Deciding on which vehicle tracking system is right for your business depends on your industry, the size of your business and how you use your fleet vehicles.
Most businesses can benefit from all of the insights telematics provides, however you may choose to look at specific functions which will provide the best suitability for your needs.
The information below has been provided to help you decide on the type of system would suit your business the most.
A vehicle tracking system allows a wide variety of businesses operating vehicles to identify the whereabouts of their vehicles. Vehicle tracking systems range from small dashboard mounted trackers through to professionally the fitted of telematics or ‘black box’ devices to fleet vehicles. These systems provide the ability to view either location and real-time usage of each asset. In addition to locating their vehicles in real-time, businesses can also view historic journeys, making easy work of vehicle timesheets, and business efficiency planning.
Vehicle tracking has evolved far beyond basic tracking, however, with telematics devices now able to provide details into fuel consumption, driver behaviors such as speeding, harsh acceleration and heavy braking, offering driver scores for individual drivers.
Fleet managers can also use vehicle tracking systems to identify vehicle health issues, diagnostic fault codes and to automatically schedule service and maintenance requirements.
Vehicle tracking can improve the operation of fleets significantly, in terms of cost-saving, risk management and improving productivity. The accurate reporting of live and historic vehicle locations enables fleet managers to improve customer service by providing accurate ETAs and transparent updates to customers. It also enables businesses to send their nearest asset to a location, reducing customer waiting times. Of course, being able to pinpoint the location of each vehicle 24-hours a day offers a significant security benefit in the event of an asset being stolen.
One of the most well-known benefits of vehicle tracking is its ability to reduce fuel consumption. Through driver behaviour monitoring, drivers are able to adopt smoother driving techniques. By eradicating poor driving styles such as harsh acceleration, heavy braking and speeding, fleets can typically experience savings of up to 15% in fuel costs. The adoption of better driving techniques also makes fleet drivers safer on the roads, reducing wear and tear and lowering the risk of vehicles being involved in accidents.
Advanced vehicle tracking systems now also have diagnostic capabilities. Fleet and transport managers can receive diagnostic fault codes remotely through a telematics web portal. By having access to vehicle health issues, underlying service and maintenance issues can be addressed before fleets experience downtime and any associated financial losses, and the inability to operate as efficiently as possible. Vehicle health updates can even help fleet managers to predict breakdowns before they happen.
Further cost reductions can be made through route optimisation and scheduling. Route optimisation systems take into account how many vehicles are owned by the business, what deliveries must be made and algorithms calculate how the delivery schedule can be completed using the least amount of vehicles and in the lowest cumulative mileage.
Telematics behaves as an effective risk management solution and enables fleet managers to comply with relevant regulations. A mixture of solutions such as tachograph analysis and insight into driver hours and breaks, or automated vehicle checks, remove many of the lengthy processes associated with driver and vehicle compliance. Companies that use telematics to monitor and regulate driver behaviour can also experience significant reductions when it comes to renewing their insurance premium.
Almost every moving vehicle can be fitted with a telematics system, from cars and large vans to HGVs and bulldozers. The type of system used within each vehicle will differ due to the vehicle’s type and also the information the device is expected to extract from the vehicle. Plant and machinery, for example, requires a hard-wired device enclosed in a waterproof and dustproof casing. Cars, on the other hand, can use a self-install device or an app based solution which eradicates installation time and costs.
Fleet managers can access journey or vehicle data in different ways, depending on their service provider. Some telematics companies require their customers to download software onto their computer whereas other companies require customers to access data via web portals. The advantage of using a web-based portal means that fleet data can be accessed on multiple devices. Some providers also offer mobile apps for fleet managers to access their data on the go, or for drivers to investigate their own data with a view to improving metrics such as driving scores.
There are a range of telematics devices that can be used to track your vehicles. These are largely dependent on the type of data that needs to be obtained from the vehicle and the ease of installation.
Determining the best system for your fleet will depend entirely on the goals you wish to achieve. If for example, you are a small recovery and breakdown company looking to reduce the waiting times of customers, you may want a simple track and trace solution which gives you information on the whereabouts of your fleet vehicles in order to send the nearest employee to the job. Your goal may be to reduce fleet costs; in this case, you may want to consider a system which monitors fuel-burning driving behaviour styles such as over-revving, idling and harsh braking. You may also want to add a route optimisation feature to your telematics system in order to minimise the miles covered by your vehicles.
A reputable fleet management service provider will have different features that can be added to create the bespoke solutions that help to meet your predefined targets. In addition to vehicle tracking systems, fleet management providers are able to offer useful extras such as dashboard cameras, tachograph analysis tools and devices to reduce driver distraction. The best way to find the system that works best for your business is by informing a provider of your goals, whether they are to increase safety and security, improve efficiency or reduce accident rates.
The cost of vehicle tracking differs on the size of your fleet and also the level of functionality you wish to purchase.
Installation prices, bespoke work, project management and professional services may add to the overall costs.
The simple answer is no.
Businesses needs and budgets change – and there are numerous vehicle tracking options available, which will allow you to select the right terms for your business. Whilst it is still possible sign an agreement for 7 years, most vehicle tracking providers now offer a range of Fixed (typically 36 month), Rolling monthly and Pay as You Go contracts.
When selecting the length of terms you require, one item to consider focuses on fixed term agreements and adding new vehicles to your business mid-way through the contract.
New vehicles requiring tracking to be installed would typically enter a new contract, tying them in to the provider for X months or years. This can leave you in a position where you have vehicles’ contracts ending at different times making it more difficult to switch suppliers.
In next weeks newsletter
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