Mixing it up with Mix Telematics
Telematics is the next step forward in fleet management and Mix Telematics are zeroing in on the local and regional trucking sector to introduce the all-in-one fleet management system here that takes the current GPS-based method beyond its sole track-and-trace function to the next level.
Mix Telematics has been operating since 1996 and they now have their sights set firmly on this part of the world. Their system is capable of serving a multitude of trucking fleets from transport logistics to oil & gas as well as busses and coaches.
“The system is not a modular one with preset components to add on but rather a solution-based one that can be setup to meet the requirements of the fleet operator,” said Richard Burgess, Mix Telematics regional head of sales, Asia.
The core component of the system though, just like every other one on the market, is a blackbox that contains the GPS for tracking and tracing the truck. All the data collected by the blackbox is sent via GPRS to one of four operation centres Mix Telematics has around the world.
However, those four centres are currently on the other side of the world, in Johannesburg, Miami, London and Cape Town. Nonetheless, they are looking at setting up one to cater for their customers on this side of the planet if things fall into place.
Acknowledging that the data acquired is essential in their customers’ business operations, it can be accessed via internet or phone. Furthermore, Mix Telematics can even compile the data and send it to their customers in hard or soft copy forms.
The possibilities of the system’s monitoring parameters are endless. It can oversee and manage the temperature in refrigerated trucks, the movement of garbage disposal truck arms and even cargo door openings that would be handy in preventing unauthorised openings of the door except at the destination. The cargo door opening monitor could work hand in hand with an axle weight monitor to prevent the driver from taking on unauthorised cargo along the way as well.
Mix Telematics notes that the most important feature of the system though is to monitor driver behaviour that will lead to more efficient and organised management of routes and drivers. Factors such as engine revving, idling and braking are monitored in conjunction with seat belt usage and even a cabin-mounted camera.
All the data collected is cardinal in changing the driver’s driving habits, if necessary. Mix Telematics can even prepare a report on each driver based on the data collected to assist their customers in briefing the driver to improve driving behaviour and instilling good driving ethics behind the wheel of the truck that will inadvertently translate into fuel savings.
“By improving the driver’s driving behaviour and characteristics, they can save anywhere from five to 15 per cent in fuel. The average fuel savings we have seen is approximately 10 per cent,” said Burgess.
Over the long run, the system can also help to identify safe drivers, something of extreme importance to bus and coach operators as the lives of the people they ferry are in the hands of the drivers.
“Fuel savings of 10 per cent might not seem like much but many of the logistic operators here work around a 10 per cent profit margin each year. Therefore, the 10 per cent in fuel savings obtained through telematics could be the difference between a loss or a profit for that year,” added Burgess.
Burgess believes that telematics is more important than ever now, “With the recent hike in fuel prices and the increase in fuel thefts, telematics could turn out to be the difference in not just a profit or a loss but also in pulling in new clients as well as retaining current ones.”
The presence of a number of major oil & gas firms in Malaysia has lead to a highly competitive logistics sector in the country and Mix Telematics are keen to capitalise on that. One of the biggest hurdles they will need to overcome is the dependence on GPS-based systems that most of the fleet operators here are currently utilising.
Nonetheless, Burgess is confident that the highly competitive nature of the sector here will fleet operators turning to telematics as the need to squeeze every last ounce of efficiency possible will become more cardinal, and that is something telematics is capable of delivering.
With a firm mindset to expand in the region, Mix Telematics are actively working on engaging a local partner to further widen their network here. They are also looking at roping in new clients in the country and region as well.