Offline or Out-of-Coverage Storage of Trip Information: In view of the level of development of our communication backbone which is not yet at per with what obtains in the economies from where most of these packages originally come from, it is of uppermost importance that critical questions be asked about the options available for data capture, logging and access and what happens when any or all of these options fail as they are wont to once in a while. Does the proposed system have any, all or a combination of GPS, GPRS or RF options for data capture and logging? A good system, perhaps because of our peculiar situation, will most likely have ALL the above options integrated into the package. In the unfortunate event that GPRS is unavailable, the logging data memory should be capable of storing data for a reasonably long period of time with the RF beacon providing specific location of mobile asset (even when the GSM connection is down too) to minimise the incidence of black spot.
Inbuilt or Seamless Handshake with Auxiliary Programs or Software: Data gathering is a wasteful venture unless it can be accessed, extracted, interpreted and applied to a set purpose. The solution must be highly interactive and make provision for the adoption of templates for client-focused reports that are relevant to the goals and aspirations of the buying customer. The company should be interested in knowing what customizable reports are available and whether reports specific to a purpose outside of the predefined templates can be generated. You may be interested in Daily, Weekly or Monthly Exception Report, Violation Report, Trip Analyses Report etc and you may want to know the formats in which reports can be downloaded (excel, Crv or other formats) or information peculiar to your assets uploaded. How well can the solution deliver on these and much more? There are also a number of other support packages such as devices for monitoring cabin and truck compartment or trailer activities. Questions must be asked to see which of these packages the solution being offered can perfectly interact with.
Distance Estimation and Simulation: The solution should also have the added capacity and capability to show distance between locations in km(s) or miles, or give distance between locations along alternative routes with a view to assisting freight estimation and route scheduling and planning.
Power Monitoring: Most telematics devices or fleet solutions run on the vehicle power system. But what happens when for instance the vehicle battery power runs down or out either due to a technical hitch or deliberate act of sabotage? Hence, the need to also ascertain whether the proposed solution have an alternate standalone internal power backup which can support continuous monitoring until a remedial solution is applied to restore vehicle main battery power. The system must also have a preemptive capacity to monitor the vehicle main battery power level and dispatch appropriate alerts.
Installation and De-installation of device: The ease of transferring device from one vehicle to another in the extreme but not unlikely case of change of vehicle ownership must also be ascertained.
Aftersales Support: This aspect is of extreme importance and would be buyer or client cannot afford to take chances with it. Any company proposing a fleet management solution to you must have a 24/7 round-the-clock control room access for complaints resolution and other support services. Once in a while, device will malfunction or fall victim to delinquent drivers (who are also updating their knowledge in things like this), but the beauty of a good service provider is the ease with which complaints can be received and solutions activated instantly either remotely from the server/control room or through the immediate deployment of a service personnel anywhere close to the incident point. This is an area where most of the service providers we have at present in the country are failing woefully hence care must be taken to make your choice carefully among the hordes that proliferate the market place. You are paying the bills and so you have the right to demand the provision of a bespoke service.
Just in case you go through this article and begin to wonder whether any Nigerian company have the capacity to deliver on the above enumerated; we can boldly tell you for free that Yes, there are companies that can deliver on ALL of the above and much more. But there is just a handful of them!