It is a known fact that Modern Fleet Management today is being driven forward by a technological revolution.
However, what is not easily evident on the surface is a humble piece of hardware equipment that makes it all possible – the GPS tracking device, which may be small in size, but packs a punch.
In fact, combined with a GPS tracking software and a host of enabling technologies, it forms the foundation of vehicle tracking systems and more sophisticated IOT based fleet telematic solutions.
Let us examine exactly how the ubiquitous GPS devices are proving to be an invaluable resource for Fleet Management:
1.Complete visibility of fleet and assets, and complete peace of mind.
When installed on vehicles and connected to on-board computers, GPS devices can collect and transmit real time information on vehicle location and performance, fuel consumption, as well as trigger events such as ignition on/ off, vehicle door open/ close etc.
Fleet managers receive alerts on their phone for key events in the journey, such as erratic driver behavior, and unlawful usage, which puts them in total control of their fleet at all times and virtually from anywhere.
2.Asset Tracking: GPS devices, when attached to valuable assets, can closely track their speed and direction of movement, and can also detect road conditions and environmental factors that may be affecting their speed, safety and integrity.
3.Turn-by-turn Navigation: GPS devices, working in tandem with mapping technologies can give voice-based navigation instructions to drivers, alert them when they take a wrong turn, and even recalculate routes in real time, to ensure that vehicles are always moving forward on the most efficient routes.
What’s more, it is now possible to ensure that vehicles travel on roads that are most suitable for them in terms of size and weight. E.g., in the case of trucks, this helps to avoid low underpasses and prohibited roads.
4.Tracking Fuel consumption: Fuel costs are a primary expense for fleet operators, and have a direct impact on profitability and viability of fleet operations.
By merely analyzing the vehicle performance parameters, driver behavior, and fuel reports generated, fleet operators can detect the cause of excessive fuel usage and take corrective action.
5.Enhancing Customer service: GPS devices give real time updates on vehicle location, routes taken, traffic conditions etc., which make it very easy to calculate expected time of arrivals (ETA) on the go, and ensure that customer expectations are met and managed well.
6.Reducing Labor costs: GPS devices aid in more efficient routing and dispatch operations, thus ensuring that idle time of drivers is kept to a minimum.
On the other hand, there may be some drivers who are doing excessive overtime, which could make them tired and prone to distracted driving.
With the help of GPS devices, it is now possible to pinpoint unproductive driver behavior such as excessive speeding, hard braking, idling etc.
Fleet managers can identify such drivers, streamline their work hours and even give them training and corrective instruction.
Conversely, GPS devices can also identify positive trends in driver behavior, so fleet managers can reward the star performers and also take steps to replicate these trends among other drivers, thus greatly reducing costs and improving productivity.
Additionally, when workers become more productive and efficient, it automatically leads to higher satisfaction and retention, thereby reducing cost of hiring and training new labor.
7.Tracking unlawful vehicle usage: The Geofencing feature in GPS devices ensures that fleet managers get alerted when vehicles go beyond a marked territory.
In addition, the devices can send out emergency alerts if an unauthorized person tries to drive the vehicle.
With the help of more sophisticated technologies, it is now possible to ‘auto stop’ the vehicle remotely in the case of such eventuality, eliminating the possibility of theft altogether.
8.Ensuring Safety: Reckless driver behavior is the single largest cause of accidents on the roads. GPS devices can help to ensure driver and vehicle safety by
Sending out alerts to managers and drivers to ensure that drivers are wearing seat belts.
Sending out ‘exception alerts’ when a driver goes beyond speed limits or commits any other serious violation on the road.
Sending automated checklist reports, schedules and reminders to drivers that they need to fill out on a regular basis, to ensure that vehicles are road worthy at all times.
Sending instant notifications to fleet managers on their mobile phones when a crash or rollover is detected.
Activating an SOS call for help with a single push of a panic button, even when the driver is not in the vehicle.
Preventing hijacking of the vehicle by detecting GPS or GSM signal jammers.
9.Ensuring Compliance: GPS tracking devices can also channel the mandated ELD, IFTA and DVIR information through a single platform, thus ensuring that all regulatory requirements for the fleet are addressed.
10.Lowering Insurance costs: When fleet operators use GPS trackers in their vehicles, they ensure that their vehicles can be easily located by the police in the case of any theft.
GPS devices also enable a number of safety and theft alerts, which leads to better driver behavior on the road, and safety of vehicles and assets on the move.
Taken together, this potentially reduces the risk factor for insurance companies, and hence can lead to lower premiums on insurance policies.
In conclusion, GPS devices play a key role in reducing costs, increasing productivity and improving operational efficiencies for fleet operators.
However, a pivotal role is played by the modern-day fleet management software, that is able to effectively integrate the real time GPS data with internal vehicle, employee and cost data.
The end result is more efficient routing and dispatch operations via the synchronizing of demand vs. supply, compliance with internal fleet policies as well as regulatory bodies, customized alert notifications, monitoring of driver productivity / behavior and comprehensive vehicle performance and maintenance reports, that enable strategic decision making for the fleet owners.