There are numerous benefits to using GPS fleet tracking software and tracking devices for fleet management. Among the chief benefits include enhancing your fleet’s time management, fuel efficiency, and maintenance scheduling capabilities.
However, implementing GPS fleet tracking software in your business will only produce the results you're looking for if you select the right one. To help you find the solution most aligned to meet the needs of your unique business, we've compiled this list of key things you should look for when selecting a GPS fleet tracking software system.
It's also important to keep in mind that as with using virtually any new tool or technology, there will be both pros and cons to GPS tracking software. So, we also outlined a few of the disadvantages you may face when implementing a new GPS solution in your business.
Choosing a GPS Fleet Tracking Solution for Your Business
Choosing a new GPS fleet tracking solution can be a big decision and large up-front investment for your business. There are a lot of options out there, so you want to be sure you're making the right choice. Here are a few key things you should be looking out for when conducting research, comparing providers, and making your purchase decision.
GPS Fleet Tracking Overview
The term "GPS" is an acronym for Global Positioning Satellite, which is a system that uses a transmitter and a series of satellites to triangulate the position a specific object, whether it be a vehicle, mobile asset, or large piece of equipment.
There are nearly endless options for GPS fleet tracking devices on the market, and each has different capabilities and benefits. With this in mind, some of the common benefits of using GPS fleet tracking software include:
- Simplified and streamlined fleet management
- Boosted fleet efficiency
- Reduced fuel consumption and costs
- Improved preventative maintenance and repair scheduling
- Lowered risk of theft
- Reduced insurance costs
- Increased driver accountability
- Safer driving habits
Each GPS tracking software system will have its own unique capabilities. While every GPS fleet tracking device can locate vehicles and assets, some are also able to set up optimized routes, provide information on vehicle diagnostics and conditions, give reports on maintenance tracking and safe driving behaviors, and more!
Plus, many innovative new hardware devices are outfitted with accelerometers and other sensors that give you access to invaluable data. For example, PocketRastrac, our mobile GPS tracking app, will notify you if a driver harshly brakes or accelerates too quickly through an intersection. This way, you can identify when certain drivers are developing poor driving patterns so you can correct them before they result in a dangerous accident.
So, if monitoring driver activities to improve safety is one of your main goals as a fleet manager, selecting a software solution with these kinds of capabilities is a must. The overall takeaway here is to choose a software with the capabilities and features that truly matter to your business.
Investing in a GPS fleet tracking solution can be a large investment. It's important to choose a solution that is within your budget, but it's also essential to make sure you're choosing one with the features and capabilities that will meet your business needs.
If you choose the cheapest possible system that is way under budget but doesn't result in any positive changes for your business, that investment will essentially be wasted. While a larger up-front cost can be scary, there are numerous operational and financial benefits of implementing a GPS fleet tracking system that will end up saving you more in the long run, including:
- Reduced labor costs
- Eliminated wasteful fuel consumption and costs
- Lowered risk of asset and vehicle theft
- Increased productivity and efficiency
- Reduced insurance costs
- Enhanced vehicle tracking and monitoring
- Optimized vehicle maintenance scheduling and repairs
Investing in and implementing a new GPS fleet tracking solution won't do any good if fleet managers, employees, and drivers have no idea how to use it. You're already busy, so why deal with the added frustration of a software that is nearly impossible to set up or difficult to use throughout the day to day?
You shouldn't need a degree in IT to figure out how to use your GPS fleet tracking software system. You'll want to ensure the software you choose is simple to implement, intuitive to use, and can be integrated with the other software and platforms your business already uses.
Once you find the GPS fleet tracking solution that is aligned with your priorities and meets all of your most important business needs, you can start comparing the "nice-to-haves." While these certainly aren't essential, they can be key for ease of use and provide additional value.
- Alert systems. Many GPS fleet tracking systems can be set up to send notifications and alerts to fleet managers via text or email. This way, in the event that a predetermined route changes, a vehicle malfunctions on the road, or a driver is engaging in unsafe driver habits such as hard braking, you'll know immediately. For example, RastracGo, our mobile GPS tracking device, can be customized to report on location data and vehicle conditions at specific intervals such as every 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or once per hour.
- Mobile access. In our digitally-driven business world, it's important that fleet managers have the tools they need to track and monitor their fleets on-the-go. Not all GPS fleet tracking systems have a mobile app or enable remote access, so if this is a must for you, be sure you're choosing a software that is either cloud-based or comes with an app.
- Customer service and support. Finding a software vendor that can provide guidance and support when you need it can be the difference between successful implementation and daily use and a technology nightmare. That's why Rastrac has a wide variety support options, including free online resources, help files, access to online technical support, telephone support, email support, and individual product training.
Disadvantages to Consider When Implementing GPS Fleet Tracking Devices in Your Fleet
Even if you do the proper research and make the right choice when selecting a GPS fleet tracking solution for your organization, no new software implementation is going to go off without a single hitch. So, what is the leading disadvantage of using GPS fleet tracking devices and software for my vehicle fleet?
Some might assume that cost is the biggest issue. However, the expense of adding GPS tracking devices is easily offset by the fleet efficiency, increased productivity, insurance discounts, and antitheft benefits that GPS technology brings to the table.
Instead, there are two major contenders for the title of biggest drawback or disadvantage of using GPS fleet tracking software:
- Employee Pushback
- The Software’s Learning Curve
Employee Pushback to GPS Tracking Software
While most workers will understand the need for GPS tracking systems in company vehicles and the benefits they offer, other employees may need some convincing to gain employee buy-in.
It’s rare, but some employees may see the use of GPS tracking devices as an invasion of their privacy or autonomy. These employees may push back against the use of GPS devices and try to circumvent their use whenever possible.
The best way to deal with employee pushback is to be open and honest about the GPS tracking system and how it will be used by the business.
Taking the time to discuss a new GPS tracking system with employees should overcome most of an employee’s sincere objections. Sit down with employees to explain:
- That You Are Using GPS. The introduction of GPS tracking should never come as a surprise to employees. Such surprises can do more harm than good to the manager/employee relationship. Telling employees about GPS tracking before implementing it can do a lot to prevent complaints and a loss of trust that can result from treating it like a secret.
- How GPS Will Be Used. If GPS tracking will be used to monitor driving behaviors, routes, or schedule adherence, make sure that each employee understands this beforehand. Be sure to establish clear guidelines for meeting GPS-tracked performance goals and to ensure that these new standards are applied equally to every driver in the fleet.
- How and Why It Benefits Them. GPS tracking can benefit employees as well as their employers. Highlighting benefits such as improved safety, reduced contract disputes, eliminating cumbersome paperwork, and being able to navigate around traffic jams can help to overcome many basic objections.
- The Consequences of Tampering with GPS Devices. As important as it is to make sure employees understand why your company is using GPS tracking, it’s also imperative to explain the consequences of tampering with company GPS units. What those consequences will be is up to you. However, they need to be strict enough to deter tampering and to ensure compliance and prevent repeat offenses. Be sure to inform them that some GPS trackers are capable of detecting fraud or tampering and can send you alerts.
The Learning Curve for the New Software
The other major drawback of using GPS fleet tracking software is that such software can be very complicated and hard to learn at first — especially if you’ve never used fleet management software for GPS tracking previously.
However, in many cases, this lack of familiarity with a GPS tracking software is easy to overcome — simply taking some time to use the different features of the software and learning how they work can make most software programs more manageable.
The learning curve for a new software can seem like a big hurdle, but it’s only a temporary obstacle. Some GPS fleet management software makers — like Rastrac — offer support over the phone and online to help you learn the ins and outs of the software so you can get up to speed faster. Furthermore, we provide access to a searchable online database and library of free resources.
While the “disadvantages” of using GPS tracking software we've mentioned above can seem like major hurdles initially, they are both relatively easy to overcome if you select the right solution aligned to meet your long-term business needs.
Also, the business and fleet management benefits of having GPS tracking can far outweigh the temporary inconvenience of learning a new software and getting buy-in from employees! Want to know more?
Learn about five of the top GPS tracking fleet management innovations that are available or reach out to a Rastrac expert with any further questions!