ULEZ | Geofence Zones | Simplytrak

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) came into force on 8 April 2019 and is likely to have a huge impact on drivers in London.

The ULEZ has been launched to help improve air quality in the capital by reducing the number of polluting cars driving in the zone.

Operating in the same area of central London as the Congestion Charge Zone, the ULEZ will operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Vehicles that don’t meet the ULEZ emissions standards will have to pay a daily charge to drive within the zone, on top of the congestion charge.

You can check your vehicle on the TfL online checker but generally the charges are:

  • £12.50 for most vehicles, including cars, motorcycles and vans (up to 3.5 tonnes)
  • £100 for heavy vehicles, i.e. lorries (over 3.5 tonnes) and buses/coaches (over 5 tonnes)

Non-payment will result in a fine of £160.

Obviously, this is bound to have an impact on businesses and the cost of operating in and around London.

While the changes are likely to encourage businesses to consider upgrading their fleet in the long-term, right now they’ll be keen to monitor journeys in and around to ULEZ and only venturing into the zone if absolutely necessary.

Thanks to the geofencing feature available on the Simplytrak system, our customers have the ability to zone useful areas on their map and then set up reports and alerts to inform drivers when they breach a geofenced area.

With this feature, fleet managers are able to run a report at the end of each day to show which vehicles have been in the ULEZ and therefore arrange to pay the total daily charges for your fleet.

To make it even easier for our customers, we’ve already created geofences for the ULEZ and the wider Low Emission Zone (LEZ).

To apply this to your portal, please email enquiries@simplytrak.com or contact our customer support team on 01430 879197.

Exciting new appointment at Simplytrak

A growing customer base and new product developments have led to an expansion of the Simplytrak sales team with the appointment of Shaun Brennan as our new Business Development Manager.

Shaun joins the team from Wiltshire-based MAN Truck & Bus and brings with him a decade’s experience in the transport industry.

Speaking about the appointment, newly appointed Managing Director Ian Wood said:

“The growth of Simplytrak as we continue to develop and release new products and features has meant that we need to expand to build on the exceptional service levels that we offer to new and existing customers.

“Shaun’s appointment is vital to this and his experience will complement the great work that our team are already doing.”

Shaun added:

“I’m delighted to have joined a business that genuinely puts the customer first and I can’t wait to get out there and introduce myself to businesses and help them improve their fleet management activities.

“The new vehicle camera system that Simplytrak have developed recently is something I’m looking forward to talking to customers about. I’ve joined at a really good time to see the development of this product and can’t wait to show it off.”

If you think you could do with a visit from Shaun or to hear more about the Simplytrak cameras, drop him an email at shaun@simplytrak.com or call him on 07780 751845.

Simplytrak appoint new MD | Ian Wood | Vehicle tracking

Introducing Simplytrak’s new MD

With continued growth and plans for new products and features to be included in the Simplytrak system, we’re pleased to announce Ian Wood’s recent appointment to the role of Managing Director.

Ian, who has worked for Simplytrak as our Business Development Manager for the last four years, has a wealth of expertise in the vehicle tracking and fleet management industry and will be well-known amongst our customers.

Taking over the role of MD from Andrew Johnson, who will remain a key part of the business, Ian said:

“We’ve had some fantastic results over the last couple of years and the business has continued to grow both in terms of personnel and the products and features that we offer to customers.

“It’s definitely an exciting time to be taking over the role of MD. There are more plans to recruit so that we can continue to offer the same exceptional levels of service to our growing customer base that our existing customers are used to.”

On handing over the reins to Ian, Andrew said:

“We’re confident that the business is in safe hands with Ian as he’s already been a vital member of the senior management team for a number of years.

“The changes will allow myself and the other directors to focus on the long-term financial planning and growth of the wider group of companies, while handing over the day-to-day running of the company to Ian.”

Please join us in congratulating Ian on his promotion.

Driver behaviour – a vital tool for fleet managers

Our fully-featured driver behaviour module gives fleet managers complete visibility of their drivers and how they’re driving.

The Simplytrak driver behaviour solution allows businesses to quickly analyse and compare the driving behaviour of their employees. Excessive speeding and acceleration, harsh braking and cornering and periods of extreme idling are all reported in the Scorecard section of the system.

Reduce costs

Events like the ones reported in the scorecard are not just indicative of dangerous driving, they’re also contributing factors of increased fuel consumption and often a driver of higher maintenance costs.

The system will also highlight when a vehicle is left idling in real time. This could be if a driver is making a delivery or waiting to start a job. Vehicle idling can be costly not just for wasting fuel unnecessarily but vehicle theft commonly occurs when a driver has left a van running.

By monitoring driver behaviour, fleet managers can identify training requirements for areas for improvement and reduce costs by promoting safer and more economical driving.

Scorecard

The scorecard view lists all of your vehicles that are fitted with the Simplytrak tracking unit and allows you to track how each one is being driven in a league table view.

 

Each vehicle starts the day with 100 points. For each event trigger (details below), the driver is deducted three points (six points for a collision). The colour changes depending on the score: green (100-85 points); amber (84-70 points); and red (69-0 points).

Events

With the Simplytrak system, the tracking device installed in your vehicle detects driver behaviour events using GPS technology and triggers events based on thresholds programmed into the tracking unit. The default events and thresholds are:

Harsh braking: Triggered when the vehicle’s negative acceleration G-force is over 225mg for one second.
Harsh Acceleration: Triggered when the vehicle’s acceleration G-force is over 200mg for one second.
Harsh Cornering: Triggered when the vehicle’s centrifugal G-force is over 225mg for one second whilst the vehicle is over 40kph.
Excessive Idling: Triggered when the vehicle has not moved for five minutes whilst the ignition is on.
Excessive Speeding: Triggered when the vehicle exceeds 100 kph for ten seconds.
Collision: The vehicle impact state is triggered when impact is detected at a rate of 10,000mg.

Detailed view

If there is a particular driver that has triggered a number of events, you can view the detail behind each one by clicking on the event count. This will open a map in a new window with each event trigger plotted on the map.

This will help fleet managers understand a bit more about the circumstances of the event, for example idling could be explained if it occurred through roadworks or heavy traffic.

Driver safety

As well as the economical benefits, spotting behaviour events can help to keep your drivers safe. Our driving, like most things in life, can be affected by our mood. Multiple excessive speeding, harsh braking and harsh cornering events could be indicative of careless driving. With the live scorecard, the fleet manager could decide to contact a particular driver to better understand the situation.

Reputation

When they’re out on the road (presumably in a branded vehicle), your drivers are representing your company. So, if they’re driving badly, this could impact negatively on your business.

Likewise, many of our customers use the scorecard to reward calm, careful drivers. This encourages drivers to maintain good driving behaviour when out representing your brand.

For a full explanation of the driver behaviour scorecard, contact our customer services team on 01430 879197 or request a demo by filling in the form at simplytrak.com/contact

Vehicle tracking solution recovers stolen quad bikes

A Nottinghamshire-based dairy farmer has recovered two stolen vehicles thanks to an innovative vehicle tracking device that was installed in his quad bikes.

Two quad bikes used by Misson Organic Dairying Ltd were recovered after being stolen from the site early in the new year, thanks to an ingenious tracking system that alerted the owner to the theft by the motion detection feature.

Simplytrak, the East Yorkshire-based fleet management software company behind the device, are familiar with this method of vehicle recovery and specialise in helping their customers in similar situations. Ian Wood, Simplytrak’s new Managing Director, explains:

“Motion detection is one of the many options that come with our trackers and is becoming increasingly important for businesses who want to protect their vehicles.

“As well as detecting when the ignition is switched on and off, our trackers continue to track the location of a vehicle when the engine is off. This means we can still alert the owners when a vehicle is moving even if, like in this example, the vehicles are loaded onto a wagon and taken off site.”

On this occasion, the thieves thought they had done enough to disable the trackers by disconnecting them from the quad bike batteries, however, what they weren’t planning on was the emergency power supply that kept the trackers in full operational mode for long enough for the Misson Organic Dairying Ltd to spring into action.

Easy target

The quad bikes were leased from Richard Platt Farming, who supplies various vehicles to agriculture businesses. Mr Platt said:

“The agriculture industry uses a range of vehicles such as quad bikes, which are often seen as an easy target for thieves.

“That’s why I recommend that all the vehicles I supply have the Simplytrak system installed, complete with motion detection – offering customers peace of mind that they’re getting a secure vehicle to reduce the risk of business disruption.”

Joel Rathbone from Misson Organic Dairying Ltd added:

“We’re extremely grateful to Richard Platt and the team at Simplytrak for helping us use the system to its full potential to recover these vehicles. This is a busy time of year for us and all our vehicles are important to the running of the farm. We’d be lost without them.”

Following the theft, motion detection alerts have been set up in case the thieves come back and try again. During set times, if the vehicles move when the farm know they shouldn’t be moving, an SMS/email alert will be sent to Mr Rathbone at the farm so they can act quickly to keep tracks on them.

Rural crime stats

According to the Rural Crime Report 2018 from NFU Mutual, the cost of agricultural vehicle theft and quad/ATV theft last year was £5.9m and £2.3m respectively, meaning much needs to be done to tackle this increasing threat.

Effective vehicle tracking is just one of the ways in which farmers should be looking to protect their assets in 2019.

Practical Oldham

Immobilisation helps recover stolen vehicle

Vehicle immobilisation has been used to recover a second stolen van in the space of a few days.

A van hired from Practical Car and Van Rental Oldham, that had been fitted with a tracking device with an immobilisation feature from East Yorkshire based tracking company Simplytrak, was stolen on Saturday 1 December while being used for delivery duties in the Blackburn area.

The driver, who was delivering parcels on behalf of online retail giant Amazon, was dragged from the vehicle before the thieves drove away. Luckily, he didn’t suffer any injury as a result.

Immediately after receiving notification of the theft, Practical’s director Naz Akram called the Simplytrak customer helpline.

He said: “Fortunately, the van was fitted with a tracker which has the functionality to immobilise the vehicle once the engine is turned off. So, I called Simplytrak to inform them of the incident.

“The Simplytrak team were excellent and they started tracking the van, so we knew where it was and then remotely immobilised the vehicle, so we were able to recover it.”

Immobilisation works by remotely sending a signal to the tracking device, which is wired up to the vehicle’s electrical supply, enabling users to cut the power to the engine to prevent the ignition from being turned on.

Upon recovery of the vehicle, Mr Akram noticed that the interior light and roof lining had been ripped out. These are areas where some other models of vehicle trackers are often located.

Simplytrak’s business development manager, Ian Wood, explains why their trackers are harder to locate: “Vehicle thieves are getting wiser and they know that tracking devices are becoming more popular, particularly in larger fleets.

“This is why our trackers are carefully concealed in a way that makes them difficult to locate so we never lose track of our customers’ assets, which is so important when immobilising and safely recovering vehicles.”

This incident came just days after the Sheffield branch of the Practical franchise experienced a similar theft. But the Simplytrak immobilisation feature came to the rescue then as well.

Practical’s Mr Akram added: “There’s a strong partnership between Practical and Simplytrak and quite a lot of the franchisees use them for tracking.

“Occasions like this really show the value of the system but what’s impressed us the most is the customer service we’ve received from the team at Simplytrak. They helped us to immobilise and recover this van swiftly, even on a weekend.”

Why should I invest in a fleet management system over a vehicle tracking mobile phone app?

We regularly get potential customers contacting us wanting to know the differences between a vehicle tracking system and a mobile phone app that they can download on their phone. Often, it seems, it is mistakenly assumed an installed vehicle tracker can work in a similar way to a mobile phone GPS tracking app, however the technology is actually very different.

Which one should you choose?

Well the answer depends on what you are trying to achieve.  If you are trying to track your mobile workforce than the app might be sufficient. However, if you want to track driver behaviour, fuel consumption and have accurate route replays you’ll need an installed vehicle tracker. When weighing up your options make sure that cost alone is not the drive to your decision or you might end up feeling disappointed.

What will a mobile phone tracker app offer my business?

You might decide to use a mobile phone app for ease of use with no installation needed in your vehicles. However, if you are trying to keep track of a fleet it really isn’t a reliable option. Loss of signal could mean that you can’t always access the location of your fleet or that parts of the journey aren’t recorded at all. As the tracking device is the driver’s phone then the GPS can just be turned off if they wish to stop their employer tracking them. A GPS app can also drain your employee’s phone battery so unless they turn up to work with a fully charged battery every morning you run the risk of their phone going dead.

You also run the risk of your business getting left behind. If your competitors are using more sophisticated fleet management systems, and they likely are, they’ll be eliminating paper work, increasing route efficiency and have an insight into unwanted driver behaviours.

Why should you choose installed vehicle tracking?

It might feel like the more expensive option but the efficiency it will drive across your business will offer you a significant return on your investment.

Increase revenue

A fleet management system allows businesses to be much more intelligent in how they schedule trips. Fleet managers can optimise planning too by assigning jobs to idle vehicles or that are within closest proximity or travel time to the location. Overall the number of jobs and trips can be minimised by planning the workload in a strategic way. By maximising the workday, your fleet will be able to complete more jobs and increase revenue.

Gain insight into driver behaviour

With a fleet management system it is easy to gain an understanding into unwanted driving habits such as excessive speeding and harsh acceleration and braking. By identifying any trends within your fleet, it will help you to educate drivers on safer and greener driving habits. This will reduce fuel consumption, maintenance costs and the chances of an accident.

Protecting your fleet

Your business can keep on top of all vehicle maintenance checks with a range of alerts set up inside a fleet management system. Healthy vehicles waste less fuel and are more efficient, reducing the risk of any unwanted repairs that may come. Specialist fleet management suppliers might also supply an immobilisation feature for extra security if it is stolen, allowing you to safely immobilise your vehicle until it is tracked and found.

Reduce time completing paperwork

A fleet management system will help your drivers, dispatchers and managers reduce paperwork as the system can automatically track and record the details of the time spent at a job. This makes invoicing much easier as job lengths will all be recorded in the system accurately.

Mileage records can also be recorded by a turn-by-turn updated system, eliminating the use of paper records and ensuring a correct submission to the tax office every time.

Reduce fuel consumption

Excess fuel consumption is bad news for a business and the environment. A fleet management system can provide fleets with the most efficient routes, saving time and eliminating unnecessary fuel expenses. A fleet manager can also set reports to inform them if engines are left running or vehicles are being used out of hours.

Overall an app can be a convenient tool for a mobile workforce but if they are going to be driving a vehicle on a regular basis an investment in vehicle tracking will be well worth the investment.

To learn more about how the Simplytrak system can improve efficiency across your fleet, please contact Ian Wood our Business Development Manager at E: ian@simplytrak.com or on T: 01430879197.

How to effectively reduce engine idling across your fleet

Engine idling and the impact it has on the environment is a hot topic in the media at the moment. The government and local authorities are looking into ways to try and change driver behaviour and encourage people to think about how they can reduce their emissions footprint.

For a business reducing engine idling can open the doors to a range of benefits and is a sure way to create a greener and more efficient fleet. With many councils now acting on this too, as it may be time for your business to take the lead in the change.

So what are councils saying?

There is a growing concern regarding exhaust emissions and the damage they have on our health. Over 30 councils across the country have come together to tackle the issue of engine fumes caused by engine idling. Councils are considering introducing on-the-spot £20 fines if you leave your engine running while in the street or parked up and waiting. Although the new introduction of fines is highly likely to go ahead, it has actually been an offence to leave your vehicle’s engine running excessively since 1986.

How can your business act now?

If your business has a fleet then you may want to consider measures now that will significantly reduce or eliminate engine idling. This can start by simply educating staff. If staff are trained on the benefits of reducing engine idling this can go some of the ways. In many cases though, unwanted driving habits are learnt over time and the driver may not even recognise them. This is where a fleet management system can be a great insight.

With a fully-featured vehicle tracking system, like Simplytrak’s, fleet managers can be alerted to any periods of engine idling. The incident, date, time and location are available to be viewed within the system or downloaded in a report format and shared with the driver. This can also be a useful tool alongside driver scorecards that promote safer driving techniques and many businesses then use these scorecards to incentivise calmer driving.

By understanding the driver behaviour of your fleet, you will be able to use this analysis to create healthier driving habits that promote lower fuel and maintenance costs, reduce the risk of an accident and maybe most importantly, reduce the carbon footprint of fleets. As businesses come under more pressure to run greener fleets, a sophisticated fleet management system can be the perfect tool to help you achieve this.

To learn more about how the Simplytrak system can reduce engine idling and unwanted driving habits across your fleet, please contact Ian Wood our Business Development Manager at E: ian@simplytrak.com or on T: 01430879197.

 

Protect your fleet against fraudulent claims

Any fleet is likely to visit a number of different areas throughout the working week but what if one of those vehicles is alleged to have damaged another vehicle? This can impact greatly on a business, especially if a driver is not at fault.

Many of our customers have already been able to stop fraudulent claims by using evidence from our Simplytrak solution. Here’s how.

Accurate route replays and location pinpointing 

Being able to identify the exact position and route a vehicle has taken is an important feature for any feet manager. With the Simplytrak system we offer our customers live turn-by-turn tracking with a minimum of 60 second update. This ensures the route of a driver is recorded on the vehicle tracking system precisely, making it the perfect tool to provide evidence when there are any discrepancies.

Extensive historical playback

Our servers hold a record of all the vehicle’s movement from the moment the units are installed. We also hold an archive of this record securely on our system for a number of years after the tracker is removed, giving peace of mind to our customers. Through the Simplytrak system any historical route can be easily accessed and replayed.

Evidence for fleet managers

Using the analysis from a range of customisable reports within the Simplytrak system, fleet managers can conclusively establish evidence if they believe their vehicle was not at fault in an alleged incident. The range of reports are available to view on screen or can be downloaded in a range of formats and then forwarded to any relevant parties. We are always available to offer our support to customers in this process and will assist swiftly to meet the demands of our customers’ requirements.

 

To learn more about how vehicle tracking can improve the management and protection of your fleet and drivers, please contact Ian Wood our Business Development Manager at E: ian@simplytrak.com or on T: 01430879197.

 

What makes Simplytrak stand out as a fleet management supplier?

We ask ourselves this question a lot! What really does make Simplytrak different from other fleet management suppliers? It’s important for us to understand exactly that. The answer helps us to continue to grow, improve our service offerings and ensures we always go that extra mile for our customers.

We’ve been around for a while (16 years to be exact) and as a business we are as committed as ever to offering consistently reliable solutions and exceptional customer service throughout our business. We thought we would share with you some of the reasons that make us stand out from the rest because that really matters to us.

WE’RE ALWAYS ON HAND

Many new customers come to us disappointed with the level of customer service they have received from their old supplier. With Simplytrak you can forget logging tickets, we start dealing with every query as we receive it. If there is an issue we will aim to resolve it immediately to minimise any disruption. We’re also on call 356 days a year and that includes evenings and weekends.

WE REALLY DO CARE

We have thousands of our trackers monitoring vehicles but that doesn’t stop us devoting time to every single customer when they need us (or when we are just checking in). We regularly go above and beyond, whether it is offering training on new areas of our system or working to create bespoke solutions to better improve our customers’ businesses.

OUR PRICING IS TRANSPARENT

The price we quote is the price you pay. No hidden costs or stripped-down service offerings, just one price and one complete solution. If you take up a contract with us you will pay no upfront fees, no installation costs, nothing for the vehicle tracker and you will be covered by our comprehensive warranty.

WE KNOW THE INDUSTRY

Our customer base has spanned over 40 different countries and with that comes industry expertise. We understand our customers and the industries that they serve. Our team are always on hand to make suggestions to which features within the system will best meet a customer’s needs.

OUR APPROACH IS INNOVATIVE

Our dedicated development team are always looking ahead so Simplytrak can offer your business the very latest software and hardware integrations. We also support specialist requirements providing bespoke solutions for a range of industries across the world.

WE LET YOU TRY BEFORE YOU BUY

We offer all new potential customers the chance to trial our solution for free before they commit so they can experience our advanced system and exceptional customer service for themselves.

There you have it. We think our solutions and level of customer service is something special and we’re sure you will too. For more information, to request a quote or trial please contact Ian Wood our Business Development Manager at E: ian@simplytrak.com or on T: 01430879197.