How Does GPS Fleet Tracking Work?
Fleet tracking, in general, is considered a fusion of team management and GPS tracking, and it wouldn’t be wrong to characterize it as such. However, its scope does go beyond that. You need fleet management for a ton of reasons, but primarily, it is the ability to know where your fleet vehicles are at the time that draws managers like yourself into this arena. This is made possible by the use of the global positioning system or GPS, which powers most fleet tracking functions.
The trackers installed in your vehicles will transmit location data which is picked up by these satellites and then transferred to the main server of the tracker/company. From there, the data travels to your device, showing you where your vehicle is at the time. Any displacement of your vehicle in real-time will be reflected in the movements of the marker representing it on the screen. This is called live location tracking. However, this functionality is not ubiquitous, and instead, some devices update the location after fixed intervals rather than updating it constantly.
However, this is merely one-half of what the tracker does for your fleet tracking endeavors. After all, you’re not just tracking the location. There’s much more to it than that. You need to monitor stuff like the health of your vehicles, driver behavior, idling, and so on. These parameters will allow you to make informed decisions while doing your job. Since the tracker goes directly into the OBD panel, or at least it does for plug–and–play devices like the one we use at Fleetr, it gets direct access to diagnostic reports from your vehicle, including maintenance trouble.
While this does not cover every aspect of maintenance needs for your vehicle, it does include enough parameters to be an important source of information, especially when it comes to maintenance emergencies. Thus if your vehicle ever shows signs of impending trouble, the tracker will pick up on that and transmit the data to your app, allowing you to preempt a bigger issue by resolving the current one in its initial stages. And this is how GPS tracking enables you to observe every aspect of your fleet vehicles, from their location to their health, and so on.
Fleet GPS System Can Help You Cut Down Your Fleet Maintenance Costs
As we discussed earlier, GPS fleet tracking can help you minimize maintenance costs or keep them under control. Maintenance costs will rise if you don’t keep your vehicles in peak shape, and the only thing you can do to ensure that your vehicle does not set you back significantly in maintenance costs is to keep it finely tuned. However, it is impossible to avoid maintenance problems. Sooner or later, they will find you. But if you can resolve them in time before they become major, that will be money well-saved.
Here’s exactly how GPS fleet tracking fits into the equation:
Tackling Maintenance Trouble In Time
The thing about maintenance issues is that unless you take care of them in time, they’ll only get worse, so much so that the cost of correcting them will become highly inflated. But here’s the problem: how can you, sitting miles away from your drivers on the road, be aware of such an issue? Even your driver may not know of some maintenance issues until it’s simply too late to do anything about it but spend a huge sum on correcting the trouble.
This loss can be prevented by simply tackling the issue before it becomes a bigger deal, but how would it know when to act? Normally, this is not possible, or at least not probable. However, with GPS fleet tracking in the picture, not only can you spot such trouble in advance, but you can also act in time to prevent the problem from getting any worse. As we noted earlier, fleet tracking devices go directly into the OBD panel of vehicles, which means that they get direct access to the data coming from the vehicle about its health and maintenance needs.
If something seems out of order, your tracker will pick it up and sent you the data signals so that you can act in time to prevent the problem from getting any worse. You don’t even have to be logged into the app and watching the PC/mobile screen for this. Even if you’re doing something else, your app will simply send you an alert (if you’re using the mobile application as well, which is highly recommended) so that you don’t stay out of the loop. Once you know, you can forward the message to your driver so that they can act in time and save you from some serious damage.
Plus, the cost of resolving the issue in its cradle will be much less than having to deal with the problem after it becomes bothersome.
Strict Maintenance Schedule
It is near impossible to keep track of your vehicles’ maintenance needs when you’ve got so many of them, and there are such tight schedules to contend with every day. However, ignoring the maintenance needs is not an option either because the cost otherwise will become inflated. But at the same time, the problems are there – you’ve got a couple of cars, perhaps more, and the schedule is unforgiving, which puts lots and lots of stress on your mind about getting things done.
In such conditions, tackling your fleet’s maintenance needs hardly seems like it can become a priority even though it should be. You can’t spare your mental space for it because there are lots of things to be done; once again, GPS fleet management systems come to the rescue here. The only excuse for most people about missing their maintenance schedule for the fleet vehicles is that they forgot when it was due. That is understandable considering how busy things get in the fleet business, but no more with fleet tracking software in the picture!
Fleet tracking apps allow you to set reminders for fleet maintenance schedules (or if that is not the case with your app, simply set a schedule reminder elsewhere – on your phone), and when it is time, they’ll notify you. The application also detects the need for maintenance based on the data coming from the OBD panel so that you don’t miss out on the routine of getting your cars inspected and taken care of. With these timely reminders, any excuse for missing the maintenance schedule is out of the picture, and you can go the extra mile here by making this yet another performance judgment criteria for your fleet drivers so that they’re more careful about such things.
Reducing The Number Of Miles Traveled
Apart from tackling maintenance needs, fleet tracking solutions can help you manage your fleet’s maintenance costs in other ways too. Most notably, by cutting down the miles traveled. It makes perfect sense – the more your car travels, the more frequently it will need maintenance work done. However, traveling is inevitable in the transportation business – how else will your drivers/delivery workers/crew get to places? And we know that, but we’re talking about unnecessary travel distances. Come to think of it.
The first reason for this increased travel distance is running side gigs, which is a constant financial drain for transportation businesses. Once again, this is one of those things that you would never know of unless you could monitor the location of your vehicles. Fleet tracking makes it possible for you to keep constant track of where your vehicles are and where they’ve been (if you stepped away from the app screen, you could review the location history). Thus such detours will be impossible. However, in the other case (without such monitoring abilities), it would be impossible to know for sure if your fleet vehicles were used only for your work or not because manual data is impossible to verify.
The other reason for such increased travel distance is the use of inefficient or non-optimal routes for your stops which is another consequence of avoiding fleet tracking systems. Without the use of fleet management software, it is impossible to select the most optimal route for every travel, and thus there will be no way for you to save the miles/fuel for each travel.
This extra distance and fuel wastage will also necessitate more frequent maintenance than needed otherwise. However, if you were to shift to a sophisticated fleet tracking solution, things will improve drastically – for one, the software will map out the most optimal and suitable route for your travel, and it will also allow you to reroute on an emergency basis, once again, using the most optimal route option.
This way, the miles and fuel will both be minimized for your travel, inevitably minimizing your maintenance costs.
Improving Drivers’ On-Road Behavior To Reduce The Need For Maintenance
The last area where some modifications can help lower maintenance costs for your fleet is your drivers’ behavior. Unsafe driving is one of the biggest worries of any fleet manager. Not only are the risks pronounced, but the effect of such unprofessional behavior on the image of your business is also something to look at. Once again, all of this is made possible solely by GPS fleet tracking systems – you can monitor and then improve the behavior of your drivers on the road to minimize the maintenance costs of your vehicles and also to lower the risk of accidents and associated legal trouble.
Speeding, rough handling, hard braking, swift turns, and other forms of unsafe driving are all high-risk activities that can cause serious accidents and push you into deep legal trouble, i.e., commercial accident lawsuits and whatnot. But on top of that, one thing is certain: your maintenance costs will also skyrocket because of such careless behavior. Therefore, you have several reasons to want to observe and control the on-road behavior of your drivers.
And the way to do so is via fleet tracking software. Once again, you don’t have to stick your eyes open and keep on blindly staring at the application screen for this. Your mobile app will alert you whenever such reckless behavior is observed so that you can act in time and stop it before something goes wrong.
The same goes for idling which is another consequence of carelessness on the part of the drivers – your idling engine is still working even if your vehicle is not moving. The more your engine works, the more frequently it will need maintenance to keep it working in peak shape. Once again, you’ll be notified by your GPS fleet tracking application so that you can act in time and prevent this wastefulness and gross negligence on the part of your workers.
All combined, these features/aspects of GPS fleet tracking will help you lower the maintenance costs for your fleet as much as possible.
Going The Extra Mile: Pre-Ride Inspection
Now that we’ve seen how GPS fleet tracking can make a difference in the way you handle maintenance issues, let’s go one step further in this regard. We mentioned, honestly, at the very beginning of this article, that a fleet tracking system can never completely replace the need to check for maintenance issues. The software can only offer you so much without you doing your part. It is best to take some responsibility in this regard so that you can avoid maintenance trouble for your vehicles.
Your pre-ride inspections should not be a mere formality. You need to make sure that they are completed in all earnestness and that there is no trouble with your vehicles that hasn’t been properly resolved before you set them off for their daily drives. To encourage your drivers to be extra careful in their pre-ride inspections, have the vehicles inspected independently as well now and then to catch any inattention on the part of your workers. Plus, make this inspection a part of the criteria for judging the performance of your drivers.
The things your workers need to ensure before every ride include:
- The air pressure must be optimal
- All the lug nuts must be in place
- The power steering and power steering fluid should be in proper working order
- All the emergency equipment must be available and usable in case of trouble, i.e., fire extinguishers
- The air brakes must be working properly
- The air compressor and air lines should be in the correct working order
- All the turn signals, brake lights, and high beams should be working properly
- There should be no leaks in the fuel tank
- The parking/trailer brakes must be working correctly
- The shock absorbers should be in perfect condition
- All the fluids should be present in optimal levels, i.e., oil, coolant, etc.
- The windshield wipers must be operating properly
Once your drivers have ascertained that all of the above are in good working order, they can take your fleet vehicles for work. Be sure that such pre-ride checks are carried out every single day, with no exceptions, because not only will the maintenance cost elevate greatly if you ignore the issue, but the safety of your workers and your assets is also on the line here.
Plus, in the event of a car crash, you will also be held liable for any negligence if these checks could’ve preempted the crash (i.e., the power steering failed). You now have all the more reason to be very concerned about these checks before you let your drivers take them to the road.
Fleetr Can Help You Slash Your Maintenance Costs
The tasks of a fleet manager encompass everything from tracking vehicles to making sure that your fleet keeps on running optimally. There is no rest for people on both ends of the fleet operations, but it is important to address maintenance trouble in time before they become a bigger nuisance, and a capable GPS fleet tracking system like Fleetr can be of great help here.
Fleetr offers a wholesome GPS fleet tracking package that includes the ability to track your vehicles and all the other stuff we’ve mentioned in this article, including the part about preempting maintenance trouble. But apart from the many features that it brings to the table, Fleetr is also the perfect deal if you consider the terms and conditions; there are no binding commitments for you to agree with, and so on.
The tracker is also free, which is some more money saved for your business, and with a $9.99 per vehicle per month rent, the system more or less pays for itself, allowing you to get the best out of your fleet while minimizing the operations costs. Call us today to understand how Fleetr can add value to your business and why you need to go for it!