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TELEMATICS: Carrot or stick?

Date: 03 December 2013   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Getting drivers to accept a telematics system can be a tricky process. Jack Carfrae explores the pitfalls and the most successful ways of selling it to your employees

Telematics is becoming more and more relevant to companies, yet staff resistance can hinder their implementation.

There's often a solid business case for telematics, but at the same time employees can see it as the devil. Accusations of acting like Big Brother are all too common when a company decides to buy into the technology, regardless of whether it's for the right reasons.

Getting staff to accept such a move and see the benefits can be a tentative task, but it's not impossible. According to Giles Margerison, sales director at TomTom Business Solutions, drivers are naturally wary of systems when they're first introduced, but the best way around that is simply to talk to them.

"Traditionally, there has been a degree of scepticism among staff towards any attempt by an employer to introduce telematics. A lot of this is rooted in the kind of scaremongering that painted telematics systems as 'Big Brother'," he says.

"Ultimately, the manner in which telematics is received by drivers depends almost entirely upon the way it is announced and communicated by management. If the system is introduced without consultation or notice, it is inevitable drivers will view it as a threat rather than a tool that can make their working lives much easier.

"However, if a company announces its intentions in a timely fashion, explains the objectives it hopes to achieve and clearly outlines the potential benefits, scepticism will be significantly reduced."

There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for selling the benefits of a telematics scheme to drivers, but there are a few tried and tested methods. The best way to approach it varies depending on your outfit and what the vehicle is used for.

Andrew Smith, managing director of Cobra, explains: "From an LCV perspective, it's all about sharing with the driver that the vehicle is a business tool and the company is committed to improving efficiencies on all elements of its use from route scheduling to fuel use. Greater efficiency. improves productivity and reduces cost so the business stays competitive in these very tough market conditions."