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Stay on Top of Your Fleet with Real-Time GPS Tracking Brian Dziuk | Jul 21, 2016 8:48:01 AM

Real-time tracking helps businesses get more done with their fleet vehicles.Not all GPS tracking solutions for vehicle fleets are the same. There exists a wide variety of tracking device types, service levels, and management software solutions that can be combined to create a GPS fleet tracking solution.

For example, some GPS devices are designed to only transmit the current location of the device, while others also provide data from a vehicle’s onboard diagnostics system. Likewise, the management software for a GPS tracking solution can vary in complexity—one might only show current vehicle locations while another might provide a proverbial information overload.

As for service levels, GPS devices can be set to transmit their GPS tracking log once a day, once an hour, near-constantly, or at any interval in between. The more frequently the GPS tracking device transmits, the closer you are to having a real-time map of where your assets in the field are at all times.

Benefits of Using Real-Time GPS Tracking for Vehicle Fleets

Having real-time GPS tracking gives businesses unparalleled control over their assets in the field. Combined with geofencing software, real-time tracking helps fleet managers know instantly if a given asset is going out of bounds. This can be incredibly powerful for maximizing efficiency for your fleet vehicles.

For example, say that a driver takes their vehicle out-of-bounds for a side job during business hours. This poses several problems, including:

  1. Additional wear and tear to the vehicle without forwarding business objectives
  2. Increased risk of theft/loss
  3. Extra fuel consumption
  4. Delays in reaching business-related destinations

Setting boundaries with geofencing software helps further improve control over assets in the field.By tracking assets in real time, fleet managers can quickly spot the unplanned detour, allowing them to contact the driver and get an explanation, or put the driver back on-course with minimal delay.

Another use for real-time tracking is to quickly identify the closest available asset to a given location. This capability is used by law enforcement, emergency response dispatch, utility companies, and many other entities to minimize the response time for urgent calls.

This function relies on accurate, up-to-date data from each vehicle asset in the field to work correctly. Old, outdated data from more than an hour ago would not typically be viable because of how far vehicles will move in that time.

Does Real-Time Tracking Have Any Drawbacks?

Given how much of an advantage real-time tracking can provide to fleet managers, why doesn’t every company use this feature. As useful as real-time tracking systems can be, there are a couple of potential drawbacks to look out for, including:

  • Data Use. Constantly transmitting data, even “simple” GPS location data, can have a large impact on business data plan usage. The precise impact can vary based on your business’ data plan, the number of vehicles your fleet has, and how many hours each vehicle runs daily. Some GPS tracking software providers will include data charges in their monitoring service costs, so this is mostly a concern for businesses that have to take care of their own data usage plans (such as companies operating overseas, or some municipalities).
  • Temptation to Micromanage. Knowing exactly where all of your fleet vehicles are at a given moment is a powerful tool for optimizing efficiency… but it also creates the temptation to meddle needlessly. When optimizing, it’s important to avoid harassing drivers over minor issues that barely impact performance.

Real-time tracking isn’t for every business. For some, this level of information would be overkill. However, for others, it is a necessity for maximizing fleet efficiency and effectiveness.

Learn more about real-time tracking and other aspects of GPS fleet tracking today!

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