Thanks to advances in technology, fleet managers can do so much to increase the efficiency and visibility of their fleet operations. A wealth of information is now readily available to you with just the click of a mouse or tap on the screen of a mobile device.
Global positioning system (GPS) technology has made live tracking a reality for fleet managers in the U.S. and around the world. Although it was originally created for military use, the technology has expanded into the civilian sector and has been used by fleet management companies for years.
- Tracking vehicle and asset locations, both onsite and in the field.
- Interfacing with onboard vehicle and equipment diagnostics.
- Enabling asset or vehicle managers to remotely disable a starter.
- Expanding risk management capabilities by reducing theft and increasing accountability.
- Increasing fleet efficiency by improving maintenance scheduling and setting alert notifications.
GPS tech has redefined how employees are being monitored in the workplace. Employers can track and monitor virtually endless forms of information, including (but not limited to):
- Employee communications (email, telephone conversations, online chats).
- Employee behaviors (work hours, length of conversations, hours of activity, locations, tone of voice).
- Employees’ use of technology (internet search histories, keylogging, applications used).
- Employee health concerns (predicting health concerns by analyzing medical claims and prescriptions).
However, as with most technological advances, the greater the amount of information that is available, the more problems that can result.
Rastrac GPS fleet management experts have put together a list of the top four GPS tracking issues, divided by employee vs. employer concerns, and what you can do to fix them.
Employees Feel Like You Don’t Trust Them
As a driver or operator, it can feel like an extreme invasion of privacy knowing that their employer is tracking their every move. After all, they periodically report in to you about where they are throughout their shift — shouldn’t you just take them at their word?
GPS tracking of employees has been a common practice for employers across a wide variety of industries — such as military and law enforcement, security firms, healthcare, and casinos — for many years. And, the number of organizations using GPS technology to track their employees continues to grow.
A way to address these concerns as a fleet manager is to communicate openly with your employees about the GPS tracking. The kind of information you can share includes:
- Benefits to the employee and employer of GPS tracking.
- How it improves fleet efficiency and decreases overhead costs.
- What is being tracked.
- When the tracking device is active or reporting information.
If you’re in law enforcement, for example, one benefit of using a GPS tracking for your fleet of marked or unmarked vehicles is that it provides additional visibility and security for your officers. If something were to happen to one of them, you can quickly and easily track down their vehicle location and sent the closest office to their location.
Employee Voice Concerns about Privacy (Especially During Off-Hours)
The concern about trust in terms of GPS employee tracking also leads into a much bigger issue: a breach of personal privacy.
If you’re tracking employees when they’re in a company fleet vehicle, they’re still technically on company property. Although they think they may be entitled to privacy, that’s not necessarily the case. The Fourth Amendment, which protects U.S. citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures, applies only to the government’s actions and may not apply to monitoring by your employer.
This privacy concern increases significantly when it involves the use of mobile applications to track employees via their mobile devices. When you’re tracking your employees via a mobile app, they may voice reasonable concerns about the possibility of being tracked when they’re off the clock, such as in the evenings or on the weekends. This worry is completely understandable and should be quickly addressed when it comes up — if not before.
When you use a mobile application like PocketRastrac, which is installed on a private or company mobile device, it can report the location of the device at any given time. However, you can set the app to only report during work hours. This helps you to avoid employee concerns that you’re “spying” on your employees during non-work hours.
GPS Tracking Software Can Provide Too Much Information
The use of GPS tracking software and devices can potentially be a double-edged sword for fleet managers. On one hand, this software can provide a wealth of data and information. On the other hand, it also may provide too much information that you have to spend an inordinate amount of time browsing through to find the data you need.
By investing in a reliable fleet management service provider, like Rastrac, you’ll be able to track the kinds of information you need without being bogged down with useless data.
GPS Technology Can Be Limited in Terms of Battery Life
When using GPS technology to track vehicles, equipment, or other assets over long distances, a concern is whether the battery will last. However, with a strong selection of reliable and versatile GPS trackers, you can choose the device that best suits the needs of your fleet and business.
Rastrac offers vehicle and asset tracking devices that are battery powered, hard-wired, and solar powered. There are different benefits to each type of power mechanism for GPS tracking:
- Battery-powered: This type of device provides a versatility in terms of battery life — it can last a few weeks to upwards of several years, depending on the reporting settings.
- Hard-wired: This device taps into the power supply of the vehicle or asset in which it is installed, which means that you don’t have to worry about a device battery needing to be charged or replaced.
- Solar-powered: This type of device is solar powered, meaning that it uses the power of the sun to operate.
As you can see, some of the top GPS tracking issues are not impossible tasks to fix. And, an accurate and versatile fleet management solution provides benefits for employers and employees alike.