Properly managing fleet vehicles and the transportation of equipment and workers from site to site can certainly help construction businesses increase their efficiency and safety.
As a recent Productivity Commission report shows, within the construction industry, costs are rising, but productivity growth is slowing. A clear solution is to embrace the use of data and tracking technologies in all areas of construction, including the transportation and fleet management, upon which the industry is so heavily dependent.
In order to find out more, Jobsite ANZ spoke with Christopher Chisman-Duffy, Sales Director for TomTom Telematics in Australia and New Zealand, a business division of TomTom. Chisman-Duffy shared his insights about how management of fleet vehicles using navigation systems—and the insights gained from these—can enhance the efficiency and safety of construction projects.
An Organic Approach to Fleet Management
TomTom Telematics is a business unit of TomTom that focuses on fleet management, vehicle telematics and connected car services. Its fleet management software, WebFleet, delivers data to construction businesses to increase efficiency and to help return investment on fleet movements.
TomTom is the only telematics company that is completely organic. Everything from mapping to hardware is developed and built by TomTom Telematics.
WebFleet is used by construction businesses to improve vehicle performance, save fuel, support drivers, and increase overall fleet efficiency.
Improving Transport Routes
Construction businesses use fleet management for a variety of purposes. Companies need to look for the best routes to and from sites, manage assets, and see how their assets are being used.
Some organisations have on-site equipment that needs to be managed, while others require services managing how many hours are spent by workers to complete a project. Some construction businesses also sublet, subcontract or rent onsite equipment and staff. This is where fleet management can come in handy; it can help keep track of workers and provide the most efficient travel routes to and from sites.
Some workers will often have to make multiple stops or travel to multiple sites within a day.
Some workers will often have to make multiple stops or travel to multiple sites within a day. Thanks to managing fleet vehicles via navigation systems that track their location, workers can be updated in real-time with the most efficient routes. Thus, the company is able to cut down on travelling time and fuel costs.
“The fastest route to a destination in morning rush-hour traffic might not be the shortest one. It might be better to send them five kilometres further, if they reach the destination half an hour earlier by missing out on the traffic hot spots and jams,” says Chisman-Duffy.
Since TomTom Telematics can provide real-time updates on traffic situations, the vehicle can be re-routed to direct the drivers to the most efficient route to their destination.
“This can also be based on size and shape, so if you are driving a large truck or bus, we can actually direct it to a route specifically designed for the size and shape of that vehicle,” says Chisman-Duffy.
Safety is in the Details
The technology behind fleet management is an important tool for addressing various safety concerns associated with driving. Monitoring driver fatigue can give businesses more control in terms of knowing where employees are, what their driving behaviour is, how long they spend on site, and for how long they are stuck in traffic—not to mention providing insights into improving safety procedures.
“This helps to create transparency and makes drivers more aware of their actions. Monitoring driver behaviour helps drivers use vehicles more carefully and efficiently,” says Chisman-Duffy.
WebFleet can tag things such as trailers, small diggers and onsite equipment, and roadworks to provide important insights for construction workers, allowing to improve efficiency and safety.
“We can actually track roadworks and signs on road works, such as those requiring drivers to slow down, to give the correct information at the right time,” says Chisman-Duffy.
A huge part of safety considerations is the insurance commitments made by companies on behalf of their fleets.
A huge part of safety considerations is the insurance commitments made by companies on behalf of their fleets. Chisman-Duffy claims if a company can use fleet management technology to prove to the insurer that vehicles are being driven responsibly, with no speeding or harsh braking occurring, insurers are likely to be more favourable.
According to Chisman-Duffy, the future of fleet management and GPS technology to improve vehicle efficiency and safety is autonomous driving. TomTom Telematics has already developed high-definition maps which can only be read and interpreted by machines.
Recently, TomTom Telematics acquired Autonomos, an autonomous driving business. With this acquisition, TomTom Telematics aims to use autonomous driving to keep traffic moving. It will allow construction businesses to continue to drive profitability and keep up with the rapid changes occurring in the fleet management and construction industries.
“We are always looking at where the future of vehicles and vehicle safety is, working with electric and self-driving vehicles to keep things moving forward and keep up with all the changes that happen so quickly,” says Chisman-Duffy.