Tutoring Telematics

   Are you where you're supposed to be?  With the implementation of Telematics across the country, many drivers, and Union Stewards are at a loss about how to deal with the new system. Of course the company loves to let every driver know that they can use the system to brow beat, badger, and even fire drivers that vary from their assigned tasks of the day. They love to put the fear of “god” into all of the drivers that they can watch their every movement.
     First lets talk about the realities of Telematics. The system is set up to monitor a few functions. Seat belt usage, bulk head door closure, and vehicle position. Those are the keys for the driver. There are a few other functions such as vehicle condition monitoring to help the mechanics determine service needs for the vehicles.
     First seat belts. Wear them. Every stop, every time the vehicle is put into motion. If you’re not, you know you are doing wrong. Make a conscious effort to have them on all day. If the management comes to you about not wearing them, you will be able to argue the function of the sensors in the system. We have found a number of issues with the seatbelt sensors. If you wear your seat belts and you show up on the reports, raise hell. Remember, they must physically observe you not wearing the seatbelt to take discipline.
     Second is your bulkhead door sensor. Same deal as with the seatbelt sensor. Close it. Every time, every place you go. Simple. Again they must physically observe you leaving it open, but if you do, they will be out to look. If you’re closing it, great. If not you could be subject to discipline.
    Third and the most complicated is the vehicle position. Basically the vehicle transmits all movement functions to the satellite through GPS, and a few sensors such as the reverse sensor. The computer puts together all of this information to create reports for management. They have a hundred different ways to print out the information depending on what they want to harass you about. They can print a report about where you backed, and when you backed. Did you back first? Did you pass a stop and back up to it? How far did you back? They can print a report that shows your entire day of backing, and how far at each incident. In conjunction with the backing monitor, they can also tell how far you drove without your seatbelt on.
     They can tell basically how fast you were going in a particular situation. The GPS sends speed data to the computer also.
     The GPS also is combined with a time function. They will know how long the vehicle is stopped. How long it is between stops. Is the vehicle on trace. Were there any excessive gaps of time between stops.
     Here is what Telematics cannot tell them. The “Big T” can’t tell them about customer problems. The “Big T”  cannot tell them about customer needs and problems, or COD’s or missing packages that are in EDD. T can’t tell them about traffic problems, construction, road blocks, full parking areas, etc.The “Big T” cannot know what your bodily needs are either. The biggest complaint from management will be about your potty breaks. I call management the “Poop monitors” with the implementation of Telematics. The other failure of Telematics is driver meets. The system cannot “see” so driver meets totally look screwed up on the reports.
     So what is the bottom line? It’s the same song you all have heard from your Union Stewards for years. Do your job as you have been trained. You’re job is not a social event. You are making delivery stops, not “visits”. You are not required to be rude to the customers. In fact you can be disciplined for rude complaints. Telematics will really only serve to keep people on their area which is what they should be doing anyway. Report any reason to be off area such as driver meets, misloads, customer concerns or OMS srew-ups. Report discrepancies and the problem becomes management’s, not yours. Take the monkey off your back.
     Work to the rules. You will have a peaceful life. Always take your Union steward with you to talk to management. The job hasn’t changed much, as long as you are doing the job.
     If you are screwing around, the “Lord and Master” is watching.