Almost everything monitored by GPS vehicle tracking solutions can work to help reduce fuel costs.
Excessive idling can contribute to high fuel costs for many businesses. When drivers unproductively waste fuel by using their truck as a climate control system, you lose money from your bottom line. Fleet tracking solutions can help reduce idling times by alerting you when vehicles idle longer than a preset duration so you can take corrective action.
Vehicle tracking also provides location-based information dispatchers can use to provide proper routing information to technicians and vehicles in the field. In addition, many systems have the ability to locate the closest vehicle to any specific job site. You can dispatch the technician that will arrive on the site first, thus further reducing fuel usage. (Learn more about reducing costs by downloading the ebook, 9 Secrets to Reducing Your Fleet Expenses.)
Improving Driver Behavior
Other major contributors to high fleet costs are unauthorized vehicle usage and improper driver behavior. GPS vehicle tracking solutions can relay a variety of information regarding driving behavior including speed, engine start-up and shut-down times and idling time.
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This information can be used to enforce driving policy and curb unwanted behavior like excessive speeding, tardiness and extended idling. Studies show that tracking your vehicles encourages employees to work more effectively and stop utilizing company trucks for personal use.
Quality fleet tracking solutions can also provide the ability to automate timesheets. You will know exactly when employees start work, how long they take for lunches and breaks, and when they stop working for the day, without relying on manual timesheets. Accurate, verifiable timesheets will streamline payroll processes and help you avoid paying excessive overtime pay due to timesheet fraud or unintentional errors.
Increasing Safety and Security
A GPS vehicle tracking solution can also help improve the security of your fleet. In the event a vehicle is stolen, a hidden GPS receiver can help you recover an asset and any onboard equipment or inventory quickly. In addition, some systems offer features that alert owners immediately if a vehicle is used during off-hours.
Some telematics providers feature alerting functions to let you know when vehicles are due for routine maintenance. Proper maintenance ensures that your fleet is compliant with safety guidelines and can help reduce repair costs in the long run.
Better Customer Service
With proper mapping software, fleet owners and managers know the exact location of every vehicle in their fleet. This gives dispatchers the ability to effectively direct drivers to any job site. In addition, you can locate and dispatch the closest vehicle to any job site. GPS vehicle tracking provides better routing and dispatching which reduces fuel usage, reduces truck mileage and increases the number of jobs completed in a day.
Fleet tracking solutions can incorporate a number of features that help improve customer service. Better routing and dispatching helps you get to your customers more quickly. You will also be able to determine when a truck arrived on a job and when it left, providing accurate and verifiable proof of services.
Active vs. Passive Vehicle Tracking
Fleetmatics provides active GPS vehicle tracking. This means that the data from the GPS receiver is transmitted to a remote user at regular intervals to give you near real-time location information.
For passive tracking, all the GPS data is stored in the receiver and must be downloaded once all the vehicle return to the office. Be cautious of systems with “updates” every 5, 10, or 15 minutes as this isn’t truly live, and often, you can be charged for additional pings if you need to locate your vehicle between intervals.
Real-time (active) tracking has become the most popular method for tracking trucks despite its higher cost because of the huge benefits to having real-time information to make on-demand management decisions.
Web-based vs. Client-based
Many GPS vehicle tracking solutions utilize proprietary software that requires installation on your computer. Often, these solutions also require frequent manual upgrades and downloads. Another drawback to proprietary software is that the interface can only be used on computers with the proper installation.
Fleetmatics provides the information securely over the Internet. As long as you know the login and password, you can access your account from any internet-enabled computer. The flexibility and 24/7 accessibility of an Internet based solution makes it the far superior choice when deciding on a specific GPS solution.
The Importance of Mapping
Fleet tracking requires current and clear mapping. Some solutions have partnered with well-known mapping providers – for example, Fleetmatics partners with Google maps – for the most accurate and up-to-date mapping available.
The best mapping features allow you to zoom all the way down to street level and provide street, terrain, satellite and hybrid street/satellite views. In addition, you should be able to get real-time traffic information via the mapping in order to help drivers avoid delays.
Using Reports and Alerts
Fleetmatics allows you to automate concise and easy-to-understand reports
on a weekly or monthly basis. In addition, you have the ability to generate reports instantly. The data can be organized to give you information about daily vehicle or driver activity, speeding violations, violations of company driving policy, a complete list of jobs, excessive idling times and much more.
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Fleetmatics also has extensive historical reporting functions. You can access GPS information gathered by your solution from the time you started using it. You can compare the performance between two employees, or compare an employee’s performance against the company average in areas such as speeding, idling, miles driven and engine-on or off times.
Alerting features can easily notify you of unwanted behavior. Alerts
should be flagged in relevant reports and you have the ability to be notified of any alerts as soon as a violation occurs via email or mobile device. Alerts can also be triggered for excessive speeding and idling, engine start-up or shut-down times, after-hours unauthorized truck usage and the moments a truck enters or exits specific locations.
Explaining Vehicle Tracking to Employees
Once you’ve decided to track your vehicles, it’s important to get your drivers and staff on board for the program. Fleet tracking is a way to reward hard work and eliminate bad habits that can lead to serious financial loss.
Let your drivers know that vehicle tracking provides an important safety function for your business and the drivers as well. GPS allows you to keep up with proper maintenance, keeping vehicles safe on the road. In addition, vehicle tracking will allow you to recover any stolen assets more quickly, which will help keep your business from incurring losses.
Vehicle tracking is also an essential customer service tool that can lead to happier customers and additional business. Having a solution in place can also protect drivers against false complaints about overcharges and services not rendered.
Most importantly, tracking your vehicle provides numerous benefits that help increase revenue. Increased revenue adds to a company’s financial stability and provides drivers with job security. Many businesses use the increased revenue to reward employees with bonuses. Rewards based on tangible vehicle tracking data can boost morale and help gain acceptance of the solution.
While vehicle tracking may be new to your business, GPS is a proven technology that is fast becoming the industry standard for businesses with fleets. By not tracking your most important, you could be putting your business and employees at risk.
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