Thanks to the increasing ability to read diagnostic trouble codes, telematics can help workshops to provide value-added fleet management solutions to their customers. CVW talks to Sean Morris, Automotive Business Unit Director at Trakm8, to find out more.
The FMS-Standard celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2019, marking a decade since the major truck manufacturers agreed to give third parties access to vehicle data. Since the standard came into force, an array of telematics providers have plugged into the FMS Gateway to provide transport operators with an early warning system when it comes to diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) and other vehicle status reports.
Telematics provider Trakm8 has been working to extend this concept into light commercial vehicles, bringing additional benefits to fleets.
Sean Morris, Automotive Business Unit Director at Trakm8, said, “FMS really levelled the playing field for telematics providers in the truck and bus sectors. It made it relatively easy for us to access diagnostic trouble codes and pass that information onto the transport operators or their fleet maintenance partners. We’re now able to offer an LCV product with a similar level of connectivity.”
Reading DTCs and pushing them out as vehicle health alerts has proved of immense value to fleets, as it enables transport managers to act quickly. “By nipping issues in the bud, you prevent a dashboard warning light from becoming a costly repair job with significant downtime – or worse, a breakdown requiring roadside recovery,” added Sean.
“One of the main issues faced by commercial fleets is that the drivers don’t always communicate issues, such as dashboard lights in a timely manner – and if they do, it is usually at the end of a shift, which doesn’t always give the fleet manager time to effectively plan vehicle downtime.
“Conversely, Trakm8 Connectedcare provides the fleet manager with actionable insights that enable them to take preventative action before the severity and cost of the issue escalates.”
Trakm8’s telematics devices can read vehicle DTCs and report them to a fleet manager via a real-time alert. It also records incidences when a DTC is generated in one of their vehicles, and each subsequent time the vehicle is started when the fault is still present. For larger fleets, this data can also provide analysis of trends, such as identifying common faults within vehicles at a certain mileage.
Furthermore, if the fleet has a service, maintenance and repair (SMR) partner, Trakm8 Connectedcare can be set up so that the garage or workshop receives these alerts. The workshop can then contact the driver or fleet manager to arrange a convenient time for the remedial work to be carried out.
“It becomes an easy fix for the fleet manager,” added Sean. “For the SMR partner, it helps to embed them further with their customers by providing a value- added service, as well as the additional revenue that this brings.”
Trakm8 was also a pioneer in the field of battery status reports. Its advanced battery algorithms run a series of checks every time a vehicle engine is cranked, to provide feedback on the health of the battery, and advise the fleet manager if a vehicle’s battery is suffering a fault or requires replacing, potentially avoiding a breakdown or non-start.
However, its new product, Trakm8 Connectedcare, goes beyond these standard solutions to provide even more added value.
Some telematics solutions offer GPS-based odometer estimates, which are clearly impacted by any temporary loss of the GPS signal. However, Connectedcare can provide a true odometer reading, delivering the most accurate possible information on mileage.
Through push notifications, it can also give the fleet or workshop managers a heads-up when a service is due. This means that the transport operator is no longer reliant on the driver telling them about a service reminder.
With fuel theft an increasing issue, the ability to read the actual fuel level in the tank is a real boon. For example, Connectedcare can detect a rapid decrease in fuel levels caused by siphoning off fuel. In addition it can be linked to a fuel card, which can inform fleet and company car managers if an employee is ‘over-buying’ fuel over and above the capacity of the fuel tank.
For fleets containing vehicles which use the AdBlue additive, Trakm8 Connectedcare can also monitor AdBlue levels, providing alerts if the level falls below a predetermined point and helping to prevent a vehicle breakdown.
In addition, Trakm8 Connectedcare can monitor tyre pressure and send alerts to the fleet manager. Correct tyre pressure reduces wear and tear, and also optimises fuel consumption.
“HGV operators are increasingly running vans as well,” said Sean. “This level of deep connectivity with LCVs that Trakm8 provides enables workshops and SMR partners to develop even stronger, more sustainable relationships with their commercial fleet customers.”