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It’s a fact, GPS fleet tracking systems can make your business more competitive.

Most companies rely on technology to improve productivity and performance. For small and mid-sized businesses with fleet vehicles, GPS fleet tracking (AKA telematics) is providing new ways to compete against enterprise on an equal footing.

It used to be that only large corporations could afford to track their fleets. Fleet tracking systems improve efficiency while decreasing operational costs. Advances in hardware and software have telematics affordable for businesses of all sizes. It’s important for SMBs to learn about this technology and take advantage of the available opportunities.

GPS Fleet Tracking: An Overview

Commercial fleet management has always been challenging. Business owners and fleet managers have to juggle people, assets, and schedules. On top of that, accidents and rising insurance costs increase the level of uncertainty.

A GPS fleet tracking system or telematics can provide solutions to these problems. It can help businesses track driver behavior, vehicle speed, and route efficiency to mitigate risk factors and decrease costs.

Benefits of GPS Fleet Tracking Systems

A GPS fleet tracking system can offer great financial and operational advantages for SMBs. As a fleet management solution, it provides comprehensive real-time vehicle monitoring with dashboards, reports, maps and visual tools. Here are some key reasons for using a vehicle tracking system.

Fuel Economy

Fuel is the single largest fleet expense so every business is trying to improve fuel efficiency. Telematics provides the necessary tools to measure fuel usage so that it can be managed. It can also gather and analyze data for metrics like speeding, idling or tire pressure. All of these factors contribute to fuel wastage in various ways.

Did you know driving over 50 mph leads to a decrease in fuel efficiency?  Similarly, under-inflated tires can make engines run harder and waste energy. On the other hand, an idling vehicle waiting to move wastes gas for no reason. However, businesses cannot prevent these problems without relevant data. Telematics provides the information in a manageable way. So you can look at your dashboards and make better decisions about drivers and routes to avoid these problems.

Better Security and Safety

GPS vehicle tracking solutions can proactively stop vehicle misuse and theft. Employees wouldn’t risk going out-of-route because they know that they are being tracked. Criminals will avoid stealing vehicles with telematics due to the higher probability of getting caught.

You can use the systems to monitor driving behaviors and maintenance issues to improve the safety of each vehicle. If you notice a particular driver has a tendency to drive aggressively, you can take measures to prevent future problems.

Modern telematics systems can use sensors to gather diagnostic information about vehicles and alert you about issues. It decreases the possibility of maintenance-related mishaps. In the case of an accident, vehicle tracking tools can help with fault determinations and insurance evaluations.

Operational Efficiency and Cost Reduction

Telematics can help fleet managers improve various aspects of business operations. For example, you can look at the driving stats and remove high-risk drivers. Or you can track vehicle performances by make and model to make decisions about future purchases.

Telematics can also help with compliance issues like hours of service (HOS), driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) and electronic logging device (ELD). Drivers spend a lot of time recording and logging route information. Telematics eliminates the manual work saving time and money.

Better Customer Experience

A good GPS fleet tracking solution can decrease the guesswork from routing and dispatching. As the number of vehicles in your fleet increases, the task of scheduling becomes more complex. Vehicle tracking systems monitor vehicles in real-time, so you can dispatch more efficiently. Also, you can use the collected data to make better routing decisions. It increases your reliability and mitigates risk factors. All of these lead to better experiences for your customers.

Predictive Maintenance

Telematics solutions are getting smarter every day. New systems are using the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to produce better results. You can start taking your business to the next level with these advanced GPS fleet tracking solutions. For example, sensor data collected from vehicles can be analyzed in real-time to alert the drivers and the administrative staff about imminent issues. Advanced analytics like this can help you dispatch your support vehicles faster to minimize maintenance times. It can eliminate the number of stranded vehicles.

Considerations for Finding the Right Fleet Management Solution

Regardless of the number of drivers or vehicles, a robust GPS fleet tracking solution will make your life easier. It will also set you up for future scalability.

When you are considering a system, start the decision process by identifying concrete objectives and conveying that information to the vendor. Here are some points of consideration:

Business Models and Installations

Business models can differ significantly from vendor to vendor. You need to investigate their installation, maintenance, and contract policies. Both monthly subscriptions and freemium models are popular.

In a freemium model, vendors provide free features in exchange for sharing your vehicle data. Generally, you have to pay for the more advanced features. Also, remember that your vehicles might come with telematics already installed by the automaker.

Pricing and Warranties

The pricing will also differ from vendor to vendor. Look at the cost per vehicle, service contracts and hardware warranties for the TCU units. Also, consider the upgrade fees, especially if you are using a freemium vendor. Check data storage costs which can be significant if you are collecting data for a large fleet.

Alert Systems and Access Points

A good telematics system needs to provide a reliable alert system that is easily accessible. Consider the types of alerts, customization options, and endpoints.

Vendors might also vary in terms of providing web, text, email, and mobile-based access. Your organization’s objectives will dictate which features are more important for you.

Usability and Training

The solution should be easy to use and interpret. If the technology baffles your drivers and other staff members, then it wouldn’t be productive. Test run the solution with a focus group to make sure that your organization can easily learn and understand the interfaces and dashboards. The system shouldn’t become a bottleneck.

Technical and Customer Support

The interactions among hardware, servers, and software make GPS fleet tracking systems complex. Even if you have an internal IT team, you still need robust support from the service provider. So, use references to verify vendor reputation before you make a purchase.

Employee Buy-In

Most businesses miss an important point – GPS tracking systems are going to track human beings. Your employees might feel uncomfortable about the idea.

You need to work with them to ensure they understand the importance of the system. Without their acceptance, the probability of success will decrease significantly.

Next Generation Tracking Systems

Vehicle tracking solutions are a direct result of that technological advancement and they are improving every day. You can expect to see more artificial intelligence and automation in the coming years. However, the fundamentals remain the same. The right GPS tracking system should help you better manage your fleet, improve operational efficiency, save money and make your business more competitive.

Final Thoughts on Fleet Tracking to Improve Productivity

It’s clear that increased visibility into your fleet operation can improve your productivity. We listed numerous ways you can take advantage of the technology. It can help mitigate risk factors and decrease costs.

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