Customer Spotlight Interview

Driving Hirschbach Forward: Tom Wolfenden Discusses Telematics Transformation

Dive into our engaging conversation with Tom Wolfenden, Director of Corporate Data at Hirschbach Motor Lines, as he shares his insights on leveraging telematics for enhanced fleet management. Discover how Tom's partnership with Assured Telematics and Geotab has revolutionized tracking, fuel efficiency, and driver safety in their operations. This interview unveils the strategic integration of technology to drive efficiency and informed decision-making in the dynamic world of logistics.

The Interview

I'm Allison from Assured Telematics. I recently had the opportunity to interview Tom Wolfenden. Tom is the Director of Corporate Data at Hirschbach Motor Lines. Tom, thank you so much for joining us. It is great to connect with you!

We've found that Assured Telematics and Geotab have been very responsive, and we value their willingness to work with us on various projects that we've had across the organization. We also do enhancements to our existing systems through them - information gathering, troubleshooting, etc. We've completed several major projects which enhance and extend the functionality of all the data that we have in Geotab, which aligns it with our business needs and requirements.

I've been with Hirschbach for two years, and I started working with Frank and his team right from the very beginning. But as a company, Hirschbach have been using Geotab as their telematics provider since around 2019.

We've had telematics in our fleet since before I joined the company, but I have been involved with large scale telematics installations at other logistics companies, and I've also worked on projects for local and national government transport agencies. I can speak generally to the main areas of improvement and some of the challenges that we face as logistics companies.

Top of the list is probably tracking. It's a top of mind reason for implementing telematics solutions. Real time visibility and the location of assets and the status of those assets and vehicles in the fleet allows us to optimize route planning, and account for things like weather patterns - along with our partners at who assist us with that monitor vehicle and driver performance, and aid in theft recovery and prevention.

Without telematics, the operations teams actually need to pick up the phone or use the radio to contact the driver, engage with maintenance staff in order to get updates about each of those individual assets on a case-by-case basis. So you can imagine that that operation is very, very time consuming and challenging without logistics and telematics, like what Geotab and Assured Telematics offer.

The second one would be fuel efficiency. Telematics systems are able to monitor and analyze fuel consumption, as well as other factors that may influence fuel consumption. Things like how harsh they accelerate, which altogether helps us reduce our costs for fuel, as well as allow us to keep an eye on our carbon emissions and sustainability goals.

The next one would be driver safety. Telematics can monitor driving factors like speed, acceleration, harsh braking, which allows us to quickly identify and address driving habits and improve overall safety. You'd be amazed at how many data points we can get on things like this. Everything down to even G-Forces, that if you were a passenger in the vehicle that was being driven, the G-Forces that you might experience, which is possibly more applicable to things like public safety. On public transport, if you are riding on a bus, we want to make sure that our drivers are handling the vehicle in a way that's comfortable for the people that are on there, but certainly still applies to things like trucking where we want to make sure that the goods on the vehicle are safe as well.

Maintenance - we also get real time diagnostic data on vehicle health, which alerts us to issues before they become a serious problem. Compliance and regulations - telematics can assist with regulatory requirements such as hours of service rules, keeping e logs for drivers, state taxation laws and federal taxation laws, etc.

Customer service would be another one, where real time tracking allows us to keep our customers informed and provide accurate ETA arrival information. This transparency and accountability builds trust with our customers and obviously improves our overall satisfaction.

Environmental impact by optimizing our routes, reducing our fuel consumption, minimizing Idling contributed significantly to sustainability efforts and we can focus on our corporate social responsibility. We have developed dashboards and analytics in collaboration with Assured Telematics, integrated within Geotab’s fleet management platform, which assist us in monitoring our sustainability objectives.

And then finally the ability as an organization to make data driven decisions. The masses of data that the telematics systems generate in the right hands can be leveraged into analysis and business intelligence that really does support informed decision making. So the improvements offered by a telematics system are vast. It certainly overcomes challenges that might not be possible to avoid otherwise.

We have a number of different types of vehicles. We have trucks and we mostly refer to those as tractors, we have the trailers that are being hauled by the tractors, and we also have a lot of support vehicles like yard vehicles that don't go on the roads, but they will move trailers around yards. We also have cars and trucks in yards that are used as just general fleet vehicles and we track all of those assets - and each of these has very unique requirements.

For example, knowing and understanding the temperature inside our trailers is crucial to providing the very highest level of quality service to our refrigerated goods customers. has the most comprehensive weather forecasting solution in the world, which when coupled with Geotab’s location and routing information, provides us with a powerful solution for safely navigating around and through major weather events. The primary focus of what we set out to achieve was to improve safety for our drivers by providing our Weather Task Force operations staff with the information they need to make timely and accurate decisions. In doing so, we've significantly reduced the number of weather related accidents and incidents.

By adding routes to the integration, we'll be able to use’s very powerful predictive analytics models, which would essentially enable us to forecast weather patterns and events along the entire duration of the route. It would be possible to predict weather incidents that affect a driver, possibly even before they are dispatched up to several days beforehand.

We would be able to create that route knowing that that weather pattern was going to affect them well in advance. This optimization means that we're able to get our customers goods where they need to be on time and with a minimum amount of risk to both the goods and the driver and other people on the road. We do that by routing around those weather patterns in advance.

The messaging piece is to allow full automation of the alerts so that when uses their very comprehensive weather system to determine that a driver may be impacted by weather along the route, and then that's confirmed by the Weather Task Force. We can very quickly and very easily get that message right in front of the driver where it needs to be in order to affect that safely and quickly.

Assured Telematics and Geotab have both been very responsive to introductions I've made to other solution providers that are working in the same space, and ORBCOMM is certainly one of them- but it's just one of them. In our case, we use ORBCOMM for the telematics on our trailers, and we are all working together to create a single point of data and analytics across the entire telematics enterprise.

It's really exciting to see the industry coming together, in a sense, to bring all of this data into one place so that we could maximize the efficiency of utilizing the information to make the right decisions.

We're so excited to see what's in store as well. So thanks again, Tom, for sharing your experiences. It was an absolute pleasure speaking with you, and we can't wait to share these insights.

*Please note that the transcribed content from the video has been carefully edited for clarity and readability in this written format.

"It's really exciting to see the industry coming together, in a sense, to bring all of this data into one place so that we could maximize the efficiency of utilizing the information to make the right decisions."