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Matt Brett

Telematics Combats Equipment Misuse and Fuel Card Fraud Amid Fuel Price Volatility

Telematics technology's enduring value often lies not in the latest features, but in longstanding capabilities, which gain newfound significance with evolving business needs and technological shifts. 


Fuel pump with price and price per gallonAs the cost of fleet fuel continues to be in a volatile up and down cycle, there’s never been a better time to revisit the power of telematics systems to detect and prevent equipment misuse and prevent fraudulent behavior such as fuel card fraud. These infractions take multiple forms. For one, an employee may take liberties with a company vehicle by driving it during off hours or other company-restricted time windows, such as during the weekend. Another common example is fuel card fraud: the fraudulent use of a company-issued, third-party fleet fuel card to gas up a non-company vehicle or perhaps fill a gas can for personal use.

For years, companies have focused on flushing out these instances of misuse of company property or employee fraud. And while these problems continue to be a matter of concern, telematics systems have long provided solutions that make their detection much easier.

Features such as gps tracking of vehicles and equipment, the option to set fleet usage alerts when a vehicle or piece of equipment is being used during restricted or off hours, and the ability to reconcile location and usage data with fleet fuel card data gave companies the power to better manage their fleets and detect and prevent their misuse. As a result, these features became standard on most telematics platforms.

But now there are multiple reasons why fleet fueling management is, in its own way, sexy again.

Reduce fleet fuel by focusing on fuel efficiency. Despite the ubiquity of equipment misuse and fraud detection capabilities, employee fraud via dishonest behavior has never totally gone away – nor will it, given the reality of human nature.

Fuel Management Software from ASCEND on desktopBut one thing has not remained constant in recent years – the cost of fuel for your fleet. With fuel prices at or near record highs, companies are leaning on their telematics systems to not only continue to uncovering bad driver behavior, but also to detect instances of speeding, excessive idling, and vehicle conditions, such as low tire pressure or needed maintenance, that can drive up fuel costs. (The more powerful a telematics system is at keeping employees honest while also gathering and making accessible the critical data related to reducing fleet fuel, the more valuable the system is to the company.)

Easier set-up. As the best telematics systems continue to improve, they make more features easier to access and use. For example, with advances in the set-up of a telematics system, it’s now easy to attain accurate fuel efficiency data across a mixed fleet. That includes assets equipped with the simplest telematics hardware, such as a crane or a portable generator.

Fuel Card Integration Data. While telematics systems have long made it easy to compare telematics data with fuel card data to spot discrepancies, an advanced telematics system now allows for integration of the two data streams. The integration of a third-party fleet fuel card and a company’s own telematics data not only makes analysis easier but also helps streamline IFTA reporting, for extra time-savings.

Is your telematics system doing all it could do?

With fuel costs on the rise, it's the perfect time to check if your telematics system is meeting all your fleet's needs or if there's room for improvement.

Feel free to reach out to your telematics provider and ask about the latest upgrades. They should be able to share how they're enhancing their existing features.

To learn about how ASCEND's can help you better manage your fuel and keep track of your vehicles and assets, contact us today!