Our comments on:
Using equipment data to change operator behaviors
Telematics can tell us more about people than the machines they operate
In its early days, off road telematics had a single-minded focus on providing high-tech and visually appealing, PC-optimized dashboards and reports to enable fleet owners to manage assets. This was all very well, but one of the most interesting insights we’ve had from the data is that it’s the people behind the wheel who have the biggest impact on machine operational efficiency and productivity.
So it makes sense that in this more aware age, we should use telematics to address the psychology of machine users and incentivize behavioral changes which can extend the lifetime and reduce the operational costs of equipment. In this respect, I’m in agreement with a lot being said in Part Four of Equipment World’s excellent Telematics 101 series of articles.
Firstly, as is pointed out, simply telling a machine operator that the new telematics system which the company is introducing is going to save money may not resonate. Additionally, introducing financial incentives for machine users based on the savings they make could be difficult to audit and manage. They may also be divisive to the company culture and therefore disruptive.
Secondly, while it’s acknowledged that monitoring operators and drivers is likely to lead to changes in behavior, this could be either good or bad for the company depending on how it’s managed. It’s clear that being able to associate the operator with a machine is an important step in building an actionable scorecard for each individual, and then addressing remedial actions.
Once the data is collected and analyzed, the next challenge is to decide whether to use positive or negative reinforcement. Most companies take the positive route – and here I’m in complete agreement. It’s the carrot and not the stick which is going to keep the operator engaged and motivated, not paranoid and resentful of a big brother approach.
At Trackunit we’ve undertaken extensive research into operator engagement, this includes investigating what kind of practical features they would find interesting in their daily work lives and useful in their long-term career. While services based on these ideas are yet to come to market, making awards in front of peers for positive behaviors – say for efficiency or safety – may have a very powerful and motivational effect throughout the workforce.