want to know about your fleet,” Spohn says, who has been with Tolt for more than seven years. “But it’s about how you divide the data and organize it. How do we actually get this data and are we able to take action and help our business?”
In early 2013, Spohn set out to find a telematics provider that could provide better data management. In past fleet experiences before working at Tolt, Spohn once had to deal with a driver involved in a fatal accident. This was not something he wanted to see happen ever again at Tolt — or anywhere for that matter.
“I was primarily looking to see how we could further improve our safety culture in the workplace.”
Spohn’s search focused on data trending and how the data was presented by each telematics company on the software’s “dashboard.” After narrowing comparisons down to a few providers, Tolt ultimately went with Geotab. For the last year, the company has been transitioning its current telematics system with each new vehicle, and wherever else possible, to the Geotab system.
For maintenance, the company is able to integrate its Geotab system with its fleet management company, which looks after the fleet’s maintenance, registration and other fleet data. This allows the power of both companies to help keep Tolt’s fleet costs as low as possible. For a company expecting to grow significantly over the next few years, having this data shared across its fleet service providers will be an important resource. “We get a really high-level look at the fleet with this integration,” Spohn says.
“A lot of the decision was data capability,” Spohn says. The data Tolt needed to look at was not just how many stops per day they were making, and how long each stop takes on average — though both those elements are helpful when it comes to improving customer service. “We need big data trending,” he says. “We have 20 different divisions in the company so we need to see if we’re making progress or not, in addition to managing the individual drivers.”
For example, the company wanted to be able to track if actions taken at the individual level were having an effect on the overall driving trends of the company. The Geotab dashboard provides this information in an easy-to-read, reportable format. And on the flip side, Spohn can pinpoint a driver speeding incident, for example, down to the exact day and time.
Tolt has been able to lower its accident rate, which Spohn attributes to getting data on a small and large scale that includes clear actions the company can take to resolve communication gaps and identify an issue with a driver before it becomes a regular problem. Since starting to install Geotab units more than a year ago, the company’s accident rate reduced year-over-year by 21%. And as of the first quarter of 2014, the accident rate was continuing the downward trend.
Another cost factor is the price tag on Geotab units. Spohn says he’s looking at a much lower cost per telematics unit than comparable companies, and a monthly service cost on par with competitors. Adding to the low cost per unit, Spohn says that as a decentralized company, having easy-to-deploy units is also an important factor.
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“Our authorized Geotab reseller is flexible and really easy to work with.”
- Greg Spohn, Director of Operations and Fleet
Types of vehicles:
Light-duty service vans