Telematics as a pillar of a centralised fleet

Selecta, a foodtech company that supplies coffee and related products to its customers, has a fleet of 5,000 cars spread across 14 European countries. Carsten Schopf, working there as Group Fleet Leader since the beginning of this year, talks more about the role of telematics in optimising fleet performance, and how switching to a centralised approach is decisive in this regard.

The challenges of an international, diverse fleet

Internationally operating fleet managers face many different challenges. Taking responsibility for the environment is one of them, and for this reason, electrification and CO2 reduction are high on the agenda of many companies and fleet managers. In addition, improving driver behaviour not only improves safety, but it also leads to a more economical and therefore more sustainable use of your fleet. There is also an increasing focus on reducing operational costs, so insight into vehicle performance is essential in this respect. 

At Selecta, the teams are busy adapting the fleet. “By far the biggest challenge is the electrification of our fleet. We currently use sophisticated digital routing, but with future electrification, we certainly need to adapt our logistics process accordingly. We are very ambitious and want to order only fully electric vehicles from 2025. From 2030, our fleet should then be fully electrified. However, it is not easy to find the right product, with the right payload and with a suitable range. And then you also have to deal with different charging networks per country. These challenges only motivate us even more to work hard every day to realise our vision.”

Telematics as the common denominator

When you operate in several countries and have a diverse fleet with different brands and types of vehicles, it is quite a challenge to measure the overall performance of your fleet. Telematics is the solution for equalising fleet performance across all countries so you can develop global insights for optimising your fleet at both an operational and strategic level.

“The use of telematics increases the safety of our drives and lowers the costs of our fleet drastically”

Carsten Schopf, Group Fleet Leader, Selecta

“Our fleet is equipped with 4,000 Geotabs,” Carsten explains. “So fortunately, we work with one system that allows us to bring all the data together efficiently. Driving behaviour has our primary focus, in which safety and costs play a pivotal role. After all, given the size of our fleet, we are a relevant part of society, with our vehicles also visibly participating in traffic. That’s why we want our drivers to set a good example with their driving behaviour. In addition, responsible driving behaviour also helps prevent accidents. An additional effect of responsible driving behaviour is that you have lower costs due to damage. After all, a safe driving style leads to lower fuel costs, less vehicle maintenance and increases the sustainability of your fleet because vehicles last longer.”

Impact of telematics on overall performance

The applications of telematics are increasing rapidly. A key development in this is the telematics hardware that is being built into more and more new cars. Combined with the linking of third-party platforms, the set of data you can retrieve is becoming increasingly extensive. Think for instance of current weather and traffic jam information, which you can use to adjust routes in real time and further optimise the planning of your drivers. With a more efficient logistics process, fleet managers can make substantial savings on operational costs.

Carsten also believes Selecta’s fleet performance can be further optimised by the growing application possibilities of telematics. “We want to further integrate telematics in optimising our fleet in the coming period. This is all about how you link different data together to draw relevant conclusions and actions. For example, making route planning more efficient when considering the current traffic situation. Then you really move towards a system that shows how to get your fleet around in the fastest, most efficient way. It may also show that by going to two shifts or rearranging the route planning, we can move to a fleet of 3,500 cars instead of 5,000. That will have a huge impact on our emissions and other key KPIs.”

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