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Management

Senior Management

Telema
Getting senior management to understand the value of implement-
ing telematics in fleet will play a significant role in the programs
success. By Lauren Fletcher

D
eploying telematics in fleet cial approval is obtained, senior man-
is not a simple task. Through agements support is key in deploying
all steps of the process, from the program to the field and its impor-
determining fleet needs, to tance to overall cost-saving strategies,
researching products, to de- according to Steve Guertler, vice pres-
ploying actual devices, senior man- ident, Emkay, Inc.
agement support is a critical compo- Policies must be set and ultimate-
nent to ensure the process proceeds as ly need to be enforced when infrac-
smoothly as possible. tions occur, which requires top-down
attention to policy implementation re-
Importance of Senior percussions. Upfront support goes a
Management Support long way toward achieving driver ac-
Senior managements support is critical ceptance and compliance, Guertler
for all policy-based programs. Telem- continued.
atics and other fleet and safety-related Keith Steidle, manager, product
programs are no exception. development for ARI agrees.
Support will be necessary It is absolutely critical to to realize the full potential of a
for the programs expenditure have senior management, telematics solution.
and the initial impact on the as well as all management, This is necessary because,
fleet budget. The fleet manag- on board when implement- many times, there is resistance
er will ultimately be required to ing a telematics program. to changes that affect many func-
prepare the ROI and justify the Telematics devices mon- tional groups within an organi-
program internally. Once finan- itor driver behavior. This steidle zation. Getting senior manage-
guertler
may make some drivers un- ment involved early shows the
AT A GLANCE easy and make them wonder why their value of a telematics solution across
employer is watching them. Senior an entire organization, as there are
Senior management support of a management needs to explain the pro- unique benefits to each segment and
telematics program impacts:
gram solves a business prob- division. It enables management
A purchase decision senior
lem, such as making the fleet to be completely involved and
management holds a companys
purse strings. greener or automating mile- hold their people accountable
age reporting. for reaching certain goals and
Program implementation and
driver buy-in. It is necessary for senior man- exposes areas where improve-
agement to aid in enterprise-wide ment is necessary, said Sean
Establishment of policies and
handling of driver infractions. deployment and drive business McCormick, product manager
processes that must be changed mccormick for Telogis.

32 n FLEET FINANCIALS n SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010


Support of

tics Spreading the Word


Crucial
Senior management can also
be the most effective communi-
cators of a telematics programs
success.
For example, if a company
sales for TomTom WORK.
This is where active guid-
ance and senior management sup-
port comes into play. From a pure
technology perspective, telemat-
ics applications often require tight
horan
is implementing a program to integration with existing busi-
reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emis- ness support systems, Geffroy said.
sions, senior management can empha- From a behavioral standpoint, tele-
size the reduction of the overall carbon matics can require significant chang-
footprint, explained Steidle. es from mobile workers. In both cases,
Bruce Horan, director, telematics active involvement from senior man-
for PHH Arval, believes the demand agement can help eliminate any paro-
for a telematics solution begins at the chial objections or roadblocks to over-
ground level. Local and region- all success.
al level managers need tools and A telematics program requires
informationto more effectively dedication, support, and patience
manage driver productivity, and from multiple functions in the or-
reduce risk and vehicle operat- ganization to be successful, par-
ing costs. ticularly since such programs also
photo: istockphoto.com/Yuri_Arcurs
Senior level sponsorship is entail upfront costs that do not
Through presenting data in a con- needed when companies deploy clark always create immediate payoff,
cise fashion addressing key perfor- a solution corporate-wide not noted Kimberly Clark, product
mance indicators (KPIs) and allow- only to approve funding, but also to set application manager for Wheels Inc.
ing senior management to drill down company guidelines and policies, said Consequently, many new telematics
to explore further data as needed, the Horan.Since telematics can touch many programs are put on the back-burner,
overall telematics solution becomes different areas of a company, such as or simply shelved for considerable pe-
easier for them to understand, sup- human resources, safety and risk, op- riods of time, she said.
port, and communicate to every lev- erations, and fleet, senior level support By achieving senior management
el of an organization, McCormick from each area is key to achieving the support from the get-go, a company
continued. highest return on investment. can cut through the red tape and en-
Senior management must ensure Many information and communi- sure a program is able to receive a fair,
the telematics program is inte- cations technology implementa- top-level review for budget approval,
grated into the companys fleet tions require senior management Clark continued.
policy so drivers know they are support; however, telematics Furthermore, there may be some
held accountable for their behav- programs are especially crit- natural hesitancy and misconceptions
ior, recognize the negative con- ical since they touch so many regarding a new telematics program
sequences for improper behav- aspects of an organizations op- that must be discussed and assuaged
ior, and understand the programs erations and culture, according at senior levels to ensure the program
goals, added Steidle. geffroy to Michael Geffroy, VP, global isnt shut down before a cost/bene-

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010 n FLEET FINANCIALS n 33


Management
fit analysis is completed. It is critical ed from telematics units. tremendously detrimental to a pro-
that data is integrated into an organi- Senior managers can and do act as grams implementation, and may pre-
zations processes and fleet policies to change agents. They can lead by exam- vent the program from even getting off
ensure long-term success of a telem- ple and use carrots, sticks or both to en- the ground, she said. Without senior
atics program. sure that ROI is achieved, she said. management support, it will be very
The sooner senior management is Union Leasing believes the impor- difficult for fleet to communicate and
behind the program, the sooner the nec- tance of senior management support create actions to change driver behavior
essary processes can be in place to en- varies depending on the fleet. and drive new cost or revenue opportu-
sure it runs smoothly, said Clark. For some fleets, the fleet manager nities through the technology.
In addition to senior management, has complete control and trust of senior Clark also noted that telematics is
fleet should ensure all user departments management. In this case, the deploy- not a product deployed off the shelf
are involved in instituting a telematics ment and maintenance of telematics are it should be customized to the needs
program. Achieving this sort of in- completely up to them, said Mark Con- of an organization and integrated into
terdepartmental cooperation without roy, vice president, sales & marketing multiple areas of the business, similar
high-level support can be diffi- for Union Leasing. However, in to an organizations basic customer re-
cult. With senior management on some organizations, telematics has lationship management system or sim-
board early in the process, every a high visibility, especially if it is ilar functionality.
department in the organization viewed as contributing to profit- This naturally requires senior
can feel confident to take quick ability or revenues. In these cases, management advocacy driving adop-
action on the data to reduce costs senior management support dur- tion, continued evolution of the ser-
and create new revenue oppor- ing the sales process and post-im- vice, and acceptance across the orga-
tunities, said Clark. plementation is crucial to the suc- nization, said Clark.
finkhousen
Senior management support cess of the program. If a strong, pervasive, and consis-
impacts not only the purchase deci- tent message isnt conveyed by man-
sion, but perhaps more important- Lack of Support Impacts agement, the program value can easily
ly, the value that can be derived from Telematics Programs fall victim to inefficient or non-com-
the deployment, according to Dyan If senior management support is critical pliant activities, and misconceptions
Finkhousen, strategy leader mobile and it is not provided, then other regarding program objectives,
resource intelligence for GE Capital support within the company will said Finkhousen of GE Capital
Fleet Services. be eroded, noted Conroy from Fleet Services.
A well-constructed program will Union Leasing. In this case, the To gain senior management
provide actionable insight based on telematics program will not be support, fleet managers should
the business challenges senior man- as effective at achieving its max- select a telematics program that
agement is targeting. Also, as a tele- imum return, which could lead can provide a variety of reports
matics program begins to reveal busi- to it being shut down. conroy and information. Comprehen-
ness opportunities and best practices, Steidle of ARI agrees. With- sive reporting capabilities help man-
senior level sponsorship of process out involvement from senior manage- agement understand how vehicles are
changes, policies, and best practice ment, a telematics program will not be used and how to apply that informa-
recognition will dramatically accel- tied to company policies or business tion to reduce fuel costs and mainte-
erate the realization of additional ef- goals and the devices will just be gen- nance expenses, said Conroy.
ficiencies and profit. erating data for datas sake. According to Geffroy of TomTom
Telematics reporting mechanisms Without early support from senior WORK, Ive seen implementation
help fleet managers interpret a huge management, you risk not getting successes and failures without senior
volume of information, noted Diana their buy-in to the value and power of management involvement, but would
Holland, director of fleet management a telematics solution and how it pro- strongly recommend securing manage-
services for Merchants Leasing.But vides value across all functional lev- ment support. Without it, developing
its the implementation plan real, els of an organization, said McCor- the right deployment plans, commu-
tangible action items that make the mick of Telogis. Senior management nicating clear reasons for the change,
difference in actually modifying driv- will drive the strategic vision and prime and keeping the entire project on track
er behavior. metrics that should be tracked. can be problematic.
According to Holland, the imple- A telematics programs success is Without support from senior man-
mentation plan applies to safety con- based primarily on the ability to take agement, Holland of Merchants Leas-
cerns, minimizing unnecessary fuel quick action upon the data, noted Clark ing believes a program will still hold
consumption, and other strategic ini- of Wheels. value, but the overall value could be
tiatives that sprout from data collect- Lack of senior-level oversight is diminished.

34 n FLEET FINANCIALS n SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2010


For example, if an organi- fits of adopting a telematics so- Increasing a Programs Success
zation or firm reviews manage- lution to gain buy-in at all The organizations that derive the great-
ment reports monthly and driv- organizational levels to ensure est enterprise value from telematics
ers are asked nicely to reduce success, said Geffroy of Tom- programs are those that consider the
idle time, but do not feel any re- Tom WORK. business case for each function fleet
ward or consequences to make On the other end of the spec- management, operations, sales, safety
the necessary changes, they will trum, stakeholders can get so excit- and compliance and avoid getting
holland
be less likely to actually change ed about all of the bells and whis- distracted by features and functional-
the behavior, said Holland.The 80- tles of a new telematics system they lose ity, noted Finkhousen of GE Capital
20 rule will apply. Some improvement sight of essential product functionality Fleet Services.
will be made, but not optimal. required for an organization to achieve Equally important, senior man-
its tangible business, financial, and be- agement plays a key role in the cul-
Challenges and Obstacles havioral goals, said Geffroy. tural perceptions of these programs,
As with any new product or policy, Dont get derailed into a cost and/ and the institutionalization of process
there will be challenges and obstacles or function-based discussion with se- changes that will help the organization
to overcome. The biggest obstacles to nior management that will distract from gain the greatest return. Effective use
a programs implementation include spending time on the real value of a tele- of the right telematics program is the
cost, understanding potential benefits, matics program what actionable in- key to setting the new standard of per-
and prioritizing resources. sight is needed to solve the unique busi- formance for mobile operations, con-
Senior management is most inter- ness issues of greatest impact to your tinued Finkhousen.
ested in seeing a quick return on their organization. Fleets are most successful when they
investment. If you are able to show a re- Within your organization, you must take time to develop an internal deploy-
turn-on-investment within six months, be the champion of the insight necessary ment plan for telematics. In this plan,
you will have a better chance of main- to solve enterprise-wide issues, which they identify what to focus on first and
taining support for the program, not- means working closely with your peers what they expect to master in the first
ed Conroy of Union Leasing. in other departments, said Finkhousen, few weeks, months, and years in or-
Senior management wants to know of GE Capital Fleet Services. der to realize the greatest ROI, said
how much the program will cost, what Partner with senior management Conroy of Union Leasing.
the benefits are, and how much time ex- before deploying a telematics pro- Senior management must under-
isting resources will have to spend man- gram to confirm their support and stand telematics is not simply the de-
aging it, said Steidle of ARI. stay close throughout the deployment vice in the vehicle. Equally, if not more
Fleet managers or business line process to ensure expectations and ac- important, is application of smart ana-
VPs must convince senior manage- tions remain in alignment, suggested lytics that unlock the true value: trans-
ment data captured by telematics devic- Finkhousen. forming telematics data into actionable
es adds value to a business when used Similar to challenges with any oth- information that enables managers to
correctly. It is important to speak to er organizational initiative, the great- improve fleet compliance, mitigate risk,
senior managers in their terms. They est challenge is access to the key stake- and reduce costs across the fleet, said
also need to be convinced benefits out- holders and getting the time necessary Steidle of ARI.
weigh the cultural risk the company to engage them into the program, said The financial benefits of telematics
will take by introducing driver moni- Holland of Merchants Leasing. We sug- are always of interest to senior manage-
toring, said Steidle. gest approaching it quite simply, such ment quick ROI, lower labor, and
Additional areas of concern include as,Hey Bob, Id love to grab 5 or 10 fuel and maintenance costs. We have
privacy, culture, and investment cost. minutes of your time to tell you about also found telematics can improve em-
Building a business case that shows some recent success with our telemat- ployee satisfaction for mobile workers
the ROI and the investment in the safe- ics pilot program. Weve already seen and pay long-term benefits in terms of
ty and productivity of your drivers will a reduction in our fuel expenses by employee retention and performance,
help overcome any objections from $X.Holland also suggested to add or even regulatory compliance, said
senior management, noted Horan of the topic to the next quarterly review Geffroy of TomTom WORK. n
PHH Arval. or P&L meetings.
Senior management is also con- We also encourage frequent com-
cerned with driver apprehension and munications as it relates to success Part 2 of this article,
big brother fears employees some- stories, said Holland. Use the suc- focusing on tips to achieve senior
times have about telematics. This is an- cess stories in a company newsletter management support of telemat-
ics, will appear in a future issue
other reason why fleet managers must or via periodic e-mail updates to the
of Fleet Financials.
be very clear about the business bene- senior team.

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