How will the integration of OEM telematics impact fleet management?

Mike HuhnAugust 6, 2021

Any fleet manager who relies on GPS and fleet monitoring data in order to make fully informed decisions for their fleets, needs telematics. Moreover, they need telematics solutions that offer profound insights and access to real-time data across their fleet.

Today, fleet managers have the option of using in-house, OEM telematics or seeking a third party provider to fit their vehicles with the necessary hardware. More OEMs are coming out with their own solutions, however, breaking into the market and featuring a few selling points that aftermarket providers lack.

This additional option for how fleet managers can collect data is important to consider in regards to fleet-specific needs, and the objectives for these data analytics.

What are OEM telematics?

OEM telematics are data analytics solutions created directly by Original Equipment Manufacturers, such as Ford and BMW, who both now offer factory-embedded telematics options. The term “OEM telematics” has built up quite a buzz in recent years because telematics have long been sourced from third party providers and added to vehicles after acquisition. Manufacturers are catching onto this trend, however, and are creating their own solution.

The major difference between OEM and aftermarket telematics is that while factory-ready vehicles have the hardware built-in right from production, aftermarket solutions are installed after the fact. Additionally, because telematics software is being designed by the manufacturers themselves, customers are getting access to far more vehicle-specific information that would not have been caught by a third party software.

OEM telematics are not just for electric vehicles, either. Ford offers the option to integrate their same telematics system into any other make or model car, ensuring the seamless unification of all vehicles on the same platform.

Why are manufacturers installing native telematics?

Manufacturers have recognized the value of data in today’s world. For better fleet management, profitable decisions and pinpointing waste reduction opportunities, managers rely on accurate insights collected directly from their vehicles.

Before OEMs launched their own telematics options, there was a lost opportunity for both manufacturers and customers who needed more profound insights. For OEMs this is a huge opportunity to bring a product to the table that is ready-to-go off the lot and offers a deeper, more dynamic view into fleet statistics.

What are the benefits of OEM telematics devices? 

Integrating any telematics platform into a fleet’s management strategy can reap numerous benefits for a company.  Beyond increasing efficiency, profitability and safety among the fleet, the ability to make smart, statistics-backed decisions is an invaluable asset for a manager. When comparing OEM and third party providers, however, there are very different benefits to analyze when making your decision.

No downtime

Lengthy downtime can be a nightmare for any fleet manager, and is to be avoided at all costs. This is where OEM telematics could be the preferable solution. Unlike their aftermarket competitors, OEMs are offering vehicles with factory-installed telematics hardware that is ready to be activated at a moment’s notice. 

This saves managers the time of installing third party hardware after vehicle acquisition as well as the additional time for program activation. This process, which could take up to months for a large fleet installing aftermarket , would take just a few hours of activation for factory-ready fleet.

Deeper insights

Fleets using OEM telematics in their vehicles benefit from the wider breadth of data available to them. Vehicles have embedded hardware and sensors that give telling insights, but access to this data is typically off limits to third party providers. Essentially, managers using manufacturer telematics for their fleets have a major advantage.

Access to richer data can help managers figure out unanswered questions, identify problem areas and ultimately have the whole picture before making decisions.

Increased safety

Many car manufacturers offer clients exclusive benefits likes vehicle monitoring, security, maintenance all through the same platform. Feeding this information directly back to the manufacturer not only helps managers keep track of safety among their fleet, but helps OEMs figure out how they can make vehicles safer for their drivers.

Smarter maintenance

A major benefit of choosing your OEM as your telematics provider, is the convenience of maintenance and service scheduling. Manufacturers can keep drivers up to date on their specific vehicle’s needs, as well as receive real time diagnostics. Many OEMS also have dedicated apps for their telematics platforms. This allows managers to access fleet data in one place, drivers can input qualitative data themselves, and schedule maintenance with their manufacturer directly on the app. 

What are the challenges of OEM telematics devices?

As a newer option on the market, OEM telematics evidently still has room for improvement. These systems are not brand agnostic as their aftermarket counterparts are, and could be impractical for nonuniform fleets.

Not viable for mixed fleets

Evidently, the majority of fleets are made up of a mix of models, makes and years. This poses a big challenge for managers looking to use OEM telematics, as this would mean having your data spread out on multiple platforms, or receiving insights on some of your assets but not all. Unless a company is looking to completely replace and update their fleet with newer vehicles, which would be a huge financial investment, relying on one manufacturer’s system could be implausible. 

Limiting options

Similarly, relying on OEM systems can be limiting for companies who prefer specific makes of vehicle for certain jobs. Managers could be forced to sacrifice their preferences for the sake of unifying the fleet, which could be less cost effective and productive in the end. In many cases, it can be a major asset to have certain manufacturer vehicles in the roles where they work best.

Conflict of interest

For managers depending on data insights to identify when to right-size their fleet, OEM systems can be a tricky solution. With telematics systems provided directly by your manufacturer, there is no incentive for them to let you know when it’s time to downsize your fleet as it goes directly against their own company’s interest. With aftermarket providers, this would never be an issue as they are not tied to any specific manufacturer. 

How Utilimarc Works with OEM telematics

Utilimarc works with OEM telematics in a unique way that allows clients to access data from manufacturer-embedded hardware all on one unified platform, no matter the manufacturer or model. Custom telematics dashboards allow for detailed data reporting that is piped into Geotab’s system and then onto Utilimarc’s platform for benchmarking, analyses and custom reporting. 

This is especially useful for fleets that are ready to start using embedded telematics data to their advantage, and are looking for experienced industry providers like Utilimarc as a solution. Utilimarc’s deep knowledge of industry-specific metrics and BI platform serves as a major value-add to Geotab’s service. While Geotab collects fleet information in one place, Utilimarc provides the deep analysis that makes this data profitable. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how Utilimarc works with OEM and GEOTAB data, schedule a demo of the Utilimarc platform with a member of our analytics team.

Mike Huhn

Director of Analytics

Mike Huhn is the director of analytics at Utilimarc. He has spent the last ten years with Utilimarc, and helped to identify a new facet of loop theory – he calls it, the FRUTE loop. See more from Mike

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