Truck Tracking and Your Business
October 06, 2010 by Andrew Mead
Tangible financial benefits are possible with truck tracking
Businesses that rely on fleet trucks to provide products and services to their clients can experience tangible financial benefits with GPS truck tracking. GPS fleet tracking essentially puts you in the passenger seat of every truck in your fleet. By tracking your trucks, you can gain complete control over your fleet, significantly reduce costs and improve productivity.
Reducing Fuel Costs
Almost everything monitored by GPS truck tracking can work to help reduce fuel costs.
Speeding is a huge factor in high fuel usage. Maintaining proper speeds can significantly reduce the amount of fuel used by your trucks. Many truck tracking solutions provide speed information and alert you when a truck exceeds set speed thresholds.
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. GPS can help reduce idling times by alerting you when trucks idle longer than a preset duration so you can take corrective action.
Truck tracking also provides location-based information dispatchers can use to provide proper routing information to trucks in the field. In addition, many systems have the ability to locate the truck closest to any specific job site. You can dispatch the truck that will arrive on the site first, thus further reducing fuel usage.
Improving Driver Behaviour
Other major contributors to high fleet costs are unauthorised truck use and improper driver behaviour. GPS fleet tracking can relay a variety of information regarding driving behaviour including truck speed, engine start-up and shut-down and idling time.
This information can be used to enforce driving policy and curb unwanted behaviour like excessive speeding, tardiness and extended truck idling. Studies show that tracking your trucks encourages employees to work more effectively and stop utilising company trucks for personal use.
Quality truck tracking solutions can also provide the ability to automate timesheets. You will know exactly when an employee starts 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 falsification or unintentional errors.
Increasing Security and Safety
GPS truck tracking can also help improve the security of your fleet. In the event a truck is stolen, a hidden GPS receiver can help you recover a truck and any onboard equipment quickly. In addition, some systems offer features that alert owners immediately if a truck is used during off-hours.
Some vehicle tracking systems feature alerting functions to let you know when trucks are due for routine maintenance. Proper maintenance ensures that your trucks are compliant with safety guidelines and can help reduce repair costs in the long run.
Better Customer Service
With proper mapping software, fleet owners know the exact location of every fleet truck. This gives dispatchers the ability to effectively direct drivers to any job site.
In addition, you can locate and dispatch the closest truck to any job site. Tracking your trucks provides better routing and dispatching. This reduces fuel usage, reduces truck mileage and increases the number of jobs completed in a day.
GPS truck 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.
There are a variety of different GPS solutions on the market that offer the aforementioned benefits. Therefore, the remainder of this article will focus on the key features that come from a strong provider like Fleetmatics.
Active vs. Passive Truck Tracking
Fleetmatics provides active truck tracking. Active truck tracking means that the data from the GPS receiver is transmitted to a remote user at regular intervals. The best systems transmit data every 60 seconds. This gives you real-time location information.
For passive truck tracking, all the GPS data is stored in the receiver and must be downloaded once all the trucks return to the office. Be cautious of system with “updates” every 5, 10, or 15 minutes as this isn’t truly live, and often times you can be charged for additional pings if you need to locate your truck 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 solutions utilise 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 GPS solution 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
Tracking your trucks requires current and clear mapping. Some GPS solutions have partnered with well-known mapping providers – for example, Fleetmatics with Google mapping – for the most accurate and up-to-date mapping available.
The best GPS 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 allow 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 organised to give you information about daily truck activity, speeding violations, violations of company driving policy, a complete list of truck starts and stops, excessive idling times and much more.
Fleetmatics also has extensive historical reporting functions. You can access any GPS information gathered by your system from the time you started using it. Using data mining techniques, 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, excessive idling, engine start-up or shut-down during off-hours, unauthorised truck usage and when a truck enters or exits specific geographic areas.
Explaining Truck Tracking to Your Employees
Once you’ve decided to track your trucks, it’s important to get your drivers and staff on board for the program. GPS truck tracking is a way to reward hard work and eliminate bad habits that can lead to serious financial loss.
Let your drivers know that truck tracking provides an important safety function for your business and the drivers as well. GPS allows you to keep up with proper truck maintenance, keeping trucks safe on the road. In addition, GPS tracking will allow you to recover any stolen trucks more quickly, which will help keep your business from incurring losses.
Truck tracking is also an essential customer service tool that can lead to happier clients and additional business. The system can also protect drivers against false complaints about overcharges and services not rendered.
Most importantly, tracking your trucks 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 truck tracking data can boost morale and help gain acceptance of the system.
While truck tracking may be new to your business, GPS is a proven technology that is fast becoming the industry standard for businesses with truck fleets. By not tracking your trucks, you could be putting your business and employees at risk.