GPS tracking isn’t just about checking up on your employees whereabouts. A fully integrated system can provide fleet managers with a wealth of information that can help cut costs throughout the business. According to research carried out by the Aberdeen Group, almost two thirds of service organisations are now using location-based applications and vehicle tracking systems to help manage and track their fleets and despite initial hostility from those being ‘tracked’, almost all users now feel that the system has benefited their business. Vehicle tracking can provide fleet managers with information about the daily driving habits of their employees, including those who may be a little ‘lead-footed’ when it comes to fuel consumption and speed. Vehicle tracking systems can give a fleet manager information concerning speeding vehicles. One major pharmaceutical company was able to reduce their fuel consumption in one depot by 500 litres a month, just by reducing the speed of some of its drivers.
This also benefits the company in another important way – public image. The archetypal image of ‘white van man’ speeding down the motorway in excess of 100mph is not the kind of promotion that any company wants, particularly if the vehicles are sign-written with the company’s name and insignia. An ‘Overspeed’ report can indicate clearly if a driver needs to be spoken to concerning his or her driving habits. The result of this can be to cut fuel bills, reduce the chances of the vehicle being involved in an accident and maintaining the company’s image as a responsible operator.
A GPS tracking system can also be used to maximise efficiency in planning routes for deliveries and collections and this in turn can also improve customer relations by giving clients a more accurate time of arrival. One of the commonest complaints by customers is the vague ‘sometime before noon’ time estimation given in response to a perfectly valid request for an ETA. By utilising a tracking system, managers can give customers a far more accurate estimation; if necessary re-routing another vehicle that may be nearer to the customer to cover a collection at the touch of a button.
Security is one of the primary concerns for all fleet management professionals –not just the security of the vehicle, but that of the driver and contents as well, particularly if the vehicles are carrying high-value goods. This helps companies to comply with their legal ‘Duty of Care’ requirements to ensure the safety of their employees at all times, even when away from the office. Vehicle tracking systems can incorporate panic buttons, integrated into the vehicle telematics system. This can indicate immediately if a driver has had an accident – particularly important if the driver is operating in a remote location. A silent alarm can also be triggered if the vehicle is operated out of hours, indicating that it may have been stolen or that the driver is using the vehicle for unauthorised mileage. Fitting comprehensive vehicle tracking systems can also reduce the cost of fleet insurance, with many commercial insurers now offering considerable discounts for fleets that have systems installed.
All of these add up to considerable savings for the company over the long term which justify the initial outlay of purchasing a vehicle tracking system and fitting GPS devices to fleet vehicles. As the market becomes more competitive that initial cost is coming down, making fleet vehicle tracking systems more affordable for smaller fleets as well as large operations.
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Article Added on Monday, April 20, 2009
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