T BUSINESS FLEET July/August 2018
How to Introduce Drivers How to Introduce Drivers to Telematics
To ease the process of introducing a telematics system, fleet operators need to set up an on-boarding process that includes training, discussions on how the systems work, and how they can be beneficial to both management and employees.
BY AMY HERCHER
The use of telematics continues to expand among fleets as companies see the benefits of this technology. Over the years, telematics systems have become a must-have for fleets, and driver acceptance of these systems has grown. But initially telematics wasn’t always well received, especially among drivers.
Jim Coniglione, owner of Scoopy Doo, a pet waste removal service, remembers many of his drivers being apprehensive to the telematics technology when it was first introduced.
“When we first installed telematics, the systems were something new and un- familiar,” says Coniglione, whose company uses TomTom telematics. “The older drivers didn’t think that they would be able to understand the technology.” Additionally, many drivers didn’t like the idea of being monitored all the time. “No one likes the ‘Big Brother’ watch,” says Mitch Bower, dispatcher at Vancou- ver Warehouse and Distribution Co.
To help their drivers become more comfortable with the idea of telematics, fleets need to take the time to train drivers and explain the benefits of telematics, including how it can help the company become more efficient.
Before installing his company’s telematics systems, Coniglione gathered his drivers for an informational meeting. Scoopy Doo has a fleet of 16 pickup trucks that serve residences in Long Island, Queens, Westchester County, and the Albany area.
“We sat the drivers down and explained that we would be using telematics to make our business more efficient,” he says. “For us, it was more about customer accountability than not trusting our drivers.”
When Scoopy Doo started 18 years ago, drivers filled out paper forms to keep track of each appointment. Not only was it time-consuming, but many drivers would also forget to write down how long they were at each appointment, according to Coniglione. “If a customer said that we didn’t show up or filed a dispute, we would have to go through months of paperwork. I had to hope that the driver wrote down that job as well as the timing.”
A DRIVER’S PERSPECTIVE
For Fred Stroppel, telematics systems were introduced within a year of him starting as a technician for Scoopy Doo. Before telematics, Stroppel and other Scoopy Doo drivers used printed-out sheets to figure out their daily routes.
“It took a little while to adjust to the new telematics systems,” he says. “At first, there was a little trepidation and resistance from the older drivers.’ In addition to being unfamiliar technology, some drivers didn’t like the idea of being tracked.
Once Stroppel realized how telematics could save time during his routes, he says it was easier to embrace the new technology. “I have lived in Long Island my whole life, but the GPS feature guided me down streets that I had never heard of to create more efficient routes.”
For Stroppel, the right management style also plays a part in how the driver will treat the technology system.
“I could see how telematics may appear to be intrusive and prevent a driver from doing his best job if he feels like he is being micromanaged,” he says. “But we don’t feel that at our company. Our manager uses the telematics data to help us. The systems help everything go smoothly when you are connected with the management and they are connected with you.”
If you are doing your job right, in a way telematics can make you look better,” adds Stroppel. “Management can tell if I’m hitting all my marks. And if I need help, the dispatcher knows where I’m located to help.”
Scoopy Doo owner Jim Coniglione says he emphasized to his drivers that telematics would help make the business more efficient and would be used for customer accountability as opposed to not trusting his drivers.
BUSINESS FLEET July/August 2018