GPS stands for The Global Positioning System – it’s a satellite-based navigation platform which is used to track all sorts of assets, such as vehicles and machinery, to cargo, goods, and of course, drivers.
The information gathered by a vehicle is transmitted back and forth between these satellites (as well as an infinite number of computers and receivers) to determine the precise coordinates of that vehicle, at any time. This data is then sent straight to the van tracking device in the vehicle, where other key data points are identified such as sensor signals and geofence proximity.
What exactly is a GPS van tracker?
Whether you operate a fleet of 3, or 50+ vans, GPS van trackers are a valuable tool for helping keep track of your assets, but there’s more than just one type out there.
Mainly, there are three main types of vehicle tracking devices:
- Professionally installed (hard-wired)
- Self-installed (plug-and-play)
- Mobile Application
For businesses operating multiple vehicles at the same time, hard-wired van trackers are the most suitable option and can be wired into a vehicle’s electrical system in a matter of minutes. With van theft on the rise, more businesses are also choosing hardwired trackers for their fleets to ensure they have a greater chance of recovering the vehicle.
For those with a smaller number of vehicles that get used alternatively, a self-installed van tracker is a great option as they’re quick to install and by default, de-install as well, meaning that fleets can adapt easily to increasing or decreasing their fleet size to meet current demand. They’re also the most popular option for businesses who rent their vehicles such as those in the service or maintenance trades, as many self-install devices don’t affect a vehicles’ warranty.
And finally, mobile applications or perhaps more commonly known as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) – this tracking option has increased in popularity over the years, particularly as they offer much more flexibility and a wide variety of features not found on other traditional vehicle tracking devices. Whilst opting for a mobile application will of course depend on the type of data you want to collect, they’re also a popular choice purely due to cost, as being able to use your own device means businesses can save on the cost of any hardware or installation.
Are GPS Van trackers reliable?
Because GPS navigation relies on radio waves, most modern trackers have technology built in that helps to magnify the signal and overcome the challenge of obstruction. Many also work in conjunction with other fleet management tools such as sensors, geofences and digital workflows.
In terms of physical location accuracy, GPS van trackers are renowned for their precision, with most devices typically accurate to within around 10 feet. This makes them an essential element to most business operating moving assets not only in terms of gathering precise data, but also for security reasons in the event of any vehicle theft or unauthorised usage.
What’s more, all of this data is also automatically transmitted from the vehicle, straight to your fleet management solution, eliminating any room for human error or potential missing data points. This means that you can make accurate, data-based decisions on how to manage your operations, and the whole process is tied seamlessly together.
What benefits do GPS van trackers provide?
Operating a fleet of vans is no easy task, and one that can often be prone to unforeseen complications. GPS van tracking offers fleets a wide range of benefits, including:
- Improving customer service: optimising deployment of fleet assets can lead to reduced downtime, improve reliability and a more efficient use of driver hours.
- Keeping your drivers safe: your devices can transmit both historical and real-time data, meaning you can build specific driver training programmes bespoke to each individual based on their driving behaviour.
- Supporting digital transformation: moving your workflows from paper to online means you can streamline communication and automate data sends.
- Maximising vehicle security: in the case of unauthorised use or theft, having GPS van trackers fitted could quicken the recovery of a vehicle and potentially reduce insurance premiums in the future.
- Compliance management: reduce the risk of missing reports as all your telematics data will be transmitted automatically, straight to your fleet management solution, without any manual process or room for human error.
- Make instant decisions: GPS van trackers have the ability to monitor current road and driving conditions, allowing you to divert routes when you receive an alert and keep your operations running smoothly.
All of which are as well as the many other benefits provided by telematics systems on their own, which provide finely detailed insights into the way both vehicles and drivers are performing, and therefore allow fleets to make even more substantial efficiency savings while driving up standards of driver safety and customer service.
Installing gps van trackers really can make so much difference to a business. Robert Heath Heating for example, commented that having the “ability to report on fuel usage and driver hours also enabled us to improve productivity and reduce overall costs” and HTS Property and Environment Ltd were even formally recognised for their improvements, with a Silver Green Apple Environment Award for ‘Environmental Best Practice’ based on improvements made to driving styles in 2018, and The Gold Fleet Safety 2018 RoSPA Award for recognition of its practices and achievements in helping staff and contractors travel safely.
In other words, having GPS van trackers installed in your fleet vehicles mean you can not only ensure complete visibility and a fully connected operation, but even exceed expectations in ways you didn’t think your business could.