Vehicle management systems

Minorplanet Systems outlines the Venicle Management Systems (VMI) which it has to offer the public sector

Following changes to its core management team coupled with a period of vigorous development, world leading telematics company, Minorplanet Systems, provider of VMI systems to the public sector, has received recognition from the ITM in the form of a double announcement. Read about the changes in the market at, so you will be in the center of the information spectrum.

The awards for Vehicle Management Company 2007 and Best Improved Financial Performance 2007 come hot on the heels of Minorplanet's recent announcement that it achieved a £1 million profit for year ending August 2006 reversing its losses from the previous year.

Patrick Sheedy, Media and PR Director for the Institute, said: "Every year the Institute rewards companies that provide outstanding products or services to the industry. In doing so, it can be easy to overlook organisations that, for varying reasons, are experiencing difficulties. It is, in our opinion, a most noteworthy indicator of success, when a company such as Minorplanet can reverse its fortunes in the manner in which it has done so."

Chief Executive of Minorplanet Systems, Terry Donovan, commented: "These awards come at a time of major change for Minorplanet and reinforce our belief that sustained investment in our people, products and services returns Minorplanet as a major force in the Telematics Industry." Terry continued: "Our long term vision is to remain fully aware of the concerns and issues affecting our customers, particularly those in the public sector, and to work alongside our Partners to ensure the provision of a total solutions package."

Minorplanet employs 350 people in the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. The recent personnel changes and major fundraising activity have been further supported by a £1.3 million Research and Development investment resulting in the widest range of VMITM products on the market.

Minorplanet offers a wide range of innovative, extensively tested and stable products which have been developed in-house and appeal to a wide range of sectors including local authorities, police, NHS, fire service, municipal waste contractors and housing associations. Solutions from Minorplanet are proven to help improve service level delivery, while reducing operating costs and associated environmental impacts.

By integrating Vehicle Management Information (VMITM) with back office systems, public sector organisations can take a holistic approach to fleet operations through a complete end-to-end solution. Minorplanet presents a number of key differentiators with regard to both the service and the solutions that are available to their customers.

Minorplanet, the telematics solution provider

Minorplanet Data Collection Units (DCU's) have several standard digital inputs which can be connected to any device which emits power, such as an alarm or hydraulic arm on a crane. Some customers require communications tools for the driver, including Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and Smartphones which will allow intelligent two-way messaging, job booking and dispatch software.

Minorplanet has developed its own solutions in this area but we also use partners to deliver specific and bespoke solutions to customers. This has included integration and reporting for onboard weighing, weight alarming, scheduling systems, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tagging and Local Authority roadside sweepers.

Typical councils look for Telematics Solutions to provide the following:

  • Fuel Efficiencies;
  • Improved personnel Management;
  • Defence of Claims;
  • Better use of Asset;
  • And more recently integration capabilities.

Typical vehicle integration applications include the following:

  • Spraying;
  • Gritting;
  • Weighing;
  • Refrigeration;
  • RFID tagging;Web portals;
  • PDA's;
  • Satellite Navigation;
  • Any digital device with RS232 output.

And finally, back office integration applications include the following:

  • Order processing;
  • Job scheduling;
  • Asset management;
  • Field software;
  • Bar-code reading software;
  • Call centre platform Integration.

The web based product, VMIgreenlightTM, was launched a year ago and has helped organisations of all sizes reduce fleet running costs and increase productivity. The recent addition of Performance Manager takes VMIgreenlightTM way beyond the simple "real time" vehicle location systems available elsewhere in the market.

VMIgreenlightTM provides an unequalled level of integration capability that takes the strain out of the monitoring, targeting and review of efficiency levels, not only of fuel use, but also for broader operational issues giving greater control. Using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), detailed reports can be used to undertake internal and also external operational reviews. Both systems' software use the Microsoft SQL server and are capable of automatically importing and exporting files in all standard formats including CSV and XML.

Minorplanet's second major differentiator has been illustrated by the recent launch of a drive-in facility in Bristol which gives users the opportunity to 'drop in' and have units installed by VSIB qualified engineers during the course of a working day, avoiding unnecessary vehicle down-time.

Director of Minorplanet Systems, Neil Kelly, commented: "Customers in the public sector particularly are benefiting from our 'Drive-In' Service, as the vehicles do not have to be taken off road for the day. Our dedicated team of highly experienced in-house Vehicle Security Installation Board (VSIB) accredited engineers can now fit our products faster, more efficiently and at the customer's convenience."

The Drive-In is strategically located just off Junction 16 of the M5, the main trunk road to the Midlands, and close to the M4. Facilities include a vehicle installation workshop, large enough for an entire cab and trailer or up to three smaller vehicles at one time and a state-of-the-art training and demonstration suite.