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Telematics Technology Could Save the UK’s Haulage Industry Millions
Saving only 6 waste miles a day will pay for the latest telematics equipment, so why is the haulage industry still so reluctant to seize the benefits?
Telematics, the technology that lets haulage operators see the exact location of every vehicle on their fleet, communicate with their drivers, and automatically store important journey information back at base, has been available in the U.K. for quite a while. The advantages seem pretty obvious, but so far less than 10% of operators use it.
According to figures from the ‘Freight Transport Association’ (FTA) the overall cost of running a 40 tonne articulated lorry doing an average 70,000 miles a year is around £1.42 per mile, and costs are likely to rise steeply during the next few years. Waste mileage, caused by poor journey planning, missed pick-ups and unauthorised use of vehicles, that was sustainable only a few years ago, is eroding profit margins and making it difficult for many operators to survive.
The cost of running the latest telematics systems is about £35 a month, so on that basis if only 6 wasted miles a week could be saved all the other benefits, such as extra security, satellite navigation and detailed management information, would come for free: so why are so many operators not convinced?
Roger Marks, managing director of Bedford telematics manufacturer Aeromark gives his view: “It’s not the haulage companies’ fault. So many telematics providers have tried to impress customers with clever features without focussing on the ‘real world’ core benefits. There’s no doubt that telematics can save the industry a fortune by helping people work smarter. It’s simple and it works.”
Roger also explained that the benefits are not always apparent to hauliers: “ You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Companies that don’t have an efficient method of measurement before using telematics find it hard to calculate the Return on Investment. It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg. You need a system in place to measure the start point so you can measure the improvement.”
With oil prices showing no signs of coming down and congestion getting worse every day, it will be even more difficult for British hauliers to turn a worthwhile profit in the future. Many will fail to meet the challenge: only those with the foresight to use every means available to improve the way they work are likely to survive. At present, 90% of haulage companies are ignoring the modern technology that could be their salvation.
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Photo caption: Roger Marks, Managing Director, Aeromark
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