What should I look for in a GPS fleet tracking service?
While certain features (and their commensurate benefits) depend on your business’s unique needs, standard GPS fleet tracking systems should include driver safety tracking, navigation and communication options, fuel card integration, and vehicle maintenance tracking. The best GPS fleet tracking systems are easy to use and often have extra features like alert systems and mobile access, underpinned by ongoing customer support, which should ideally be available at all times.
What GPS hardware do I need to track my fleet?
You will need to install a GPS tracking device on each vehicle or asset you want to track. One of the most popular types of tracking hardware is a plug-and-play device that can be easily inserted and removed from your vehicle’s OBD-II port. Another option is to have a hardwired tracking device installed on each vehicle. These are harder to install and extricate, but also more difficult to tamper with. Common hardware add-ons include dashboard cameras (for video telematics) and driver ID readers (for tracking drivers). You may also consider installing tracking devices on non-powered assets and equipment.
What data does GPS tracking provide?
GPS tracking services can provide you with a wealth of data on your vehicles and drivers. Although the specific alerts and reports vary by platform, most GPS fleet tracking software provides data on:
- Vehicle location
- Driver behavior and performance
- Vehicle health and maintenance
- Fuel consumption
- Navigation and route optimization
- Fleet safety and security.
Most software allows you to customize your reports, such as geofencing, which raises an alert if a vehicle enters or leaves a designated area. Verizon Connect will proactively suggest possible geofence areas, and we wish more firms were this forward-thinking.
What other components of GPS tracking should I be aware of?
Not all systems offer real-time tracking. Although many services claim to do so, they are actually “near real time.” That means that instead of offering second-to-second tracking on where your fleet is, they update every 10 to 120 seconds with breadcrumb trails. This might not be an issue for most businesses, but it is something to be aware of if you need instant updates. Only a few companies we researched offer true real-time tracking, such as Samsara, though some will increase refresh rates if you pay a little extra.
What are the security benefits of GPS trackers for a business fleet?
GPS fleet tracking systems allow businesses to monitor their trucks, equipment and drivers in real time. Instead of just hoping that their assets are being taken care of, businesses can use GPS fleet tracking to keep possessions secure. For example, you can use a GPS tracker to ensure your trucks are staying within a designated area, and you can leave large machinery at a construction site overnight and rest assured it’ll be tracked if it moves. Some GPS tracking systems also have video telematics capabilities, offering firsthand insights on how your fleet is being managed.
What types of businesses can benefit from GPS tracking?
Although most businesses that use fleet tracking are in the transportation and logistics industries, such as trucking and car services, virtually any business that needs to monitor company assets, vehicles or equipment can benefit from these solutions. For example, businesses in the following industries may need GPS tracking:
- Heavy equipment
- Retail and manufacturing
- Government and public safety
- Oil, mining and gas
- Food and beverage
- Vehicle rental
How can fleet management software help me save money?
Fleet management software provides a variety of insights that can help businesses save money. By viewing fleet trends and GPS data, you can track and improve your drivers’ performance, reduce their fuel consumption, optimize driver routes, and minimize risks. GPS trackers on assets can also help you locate and recover them in the event of theft, and the high-definition video recordings captured by dashcams provide definitive evidence of who was responsible for an accident or incident. They can also help to mitigate the criticism and potential lost revenue that may arise if footage of a branded vehicle is recorded by a third party and then posted (sometimes out of context) on social media.
Proactive maintenance scheduling and remote vehicle monitoring also save your business money in the long term, and some GPS fleet tracking firms have negotiated discounts on tires and repairs at partner garages.
What are the disadvantages of using GPS fleet tracking software?
There are two potential disadvantages of using GPS fleet tracking software: low employee morale and significant upfront costs. Staff may be uncomfortable with the monitoring system and view it as a lack of trust, so be upfront with employees about how and why you are tracking them. Focus on the benefits of the software by using GPS tracking software data for performance-based incentives.
GPS fleet tracking software can also be expensive at the outset, though the long-term benefits of optimizing routes and cutting fuel costs often outweigh any initial upfront and monthly costs. Finally, we wish these costs were more widely advertised.
Read related article: We explain how to reduce fuel costs across your fleet.
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