When GPS fleet tracking devices and systems are incorporated into a fleet of vehicles, the employer has unprecedented access to their whereabouts and the ability to exert some remote control. Drivers, who command company assets but are typically unsupervised, end up changing their behavior for the better.
This technology has been found to reduce fuel consumption by about $265 per month, and increase productivity by 20%.
Despite these impressive numbers, many companies still have reservations about implementing a fleet tracking system. Some believe that it simply won’t be worth the cost of installing and maintaining the system; others think that they already enjoy complete knowledge of their driver’s activity; and some think that tracking their drivers is too overbearing and don’t like the idea of such close monitoring.
GPS fleet tracking systems, however, actually tend to save money, provide new insight into driver behavior, and help protect drivers and others on the road.
Business mileage can easily be separated from personal mileage, so the company doesn’t end up paying for extra mileage. The routes being taken by drivers can be checked for efficiency, and the fastest routes can be developed to save time and fuel.
A tracking system can show the location of every vehicle in the fleet. When a service call is made, an operator can use this information to easily send the closest vehicle to answer the call, saving additional fuel. This bird’s-eye view of the location of vehicles also provides a better perspective for planning and re-routing.
Customers also benefit from the use of a GPS tracking system because it provides a fool-proof way to accurately bill them for work that is done. An operator can know exactly when an employee arrives at a location and how long they stay.
Being able to quickly respond to a call by notifying the closest worker benefits customers and the driving company alike.
A GPS system can also monitor the health of a vehicle and inform operators or drivers about problems like a potential breakdown. Accidents can be reported instantly, with emergency personnel being notified automatically. Operators benefit from the ability to see if a vehicle is acting strangely, such as driving erratically or stopping for an extended time.
The Issaquah School District has recently experienced large success with a GPS fleet tracking system installed on their 157 buses and 250 fleet vehicles. They have seen fuel consumption drop between $12,000 and $16,000 each year, as well as more productive behavior from drivers. Since all activity is logged and accessible, drivers are no longer speeding or letting their engines idle for 20 minutes on cold mornings.
When a fleet vehicle has an issue, the system alerts the maintenance center immediately as to the nature of the problem. Information about the engine, brakes, transmission, and other systems is easily available from any computer.
Jim Enfield, foreman at the school’s transportation department, said “It’ll ship me an email on why that check-engine light came on.”
The Issaquh School District hasn’t just been saving money – in the early days of the tracking program, a bus’ engine caught fire and had to be evacuated. The GPS system allowed operators to see the problem and pinpoint the location of the bus, quickly sending the fire department out to the rescue.
The technology has also come in useful when radio communications break down due to the mountainous terrain of the district.
GPS fleet tracking technology is another example of the continuous spread of modern technology into traditional situations. It provides an organization with a greater awareness of the activities of its staff, giving it a more efficient control system that enhances productivity, customer satisfaction, and safety.