The need for telematics

MiX Rovi improves effective exchange of information between drivers and the office.
In changing times, Telematics solutions are available to make fleets work more effectively. Fuel Oil News looks at the systems on offer to assist your business.

Updates for a changing industry
This year IMS updated its Tankerbase head office software suite and ePOD on-truck system with new features, including details of on-map tanker movements, location, loads, completed deliveries and on-board stock.
The systems work alongside each other to provide a complete fuel distribution management system.  Found in 120 depots across the UK and Ireland, including Staffordshire-based Stoddards (see pages 12/13), the systems enable distributors to optimise delivery resources and monitor valuable stock.
An optional in-cab GPS/GPRS transceiver enables ePOD to transmit delivery coordinates to Tankerbase for use in a web-based vehicle tracking system. Functions such as vehicle location, routing, excess speed alerts, ‘off route’ (geo-fencing) and power take off (PTO) running are all available, as is the ability to control on board equipment.
Drivers can use it to send SMS messages to customers, choosing either a pre-defined template, or to type a customised message.
In response to changing industry requirements and the opportunities provided by new technology, IMS’ specialist fuel distribution systems have evolved continuously over the last 30 years. The company is currently looking at the use of tablets, such as iPads, as business tools and how they can be utilised for order taking and credit control.

New Navman app
Navman Wireless has recently launched a new smartphone and tablet application designed to complement the new product ranges Essential, Fleet+ and Complete.
Steve Blackburn, European vice president of Navman Wireless, said: “With the introduction of OnlineAVL for the smartphone and tablet, we are ensuring that we continue to stay in touch with our customers, in order for them to connect with their fleet in the most effective way possible.
“We are staying ahead of the curve and anticipating the rapidly evolving technological needs of our customers. We continue to be innovative with our software and technology, delivering not only highly efficient and user friendly products but also choice in the way our customers can access information.”
Improve driver safety 
Ecotrak, the telematics system solution from CMS Supatrak, can help improve health & safety by alerting the driver to behaviour that could endanger themselves or other road users.
Clugston Distribution Services has fitted the product to over 70 of its vehicles.
CMS Supatrak managing director, Jason Airey, said: “The system ensures that if a driver was involved in an accident the manager responsible for them would be able to locate them quickly using live GPS information.
“By using the technology, it becomes very easy to monitor how vehicles are being driven; establishing driver behaviour that is wasting fuel, and by addressing this, savings can be made.”
Custom MiX of inputs
MiX Telematics launched its latest version of MiX Rovi, a cost-effective and easy-to-use in-cab display, at IAA Hanover 2012.
The device enables optimised communication between drivers and the office, including feedback on effective driving style, a messaging service and accurate routing.
Fleet managers can create their own custom data inputs based on the exact need of their operation.
Charles Tasker, head of fleet telematics for MiX, said: “Fleet managers are often only able to collate information at the end of each day when drivers return to base, which can be a source of great frustration and inefficiency.  MiX Rovi now provides the information they need instantly; thereby helping to improve turnaround times and enhance customer service.”
Accurate fuel data
Blue Tree Systems R:COM aims to address the main challenge freight operators face – the lack of trust in the fuel data being collected from the engine control unit.
The figures need to be entirely accurate to assess driver or fuel performance, and inaccuracies can make it difficult for fleet operators to make smart purchasing decisions.
The R:COM technology is the only solution that includes advanced algorithms capable of calibrating the ECM fuel data quickly and easily to provide accurate fuel usage data. The fuel auditor programme compares the amount of fuel burned by each truck in the fleet to the amount purchased. Any differences are immediately highlighted, including drill-down capability to determine the time and location of the discrepancy.