Investing in telematics for fleet management is a significant undertaking and you may need to go through several negotiations, meetings, live demos, etc., before the final decision is made. In addition, you need to handle a new set of tasks pertaining to results measurement, ELD implementation, and telematics strategy planning after a vendor is chosen. As you can see, switching from one ELD or telematics provider to another is not always an easy process.
However, there are times when switching to a new telematics provider becomes a necessity. You may be having issues with your current provider. If this is the case, you will need to start asking the right questions to reduce the pain of switching and avoid nasty surprises. Here are some of the important factors you need to cover when making a switch:
Fleet managers and owners tend to forget to ask about security. You need to find out how your future provider handles the security of their hardware. You need to ensure that data stored at your servers and the ways they are being transmitted are secure at all times. You can request to see a copy of your desired provider’s security documentation.
Ease of Data Access
Some providers charge a significant sum before allowing their end users to access their data via APIs. There are telematics companies that prevent users from accessing their data all together. Hence, take the time to check out your provider’s API access and understand any limitations that exist. As the ability to expand is also a necessity, you should get a copy of their Software Developer Kit. SDKs explain how raw data can be retrieved from a telematics system and be integrated with third party systems.
Third-Party Software Partners
Sharing data with third-party vendors is beneficial for many fleets. It could be an IFTA reporting system, remote diagnostic system, TMS provider, maintenance system, and more. Your new provider must understand the unique requirements of your business so that you do not end up with in-house packages. Simply put, look for providers that have a well-rounded partner network.
Third-Party Device Integration
You need to ask your new provider if data can be pulled from a third-party telematics device and be integrated with their system. This allows you to continue using your existing telematic hardware even after moving to a new software solution. Common data types may include:
- Loaded voltage
- Upload status
- GSM signal strength
- Power tamper
- Tow detection
- Date and time
- Engine diagnostics
- Ignition status
- Trip count
- GPS fix attempts
- Battery levels
If all this is possible, your internal staff can avoid having to use two different systems at the same time.
Should You Make the Switch?
Before you make the decision to switch providers, consider evaluating your existing contracts, comfort levels, capital expenditures for hardware, and the need for back-end integration. If you find that the monthly fees, security, technology, reliability, and ongoing hardware costs associated with the new provider, lightens a significant amount of load off your shoulders, it’s time to make the switch.