Keep on hand a must-have checklist of metrics designed to help you define your specific needs, evaluate a telematics company’s offering and maximize telematics effectiveness.
By Morgan Minster

One of the most difficult, confusing and time intensive tasks is choosing a waste management tracking system. There are numerous vendors offering various product features and add-ons. It can be daunting for those who have little or no experience.
To help, below is a must-have checklist of metrics designed to help you define your specific needs, evaluate a telematics company’s offering and maximize telematics effectiveness. The main goal is to discover how much of the maintenance and expense reduction can really be credited to them. Let’s dive right in!

Questions to Ask
Before approaching a telematics company, you should do some homework on your current fleet. Understanding where you currently stand and what your current challenges are will help you focus on the solution you need. Perhaps you think you just need a GPS tracking system. Answering the questions below will help you focus and understand if you are in need of a more robust integrated solution that would help protect your employees, your equipment or your brand:
• How many sanitation vehicles do I have and would like to track?
• How many bins do I have?
• How many roll-off containers do I have?
*The above 3 questions are questions that the telematics company will ask you. You need to tally up your fleet and equipment to understand the exact quantity you would need to track.

• What would I like to achieve?
• Am I only looking to gain visibility over my assets and vehicles?
• Would I like added functionalities such as engine diagnostics, maintenance reports, ability to reduce fuel costs, route optimization?
*Are you looking solely for GPS location tracking? Or perhaps you want a more robust integrated solution that would provide you with further visibility on your operations? An integrated solution will cost more now, but in the long run will help you increase efficiency, become more productive and reduce your overall costs.

• How am I billing my customers? Based on usage, pickup, etc.?
• How am I currently controlling my inventory of roll off containers
or waste trucks?
• How am I currently tracking pickups for my bins?
• What are my current challenges with the way I am going about it today?
*Are you still using paper logs? Or are you currently using a fleet management system that just does not cut it? Are you currently spending dozens of man-hours each year on lengthy yard hunts and unnecessary equipment transfers to and from different job sites? Tally up your pain-points and tick them off when you are scouting out a new solution. This will help you focus on what you are looking to solve without straying from your main target.
•Do I need to be compliant with the ELD mandate?
• If so, is there an all-in-one solution for fleet management for the waste industry integrated with ELD?

Partnering with a Telematics Company
Once you have finished outlining your specific needs, you are ready to approach a telematics company. Have the following questions on-hand in order to benefit from the unprecedented levels of visibility and efficiency a telematics company can provide you:
• Which information is provided regarding location? Is it only the last GPS location or do I get continuous check-ins?
• Am I able to extract reports?
• Do I have full visibility of vehicle equipment activity such as bin lifts to measure usage?
• Will I be able to produce reports around these events?
• Is the solution easy to install?
*Understand what will be needed from you during the installation process. Is it simple plug and play? Will you need to hire a special technician for this? It is important to know how long it will take and what are the added costs so you have everything you need to know upfront.

• Does it eliminate manual record keeping?
*You are already investing in a new technology based solution, it is important to understand if it will eliminate manual record keeping altogether.

•Am I able to streamline my billing so that I charge my customers based on usage, actual pickup, etc.?
•Am I able to get exact data such as which asset was picked up and dropped off, when and where and by which truck and driver?
*A robust system will help you keep up with the constantly moving parts of your fleet. Billing and charges will be based on actual data, putting an end to guessing games.
•Am I able to also track my driver’s driving behavior? Can I identify which vehicle they are driving and at what speed?
*By detecting and capturing information on driver behavior, such as speeding incidents and harsh driving events, a telematics platform gives your company the information needed to coach your drivers on safety best practices. You can also use this data to incentivize responsible driving, helping build a safety-focused culture.

• How will you help with reducing my operational costs? Am I able to receive engine diagnostic and maintenance alerts?
• Will I be able to lower diesel/fuel cost?
• Will I be able to monitor my fleet’s fuel use and reduce expenses?
• Will I be able to reduce vehicle breakdowns? If so, how?
*Tracking the usage of your waste vehicles, powered assets, and unpowered assets with engine diagnostics and maintenance alerts will automatically remind your team about oil changes and maintenance checks on tires and other components. You can use this feature to properly service vehicles and assets, reduce costs and avoid breakdowns. Depending on usage, you will be able to customize maintenance alerts for each vehicle and asset.

Print out the checklist and bring it with you to your next meeting with a telematics company. You will find that it will help you improve your decision making.

Morgan Minster is the Marketing Manager at Wireless Links (Lyndhurst, NJ), which provides innovative RFID solutions for roll-off container and bin tracking. Combining RFID technology with advanced GPS telematics devices, our solutions enable tracking and control of your assets with auto-complete for residential bins and tracking of roll-off containers, bringing an exceptional set of features and efficiency for optimized fleet performance. Morgan can be reached at morgans@wlius.com or visit www.wlius.com.

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