Saturday, June 25, 2022

For Fleet and Transport Professionals

Driver monitoring doesn’t have to be invasive

The idea that businesses can improve efficiency through data collection is as old as the production line. However, monitoring individual employees – tracking their eye movements to check that they are concentrating or timing their toilet breaks– is often seen as a step too far. At a time when drivers are leaving the profession in droves, often citing ‘soul destroying’ working conditions, alienating workers could be more costly than accepting a certain level of waste due to inefficiency.

There clearly needs to be a happy medium between the needs of a business and those of its drivers, so how can fleets make sure that they are working efficiently and safely without overstepping boundaries?

Balancing fleet management and drivers

Today precise tracking technologies used by major companies like Amazon is becoming more widespread so vehicles are increasingly being fitted with GPS locators. With B2C deliveries there is a clear business case – customers like to know when their delivery will arrive. However, in other applications the use cases centre on efficiency, safety (checking that drivers aren’t speeding), security (tracking stolen vehicles) and preventative maintenance.

While critical for visibility within fleets, drivers can become disgruntled by the implication that they aren’t doing their job that monitoring implies. If targets are realistic and flexible (taking account of unexpected traffic for instance) employees are unlikely to have problems, but there is debate whether systems are spying or genuinely improving safety. This could risk encouraging drivers to either game the system or even quit. Having input from drivers themselves is crucial here: most are experts at what they do and will be able to give comprehensive feedback on targets that are realistic, and the systems will work for them. Companies must balance their need for safety with employee privacy.

Legalities of driver monitoring

In addition to the operational considerations, there are legal aspects to driver monitoring that need to be considered.

You may be surprised to learn that the rules around driver monitoring fall under GDPR protections – a set of laws you probably associate more with email opt-outs than GPS tracking. Under this legal framework, the information that tracking devices gather about your employees is considered to be personal data that belongs to them. That means that in order for your company to use that data, employees need to opt in, just as they would to email marketing. They will have to give their consent to being tracked, either when they join the company or when a driver monitoring system is put in place. You will also have to let employees know when they are being tracked and only track employees during working hours.

Driver tracking that works for you and your drivers

There are many reasons for tracking your fleet and, if done intelligently and with driver input, there should be no reason that you can’t institute a system that works for everyone. Opting for a fuel card can help operators keep fuel spent under control as it enables a fixed weekly price for fuel that is typically cheaper than the price at the pump. Meanwhile larger operators can also bunker their own fuel – generally considered the most cost-effective way to refuel on the road.

As well as controlling fuel price, it is essential to control efficiency. Deviating off planned routes wastes time, fuel, and ultimately increases costs. By partnering with a provider that offers the UK’s largest network, drivers should never have to drive far to refuel, sticking to their planned routes.

Combine this with better harnessing data, such as real-time management information reports for improved visibility around fuel transactions, means operators can better plan fuel purchases at strategic times. Overall, this will offer a complete picture of how your drivers are performing that allows you to increase efficiency without sacrificing morale.

To learn more about Keyfuels, visit: https://www.keyfuels.co.uk/

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