Fleet managers who want a competitive edge NEED to track GPS data. The advantages of GPS tracking devices are numerous, and one of the major benefits of using the system is the ability to track the precise location of all assets at any given time.
This GPS feature allows fleet managers to generate greater sales because they can locate vehicles faster, identify those nearest the job pick-up site, plot the most efficient route, and provide an accurate arrival time. Not only does this feature enhance productivity, it gives the fleet manager a competitive edge in retaining customers, who often prefer businesses with faster response times and shorter service windows.
Following are four other major areas where GPS data provides invaluable insight for high-level fleet management.
Safety and Compliance
The best fleet managers take great care in implementing safety and compliance policies in their organizations. Unfortunately, trucks are still involved in thousands of accidents every year for a variety of reasons.
Contributing factors can include driver fatigue, speeding, reckless driving, severe weather, unfamiliar terrain, inexperienced drivers, and mechanical failure. Even when drivers have been informed of federal safety regulations, when they get behind the wheel, managers cannot be certain they will comply with them.
The data provided with GPS tracking devices allow fleet managers to monitor the truck in real-time and monitor driver activity. Fleet supervisors can put GPS data to use by tracking, addressing, and correcting driving behavior that can lead to accidents, such as:
The majority of at-fault large truck crashes are driver related, with over 20% of them involving speeding as a factor. Speeding is just one driving behavior that fleet managers can monitor with GPS data, and this driving behavior can be checked instantaneously with real-time speeding alerts sent to managers via email or text.
2. Unfamiliarity with Roadway
Ten years ago, The Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), a three-year project, found that driver unfamiliarity with the roadway was “a factor in 22% of all at-fault large truck crashes.” GPS tracking improves driver readiness by using maps that include attributes for major highways, such as physical and legal restrictions, traffic signs, and bridge heights and weight limits.
Improper Vehicle Maintenance
The LTCCS found that vehicle factors were specifically responsible for over 10% of all at-fault large truck crashes. Brakes, steering, tires, and engine failure can trigger a catastrophic event. GPS tracking systems can improve maintenance scheduling designed to reduce breakdowns and extend a vehicle's useful life. Maintenance alerts can be set according to calendars, mileage, or engine running time, depending on the type of maintenance needed.
GPS fleet management software can save fleets from being shut down for poor safety practices. Compliance reports using a GPS system are both simply managed and accurate, including:
1. Hours of Service (HOS) Rules
Fleet managers need to be on top of three major HOS rules that apply to safety: the 14-hour rule; the 11-hour rule; and the 30-minute break rule. GPS tools take the challenge out of keeping compliant with legal requirements by remotely tracking when a truck is started, how far the truck travels, and how long it journeys.
2. Out-of-Service (OOS) Orders
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were approximately 650,000 OOS violations given out at roadside driver and vehicle inspections in 2016. Violations result in lost time, zero productivity, and reduced profit. GPS tracking systems reduce OOS violation rates because they continually monitor a truck’s moving parts and track maintenance needs.
Reducing Fuel Costs
If fleet managers need to track GPS data for only one reason, then reducing fuel costs is it. GPS systems assist managers in saving on fuel costs by helping them to curb speeding, improve vehicle maintenance, route vehicles more efficiently, and eliminate unauthorized personal use of trucks. Two other areas that can represent huge savings for fleet supervisors include:
More municipalities and states are adopting anti-idling laws, but fleet managers have known for a long time that the practice is wasteful, and expensive. GPS systems can be programmed to alert managers to idling periods; monitoring when it starts, and the duration.
2. Fuel Theft
GPS tracking offers a solution for fleet managers when dealing with fuel theft. GPS devices can be used to pinpoint refill locations, and provide estimations of how much fuel was filled in the tank. Fleet managers can remotely monitor the number of miles that a truck is driven, and calculate the miles per gallon of fuel purchases. Managers also receive an alert by email or text whenever there is an attempt to siphon fuel from a vehicle.
Fleet managers NEED to track GPS data to realize the wide range of advantages that the system can offer them. GPS data saves money, saves time, increases production, enhances driver safety, and creates customer loyalty.