Tachograph data can provide a great overview of vehicles and drivers, but which download system is best for your fleet? The answers to four questions will help you make the right choice, says Diego Santos-Burgoa, Head of Aftermarket Sales at Continental’s Commercial Vehicle Fleet Services business.
The obligation to save digital tachograph driver and vehicle data applies equally to all companies, whether they are small, medium, or large transport companies. That seems clear enough but it’s up to each individual business to decide just how it’s going to fulfil this obligation.
The various product offerings, from simple download keys to hardware for automatic downloading, raise many questions for those concerned and hardly anyone has the time or inclination to create a detailed analysis and weigh up the pros and cons in the stressful everyday life of a transport company. This creates frustration and means that companies fail to use their potential to improve their efficiency.
Continental-VDO has sold more than 500,000 of its VDO download keys, 200,000 of which are of the latest generation. The company goes about finding the right choice for a specific fleet by asking four simple questions.
1. How much can be budgeted?
For fleets with small budgets, download keys are the right choice. However, if a fleet requires a higher quantity of download keys and has many vehicles to download, it pays to consider a different option. For example, an upload terminal can transfer some of the data from the tachograph to the archive automatically.
A VDO SmartTerminal can be set up in the company’s premises and drivers can manually transfer their tachograph data to it. From here the data is fed by Wi-Fi into the company network. “The important thing is to keep the total costs in mind,” says Santos-Burgoa.
2. Can tachograph data be downloaded manually or should it be sent automatically?
At present, many transport companies have an employee who goes to the depot when many vehicles are present and walks from vehicle to vehicle with the download key, reading out the data manually. Sometimes, even the owner performs this task. Companies that want to cut back on this activity and save time should invest in automatic solutions.
An upload terminal like the VDO SmartTerminal relieves this work because drivers submit the data themselves. With automatic wireless downloading via SIM card, companies can cross this job off their to-do lists. Downloading is performed automatically at pre-set times. There is more time to deal with important matters, for example, the evaluation of their tachograph data by means of automatically generated reports.
3. Will the solution ensure compliance with legal requirements?
There’s no reason to worry. By downloading their data and backing it up, transport companies fulfil their legal obligations. Backup copies can be saved on a hard disc, a server, or an SD memory card that can be inserted into a download key.
However, when vehicles do not return to a depot regularly, an automatic solution like DLD Wide Range II with remote data transmission is almost imperative. Otherwise, there is a risk of not meeting deadlines. By law, driver card data must be read and archived at intervals of no more than 28 days. For vehicle data, the maximum interval is 90 days.
4. What about evaluation of tachograph data?
Many companies are not yet making full use of the information contained in their tachograph data. That is because they often think that the path from downloading to creation of a finished report is long and complicated. This simply isn’t true.
Solutions exist that can fully or partially automate this process. The data can flow directly to the archiving software or, in the case of driver data, with a single click. Many of these programs can also evaluate the data immediately.
Fleet managers can obtain an overview of the fleet and drivers and increase their efficiency. An example is VDO TIS-Web from Continental, which generates reports from the data. This software was developed in conjunction with the digital tachograph and the download tools. It also displays violations that were registered by the tachograph, so fleet managers can act quickly and avoid fines.