BAT Global Telematics Safety Strategy Roll Out
Telematics technology, plus a sound business strategy and cross-functional approach, have enabled British American Tobacco (BAT) to address safety management, cut fleet costs and greatly improve its global environmental credentials.
A staged rollout over the past 18 months has seen the company’s accident rate drop by 33%, fleet costs fall by 11% and driver satisfaction increase by 25%.
We take a glimpse at how telematics technology has enabled the top-five tobacco company to achieve this.
The business case
An examination of limited but available fleet data in 2015 highlighted the number of accidents across BAT’s 26,000 strong global fleet, which consisted of vehicles and motorcycles. Prior to 2014, the number of accidents that resulted in injury, costs, lost productivity and fatalities were greater than 0.12 per million mileser year. This was too much to accept, particularly as 50% of them could have been avoided with the right tools, training and processes for employees in trade marketing.
BAT set about defining a zero tolerance policy on accidents, which entailed:
- The formation of a cross-functional team, from 7 different stakeholder groups, to drive and manage change.
- Consolidation of the number of different OEM vehicle brands.
- Standardization of safety policy.
- The installation of a telematics system.
Employee safety - central to the company’s culture
Employing upwards of 55,000 people worldwide, BAT was founded in 1902 through a joint venture between the UK’s Imperial Tobacco Company and the USA’s American Tobacco Company. It has since grown into a global business and one of the top 10 companies on the London Stock Exchange. It sells well-known brands such as Dunhill, Lucky Strike, Benson & Hedges and Rothmans in 200 diverse markets across the globe.
Driver and employee safety are central to corporate responsibility. In 2014, injuries per million miles was at 0.12. BAT aims to reduce this to 0.05.
What was done and when?
Under an initiative entitled: Closing the Gap to Zero, a team was created to address employee safety.
It was found that the fleet consisted of 38 different OEM brands, with dissimilar specifications, which created safety issues. The Zero Tolerance team decided to implement telematics to create Big Data, which could then be used for analysis and smarter decision-making.
Aside from the human element, the hidden cost of accidents was discovered to be £3 million.
Central to the success of the project was the need for accurate, meaningful and timely data; “What gets measured gets improved” is the mantra commonly used in company presentations. To achieve this, a telematics programme was installed in 9,000 vehicles in 41 countries and this became the frame of the entire project. An additional 5,000 will be implement in the next 18 months under a global telematics umbrella.
BAT updated its vehicle specification strategy, settling on just 3-5 global OEM brands. Vehicle specifications were aligned with the requirements of the job and accurate reporting and safety measures were enabled.
Project benefits are forecast to include an 6.8% fuel demand reduction, 8.5% reduction in insurance costs, 5.4% improvement in fleet management controls and a 20% refinement in route optimization. In order to improve safety, fleet operators need to know where things are going wrong. Telematics will deliver accurate and timely insights that BAT continue to use to improve the health and safety of its fleet.