How GPS Tracking Improves Fleet Management

Jan 2018 | Fleet Management

67% of fleet managers report that their investment in GPS technology quickly paid itself off financially for a positive ROI. But the cost-savings of GPS tracking is only one of many reasons this technology is a must for any modern fleet.

Let’s explore why.

1. Real-Time Data for Your Customers

Technological advancements have conditioned the modern customer to expect real-time data. As businesses, we may feel that this is a lofty expectation. However, providing access to this data is an important part of maintaining strong customer relationships.

With tracking systems, you can show customers exactly where their shipment is at any given time! Just package your tracking data and give clients direct access through a simple app or website. Armed with this information, customers can make better business decisions around estimated delivery time. Moreover, it’s also a chance for you to be a hero! Ok maybe not quite a hero, but your clients will recognize you as an informed, helpful, and transparent fleet manager. You’ll have everything under control.

An extra bonus? You customer support team will love you. Your team will get fewer phone inquiries from frantic customers wondering where their shipments are when they have access to live tracking data.

Your success lies in the hands of your customers. Fortunately, clients like doing business with companies who show that they care. Ultimately, providing excellent customer service is the best way to show clients that they matter. You’ll gain a huge advantage on the customer satisfaction scale using GPS tracking as part of your fleet strategy.


2. Instant In-Transit Feedback

Do your shipments require temperature control to comply with quality or health standards? Or are your drivers responsible for transporting valuable goods or dangerous materials that require close theft monitoring? What happens when something unexpected causes a delay? And what do you do when your driver’s truck is experiencing mechanical issues?

High quality GPS tracking provides instant feedback. It lets you know where each of your trucks are and how your drivers are operating them. Additionally, you can gather information such as temperature, fuel level, brake use, and diagnostic engine codes when your tracking system is part of a more feature-rich telematics system. All of this data is reported in near real time (depending on the system you choose). By the same token, your dispatcher or office staff can monitor the data remotely. Telematics equips you to ensure better driver safety, policy compliance, and equipment uptime.


3. Better Record-Keeping

As you know, record-keeping is absolutely crucial in fleet management. From mileage and driver hours to maintenance records and engine hours—you need to measure, record, and track all of it.

Records impact your scheduling, your hiring decisions, and your bottom line. For many years it required stacks of paper, snail mail, and hours upon hours of precious time. Don’t get us wrong, paper records and driver know-how can get the job done. But what are you risking? Most organizations are better off when they take steps to avoid or reduce the impacts of:

  • Forgotten paperwork
  • Poorly understood policies
  • Over/underestimations

When GPS tracking is part of a larger fleet management system that offers solutions such as electronic forms, it can go a long way towards eliminating these issues. First, you digitize your paper forms so that your field workers can access and fill them out on smartphones and tablets. Next, alerts remind your drivers to fill out timesheets and job tickets. Finally, the system automatically submits completed tickets to office staff. Simultaneously, data such as mileage and engine time is automatically collected and recorded.

Drivers no longer require a binder of paperwork and ‘admin’ time. Now, they can focus on what they do best — getting shipments from point A to point B quickly, securely, and safely.


4. Improved Route-Planning & Execution

For years, drivers and managers have been tasked with the challenge of finding the most efficient transportation routes. The number of variables involved make it humanly impossible to choose the best route every time. In addition to distance there are speed limits, street surfaces, road conditions, toll fees, construction zones, traffic situations, weather conditions, vehicle restrictions, load sizes, and weight limits to consider. Unfortunately, that’s not even an exhaustive list.

Many telematics systems provide routing tools that take many of these factors into consideration when recommending dynamic and predictive routes. Also, GPS tracking provides the current and historical data that your drivers and dispatchers need to optimize routes with more ease and accuracy. It’s helpful to your drivers, it’s better for your customers, and it’s healthier for everyone’s bottom line.


5. Accountability

You trust your drivers. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have hired them. But humans are far from perfect. We’re inconsistent, easily distracted, and vulnerable to stress. Therefore, we’re also slow to see our own faults and prone to make risky decisions without considering the full impacts. So it’s not surprising that human error causes 94% of all motor vehicle crashes.

Fortunately, you can help to reduce that impact with GPS tracking. You’ll find yourself empowered to closely monitor driver behaviour and hold everyone in your fleet to a higher level of accountability. Above all, you’ll be able to protect them from other drivers on the road.

Full-featured telematics solutions supplement your basic tracking data with information on driver behaviours. These behaviours can be include speeding, harsh acceleration, sharp turning, hard braking, and others. Keep close tabs on these leading causes of traffic accidents and you’ll find value in rewarding safe driving behaviour and reducing the number of accidents that your fleet is involved in.

Additionally, quality fleet management companies offer high repeat rates that are useful in reconstructing accidents that your drivers may be involved in. Using this data, you can protect your drivers from taking blame in accidents that they are not the cause of.

6. Reduced Distracted Driving

Sudden braking, inconsistent speeds, and sharp swerves or turns are all possible signs that a driver is experiencing distractions or fatigue. Luckily, telematics can monitor them all.

Whether a driver is getting drowsy, texting, or fiddling with the radio, your driver, your equipment, and the public are all at risk. Distractions are dangerous. The end result could be a last-minute correction, a complaint from a member of the public, an accident, or even injury or death. Regardless of the outcome, your fleet is liable and your company’s reputation is at risk.

Professional drivers are responsible for tight deadlines and maneuvering equipment that can weigh 20-30 times that of a regular passenger car. With this in mind, it’s no wonder that the public expects a lot from your drivers.

Although working with distractions while driving is a challenge for all, studies show that professional drivers are 23X more likely to have a critical safety event while distracted than the average commuter.

These critical events include:

  • Sharp swerving or turns
  • Abrupt or unintended lane changes
  • Sudden stops

Tracking technologies effectively identify, track, and reduce dangerous driving behaviours. Consequently, they help to prevent truck-related fatalities. With more vehicles on the road each year, your drivers will face more distractions than ever before. So, it’s important to have technologies in place that help to reduce their driving risk.


7. Safe Driving Recognition

As a fleet manager, you know how important it is to reward safe, productive behaviours. Correspondingly, you want to discourage actions that could put people and equipment at risk. Your business’ success relies on your drivers staying on schedule. But if they’re sacrificing sleep, skipping safety inspections, doctoring log books, or speeding in order to do it, you need to know.

GPS tracking delivers solid data on each of your drivers. You’ll know exactly how they behave behind the wheel. Many solutions also provide a driver scoring system to better compare your drivers to each other. These systems take several different factors and behaviours into consideration and boil them down into one score. Fleet managers find it an easy way to identify which drivers deserve to be recognized and rewarded for their performance. On the flip side, you’ll also have data to correct poor driving behaviours and justify your corrective actions.

GPS tracking gives you the data needed to make more informed decisions for your fleet and driver workforce.



8. Slashed Fuel Costs

What driver actions consume more fuel unnecessarily than anything else? Idling, speeding, and harsh acceleration.

According to Natural Resources Canada, exceeding a 100 km/h limit by just 20 km/h will cost 20% more in fuel costs. Likewise, harsh starts and stops can consume 40% more fuel. In addition, idling a light duty for just 10 minutes each day can cost 183 litres of fuel each year. That’s on top of the extra maintenance costs required to deal with increased wear and tear.

Quality GPS tracking systems can easily monitor these three wasteful behaviours. They allow fleet managers to monitor idling, record harsh acceleration, and track speeding occurrences in real time. Plus, they can export summary reports.

The savings gained through reduced idle-time and fuel consumption are both significant and measurable. A 120-vehicle delivery fleet reported on their ability to save $167,600 in fuel and $127,400 in driver-time each year through the use of GPS tracking data.

GFI Systems clients have also claimed significant savings by reducing idle time by 24% and slashing speeding occurrences by 32%.


GPS Tracking: Stretching Resources

Every minute and every kilometre counts when you’re managing a fleet of trucks. Tracking your fleet helps you to get the most out of your limited staff, equipment, and time resources. By identifying risky driving behaviours, increasing accountability, improving transparency and client satisfaction, slashing fuel costs, reducing distractions, and keeping better records, your fleet will be set up for success. All you need to get started is GPS Tracking.

Have you had success integrating GPS Tracking technology into your fleet management practices? Let us know in the comments.

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