By Carl Hanson, Director of Procurement and Fleet at Wincanton

Wincanton has around 4,500 drivers on the road every day, working all across the country, using specialist vehicles to deliver goods of all types and sizes. Our number one priority for our drivers is their safety. We have a responsibility to safeguard the wellbeing of our people, our customers and the wider public through on-going health and safety education at every level of the business. 

Fuel efficiency

One of the tools we use to support the safety of our drivers is telematics. Telematics is a technology which monitors how our drivers perform. It records elements such as speed, distance covered, acceleration and braking, and fuel consumption, and makes the data available to a central team.  This data is then analysed to identify areas for improvement, training and behavioural change.

Wincanton has had telematics technology in place for some time, but making best use of the data was proving challenging. We needed a framework which enabled us to better align what the telematics technology was delivering with evidence of real impact. We also felt we were spending a disproportionate amount of time managing the system.

This led us to switch to the MiX Telematics platform in early 2018, and we have already seen measurable improvements – an 84% increase in our safety RAG score being one.

A highlight from the project has been one contract seeing a good improvement in MPG (miles-per-gallon). This progress was evident within just weeks of using the technology and rolling out our behavioural change programme.

One example of telematics improving MPG is through accurately monitoring tyre pressures. Having correctly inflated tyres reduces the rolling resistance and as a result increases efficiency. It also helps to reduce the risk of blowouts, which can be caused by under-inflated tyres increasing in temperature and eventually failing.

Supporting safety

The real success of this first phase has been the promotion of safety. The message around telematics has long been about making drivers ‘better’, but instead we’ve aimed from the outset to make them ‘safer’, which the technology has helped us to do. Creating this emotional and logical connection has helped to empower our driver community to want to make changes to their approach. This engagement has been essential and underpins the whole process.

The numbers are evidence of this, with an 84% improvement in our safety RAG score since switching to MiX Telematics. We use the drivers’ scores to enable us to focus on individuals that need help with their driving style; the lower the number of unsafe incidents, the less likely they are to be involved in an accident.

RAG scores are calculated by measuring the number of harsh braking and acceleration incidents, and speeding events over every 100 miles. A high count across these suggests you’re more likely to have an accident, as speed and braking performance are major factors in road traffic accidents.

Products like MiX DriveMate and MiX Vision are key to this. They work together to provide accurate driving data and video footage, which is sent to Driver Supervisors. This supplies our central team with data and visual footage of incidents, which they can use to tailor training and manage future risks. It also makes it easier to focus on the data that matters, particularly in terms of health and safety, with the video footage helpful for unpicking some of the numbers.

Drivers themselves have access to MyMiX, a mobile app that displays data about their driving performance. With this, they can monitor their scores, and use it to manage and work towards their own goals.

Improved RAG scores equate to being safer on the road, which underpins the training that accompanies the technology. For example, a supervisor will sit down with a driver for a regular one-to-one and be able to use video footage from their own work and that of their colleagues to identify risks and outline ways to manage them. Real examples and a desire to keep themselves and other road users safe boost driver engagement and empowerment.

Recognition and reward

Rewarding the driver community is also an essential part of the process. Wincanton works across many different contracts, and within each of these the drivers that scores are best or most improved each week are recognised. The data also feeds into our Driver of the Year awards, an annual celebration of the finest talent from across the company.

The MiX Telematics technology has helped to bring about behavioural change. With the overall message echoing Wincanton’s dedication to safety, people have bought into it. Drivers feel motivated to make alterations to their approach and supervisors can tailor training and feedback to the individual while saving time.