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Blog December 2021 Updated April 2024

The Driver debrief: How to extract maximum benefit from this key process using the AMCS Platform with Telematics

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Ken Tierney

Product Manager IoT

The Driver debrief: How to extract maximum benefit from this key process using the AMCS Platform with Telematics

This is the third blog in a series on telematics, and how understanding data from your vehicles can boost your business.

The series has included articles on:

In this article, I look at driver debrief, and how using telematics can be a valuable tool for coaching drivers to ensure driving efficiency and safety.

Drivers are one of your most important resources. Not only are they there to drive your vehicle, but they are also a customer-facing part of your business and a source of knowledge about real-world driving conditions.

Working with drivers, and having a regular driver debrief, means that you have a quick, scheduled chat with the driver to work out if a route went as planned, and if not, why not. This feedback can be used to adjust the route plan. An example would be if there are unplanned road maintenance works that have led to traffic congestion, then this can be factored into the route planning.

It is also an opportunity to assess and coach the driver in a non-confrontational way about their driving style, based on telematics data, so that they drive more fuel efficiently and safely.

Effective route planning is about using the tools at your disposal, and this is a three-spoke wheel. Those spokes are:

  • Route planning software from AMCS including Guided Navigation and Route Optimization
  • AMCS Telematics
  • Driver input.

All too often, it is easy to rely on the software and hardware, without taking time to consider feedback from the driver. But drivers are essential in providing the expertise and knowledge that makes the routes work better for your business and your customers.

How should you handle a driver debrief? 

A driver debrief should be a two-way process, where they share information with you, and you share information with them. This is a meeting where you may learn as much from them, as they might from you.

Ensure the driver debrief isn’t a surprise but is a regularly scheduled meeting with an agreed agenda. That agenda should be simple, and could be something like:

  • Opportunity for the driver to highlight any performance issues that occurred on the route that meant it didn’t go to plan and discuss and identify potential solutions
  • Opportunity for the driver to highlight any safety-related incidents that occurred on the route
  • Opportunity for the driver to highlight any maintenance issues that need to be addressed
  • Planner/manager to discuss telematics data getting feedback on:
    • Any data on harsh acceleration and braking and asking for driver input on how that can be improved, especially if any of this showed potential safety incidents
    • Any data in the telematics that shows wasteful use of fuel, such as strong acceleration or excessive vehicle idling time
    • Input from the driver on any maintenance issues that may be shown by the telematics data.

If conducted in a non-confrontational way, this driver debrief should be a two-way process where information is shared, and both parties identify solutions/improvements.

It is also an opportunity to discuss and agree on Key Performance Indicators and then assess and review performance against those on an ongoing basis.

Watch the Telematics Animation video

How will the driver debrief benefit your business? 

Driver debrief makes your route optimization work better and more effectively. Without it, you aren’t maximizing your potential gains from AMCS software.

1. Costs

Poor route management can cost your business up to 30% more. While the AMCS software does the heavy lifting in terms of plotting the most efficient route, your driver adds to this by identifying incidents that may have led to more traffic, or restricted access. This can then be fed into the route optimization and adjustments can be made.

By using telematics, driving styles can also be improved so that fuel costs are mitigated by efficient acceleration, braking, and reducing or eliminating idling time.

2. Keep your drivers happy

The driver debrief is a great way to coach your drivers in a structured way, while also showing them you value their input. By demonstrating that they are important to the business, considering their concerns and giving them the tools and skills to do their job better, you are more likely to have happy employees.

With high recruitment costs and staff turnover, on top of record driver shortages, keeping them happy could be the difference with them wanting to stay rather than leave.

3. Your customers will be better served

By identifying issues on routes, your customers will be better informed about when their containers will be emptied. This means they will be happier with the service provided, and more likely to stay loyal. It also means you can give them more precise information on when the collection will occur.

Plus, your driver is often the main point of contact with the customer, so a happy driver is more likely to mean better service from them to your clients.

Why do you need telematics?

As we have seen in this series, telematics helps improve your safety record and reduces costs. But when combined with a driver debrief, it has a huge impact.

Companies that do not use telematics are relying on the driver to take notes or on driver memory.

With telematics, you have hard data that you can present to identify and discuss incidents. It also means if the driver has caused an issue, or taken a longer than scheduled break, you can discuss that and take further action if you need to.

Maximizing the three-spoke wheel

AMCS Route Optimisation is a very powerful tool that leads to much more efficient route planning and fuel cost savings.

Moreover, when combined with telematics and driver debrief, you have a solution that delivers greater value than the contribution of the individual parts. Without one of these spokes, your business will not be able to deliver the cost savings and safety improvements that could be achieved otherwise.

Once you’ve made your investment in the AMCS Platform and telematics hardware, don’t forget that the driver debrief is an essential element that ensures you get the maximum return on this investment.

Next time: In our fourth and final article in this series, we look at how telematics might develop in the future particularly with a focus on the journey to sustainability and electric vehicles.

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