The message not the medium

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Any discussion of fleet management systems has tended to focus on telematics and hardware, but Scania has decided to refocus its fleet management proposition with Scania OnBoard which is designed to give fleet managers with the information they need to run their fleets more effectively.

To achieve this, it shifts the emphasis from telematics and hardware to a purely information-driven service. Accordingly, Scania OnBoard comprises three key core elements: messaging to link a vehicle with its operating base, Order Process Support (OPS), to monitor vehicles and their jobs, and Driver Log to record driver-activity.

“Scania OnBoard has come about as the result of extensive operator consultation,” says marketing manager Darrell Taylor. “The message we received from the field time and time again was, ‘keep it simple’. For many years the industry has been largely confused by a profusion of systems promising a wealth of benefits – and yet which all too often end up effectively consigned to the bin as a gadget that is just too hard to live with!

“The problem is that while these systems can indeed generate all manner of reports, the operator is almost invariably overwhelmed by the sheer volume and complexity of data presented to him. Put simply, he finds himself living in a geek’s paradise: information overload and a vastly over-complicated technical system!

“So our primary objective with Scania OnBoard has been to cut through all of that and simply present the operator with the essential information he needs to enable him to run his business more efficiently, effectively and profitably. Over and above that, for anyone wishing to go further we can incorporate additional features such as satellite navigation into Scania OnBoard.”

From the driver’s perspective, Scania OnBoard is represented by a dashboard mounted touch-screen through which messages are received from, and made to, the operating base. In addition to simple text messages, the driver responds to job scheduling instructions from his operating base by way of the touch screen. To ensure safety in operation at all times, the touch screen can only be used when the vehicle is stationary.

Citroën is offering Trafficmaster’s new Fleet Director fleet management tool, in what it believes is a first for a manufacturer of light commercial vehicles in Europe. Trafficmaster already offers its Dispatch and Relay panel vans with the Trafficmaster Smartnav satellite navigation package and Trackstar stolen vehicle tracking system as standard. Now, this has been extended to include an optional subscription to Fleet Director.

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