Only 25%! That’s the shockingly low percentage of telematics pilot programs that become full fleet deployments. Why so low? Because it takes more than just hardware, a website, and a pat on the back to achieve the desired outcomes. (More on that in a minute…)

That means 75% of these telematics projects are failing! After years of working on successful projects—and salvaging some otherwise doomed initiatives—we think we know why. See how many of these sound familiar:

  1. The Missing Business Case
    A fleet-wide telematics program represents a significant financial commitment, yet most fleet operators fail to prepare for the business decision facing them when they embark on a “trial” program. Most importantly, they do not benchmark the as-is state of fleet operations in the absence of the telematics program before revealing the program to their drivers. Hence, they are unable to document the benefits to justify the costs of the program. The result is a hazy comparison/contrast to what life was like before the telematics system, which undermines the ability to tell the true story of its delivered value.

  2. Insufficient Program Management
    While many telematics providers tout the “plug-and-play” nature of their hardware, they fail to warn you of the management challenges inherent in executing a full telematics program. Installation, initial admin set-up (e.g. vehicle and landmark identification), reporting set-up, user training, driver coaching preparation, and ongoing administration are all tasks that can make or break a telematics program. Yet few mid-sized fleet operators have the spare management capacity to coordinate all of these tasks. Consequently, many trial programs die on the vine as they never get to the point where accurate, actionable information is produced by the system.

  3. Information Overload
    Even when devices are properly installed and access is given to a telematics portal, many fleet operators find themselves to be data rich but knowledge poor. Sure they can see some dots on a map, and run ad hoc reports on a hundred parameters, but that forces individual managers to try to figure out what information is useful and how to get it. When added to the problems of missing program goals and lack of a well-developed business case, this becomes a near impossible task for most managers, who rarely have the time or inclination to figure out where to start.

Most fleet operators are aware of the potential for GPS-based telematics systems to improve safety, lower operating costs, and enhance efficiency. The incentive to succeed is there. We know this first hand, because we work side-by-side with fleet operators and help ensure that they define specific goals. We’ve found success when clients deploy dedicated client success managers and follow a proven project management plan, whose carefully-structured steps include:

  • Plan and execute a benchmark of current operations
  • Build a business case and set improvement goals
  • Successfully plan and coordinate the fleet rollout
  • Accurately set-up all vehicles, landmarks, vehicles, users and drivers
  • Prepare managers to coach their drivers
  • Customize reporting to ensure that each manager gets only the information he or she needs to identify high value issues
  • Continue to keep all administrative data up-to-date as the organization and its vehicles inevitably change

The secret to turning these dismal industry statistics upside-down seems to be collaboration—specifically, working with a telematics solution provider that maintains an active role throughout the project, acting as part of your extended fleet management team.

We speak from experience here, having taken this approach for years. The results seem to support our approach. About 80% of our pilot program clients achieve successful, fleet-wide deployments within eight months, and over 90% are still benefiting after three years. Advantage: collaboration. Don’t go it alone.

Learn more about Orion’s collaborative approach to employing telematics.