Fleet tracking technology has revolutionised the way fleet operators organise their business. Widely adopted by businesses across an extensive range of sectors since the turn of the millennium, GPS fleet tracking is delivering a myriad of benefits including – the most important of these being enhanced efficiency through reduced fuel wastage, simplified route planning and improved scheduling.
In addition to these benefits there are three key areas where GPS fleet tracking can assist the business as a whole along with something to benefit the drivers, the fleet managers and even the mechanics who are called upon to make urgent repairs. Driver training is always going to be an important aspect and something that managers need to keep an eye on – in addition to the routes and telemetry from the vehicles – and keeping the fleet on the road is vital to business success.
Linked to this, it is also important to remember that fleet tracking systems produce vast quantities of data. What's more, these systems are producing not just greater amounts of data but more detailed insights as the technology continues to advance. It then becomes crucial that each business using a fleet tracking system is able to put their data to the most effective use.
We’ve already touched upon the three most important aspects, but here we will go into a bit more detail about the various ways in which data from fleet tracking systems can help to maximise company return on investment.
Driver training and development
One of the areas in which the data from the vehicles can be used most effectively is in driver training and development. Vehicle tracking devices provide a detailed record not just of where drivers go when they're out on the road, but also how they conduct themselves. Risky conduct such as rough cornering, tailgating, harsh braking and aggressive accelerating are all flagged by fleet tracking data offering a clear picture of how individual drivers behave behind the wheel.
Fleet managers can take this data and use it to devise training and development programmes tailored to the needs of individual drivers. Tracking data can be monitored over a period of time to see if individual drivers are making improvements as their training programme progresses, along with identifying where their performance has fallen short of expected standards, providing useful evidence to back up the point and indicate where further training may be needed.
This will help to create a corporate culture where road safety is prominent, and also enhances performance – which in turn has a positive impact on productivity and ROI.
Vehicle performance and maintenance
Vehicle downtime can cause fleet operators serious disruption (and profit loss) in their attempts to get people and goods where they need to be on or ahead of schedule. Fleet tracking systems make it easier than ever to keep tabs on vehicle performance, simplifying the scheduling of regular servicing and also flagging up potential performance issues before they arise.
For example, if a particular vehicle appears to be using too much fuel, you can look at the data to see whether the actions of the driver may be the problem and, if not, it might be an indication of a mechanical problem that can be nipped in the bud and resolved before it results in a more serious breakdown on the side of the road.
GPS fleet tracking systems also provide fleet managers with alerts when individual vehicles are due a service, reducing the risk of vehicle breakdowns, thereby helping to improve efficiency and cutting repair costs.
Managing data effectively
While fleet tracking data provides a wealth of information that can be used to deliver impressive ROI, firms have to discover ways of managing that data effectively. Fleet operators should have an appropriate policy and process in place to handle and act on all of the fleet tracking data available to them. This is a prerequisite for using this data to its maximum potential in order to identify trends or potentially crucial information relating to the health of the vehicle.
Understanding what improvements need to be made, and making sure that the focus is on metrics that drive performance in a specific area, is paramount. In our opinion, it’s all about building a data set that addresses primary needs. Reducing fuel spend, for example, can be influenced by monitoring fuel consumption and CO2 emission trend data. If cutting insurance costs is more of a priority, then using data in de-briefs, or building incentive schemes, can help. It all depends on what you’re looking to achieve. Some firms put their focus on increasing productivity - and with instant visibility provided by telematics - information is delivered on vehicle location and driver status.
Whatever the goal, where fleet tracking data is harnessed to good effect, it can be highly effective at boosting the bottom line, bringing in more revenue through increasing efficiency, or just simply improving customer service. This is why fleet operators across the country continue to embrace technology, and as the next generation of GPS fleet tracking systems come on to the market, the potential for even more valuable insight looks more promising.