Businesses that rely on commercial drivers operating a fleet of vehicles to provide customer services or transport passengers or materials are finding enormous value in tracking systems that communicate vehicle location as well as critical activities of drivers. GPS-based fleet-tracking systems are made up of an onboard electronic device on each vehicle that’s outfitted with purpose-designed software.
Aside from giving fleet managers real-time information about where a specific vehicle is located, these systems can automatically collect relevant data from the field, including driving and rest times, mileage, fuel management, maintenance activity and so forth.
For drivers, a fleet tracking system can identify optimal routes and alleviate tedious record-keeping tasks required for compliance with federal laws. By sharing and documenting driver- and vehicle-performance data, fleet tracking systems help companies improve operations, save money and even retain high-performing employees. Knowing how vehicles are being used in the field and how drivers are spending their time makes it easier for company leaders to make informed decisions and improve processes. Here are some specific ways that companies can use fleet tracking to improve business:
- Allocate resources: Public transit organizations and utility companies that serve a large geographic area and operate under a mandate to provide a public service can use fleet tracking to ensure that service personnel are covering the service area appropriately. The system can also enable providers to set smaller arrival windows and notify customers of delays to make it easier for customers to plan for service delivery.
- Set realistic performance expectations: Having reliable data on vehicle and driver activity can help fleet managers set realistic expectations for performance. Among other benefits, aligning real-world execution with company guidelines and standards may help reduce certain driver activity that leads to unsafe driving situations. For example, if the target timeline for completing a route is out of line with what can realistically be done due to road conditions and other factors, then a driver may feel pressured to exceed speed limits, eliminate a maintenance stop or shortchange rest time.
- Improve efficiency: Fleet tracking allows managers to monitor operational expenses and location of company equipment, which means drivers are more accountable for making smart decisions regarding fuel management, sticking to maintenance schedules and using company vehicles and other assets wisely. GPS-based tracking also provides routing guidance, so drivers presumably use the most efficient course to reach their destinations. These benefits can facilitate huge company savings by reducing waste, minimizing avoidable mechanical problems and eliminating personal or otherwise inappropriate use of the fleet.
- Enhance driver safety: By alerting drivers that it’s time to take a break, an onboard fleet tracking system can help truckers give themselves enough downtime to minimize fatigue-related crashes. A fleet tracking system that automatically documents driver activity such as drive time, off-duty breaks and periods of sleep takes the burden off drivers to record these items and ensures that the company is compliant with Federal safety regulations.