Once you have done the hard work to identify the telematics solution that will be the right fit with your business, things should begin falling into place. Get the system installed, start providing your people with all that invaluable data, and then you can sit back and wonder how you ever managed your fleet without the help of telematics.
If it were only that simple. In truth, once you have chosen a solution – which, of course, includes the telematics provider behind that solution – there is still a great amount of work to do, together. After all, implementing a telematics solution – even switching from one telematics solution to another – represents a major change initiative for any business. And there are many factors that must be considered and addressed, including setting goals, establishing benchmarks, evaluating hardware needs, integrating fleet systems and data, and onboarding and training your people so they can hit the ground running.
The good news is that you don’t have to address all these factors by yourself. Your telematics provider should be with you every step of the way. And while they will have a responsibility to make the telematics implementation as painless as possible, you can help ensure that everyone stays on the same page by asking some important fleet management questions.
What onboarding support can we expect for a smooth fleet integration? When you ask the fleet service provider this question, you should expect to receive concrete answers, not vague assurances. The best telematics providers will have people dedicated to making fleet technology implementations – and customers like you – successful. These include a system implementation project manager and a customer success manager who can guide you through the process.
A successful implementation project manager engages with you even before the sale is finalized to begin learning your business and goals, understanding the fleet and system data you will need to access, and determining the metrics and methodologies that will deliver the business-critical telematics data you need to better manage your fleet.
The customer success manager, meanwhile, will work with you to understand what needs to occur for a successful implementation and also will begin to work with you in the final stages of your decision to purchase. Their work includes helping you to define what a successful implementation will look like, determining what hardware and devices need to be installed on your vehicles and assets and how they will be installed, and mapping out administrative and user training.
In short, the best telematics provider will be heavily engaged and hands-on when it comes to installing their solution and setting your business up for success in using it.
What is the implementation plan? While your business is unique, a vehicle telematics provider should have plenty of experience working with organizations like yours – in terms of industry, telematics needs, size and scope – and can draw on that experience to provide benchmarks, realistic timelines, and insights that can inform a sound implementation plan of an integrated fleet management system.
What is your process for onboarding users? Different people in your company – drivers, dispatchers, managers, senior executives – will need to use the telematics system and data in different ways, and all of them will need to be connected and upskilled for its effective use. The telematics provider should be able to share resources and best practices to help you address training needs during a successful telematics integration process.
What support will be available after the solution is implemented? Support shouldn’t end once the telematics solution is implemented. If fact, once your business is using the solution and has become reliant on it, support is even more important. Be sure to ask who, specifically, you can contact about your fleet management support needs moving forward. Ideally, it will be someone you meet during the sales and telematics implementation processes.
The Questions Don’t End There
A provider’s ability to address the questions described above – to be a true partner – will tell you a lot about the likelihood that their solution will represent a great investment for your company.
However, an effective implementation will also demand that your company answer some equally important questions about what you need, what you expect, and how you will use the solution. I address these questions in [the second blog in this series].