5 Questions to Ask Your Telematics Provider BEFORE You Sign the Contract
Telematics isn’t just a GPS tracking system that can provide insights to the location of your fleet assets, though many perceive it to be just that.
Instead – it’s a valuable piece to the fleet management puzzle – providing real-time information on the assets within your fleet mix, giving you the opportunity to improve your operations and lower your overall costs.
So, what does this mean exactly? In simple terms – it means that not only can telematics be integral to fleet management, but also that much care needs go into choosing a telematics provider as well. In this article, we’ll cover how to choose a telematics provider, as well as five things you should consider when doing so.
What should you ask before you sign a contract with a telematics data provider?
When you’re looking at how to choose a telematics provider – there are vital pieces of information that you should consider:
1. How do they handle installs?
What is their installation process like? Will the equipment work effectively? One of the largest red flags with a telematics provider is the ease of the install. If your telematics provider gives you trouble during the installation process – this could queue you in to potential problems down the line. For example, if the installs into your fleet assets are sub-par (whether faulty devices or difficult-to-use equipment), then the quality of the data they provide will be skewed – effectively creating a data stream that does not support quality decision-making, creating error in judgement down the line.
2. Does your telematics provider integrate with third parties?
Are you (un)intentionally creating data silos? A crucial aspect of signing with any telematics provider is to understand whether or not they support integrations – like fuel cards from one provider and maintenance from another.
Your ideal telematics provider should be able to combine and integrate all sources of your data to present your fleet data and insights in a single, unified platform.
3. Do they deliver clean insights for utilization metrics?
Downtime, availability, usage rate, insights for rightsizing – all are an important facet of your fleet management strategy. Especially so, because these metrics can be directly measured by analyzing your telematics data.
This brings us to the question – where does the term ‘clean insights’ fit in here? Simply put, and building from our first point surrounding improper installs, you can run into problems later down the line if your telematics provider does not provide clean data.
Especially when it comes to the accuracy of reporting on your telematics data and using it to make decisions.
4. What (and who) makes up their customer support team?
Is your support team available when you need them? Are they a team of analysts that know fleets inside and out or an out-sourced support centre?
A quality support team is a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to choosing a telematics provider. There’s a lot that goes into reporting and understanding the data coming from your vehicles. Also, sometimes even with high-quality installs for telematics devices – you can still have hiccups down the line where something might go wrong.
Your support team should be able to help you navigate whatever challenges come your way surrounding telematics. And they’re creating reports for you as well – then they should be able to help you understand your fleet’s data in such a way that you could explain it to any position within your organization with confidence.
5. What is the pricing structure?
Pricing is huge – and as businesses, we’re always looking for ways to keep our operating budgets as nimble and efficient as possible, right? Unfortunately, the best telematics providers tend to come with a hefty price tag. A larger upfront price typically means that you’ll have to worry less about maintenance costs for the devices themselves or poor capabilities straight away. Even if a lesser-expensive model may seem more enticing due to its price, it might end up costing more in the long run.
You’ll also want to make sure that you’ve assessed each provider you are considering for any fees that you might incur – hidden or otherwise. For example, installation fees, data fees or future upgrades. A good practice to get into is to look for providers that offer a no risk / no set-up / cancel anytime program.
Your resources are an important facet of your organization. Your telematics provider should be in tune with that. When you’re making a significant investment where each cost can add up, it makes it worthwhile to do your initial research in order to find a telematics provider that will best suit your needs.
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Your telematics data is more valuable than you think
Telematics data is an incredibly valuable tool in your fleet management tool belt – aside from strategic insights, like providing proper information for fleet right-sizing, it holds much more value than one might imagine.
One telematics provider won’t be a one-size-fits-all for every fleet, but understanding the knowledge that telematics data provides is the first step to optimizing your fleet and operations.
Utilimarc has been an industry leader in benchmarking and analyzing telematics data for nearly two decades. If you would like more information about how Utilimarc could fit into your fleet management repertoire, schedule a demo with our team.