GPS tracking is a much-discussed topic for businesses that rely on drivers and vehicles. But just what is GPS, and what tangible benefits can it provide? This post is your definitive guide to understanding GPS tracking, why it matters, and the key things to look for when evaluating a solution.
What Is a GPS Tracking Solution?
In its simplest form, a GPS tracking solution is a device added to a vehicle to record real-time location data. This data is sent to a web-based application where fleet managers and business owners can quickly view the location of any vehicle or asset. In addition to real-time vehicle location data, historical GPS data is recorded within the application via ‘GPS breadcrumb trails.’ With this information, you’ll be able to view where any vehicle was located at any time, and the route used to get there. In short, GPS vehicle tracking automatically monitors your daily operations and provides objective feedback on whether they’re going as planned. The image below shows an example of a historical GPS breadcrumb trail:
Three Common Problems GPS Tracking Is Designed to Solve
Problem #1: Driver Accountability
Many operations lack visibility into what happens in the course of a day beyond whether a driver completed the deliveries or jobs. Are your drivers taking unplanned stops, driving vehicles harshly, or using your vehicles after hours? Did they actually get to the customer on time?
Problem #2: High Transportation Costs
Maintaining a fleet of vehicles is expensive — whether you use trucks, vans, or a little of both. Fuel usage, repairs, insurance costs, and under-utilized assets can take a heavy toll on profit margins if not managed closely.
Problem #3: Meeting High (and Rising) Customer Expectations
We live in an era where companies, such as Amazon, have dramatically changed customer expectations. Due to these high expectations, offering one-day or same-day delivery service is a must in order for businesses to compete. Without real-time visibility into asset tracking, responding to customer urgency is challenging.
How a Vehicle GPS Tracking Solution Can Benefit Your Business
We’ve established what a GPS tracking solution is, and pointed out a few of the common problems vehicle monitoring can solve. Now, let’s dive into the specific ways a solution can benefit your business.
Simplified Driver Management
Managing drivers is a tough job — but it can be a lot easier with the right technology:
If drivers are using vehicles outside of work hours, you’ll know it with automated alerts and easy-to-use reports.
‘Off-route violations’ will show when a driver has driven off the planned route.
- Your driver says he arrived in the early afternoon, but the customer says it was in the evening. Who do you believe? With GPS monitoring, you’ll know the truth.
Identify Your Great Drivers and Those Who Need Coaching
Choose the metrics you care about, such as dangerous driving behavior, vehicle idle time, and planned vs actual route performance and instantly find out where your drivers stack up, so you can incent the best and coach the rest.
Reduce Vehicle Fuel Usage
Did you know that fuel efficiency decreases by 1.6% with every MPH over 55? Or that for every hour a vehicle idles, about one gallon of fuel is used? Ouch. GPS monitoring solutions show which drivers are speeding, idling, and using vehicles for personal use, allowing you to address the issue before your profit margins disappear..
Minimize Accidents by Identifying Risky Driver Behavior
Do you know which of your drivers are braking harshly, taking hard corners, or backing into the loading dock too quickly? If not, you may have drivers putting your business at serious risk without even realizing it. With the cost of an average injury accident coming in at over $200,000, driver safety is a critical part of running a profitable business. GPS tracking services provide easy-to-use reports and automated alerts, so you can intervene accordingly. This information is proven to impact driver safety, in fact, 94% of our customers report reduced accidents.
Pro Tip: Omnitracs Roadnet Telematics includes a unique feature that alerts drivers they’re driving out of company policy with an audible ‘buzz.’ This instant feedback effectively influences driving behavior and operates as your ‘automated safety manager’.
Reduced Vehicle Insurance Premiums
Many insurance companies provide discounts to businesses using GPS tracking solutions on their trucks and vehicles, due to the proven impact on driver safety and theft reduction.
Prevent Vehicle Breakdowns and Be Proactive About Maintenance
Maintaining your vehicles is expensive, and unplanned downtimes can throw a major wrench into your business. GPS tracking solutions offer detailed vehicle diagnostics to proactively monitor vehicles for small problems that will soon become expensive breakdowns.
The customer is king — and an increasingly demanding one. If your customer has an emergency, they expect you to respond quickly. With GPS monitoring on your vehicles, the nearest available driver can be quickly located and re-routed. Also, customers want to know where their delivery is. Automated ETA notifications and real-time driver location data can help keep them informed and eliminate costly, “Where’s my order?” calls. This video explains just how quickly those costs can add up:
Do More, with Less Trucks and Fuel
GPS tracking solutions allow underutilized assets to be easily identified, helping ‘right-size’ your fleet. Planned vs actual route reporting can shed light on where disconnects between theory and execution may be resulting in unnecessary out-of-route miles.
How to Choose a GPS Vehicle Tracking Solution
Each business has unique requirements, and GPS tracking solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all. When choosing a solution, keep in mind the following considerations:
The Driver—Vehicle Dilemma
Some fleets have one driver per vehicle. In others, drivers may frequently switch vehicles. Ensure the provider you choose allows the ability to scan different drivers into a single GPS tracking device, otherwise the usefulness of your data will be severely impacted.
Do you need to comply with the ELD Mandate? Are you required to file IFTA or fill out Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, ensure you research providers who offer GPS tracking in addition to compliance automation.
Implementation, Training, and Support
The ROI of your investment will be heavily dependant on the quality of your implementation and your employee’s ability to actually use the technology. It is important to understand the vendor’s role not only in your implementation, but the type of training and support that will be provided post-sale.
Due to the ELD Mandate, the market is flooded with newly founded vendors who sell basic GPS tracking devices and services. The vendor you select should be established, credible, and around for the long haul so you don’t get stuck with an unsupported product down the road.
Complimentary Services That Grow with You
You may only want basic track and trace today — but as your business grows and order volumes increase, fully-integrated technologies such as automated routing will simplify your life.
How to Get Started with GPS Tracking
Ready to start evaluating solutions? Watch this one-minute video about Omnitracs Roadnet Telematics (our GPS vehicle tracking solution), or contact us for a personalized demo.
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