The technology discussion continues, and GPS fleet tracking technology sits at the top of the conversational heap. Why? Simply put, there are a lot of fantastic uses for this technology. The fact is, installing this technology could be one of the most important investments your fleet can make.
The use of GPS fleet tracking technology and software can help your business better understand their operations, communicate with their truck drivers and satisfy their customer needs on a far deeper level.
Looking for just a few different ways to make the best of this crucial technology? Here at the QuickTSI blog, we are all about helping you realize the potential of a more efficient and profitable fleet.
Number One: Fuel Savings
What’s your largest expense? Fuel costs. And to make it even more complicated, there’s nothing you can do to affect the price. But that doesn’t mean you are powerless to trim fuel costs where you can.
Using less petroleum just makes good business sense. In a White House press release that discussed the impact of a 2014 – 2018 fuel reduction program instituted by a fleet employing even simple GPS technology upgrades, net savings on a fully-paid-for rig could amount to $73,000 over the truck’s lifetime.
The use of GPS fleet tracking allows a real-time and historical view of fuel usage across the fleet. Not only can you keep constant track of how much fuel each of your commercial motor vehicles are using, but you can also compare historical averages with specific routes to optimize how best your assets are being used.
Number Two: Better Fleet Safety and Overall Behavior
There’s also a safety aspects here. Some of these GPS units come software designed to help their operators avoid mistakes on the road.
Users receive an alert if the unit detects an unsafe driving behavior, whether it be harsh acceleration, speeding, swerving, or harsh braking. Since we were just talking fuel safety, consider that safer truck drivers don’t exhibit habits that burn more fuel, either.
Beyond fuel cost savings, GPS allows a fleet to locate their truck driver at any given time. What if the truck driver is involved in an accident? Home base can pinpoint their location and immediately contact emergency services. Time is crucial in such instances, and these units save time.
Truck driver health is directly related to truck driver safety. Sleep apnea and operating a commercial motor vehicle while fatigued are considered occupational hazards. Both conditions also permeate the industry.
According to a 2015 report, over half of all long-haul truckers suffer from two or more of:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Less than six hours of sleep
GPS units can alert a trucker of they start to drift. Advanced units even follow their eyes.
Beyond fleet tracking and health, GPS and fleet tracking units and software helps managers monitor potentially unsafe truck driver behaviors. This allows for individualized training programs to help truckers improve their overall truck driving performance.
Being able to take precise measurements of a truck driver’s hours of service (HOS) prevents regulatory violations and provides for better accountability.
Number 3: Strive for Sustainability Goals
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to better your motor carrier’s carbon footprint. If safety weren’t more important, this factor would be number two.
The transportation sector produces over a quarter of the globe’s carbon emissions. No matter what side of the environmental debate you’re on, there’s nothing inherently wrong with trying to keep your global atmospheric balance at more of an equilibrium, especially as so many other sectors do the same.
Beyond that, governments the world over are making moves to decrease their emission footprint, which directly impacts the transport industry with almost every move they make. No matter what the new Trump administration may do regarding trucking emissions regulations, fleets will continue to move in the direction, if for no other reason than that technology is moving them there by default.
Advanced GPS units and tracking software allows fleets to reduce their carbon footprint by helping them better plan routes and improve truck driver behavior. On this list, number three also goes together with number one.
Number Four: Run a Smooth Operation
If there’s one thing a fleet has enough of, it’s paperwork. By moving to GPS fleet tracking software, paperwork is removed from the equation. Thus, a digitally connected workflow takes the pressure off everyone from truck drivers to dispatchers, fleet safety managers, and those working at the back office.
Using GPS fleet tracking units, you can also integrate your fleet management telematics. Imaging collecting job management information, all communications, job allocation, routing and more, all in one convenient place with one simple unit.
Without these technologies, managers generally find it hard to figure out just exactly how productive their staff is. There’s simply too much paper and time-consuming analysis involved.
By utilizing advanced GPS units, fleet managers can monitor start and stop times, unauthorized breaks, long lunches and other aspects of what their employees are doing, and all in real-time.
This information can even be relayed to the truck driver via the in-cab unit. This creates a greater incentive for truckers to ensure they are following all the rules.
These units collect data that can be sent to a central computer mobile device. It allowed fleet managers to keep highly accurate records regarding everything from hours worked to critical maintenance information.
When reports can be analyzed and data put into clear models and graphs – the kind managers can easily make sense of – insight is gained into long-term trends that improve processes across the fleetwide. From routes to job sites to asset management and employee productivity, through technology a stronger fleet is built.
Unit integration allows fleet managers to efficiently and productively run all the integrated components of the operation.
Number Five: Minimize Costs
Believe it or not, many motor carriers use old landline and cellular methods for pinpointing a truck driver’s exact location. As the call drags on they are furiously writing pen-to-paper or consulting the map, perhaps even putting the information into a computer.
The fact is, utilizing GPS technologies can remove the hassle and streamline that entire scenario. GPS fleet tracking platforms can give fleet managers a real-time digital view of the fleet using precise mapping features and enhanced two-way communication to pinpoint exact vehicle locations. Gone are the days when a fleet manager or dispatcher is tied to a phone call trying to verify where a particular truck driver is located.
Fleets often utilize several different cell phone options to stay in touch with their truck drivers. In some cases, they require back-up cell phones to the regular cell phone.
When utilizing fleet tracking units with communication capabilities, truck drivers and dispatchers can communicate real-time, through the units or with two-way communication tools packaged with the units.
Having this level of visibility allows those back at the office to track routes and quickly route specific messages through the system to the appropriate parties. This way, everyone remains on task while doing the job. You can’t beat that level of efficiency. They can also ditch those expensive cell phone and even – in some cases – landline systems and step into the future.
The best part about this? The fleet can spend more time benefiting the most important part of their operation, their bottom line.
Number Six: Make Your Customers Happy
When you operate your business more efficiently and your employees are more happy and productive, you can generally expect to see a lot more happy customers.
Any business professor worth their salt will tell you that one of the most important parts of running a successful business is being able to offer a higher level of service than your competitors.
- Happy employee = less churn = higher productivity = more profit = happy customer
The gains made by keeping your customers happy translate on down the line. And though it may not seem obvious from the start, GPS fleet tracking technology can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction.
This technology provides you with the ability to respond to customer needs far faster than you could answering a phone call, writing something down or having to relay a message through three different people.
If a shipper quickly requires a vehicle for a specific location, GPS fleet tracking technology can immediately identify the nearest vehicle and plot the most efficient route for the vehicle to reach the customer. Prior to GPS technology, this entire process would take far longer to work out, thus making the customer wait and adding unnecessary work and minutes to the job.
Certainly, some arguments against these technologies are there inherent costs, licensing fees, upfront installation costs and – in some cases – questionable return on investment. Still, the landscape is changing, with nearly every industry undergoing some form of technological disruption.
Motor carriers – the very backbone of the supply chain – are not immune to these changes. As devices proliferate and costs drop, now may be the time to consider advanced GPS fleet tracking units and software.