A world leader in vehicle tracking

McDades info graphicA lot has changed since Andy McDades father launched the family coach hire business in 1985. 

Margaret Thatcher was starting her sixth year as Prime Minister, a pint of milk cost just 21p, a pound of bread just 56p, while drinkers could get a pint of lager for a remarkable 90p. David Bowie and Mick Jagger were riding high in the charts with Dancing In The Street and Live Aid concerts around the world raise many millions to help the starving in Africa.

On the technology front, Microsoft released the first version of Windows, Compact Discs were introduced to American Consumers, gamers were experiencing the highly addictive Tetris for the first time, the space shuttle Atlantis was launched and British Scientists discover a hole in the earths Ozone Layer.

British Telecom announced it would phase out red phone boxes and the first mobile phone call was made in the UK by Ernie Wise.

If the McDades owned a mobile then, it would have cost around £2,000 and it would probably have been a Nokia Mobira Talkman 520 weighing in at almost 5kg and requiring a carry handle.

Of course vehicle tracking technology has not always been as advanced as it is right now. Back in 1985, the only way McDade Senior could have tracked his vehicles was if his drivers had called him from a phone box en-route.

Today Andy McDade knows the exact location of his coaches no matter where they are or where he is. He uses the Navman Wireless vehicle tracking app for the iPhone and iPad, so he can instantly locate the vehicles in his fleet, view their daily activity, identify and route the nearest vehicle to urgent jobs, and send messages to his drivers.

We were the first vehicle tracking company to offer an iPhone app and our technology continues to develop ensuring we continue to stay in touch with our customers and they stay in touch with their fleet in the most effective way possible.

 

If you are a business owner or operations manager faced with the challenges that go along with managing people and keeping track of a lot of moving parts, this is a question that you must ask yourself if you are considering deploying combined vehicle tracking, messaging and navigation.

One of the latest additions to our product range, the M-Nav 800, has some great benefits such as:

  • Improving your customer service with accurate arrival times and the ability to quickly respond to job requests.
  • Remotely routing vehicles with the M-Nav 800’s ‘accept and go’ technology.
  • Compelling drivers to carry out daily vehicle safety checks with duty of care functionality.
  • Reducing your communication costs with fixed price instant messaging from the office to your drivers via the touch screen in-cab device..

M-Nav 800 with message show feature_cropM-Nav 800 with message received-Crop

However, there is more to consider when deploying combined vehicle tracking, messaging and navigation. For instance, how easy is it to streamline my office to driver communications, locating drivers and sending job instructions? Will devices such as M-Nav 800 allow me to simplify the process of dealing with a large number of drivers and vehicles, demanding customers and ever-increasing overheads?

Using products like the M-Nav 800, combined with our vehicle tracking system, we give you the tools and resources you need to be proactive and stay focused on results.

Like increased accountability. Improved productivity. Reduced costs. Enhanced service delivery. Reduced risk. And the most efficient use of company vehicles. Solving our customers’ toughest operational challenges is our number one priority and we’re pleased to share Navman Wireless innovation — both technology and thinking — that will better help you get the most out of your fleet.

What happens when a family-owned waste management business in Manchester decides to try and reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions using vehicle tracking? “Going the extra mile” for customers takes on a whole new meaning.

It’s like having a helicopter view of operations, enabling STE owner Marcus Farmer to improve visibility and routing of his seven strong fleet of general waste and recycling trucks.

  • The STE fleet travel 20 miles less per vehicle in the first week.
  • Less cost to the business and the environment.
  • STE customers are happy with a truly sustainable service.

For a business making over 3,000 waste collections every week in Manchester and Cheshire, STE – an acronym for Save the Environment – sustainability is a balancing act.

STE prides itself on being green and eco friendly and reducing fuel consumption, and CO2 emissions are a top priority. And unlike other waste management company owners, Marcus is actively engaging with customers on so called green issues.

As the company continues to expand with new locations and services, leading from the front with sustainable practices will become an even bigger part of the company’s marketing strategy.

But, these days, running a fleet of vehicles can be a big headache for small business owners. On one hand you need your vehicles out there earning a living, on the other you are under pressure to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions to reduce cost to the business and to the environment.

The problem is that it is very difficult to reconcile profitability with sustainability. The priority for business owners and fleet managers can be summed up in three words “takes costs out,” meaning that, in the real world, green isn’t green unless it costs less. It’s a bit of a catch-22 situation.

At STE, this was becoming an issue bordering on frustration. Marcus was worried that getting vehicle miles down to improve sustainability could impact on business performance. “ In this climate, where the cost of running a vehicle is exceptionally high, green is about getting vehicle miles down without impacting of productivity. This is what being sustainable means to small, medium size fleets,” he said.

Founded in 1994 STE has always had a guiding commitment to eco-friendly solutions for business waste and our own performance. “The idea was, and still is, to educate clients that waste is a resource that can be re used within the green economy to create new products and jobs,” Marcus added.

“Ensuring our operations have minimal environmental impact, we strive to maximise our recycling performance, reduce our vehicle’s emissions footprint and maintain a carbon neutral office.

“Vehicle tracking helps us go the extra “green” mile for customers. For us, Navman is an environmental tool as well as an effective business tool. Green isn’t green unless it costs less. Every mile saved puts £1.50 back on the bottom line.”

Marcus agreed to make a short movie about how he is using vehicle tracking to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions ….You can watch it here via the link above. Reviewing the final footage, we’re excited at how well it turned out, and we’re hoping it will resonate with you.

Navman Wireless' Top Telematics TipsWhen margins are tight, running an efficient fleet is an essential way to boost your company’s bottom line. And thanks to recent advances made in vehicle telematics you can have the information you need to help maximise fleet efficiency.

Vehicle telematics systems now provide a wealth of data about each vehicle in your fleet and the drivers using them; it’s amongst this data that you’ll find areas of inefficiency and opportunities to reduce costs.

 

So how do you take this data and turn it into tangible results?

Well, we’ve put together some practical advice – that you could implement today – to help you take the data from your vehicle telematics system and make sure you see greater efficiencies and stronger business results.

Benchmarking & Setting Targets

Benchmarking is the process of comparing your company against others, across sectors and locations, to gain information on performance, practices, and measures that will help you take action to improve your company’s own performance. Comparing yourself against industry benchmarks will give you an idea of where you really stand compared to your industry peers as well as a sense of the scale of potential improvements.

While there are a number of companies that will provide sector specific benchmarking information a good place to start for any logistics company is the Welsh Government’s Freight Best Practice website. Formerly run by the DfT this site has a wealth of information about benchmarking.

Improving Driver Performance

When it comes to your fleet, driver behaviour is among the biggest cost management challenges that you’ll face. That’s because other than the type of vehicle used, the driver is the single biggest factor affecting both fuel costs and wear & tear of the vehicle.

But with the right telematic system, you can easily measure, for every vehicle and every driver, the factors which directly affect fuel consumption and wear & tear. Using this data you can identify opportunities for improvement as and when they happen and correct any bad habits.

Sharing this information with your drivers during their debrief is an essential part of improving their behaviour. By using the driver’s actual data you can ensure your debriefs are not only relevant to that driver but truly focussed on the areas of weakness on which the driver needs to focus.

Many businesses are already integrating their drivers’ telematics data to help make their on-going driver training programmes more effective. Companies such as DSV, are driving improvements in driver safety and the their fleet’s impact on the environment by combining traditional training methods and the latest telematics technology. DSV’s UK Transport Manager Dave Smith says this approach has made their drivers “become far more positive about the use of telematics, recognising the benefits it can deliver to themselves as well as to the business.”

Some of the latest developments in telematics have taken traditional training from the classroom and placed it in the vehicle cab. Systems such as our PPO 200 give instant feedback to drivers through heads up training aids.

What’s more, the PPO-200 continually learns vehicle and driver behaviour, delivering feedback based on the knowledge it has gained. A traffic light system indicates performance against each metric, keeping drivers aware of their performance, helping even the most experienced drivers improve their driving behaviour and achieve greater fuel efficiency,

Drive Performance with League Tables

Formulating incentive schemes that encourage efficient driving and reward top performers is a great way to gain commitment and motivate your drivers to change.

And one of the most effective schemes are driver league tables. By using tools like our Driver Scorecard Reports to create friendly competition amongst your drivers is an incredibly powerful approach.

Hopefully these three tips will help your business get the most out of its vehicle telematics system

 

If you would like to learn more about Navman Wireless and its products call us on 0845 521 1133 or email us at sales@navmanwireless.co.uk.

 

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Road networksIt’s been something of a mixed bag of news for road users over the last month. First up, the good news. Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, unveiled plans to help secure long-term investment in our road network.

Announcing £28 billion in additional funding for building, maintenance and repair to the network, Mr McLoughlin said the plans would be underpinned by legislation so it could not be undone by future governments.

McLoughlin said: “Our major roads are vital to the prosperity of our nation, connecting people to jobs and businesses to markets. They carry a third of all traffic and two thirds of all freight traffic but in recent decades we have failed to invest properly in them.

“Today’s changes will bring an end to the short-term thinking that has blighted investment in England’s roads so that we can deliver the infrastructure our economy needs. Backed by the government’s £28 billion commitment, they will give us a road network fit for the 21st century and beyond.”

While the Government has pledged a large proportion of the funds to 52 major projects – including an upgrade of the A14 linking the Midlands with Felixstowe and a new bridge called the Mersey Gateway in the northwest – the majority of the budget will be spent on roads repair and maintenance.

But then came the not so good news. The latest forecasts by the Department for Transport predict that the UK’s road network will struggle to cope with a projected ten million additional vehicles by 2040.

This, the report claims, will lead to an increase in steady delays by a huge 114% with average road speeds will fall by 8%.

All in all this means 15% of vehicles on major roads at peak times would be stuck in traffic jams – double the current figure.

One factor behind this predicted surge in vehicle numbers is that the cost of motoring will likely fall by 24% for cars by 2040 thanks to improved fuel efficiency.

There’s good news for owners of light goods vehicles too as they will see a 7% fall in motoring costs. It’s not all good news though and company’s running HGV’s should start saving as their outlay is expected to rocket by 36%!

While the figures in the DfT’s report are only predictions there’s little to put a smile on drivers’ faces.

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Despite coming into force in April 2008 a study by AXA Business Insurance has revealed a shocking 45% of businesses were completely unaware of the Corporate Manslaughter Act.

AXA surveyed 300 businesses running one or more vans and found that as well as a general lack of awareness of the CMA many had “poor admin in relation to the paperwork for drivers and vehicles”, “unchecked damage to van bodywork and windscreens”, and a “casual attitude to core maintenance required to keep vehicles safe”.

But with the Department of Transport estimating that one in three crashes on our roads involves a driver on business, and potential fines for your company of up to 10% of turnover, this is an extremely dangerous attitude for companies to adopt.

Darrell Sansom, managing director at AXA Business Insurance said: “Corporate manslaughter is a very serious charge that carries an unlimited fine.

“While the number of businesses who are simply unaware of its existence is alarming, our research shows that negligence is apparent among those who are both aware and unaware.

“We want to warn businesses that keeping on top of relevant HSE legislation is vital to avoid leaving themselves exposed.”

Here’s an overview of AXA’s key findings:

Poor Admin

  • Three in ten companies have not checked the insurance details for those driving their company vans.
  • 8% of companies have failed to check whether those driving the company van hold a valid driver’s licence.
  • 85% of those interviewed were confident that their company van(s)’ MOTs are up to date – leaving 15% who weren’t.
  • 6% “don’t know” who is responsible for the servicing of the company van(s).

Vehicle Damage

  • 46% of company vans carry minor, and probably insignificant scratches/dents, but a further 25% have medium sized dents and 14% have large and unassessed areas of damage that could potentially affect the safety of the van.
  • 22% have unrepaired damage to exhausts bumpers or mirrors.
  • 55% have chips in their windscreen – something that is easily fixed but left unattended can lead to serious issues with driver visibility.

Attitude to Maintenance

  • 9% of those questioned serviced their vehicles less than once a year and a further 6% never do so.
  • More than one in ten (12%) checked tyre pressure and tread just once a year or even less. And 5% never do it.
  • Fluid levels (oil and water) are left unchecked for a year or more by 15% with another 6% never checking. Only one in three will top up the anti-freeze when winter weather sets in.
  • One in four test the brake function/fluid of their van just once a year or less.

How to Remain Compliant

Having robust “duty of care” procedures in place is essential for all fleet managers and here’s where technology can help them remain compliant.

Technology like our Duty of Care module, provide an effective, foolproof way of ensuring your employees comply with your company’s health and safety policies each time they use their vehicles.

Via their in-cab head up display, the driver must confirm whether their vehicle is safe to drive before they set off for the day. By compelling your drivers to carry out this initial vehicle check each day they drive, the technology safeguards your drivers from risks and you from prosecution.

And the vehicle maintenance log that’s included with our vehicle tracking system gives you all the administration functionality you need to keep on top of MOT’s and general vehicle maintenance of your entire fleet.

So while the lack of awareness of the Corporate Manslaughter Act and the attitudes towards maintenance highlighted by this study remain shocking, by implementing a complete vehicle telematics system companies can remain compliant with the act – even if they don’t know it!

For more information about how Navman Wireless can help protect your drivers and your company download our Corporate Manslaughter Act guide.

Today we’re excited to publish our first infographic. It gives you a handy visual overview of the benefits of our Smart Telematics system.

Smart Telematics offers you a complete picture fleet activity and driver behaviour – an essential tool for any Fleet Manager because after all, if you want to improve performance, you must first be able to measure it.

So take a look at the infographic below and see how Smart Telematics can help ensure your business sees a strong ROI.

Navman Wireless Infographic Smart Telematics

80mph-Speed-limit1

According to an interview by Stephen Hammond MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, with Auto Express this month the government’s plan to introduce an 80 mph speed limit on motorways is back on.

Mr Hammond told Auto Express “We are thinking about how we could trial it rather than go to a consultation.”

The trials will reportedly take place at three locations across the country but ease off that accelerator because if we do see a trial it seems unlikely it will be before next summer as it could take a year to put the regulatory format in place.

You’ll have spotted of course that we said the plan was “back on” in the introduction because the “80 mph” idea is nothing new. It was first seriously raised all the way back in early 2011 - floated under the banner as a way to boost the economy. But the scheme was widely reported as having been dropped by the Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, only as recently as February this year. And now another policy U-turn.

So it’s difficult to say with any certainty whether we‘ll see the speed limit change, or even see the trials for that fact, but while we’re talking about it again let’s take a look at a couple of key aspects about the scheme.

Impact on Road Safety

Figures show that motorways see the fewest number of accidents across the UK road network. In part this is because they’re simply “safer” roads but because fewer journeys are made on them. So what impact would the change to the speed limit have on the road safety?

While there were only 92 fatalities on motorways in 2011 (We say “only” as this was in comparison to 923 on “non-built up” roads and 782 on “built up” roads in the same period), somewhat unsurprisingly given the higher speeds involved, when accidents do occur they’re more likely to result in a fatality than on “built up” roads (roads with a speed limit of less than 40mph).

And Brake, the road safety charity, are pretty clear on what they believe the impact will be – increased road deaths. In fact the “No to 80” campaign, which Brake support, have used a “widely accepted statistical model” to predict that we would see an additional 25 deaths per year on the motorways by increasing the speed limit to 80mph.

This is obviously something no-one wants to see least of all Mr McLoughlin who, let’s not forget, back in October last year stated “What’s very important is that we never lose sight about the issue of safety on our roads”.

For us at Navman Wireless the choice is clear, the impact on road safety has to be the deciding factor about whether to implement these proposals.

Cost to Motorists

When considering the rise in speed limits it’s always interesting to think about the economics behind it. Especially when part of the rationale for raising the speed limit is so squarely to “get the economy moving”.

The undisputable fact of the matter is: The faster you drive on a motorway the more fuel you use. In fact, depending on a few factors, you’ll use somewhere between 10% and 15% more fuel when you increase your speed by just 10mph from 70mph to 80mph.

And combined with the consistently high fuel prices that now see 800,000
households spend more than a quarter of their income on running a car , can we really afford to increase the speed limit?

Well we weren’t the first to think of this. The Campaign for Better Transport has predicted that even taking into consideration the time-savings for motorists (which are marginal), overall the increase in the speed limit would hit the motorists wallet to the tune of just over £200 each year.

So while an 80 mph limit might see more revenue going to the Treasury it seems the sums behind the scheme just don’t add up and this could have a catastrophic effect on the finances of individuals, businesses and those of the wider community.

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In August last year we wrote about the DfT’s public consultation on whether to make careless driving a fixed penalty office. This change would have allowed the Police to issue Fixed Penalty Notices or offer remedial training to drivers for “low level” offences such as tail gating, hogging the outside lanes and driving at inappropriate speeds.

At the time we expressed some concerns about how consistently these new powers would be implemented but our cynicism was tempered by assurances that guidance notes for Police forces will “encourage the use of remedial training” rather than issuing fines which will enable “more offenders to address behaviours through education”.

Well, 10 months on and with the consultation period over these changes have finally been introduced… but without a single word about remedial training.

Instead Police will be given the power to dish out on-the-spot fines of £100 and three points on their licence to “middle lane hoggers and aggressive drivers who cut up other motorists or tailgater. They will also be allowed to issue instant fixed penalty notices to motorists who do not give way at a junction, force their way into a queue of traffic or use the wrong lane at a roundabout.

“Careless drivers are a menace and their negligence puts innocent people’s lives at risk,” said Stephen Hammond, transport minister.

“That is why we are making it easier for the police to tackle problem drivers by allowing them to immediately issue a fixed penalty notice rather than needing to take every offender to court.

“We are also increasing penalties for a range of driving offences to a level which reflects their seriousness and which will ensure that they are consistent with other similar penalty offences.”

Other changes will see the fine for not wearing a seat belt or for using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving increased from £60 to £100. And the fixed penalty for driving without insurance will double from £100 to £200.

This is all well and good. We’re certainly not going criticise a scheme aiming to tackle poor driving. But we must restate our concerns about how fairly and consistently this is going to be implemented from force to force. And we very strongly feel that, with such a sharp focus on penalty points rather than on remedial training, this is an opportunity missed to improve road safety for everyone through driver training.

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Vehicle-Maintenance1

The importance of properly maintaining your fleet was once again highlighted last month when Cambridgeshire father and son haulage partnership Paul Anthony Smith and Ian John Smith had their O-licence revoked by Eastern Traffic Commissioner (TC) Richard Turfitt for serious maintenance failings.

A Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA) examiner visited the firm after one of its trailers was found driving on the road with a significant defect in its brake systems. The subsequent examination by the officer uncovered a raft of issues that lead to the pair being disqualified for 3 years.

The breaches by the firm included:

-      Overdue routine vehicle safety inspections

-      Deficient forward planning of safety inspections

-      50% of vehicles had failed their MoT and the partnership had operated a vehicle without a valid MoT;

Staying Compliant

Clearly in this case the breaches were caused by a general lack of care regarding the maintenance of a fleet, but this example serves to reminds us of how important maintaining our fleet is.

There’s now a raft of legislation that directly effects companies running fleets – all of which you must comply with if you wish to avoid prosecution. And since the introduction of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007, it’s easier for the authorities to prosecute companies where gross negligence leads to the death of an employee.

For fleet managers this legislation reinforces the importance of having robust “duty of care” procedures in place and to ensure vehicles are maintained to the necessary standards.

And it’s equally important that you have the right tools to ensure you remain compliant. With an inbuilt Maintenance module our vehicle tracking systems are your perfect ally – giving you the ability to monitor the maintenance requirements of your entire fleet. With customisable logs, alerts and reports, you can be sure that you know about any work that’s due in advance, helping you stay the right side of the law whilst minimising vehicle downtime.

By utilising the tools at your disposal you can keep on top of your maintenance schedule and avoid a similar fate as Ian & Paul Smith.

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