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Using Telematics to Support Essential Services in Response to COVID-19

While the novel coronavirus threatens to strengthen its hold on the country’s population, President Cyril Ramaphosa took decisive action last week Monday and declared a 21-day countrywide lock down to stop the pandemic from spreading.

Effective from Thursday, March 26th until Thursday, April 16th, the shutdown will see employees from many sectors remain at home other than those deemed essential for the welfare of the people.

This includes people who are working in banks, hospitals, emergency services, security services, military, and food production and supply sectors. It also applies to fleet operations which provide direct help in response to the COVID-19 outbreak – meaning fleet-driven companies will remain open to transport food and supplies, medical equipment, fuel and essential workers such as security guards, medical workers, and soldiers.

How to minimize the impact of coronavirus on essential services?

In this regard, the use of robust and efficient digital technology that can help fleets achieve the optimal level of customer service and business communication while reducing the risks of social interaction and virus transmission is now more important than ever.

At Geotab Africa, we are here to provide you with the right tools to help you to efficiently transport essential goods and workers, and to keep your drivers safe during this unusual period. Through our innovative web-based fleet telematics system, we eliminate the need for fleet managers to maintain direct communication with drivers, as they can issue orders and delegate job tasks to employees through our device integration with other applications, software development kit (SDK), APIs, and IOX expandability.

As a result, we have put together 10 tips on how to use fleet telematics to keep your essential services vehicle operations running smoothly without posing any risks to your drivers and others.

10 Tips on the best way to utilize telematics to support essential services:

  1. Know where your drivers are and what they are doing: Using telematics gives you complete control over your vehicles and drivers. With real-time vehicle GPS tracking, you get to know where your vehicles are at any point in time. This allows fleet managers to remotely monitor and ensure workers are performing tasks.
  2. Keeping Contact with Drivers: Maintaining good communication during this stressful period is the key to ensuring your staff perform tasks. Geotab’s integration with Garmin allows for bidirectional communication between fleet managers and drivers. It enables fleet managers to assign drivers stops and routes directly, thereby ensuring efficient planning and productivity. The integration will benefit fleets that depend on drivers carry out multiple deliveries per trip.
  3. Ensure vehicles, drivers and products are safe: Implementing Geotab’s fleet management software will serve as a useful way to ensure drivers are still adhering to road rules. It will allow you to see when drivers are accelerating too fast, braking too hard, or idling too long, thanks to its ability to generate driving data. Using MyGeotab Exception Rules, fleet managers can select different exceptions, such as speed, to guide drivers during their physical absence. In addition, with Geotab’s Go Talk, fleet managers can provide verbal feedback in real-time to the drivers who deviate from the rules they have set. This will help ensure that you keep your vehicles, drivers, and supplies safe.
  4. Avoiding Downtime: In this time of uncertainty, your fleet needs to be managed and properly serviced, so you can get the most out of your vehicles. Geotab’s advanced telematics solution can help you keep your vehicles running without interruptions. This is done by setting up a maintenance reminder on MyGeotab to inform you of the next service appointment or whenever the engine light is on. This will help you take needed action and avoid unwanted downtime expenses.
  5. Ensuring Quick Response to Emergencies: Geotab Africa’s integration with Online Intelligence will allow you to efficiently deploy emergency services and security guards in case of an emergency. Using Geotab end-to-end fleet management device and Online Intelligence’s lead risk management software, integration reduces the burden of emergency dispatching by allowing emergency control rooms operators to locate and deploy the nearest vehicle to the scene. This would ensure quick response to emergencies, and that vehicles are used efficiently.
  6. Executing deliveries more efficiently: Using Geotab’s route optimization tool, fleet managers can select the most efficient routes that drivers can use to reach their destinations much faster. This maximizes the use of vehicles while minimizing unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicles.
  7. Driver Identification: Businesses with multiple drivers can use driver tags to ensure that their vehicles are being used by the assigned drivers. This will likewise help them monitor their driver’s behaviour on the road.
  8. Minimize the need for contact between Store Managers and your Drivers: Geotab Africa’s sophisticated fleet management system offers many excellent features. One of them is the ability to build zones – which are virtual perimeters around an area of interest in the real-world. Thus, to keep tabs on deliveries, fleet manager can create zones for your customer sites. Learn more about creating zones in MyGeotab. This will allow them to see when drivers arrived and left their customer sites. Additionally, fleet managers can set-up alerts to keep them updated when drivers are in the zones. These would then be forwarded to customers as proof of delivery, removing the need for store managers to sign documents from drivers.
  9. Regulate the working time of each driver: Truck drivers are often required to travel long distances to transport goods. Therefore, it is necessary for them to rest so that road accidents associated with fatigue are avoided. Read more on driver fatigue. Fleet managers can use MyGeotab to track how many hours their truck drivers have been driving and working. Such information can also be used to determine the overall number of hours drivers can work, set minimum break times as well as duty cycles.
  10. Incentivising working staff: Geotab’s award winning software makes it easy for fleet managers to monitor driver performance. By running a Driver’s Scorecard Report, fleet managers can gain insights on overall performance of drivers, include number of hours worked and driving behaviour. This information can then be used to incentivise drivers for their services and actions on the road.

Author: The Geotab Africa Team        

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