Updated: Apr 1
9 Smart Ways a GPS Vehicle Tracker Can Help Your Bottom Line
When you think of the benefits of a GPS vehicle tracker, what comes to mind? We’re guessing improved route efficiency and fuel savings. But you should know that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
GPS vehicle trackers not only enable you to reduce a number of expenses. They can also help to increase your revenues. If you’re looking to capture a healthier bottom line, you’ll want to do both. Truck tracking can help.
1. Superior Routes
First, you can use the routing tool that accompanies most GPS vehicle trackers to ensure that your drivers are taking the fastest, most cost-effective routes. Routing tools remove the need for complex calculations and educated guesses. Instead, they summarize a large variety of data including factors such as:
Distance and travel time
Road surface types and speed limits
Traffic rates and weather conditions
Construction zones and toll roads
Height and weight restrictions
Dispatchers and drivers can combine this routing data with their industry expertise to plan the best routes more quickly and easily. Meanwhile, GPS tracking data gives you a ‘real-time’ view of vehicles in the field. Therefore, on-road adjustments can be made in a snap to adapt to changing road conditions and closures.
So, how does all this help your bottom line? Well, routing tools should save your dispatchers and drivers planning time. Plus, more optimal routes can save your drivers time and allow them to fit in additional service jobs or deliveries, which bring in more revenue. Optimized routes also reduce idle-time and vehicle mileage in many cases leading to reduced fuel consumption and vehicle wear and tear. That saves you money in fuel and vehicle maintenance costs.
2. Lower Speeds
We already know that routing tools can reduce fuel costs. How else can a GPS vehicle tracker create fuel savings? The most crucial way is by helping you to reducing driving speeds.
Each km over 80 KPH increases fuel consumption by around 1.5 percent. GPS tracking shows you exactly how fast each of your drivers is going. All you need to do is compare that data to your fleet speed policies and enforce those policies with your drivers. Some systems will even assign a colour code or driver score so that it is easy for you to identify your heavy-footed drivers and address their behaviour. Additionally, in most fleet software, you can set up custom speed alerts so that the system notifies you each time a driver exceeds a set speed limit. This is often paired with an in-cab speed buzzer that reminds your drivers to slow down once they’ve surpassed a certain speed.
Reducing driving speeds not only saves your fleet in fuel and maintenance costs, but reduces a number of other costly fleet risks including:
At the end of the day, reducing your fleet speeds is probably the number one step you can take towards improving your fleet operations. Depending on the size of your fleet, the savings add up quick.
3. Less Risky Behavior
No one likes a manager looking over their shoulder — especially not drivers in a profession that generally embraces freedom and independence. But your top priority must be the safety of your drivers and others on the roadway. And safety requires you to have some level of oversight.
With a GPS vehicle tracker you can get reports that help you to identify the behaviours that may put people at risk of being in a traffic accident like:
Speeding – responsible for 30% of all fatal crashes
Sudden braking or acceleration – can indicate distraction, fatigue, or reckless driving
Driving too many hours – fatigue contributes to 20% of all fatal collisions
The FMCSA has reported that the average cost of a truck crash is somewhere between $91,000 and $148,000. You can guarantee that that number jumps when there is an injury or fatality. Additionally, the costs are much higher when you consider the indirect costs such as lost clients, wasted productivity/staff time, and reputation damage.
So, it is absolutely in your best interest to reduce your fleet’s risk of collision by keeping close tabs on all of your drivers’ risky behaviours. Your bottom line will thank you. We find it’s best to set and communicate clear policies and standards with your drivers. Then, use telematics as your guide in identifying, addressing, coaching, and/or removing your “bad drivers.”
In the meantime, you’ll want to use the same process to recognize and reward your “good drivers” to encourage safe behaviours and retain these valuable drivers.
4. Better Insurance Premiums
Once you’ve reduced your fleet’s mileage and lowered risky behaviours like speeding, you’re less likely to have one of your drivers cause an accident. And safety pays.
Clean driver records will earn your fleet lower premiums. Plus you’ll avoid the premium hikes that so often accompany vehicle collisions, because your fleet won’t be involved in as many. High quality GPS data can also help if your driver is involved in an accident that isn’t their fault.
Depending on your fleet tracking software’s repeat rate, you should have access to a detailed history replay of any accident your vehicles are involved it. You can use this data to help prove your driver’s innocence by looking at location, time, speed, direction, and acceleration or brake information.
Your insurance company could also reward you with lower insurance premiums just for using telematics. Many insurance companies offer discounts of up to 35% on trucks with a GPS vehicle tracker.
5. Improved Fleet Maintenance
Vehicle maintenance is crucial to your fleet’s long-term success. If your vehicles are not in working order or are breaking down on the side of the road, you’re losing valuable time and money.
Quality GPS tracking software has fleet maintenance tools that can help to optimize fleet maintenance and avoid costly breakdowns. Your GPS tracking device collects mileage and engine hour data directly from your vehicle. Then, you use a fleet maintenance tool to set up custom maintenance reminders based on this data. Finally, you get an email notification alerting you of each vehicle’s maintenance needs.
Let’s use oil changes as an example. Not changing your vehicle’s oil causes engine wear, sludge buildup, and corrosion. In the worst cases it can cause serious engine damage and require an engine rebuild or replacement. That can cost a small fortune.
Your policy might be to change the oil in your light duty trucks once every 12,000 kilometres. Without GPS tracking, you need to rely on each of your drivers to keep track of their mileage and let you know when they’re close to needing an oil change. How often do they forget? How often do they shrug and say ‘an extra thousand miles isn’t going to hurt anything’?
With a GPS vehicle tracker, you receive an alert 1,000 kilometres before each light duty truck hits its limit. Now you have plenty of time to book the driver in for an oil change when it doesn’t disrupt regular business. Reset the odometer countdown at the time of service and voila, 11,000 kilometres later you get another reminder.
Utilizing your tracking systems’ other features to reduce mileage, improve driving behaviours and reduce idling will also pay off in spades. You’ll see less wear and tear and require less maintenance.
6. Stolen Truck Recovery
One of the obvious but important ways GPS tracking can improve your bottom line is by keeping track of the physically location of each of your trucks. If a truck is stolen or unexpectedly goes off route, you can quickly find out exactly where it is.
Skilled chop shop operators can disassemble your truck into parts for resale in under 30 minutes. Every minute counts. A GPS vehicle tracker can help you to quickly notice and respond theft. Extreme speeds, tamper alarms, and after-hours notifications are telling signs. Additionally, live GPS tracking can help you to notify law enforcement of your vehicle’s current location and make recovery quicker.
With GPS tracking, you’re far more likely to get your truck back in one piece. Without it, you might not get your truck back at all.
7. Less Idling
It’s just so easy to leave a truck running. It’s the middle of winter or you’re just running into the shop for a minute. You’re trying to keep the cabin comfortable or you need to leave your phone plugged in so you don’t drain the battery.
We all do it from time to time and your drivers are no different. Except that they drive way more than the average commuter. All that extra time in the truck creates more opportunity for idling and it’s costing you money.
With GPS vehicle tracking you know how much idling each of your drivers do on a daily basis. Match that up with weather conditions or job schedules and you’ll see how much of it is unnecessary. The good news is that it’s a pretty easy fix. Have your drivers turn off their trucks if they’re going to be stopped for more than say 60-120 seconds. It’s as simple as a turn of a key.
Trucking companies who curb their idling by even 50% can save as much as $2800 per truck per year. That’s great for your bottom line.
8. Reduced Overtime
Even really honest people may not see the harm in fudging a timesheet by 20 minutes or so every once in a while. It seems like a victimless crime. It’s easy to come up with justifications — I work hard, I cut my lunch break short, I shouldn’t be penalized for finishing up early.
But for your company, those minutes add up quick. Multiply across your fleet for a month or a year and those minutes can cost you some serious cash.
A GPS vehicle tracker can provide a truer picture of actual hours worked. Driving hours can be tracked from the first key-on or sign of motion in the morning right through to the last key-off of the day. It can account for breaks and provide a list of trips driven throughout the day. You can even use geofences in most systems to separate hours into different billable regions.
Many GPS tracking providers also offer electronic forms and Electronic Logging Devices (ELD). Electronic forms can be used to simplify your timesheet process by making forms easier to fill out and available on any digital device. They can even automatically include location and time data in many cases.
ELDs work with a smartphone or tablet app and pull in odometer readings, engine data, and location information to accurately track on-duty and off-duty hours for full hours of service compliance. These devices are now mandatory in the United States. In Canada, they’re growing in popularity.
GPS Vehicle Tracker: An Investment that Pays for Itself
Using a GPS vehicle tracker isn’t just about saving money on fuel. And it’s certainly not about being big brother and watching your drivers’ every move. It’s about systematically optimizing your fleet operations to keep your drivers safe, your fleet compliant, and your bottom line healthy.
Investing in your fleet with GPS vehicle tracking is a highly effective way to save on costs, improve productivity, reduce liability, and run your fleet more effectively.
How have you improved your fleet’s bottom line? Let us know in the comments below