Vehicle tracking systems range from low-cost dashboard-mounted trackers for small businesses, through to professionally-fitted telematics or “black box” devices that are hardwired into fleet vehicles.
They all have the same basic functionality – GPS tracking enables any business to understand the real-time and historic location, status and use of its vehicles. Managers can log into a web portal or use a smartphone app to track vehicles in real time. From this main dashboard, they can also easily create and download reports on recent or historic activity.
The benefits are well-established: even small businesses can now enjoy huge savings in terms of time and money. Real-time vehicle location helps businesses react to emergency call-outs or last-minute client requests, helping to enhance their customer service levels. Downloadable spreadsheets make it incredibly easy to comply with HMRC when it comes to P11D business and private mileage claims. And, of course, trackers help to both prevent unauthorised use of company vehicles and recover them if they’re stolen.
GPS tracking also enables geofencing, a useful tool that allows managers to fence off areas on the map, creating no-go zones for its employees. For example, you could set up a geofence around the London Congesting Charging Zone, ensuring that your vehicles don’t enter it accidentally and incur unnecessary fees.
However, telematics has now evolved far beyond basic vehicle tracking, with many more solutions packed into that little black box. A common example is driver performance analysis, also known as driver behaviour technology. This monitors vehicle idling, speeding, heavy acceleration, harsh braking and even sharp cornering, to create a driver score for each journey. The biggest impact on a vehicle’s MPG is the driver. By highlighting and helping to correct bad driving habits, telematics can save up to 15% on an organisation’s fuel bill – an impressive saving that far outweighs then investment in the technology.
Other fantastic innovations include vehicle health alerts. By communicating with the vehicle’s own hardware, tracking systems can check for Fleet managers diagnostic fault codes. Knowing about potential issues before they happen helps to avoid costly breakdowns and enables an organisation to schedule service and maintenance requirements when it is convenient for them.
There is a great array of telematics technology that can help any business, large or small, to save time on paperwork, cut fuel expenditure, increase safety and protect its brand. The key is to find the system that is just right for your business.