For Deepak Patnaik, Product Marketing Manager at HERE Technologies safety and satisfaction are directly related. Logistics & Materials Handling finds out more.
Safety is moving higher up the agenda for logistics providers, and one way that organisations need to improve safety is through driver initiatives, Deepak Patnaik, Product Marketing Manager at HERE Technologies says. “It’s not about just telling your drivers to drive safe, but meaningful culture changes as well as initiatives that actually improve driver satisfaction,” he says.
For him, some of the most important safety initiatives affect drivers, their well-being and as a result improve satisfaction in their job.
Companies with the best safety record almost always have a company-wide culture of safety, according to Deepak. “It starts at the very top, and filters its way down to every single member employee,” he says.
One way that organisations can improve safety is to change the way that drivers are paid. “If a driver is paid by a trip or load they often drive more than they should. Companies should look at fixed remuneration, or even a remuneration based on safety initiatives,” he says.
If organisations based remuneration package or added benefits on safety performance, then Deepak thinks there will be an increased level of job satisfaction and usually overall improved performance.
“Many organisations are recording positive driver behaviour and rewarding that, a sort of gamification. Improve your safety score, that type of thing. I think it’s very effective,” Deepak says.
However, improving safety records and enabling drivers to drive as safely as possible does not just stop at driver behaviour or rely on them alone. For Deepak, there are many uses of technology to help improve safety standards.
“The onus shouldn’t just be on the driver. You can also look at other aspects of your operation and use technology to make them safer,” Deepak says.
For example, Deepak encourages the use of preventative maintenance and regular maintenance of vehicles to ensure they are safe.
Another use of technology that can offer organisations the ability to improve their safety record is investment in telematics and location intelligence.
“A safety culture does not need to rely entirely on the human. With telematics and location services the intelligence gives logistics providers raw driver behaviour and vehicle data – this allows them to monitor what they are doing when they are working and how to improve levels of safety with specific examples,” Deepak says.
Visibility can be the most effective way to improve driver safety, and this is where location and telematics comes in.
“In my view, the first thing organisations need to do is improve visibility – into both driver performance and vehicle performance. If fleet managers are able to see all instances where a driver carries out risky behaviour on a certain trip then they can shape training accordingly and improve say rough driving, excessive speeding or tail gating,” he says.
Telematics gives fleet managers access to data about driver behaviour, however in isolation there is no reasonable level of accuracy in relating this data to location data. “What fleet managers have with telematics is comprehensive data relating to driver behaviour, but it doesn’t allow users to map that out and work out where the driver was when they carried out particular behaviour. For example, GPS traces of a truck are often completely scattered and if you tried to plot them on a map you would have no reasonable level of accuracy to a road network,” Deepak says.
HERE Technologies, is a location intelligence company that builds comprehensive digital maps. The location data that HERE provides works in collaboration with telematics data to give fleet managers accurate data of both behaviour and location. For Deepak, this provides a number of benefits.
“Fleet managers can see what the speed limit is in a particular zone, they can see patterns and comparisons of a certain location and driver behaviour. They can compare drivers’ behaviour over particular locations. This allows them to recognise that it may be a risky road and then that information can educate how a training manager may go about group coaching. Or they can even re-route if some roads are more dangerous than others,” Deepak says.
Additionally, if there are patterns across certain areas of roads in risky behaviour in-vehicle systems can be developed to prompt and guide safer behaviour.
“Usually organisations who use location intelligence systems also use overall fleet management solutions as well as telematics. The collection of these systems improves safety across the board,” Deepak says.
When discussing telematics, Deepak references the Hawthorne Effect. “There is an inclination of people who are under observation to change or improve behaviour that is being observed. In the case of drivers, they take less unnecessary risks if monitoring systems are in place,” Deepak says.
HERE offers location intelligence that is tailored to the strict demands of shipping and logistics. “Our location intelligence enables organisations to leverage the highest level of precision, at record speed, anywhere around the world,” Deepak says. The location intelligence calculates travel distances, and offers real-time and historic traffic conditions, as well as truck restrictions such as height and weight.
“Fleet managers can see patterns and comparisons of driving history in one location for the past 90 days, or even over a year,” Deepak says.
For any kind of change management, the most important element is communication, Deepak says. “Of course, there is sometimes some resistance when implementing new kinds of technology. But this goes down quite quickly if you effectively communicate the benefits. People want to know that their concerns are being heard so it really is about making sure you have a good change management strategy,” he says.
A well-planned introduction of safety policies and systems goes a long way. There are also additional benefits around helping to attract and retain talent. “An organisation’s safety record absolutely helps to attract talent as well as new customers,” he says.
For Deepak, introducing telematics with the added benefits of location intelligence helps reduce safety risks such as drifting into lanes, fatigue related speeding, fewer rest breaks as well as incidents of stimulant use.
HERE is committed to working with logistics providers to enrich the data they already have from telematics with location data. “There is a lot of synergies that can be realised with telematics and location software and when they both work together the location data can really add value when it comes to safety,” he says.