I recently attended the Leaders in Logistics Summit 2016 in Dubai. At a panel discussion about Fleet Telematics, the moderator asked how many delegates in the audience had tried and failed at least once to implement a solution to improve efficiency and safety. I was amazed when the majority of delegates in the room raised their hand.
It made me question, what are the primary pre-requisites required to be in place in a logistics company to fully realise the potential of technology to improve efficiency and safety?
I decided to speak to Cory Fee, who is responsible for Restrata's OBI Telematics solution, in hopes that he might be able to outline the key steps that a business must take to ensure a successful implementation.
Cory's immediate response was to explain that technology alone is not a panacea, and a business must be prepared to take more actions and implement operational changes to realise the true potential of the technology solution. This is why the technology doesn't work for some businesses, he told me, because they believe purchasing technology will be a quick fix.
Following our conversation, my key takeaways can be summarised as six points that must be addressed to ensure that the implementation of a fleet telematics solution is a success. These are:
- Address your existing business process - before you even start considering solution providers, identify your basic manual process aimed at "reducing loss". This will help you understand what you and your solution provider understand your aim as a business and the system requirements.
- Know your assets - purchase, depreciation, repair, repair costs, and reliability. Again, these details will help shape your solution, ensuring it is fit for purpose.
- A willing workforce - I cannot stress enough that you need buy in from all involved in implementing and operating your technology, whether this is a telematics solution or any other type of technology brought into your business.
- Trained and competent staff - your team need to be able to maintain the ‘operation of the system’, and translate the technology inputs back into business process for perpetuity, and successional planning.
- Stop overthinking the costs involved - focus more on how much a well designed and implemented system will save you, this is where selecting the right solutions provider, who is capable of delivering a consultative approach not just the technology, is critical for success.
- Get back to basics - it’s imperative that you have a very clear understanding of what the system can, and can’t do. The industry is changing so rapidly, and it's often difficult for us to keep up. Don't be ashamed to ask the professionals as many questions as you can before formulating a position on what it is that you need.
Remember to understand your goals before starting this journey, and remember that installation and implementation are not the same thing, and most businesses who have tried and failed to set up a successful telematics system in the past were probably not supported with a full implementation program.
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