GPS Tracking and the Small Business Fleet
First launched February 22, 1978, the Global Positioning System, also known as Navstar or simply GPS, made it possible to begin pinpointing locations based on communications between satellites orbiting the Earth and the receivers on the ground. A lot has changed since the initial launch of these satellites, and with technology constantly advancing, there is more that can be done with GPS than ever imagined.
For example, when you are using the GPS app on your phone to get directions, the information provided (as long as the service is uninterrupted) is almost spot on, right? It is so accurate because at least three of the GPS satellites that spend their days and nights orbiting the Earth have communicated with the receiver. The more satellites in communication with the receiver, the more accurate the location.
Using GPS to Track Fleet Vehicles
When you implement a GPS tracking solution into your business fleet, you will soon see how beneficial it is because not only do you get data records, but you get to track your fleet in real-time. We will soon cover all of the benefits of incorporating this technology into your fleet’s dynamic, but for now, we will focus on how it works.
There are many different brands of fleet tracking available for businesses, but let’s focus on a small fleet solution – Fleetr. When you sign up for Fleetr and pay the first month’s pricing ($9.99 per vehicle per month), you are shipped the hardware devices to plug into your OBD-II port. Once you receive these in the mail and insert them, your dashboard on the app will be how you compile all the information and receive the real-time updates.
The devices work on wireless networks – communicating with your app, providing you with the real-time information you need to ensure that the fleet is not only being treated properly but that your drivers are representing your brand accordingly. It is even possible to get push notifications that let you know when a driver is exhibiting poor driving behavior or if other criteria (as selected by you) have been disregarded.
The Benefits of Using GPS to Track Fleet Drivers in Real-Time
There are countless benefits to using a GPS tracking solution for your small business fleet. In fact, some of these benefits might be easy to recognize. Still, there are others that you might not have considered when weighing the pros and cons of implementing such a technological solution into your fleet’s dynamic.
Reduces the Overall Operating Costs
Choosing to implement fleet tracking software into your regimen will allow for the shortest, most optimized fleet routes, helping to reduce costs (like fuel consumption, maintenance, etc.) and reduce the amount of overtime your employees may be required to work. These costs can then be put back into the business – creating additional revenue for rewarding employees, saving for an additional vehicle, or any other number of business needs.
Every minute counts – not only to the customer but also to your time clock. When routes are optimized and mapping is utilized to minimize detours, you will see that your labor costs are reduced, and your customers are happier with the on-time deliveries and service calls. Happy customers will refer your business to their friends and so on.
May Reduce Insurance Costs
One of the biggest factors that insurance companies use when insuring anyone is risk. The higher the risk, the higher the premiums. When you operate an entire fleet of vehicles, you might see higher rates due to the popularity of theft among these types of vehicles. With GPS implemented, rates of recovery are higher in the event of a theft – which is why most insurance companies honor this risk reduction with a lower premium.
Reduce Maintenance Costs For The Fleet As A Whole
Fleet maintenance is an inevitable part of owning and managing these vehicles. The more up-to-date the preventative maintenance is on a vehicle, the more likely it will be to stay running in an efficient manner. Fleet vehicles are an investment, and they are a relatively expensive investment to replace should something go wrong. There is planning done for a new vehicle every X-number of years in most fleet budgets. This is par for the course because these vehicles are utilized so frequently, and at one point or another, it becomes more cost-effective to replace versus fix.
Most small fleets don’t have premature replacement incorporated into their budget and depending on the cost of the vehicle. It could sink the entire business. These businesses do have preventative maintenance built into their budgets. Things like oil and filter changes, air filter replacement, tire rotation, new tires, engine tuneups, etc., are all a part of what it takes to keep up with your fleet regularly. To keep track of the mileage intervals, most managers can benefit from implementing fleet tracking software to automatically update when these need to be completed.
Improve Driver Safety and Driving Behavior
The drivers behind the wheel of your fleet vehicles are your brand ambassadors. When potential clients see them on the roadway, they are the ones representing the business, not the management. If these drivers are engaging in poor driving behavior or are legitimately being unsafe behind the wheel, they are not shining a very positive light on you or your business.
Implementing fleet tracking software can allow you to see the driving patterns of your drivers – which also gives you the opportunity to correct the behaviors that are not only unflattering but potentially could result in serious injuries.
Many fleet owners/managers use the data collected from fleet tracking software as a means of creating training for their drivers. Incidents of speeding, hard braking, idling, and other risky behavior can cost your business more than just money – it can wear on the vehicle, turn customers away, and more.
Increase Fuel Efficiency with GPS Tracking
GPS tracking offers a plethora of money-saving opportunities if you know how to use it. When you implement a solution (like Fleetr), you gain access to historical data points, which translate into tips and tricks on how your fleet can become more fuel-efficient. If you follow the tips provided by Fleetr, it is possible that your fleet could be saving $200 per month per vehicle, just on fuel.
Many different factors play into increasing your fuel economy, but the majority of these work together to create a more efficient fleet overall. Things like getting your engine tuned up, rotating the tires, eliminating speeding, less idling, and more can all factor into how well your fuel efficiency numbers improve.
Digitizing Fleet Tracking Reduces Paperwork
If you don’t have fleet tracking technology in use, how much paperwork do you go through each day? You may delegate a large portion of the paperwork to your drivers but are likely required to go back and check the accuracy, at least periodically. In either situation, you are handling paperwork for the majority of the day, whether you fill it out or input it into your desktop for your own tracking purposes.
How much time do you spend putting the information into the computer, organizing it, etc.? What if you could automate the entire process by implementing fleet tracking software and a small piece of hardware that gets plugged into the vehicle’s OBD-II port?
Most fleet tracking hardware/software combinations are this simple. Order it, plug it in, and let the data accumulate on an app. You can set up the app to alert you when maintenance needs done; you can get mileage automatically updated at the end of each day. When you digitize your paperwork, you get to move out from behind the desk (most of these are available on any smart device in addition to the desktop) – which lets you interact with your customers, stay on top of inventory, and monitor your employees. Long story short, fleet tracking lets you get back to where you want to be – not stuck behind a desk.
Tracking Your Fleet in Real-Time
Your fleet is likely one of the biggest investments you have made in your business – most of these vehicles can cost $20k+ (each), and that is before the customization to incorporate your brand. Your vehicles are as much an asset as the products or services you provide your customers, giving you the right to track these as you see fit.
If you have a fleet of 50 vehicles, the value of your assets on the road easily exceeds a million dollars – not including any equipment or product that may be held within these vehicles. Each of your drivers is responsible for the vehicle they drive when driving it. With this much on the road, it’s only natural to want to know where each one is during the day. Before fleet tracking, the only way to do this was by calling your driver on their cell phone to ask where they were in their route. Before cell phones, all you could do was hope your driver was doing what they were supposed to do (and some may even have CB radios for communication). As a manager, you may have even had to go out and track down some routes on your own to ensure that the customers were being taken care of correctly.
Fleet tracking (with GPS) changes everything. Real-time updates show you where your vehicles are, what they are doing (speeding, driving, stopped, idling, etc.), and where they are in their route. Geofencing areas can even be set up so that you are alerted when a driver enters an area they should not be in. The best part of using this type of technology is that you gain the peace of mind that your assets are being utilized as they were intended.
Fleetr Tracks Drivers (and Assets) in Real-Time
As previously mentioned, you have a lot riding on the vehicles that make up your fleet. Fleetr knows this, which is why they are one of the most affordable solutions catered to the small business fleet. Most of the solutions on the market were made to accommodate the large fleet owners but are not beneficial to fleets of under 100 vehicles. Those small businesses who try to incorporate the larger scaled solutions found themselves locked into contracts that ultimately ate away at profits and revenue.
Fleetr is different – there is no contractual commitment, there is only a monthly fee, and if you choose to cancel, just send back the hardware – no hard feelings. Not all fleets and fleet tracking software relationships work out for the best, and finding the right fit for your business is the only way to ensure that you are being the most efficient. Mini disclaimer out of the way, we do believe that Fleetr will be an asset to your assets, offering an affordable solution that not only preserves your revenue but helps to increase your profits.
When you need peace of mind that your fleet drivers are on conducting themselves in a professional manner (at least behind the wheel), Fleetr can show you this on your personal dashboard. Fleetr also provides push notification alerts for a number of criteria that you designate when you set up your app. Your brand is well represented when Fleetr’s hardware and software are implemented as a technological solution to your fleet’s daily routine.