If you’re the fleet manager for a smaller company, you might be wondering if a full-on enterprise fleet management program is right for you. After all, a lot of the benefits of fleet management software that we’ve discussed in other posts have a bigger impact for fleets that have more vehicles.
But, does that mean your fleet is too small for a fleet management program with special tracking devices and software to be worth it?
Actually, using GPS tracking and fleet management software can be even more important for a small vehicle fleet than it is for a large one! If you’re thinking that your vehicle fleet is too small for such a program to be worth the investment, consider the following:
Can Your Fleet Absorb the Cost of a Lost/Stolen Vehicle?
For a smaller vehicle fleet, the loss of a single vehicle can be hugely impactful. In fact, smaller fleets typically have a harder time absorbing the cost of a vehicle’s loss than a larger fleet does.
Think about it; if a larger fleet loses a vehicle, they can simply have another one pick up the slack while the lost vehicle is recovered or replaced. It’s a drag on fleet capacity, but not a severe one.
However, if that vehicle is the only one of its kind in the fleet, then any kind of services that vehicle would be used for are completely halted until the vehicle is recovered or replaced. The problem is that replacing vehicles can be hideously expensive, and small fleets might not have enough free cash on hand to buy up a new semi-truck from a dealer on short notice.
Instead, smaller fleets may be forced to wait until the insurance company pays for the replacement of the stolen vehicle—a process that could take some time. In the meantime, the fleet’s ability to operate and earn revenue would be crippled.
GPS tracking devices and fleet management software can make it much easier to find and recover a stolen vehicle. With the GPS data, you can guide police to the location of the stolen vehicle sooner, massively increasing the odds of recovering your vehicle intact so you can return it to service.
If your vehicle fleet doesn’t have enough money to outright buy a replacement vehicle if it gets stolen, then a GPS fleet tracking solution can be well worth the expense.
You Might Not Have to Spend as Much on a Tracker as You Might Think
The cost of a GPS tracking device can vary a bit based on the complexity and installation method of the device in question. Less complicated OBDII port-mounted units can be fairly inexpensive, and there are even apps that let you turn a driver’s cell phone into a tracking device!
Now, the best antitheft GPS units are going to be ones that integrate with your vehicle’s engine, allowing you to disable the starter in case of a theft. These units are going to cost a bit more than simply deploying a tracking app to a phone, but the enhanced security may be well worth the cost.
For small fleets that just want to make sure that drivers are using their time effectively in the field, a phone-based app could be more than enough. Plus, these apps are relatively low-cost and easy to deploy.
Could Your Fleet Be Doing More?
In a smaller vehicle fleet, every minute should count. To fuel growth, your vehicle fleet has to be as efficient and effective as possible. Inefficiencies are a drag on your vehicle fleet—reducing revenues, increasing costs, and slowing down growth.
But, short of sitting right next to your drivers wherever they go, maintaining control of their activities in the field is nearly impossible. That is, unless you use a fleet management solution that incorporates GPS tracking.
With GPS tracking data, you can see information such as:
- Where drivers have been
- When drivers stopped/started their vehicles
- Driving habits (speed, acceleration, braking, etc.)
- Time spent in idle
Tracking this kind of information can give the manager of a small fleet incredible control over their vehicles.
For example, you could spot wasteful driving behaviors such as excessive idling, going off-route, fast acceleration, and hard braking. Armed with objective data about such wasteful driving habits, you’ll be better-equipped to address the issue with the driver and get them to avoid those habits in the future.
Are Service Disagreements a Common Problem for Your Fleet?
Speaking of making every minute count, it’s important to make sure that your company is properly reimbursed for any service the vehicle fleet renders. However, there may be, from time to time, disputes about whether or not your vehicle was actually present to make a specific delivery or provide a particular service.
Such disputes can lead to delayed payments of money owed, constricting your company’s cash flow.
Using a fleet management system that incorporates GPS tracking for vehicles can help you resolve these disputes a bit more quickly… or identify potential instances of fraud. Either way, you’re in a better position to find and fix the problem.
Between the increased fleet efficiency and antitheft potential of a GPS fleet management solution, the benefits can most certainly outweigh the costs—regardless of if you have dozens of vehicles or just a handful.
Learn more about the benefits of fleet tracking for small business fleets today!
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