Choosing a GPS vehicle tracking system can be challenging. There are dozens of products on the market with a very broad range of features. This article will help you determine which features your business really needs. It will also tell you what you should look for when researching options of a fleet GPS system.
Vehicle tracking is one of the fastest growing markets for GPS technology. Companies of all sizes are taking advantage of modern GPS devices. If you have more than one company vehicle, you have a fleet – and GPS fleet tracking saves businesses money!
The ability to track vehicles at all times can significantly reduce your business operating costs. To ensure your company is operating at maximum efficiency, necessary costs such as fuel and employee overtime can be closely monitored and verified by a GPS fleet management system. For example, excessive vehicle idling not only uses excess fuel, but it also causes unnecessary vehicle wear and tear, and produces harmful greenhouse gas emissions. By effectively utilizing the data and reports produced by a real-time vehicle fleet tracking system, fuel costs can be drastically reduced by over 20 percent.
1] HOW OFTEN DO YOU NEED DATA UPDATES?
There are two general categories of systems to choose from in terms of data update frequency: “Real-time” or “Passive”. Both have the capability to provide you with vehicle speed data, vehicle stops data, length of stop data and route taken data.
REAL-TIME GPS VEHICLE TRACKING SYSTEMS
A real-time GPS vehicle tracking system system utilizes a wireless network to allow you to receive your information and view the location of your vehicles in real-time. Real-time GPS tracking is often used by companies or individuals who wish to track fleet vehicles. Some features of real-time systems include real-time driver arrival alerts, speeding alerts and the ability to locate the nearest vehicle to a particular address.
PASSIVE GPS VEHICLE TRACKING SYSTEMS
Passive systems are recommended for companies who do not have a need to review the activities of their fleet in real-time. When a passive unit is installed in a vehicle, the GPS location data is stored in the GPS receiver and downloaded from the vehicle usually once or twice a day. Passive systems can be downloaded manually at the end of the day, or automatically where your data is transferred wirelessly to a computer when the vehicle travels within a certain distance of the system.
2) DECIDE WHAT INFORMATION IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOUR BUSINESS
MONITOR DRIVER BEHAVIOR AND VEHICLE DATA
Most companies want to know how fast their drivers have been driving at any particular time of the day. Their goal is to prevent unnecessary gas consumption, speeding fines, wear and tear on the vehicle and prevent accidents. Odometer reading is another parameter that can now be accessed remotely. Companies can eliminate manual mileage tracking which can be time consuming and error prone.
MONITOR VEHICLE DIAGNOSTICS
Diagnostic information is beneficial as it allows you to get early warning of a vehicle problem enabling you to repair small problems before they become larger more expensive problems. Having a precise description of the problem ahead of time can streamline the repair process for technicians. Diagnostic monitoring also allows you to reduce vehicle downtime because the vehicle is better maintained.
Some companies offer a type of diagnostic device whereby an employee must remove the device from the vehicle at the end of the day to download the data. Other companies, however, send diagnostic information wirelessly and immediately to a website. Some systems also calculate properties from the information monitored directly from the vehicle’s on-board diagnostic system.
A geofence is a defined distance away from the vehicle that the vehicle must travel before it activates an alarm. The alarm can be turning on a siren in the vehicle, sending an e-mail alert to the vehicle owner or sending a Short Message Service (SMS) which is a brief text message by cell phone. Fleets use this feature for different reasons. For example, when their drivers travel beyond the boundaries of their usual work area. Wireless coverage is excellent in most areas of the continental United States and Canada. However, slightly different coverage areas do exist between carriers. Some GPS companies provide store and forward capabilities that store location data in the event a vehicle travels outside of a wireless coverage area and transmit the data once the vehicle roams back into an area with wireless coverage.
EXCHANGE INFORMATION WITH A DRIVER
Some GPS fleet tracking systems allow drivers to send and receive data by using an in vehicle display. For example, when a driver has completed a set of deliveries, he could type in a message which would verify the job was done and there were no issues.
Different fleet tracking systems offer different reports. One of the best fleet tracking system reports is FieldLogix. Here are a few examples of the many reports you can set up and use:
* Alerts Report–active and pending diagnostic trouble code and scheduled maintenance alerts.
* After-Hours Report–allows a fleet manager to see if vehicles are being used after business hours.
* Excess Speed Report–speed violations for any or all vehicles in the fleet.
* Stop Detail Report–stop details for any vehicle in your fleet.
* Idle Time Report–shows how long a vehicle spent idling during a certain time frame.