Emerging Economies Lead the way in Telematics

Evolution played a joke on telematics by making it a perfect solution for imperfect worlds, the Global Fleet Barometer 2020 by leasing specialist Arval has revealed.

The survey conducted in European Union and a handful of emerging countries suggests less sophisticated economies show a higher penetration of fleet telematics in passenger cars and LCVs than in the richer countries. Brazil, Turkey and Russia form the top three with accordingly 58%, 54% and 53% vehicles equipped with trackers and related digital tools. Compare those figures to Germany and Austria, with penetration rates 23% and 25%, are at lower end in the rankings. Generally, the survey supports a common wisdom that the telematics finds better uptake in cultures with lower levels of trust between companies and employees. That distinction is recognized in companies of all sizes in both passenger and freight sectors, said Alexey Kulikov, director of strategic consulting at Arval, commenting on the survey results.

Good men and true

Another notable distinction is why the companies use the technology, Kulikov said. While the fleets in Europe embrace it for a wide variety of tasks, Russian managers unite over just one. Two-in-three respondents in the nation put “vehicle location and security” on the top of reasons. That inclination is understood in the nation suffering some of the highest in the world rates of theft and employee misconduct. “The most damage to operation is caused by accidents along the way,” said Tatyana Kuzminova, head of freight logistics department at CDEK.

According to Arval, the most concerning type of accident is too high fuel consumption with 51% respondents flagging that item. It is followed by too many traffic violations (46%) and bad driving behaviour (41%). “Controlling fuel and lubricants was the top priority ten years ago and it remains so,” said Boris Pankov, Omnicomm’s general director. The telematic provider conducts its own annual survey in the heavy-duty segment which tallies with many of Arval’s findings in the PC and LCV segments.

Other issues that concern both a freight carrier and a recipient of the goods are location of the vehicle and control over shipping timeframes. “In order to sustain tight shipping schedule, logistic companies need to prevent drivers’ straying from the target route,” Pankov said.

The green beyond

Importance of the question of adherence to schedules and security shadows major questions of operational efficiency and environmental aspects. While accordingly 37% and 25% of European managers name it among their top reasons to use telematics as well as other digital tools, a mere 12% and 4% of their Russian colleagues flag the corresponding functions.

That is because the national management culture has not matured yet, Kuzminova thinks. “Some of the managers may still have poor expertise in capabilities and implications of operational efficiency,” she said. Instances of micromanagement continue to be seen in many companies. Another likely cause is that local clients do not demand efficiency improvements.

Most companies still see telematics as a tool of control rather than tracking KPI and strategic planning, Pankov said: “Not one of the respondents (in Omnicomm’s survey) linked overall performance or performance of individual employees to any KPI. I think that, in Russia, concerns of theft, human resources deficit and obedience to rules continue to prevail over requirements of efficient management.”

Safety’s on to-do lists

While environmental benefits of fleet telematics is still behind the horizon for Russian companies, road safety is becoming their next frontier. Russia features some extremely high 18.9 road fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants annually. In spite of that, currently there is little interest among customers in using telematics for general road safety, Pankov said. Companies, in general, respond to that issue with changes to corporate codes of practices. Yet, the industry is gearing up in that direction, he said: “Safe driving functionality in a telematic system is becoming mandatory at ever higher share of our customers.”

Kulikov supplied that observation with a notion that the trend is more evident in large fleets. 71% of them supplement driver training with classes on safer driving practices while only 35% SMEs follow their lead. “It is visible that larger companies are more socially responsible,” he said.

The interest in new smarter generations of telematic systems is helping, Kulikov said further: “It is evident how telematics is garnering humanistic features, so to say, with new ‘tasty’ smart communication technologies, giving a hope on higher obedience to simple rules such as not using a mobile gadget when driving.”

The current coronavirus pandemic has further fixed the companies in this direction for the next 3 to 5 years, he said: “Thanks to the covid-19, companies used a break in operations to re-structure a number of policies and develop a new view on safety.”


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