What comes to mind when most people think about vehicle tracking systems is GPS tracking. It’s the most common form of tracking, and we’re all familiar with it on our smartphones. However, while GPS tracking has many benefits and is definitely a necessary tool, on its own, it is not powerful enough to fully optimize your fleet’s efficiency. When you have vehicle tracking information that includes more than location, you get a much fuller view of your fleet. Plus, a complete fleet management solution comes with features that help you run your fleet.
Let’s look at some of the things GPS tracking can do alone and some of the things it can’t do to show why your business needs a fleet management system.
What GPS Vehicle Tracking CAN Do
GPS tracking is a vital component of any fleet management solution. Some fleet managers track their fleets using smartphone applications. However, this method comes with limitations. Your tracking isn’t directly tied to the vehicle, which means you’re tracking your drivers, not your assets, so applications like this do little when it comes to theft. Plus, mobile phones can lose battery life, be turned off, or forgotten. For a reliable stream of fleet data, it’s most effective to have GPS tracking devices installed in the vehicle.
Here are some of the things location tracking can do when you use a fully-functional fleet solution:
Show you where your vehicles are at any time
This one’s a given: GPS tracking tells you where your vehicles are. Its lets you know if drivers are taking personal trips outside of their assigned routes. When GPS is tracked in real time, it’s not just a tool for finding out when your drivers are doing things they shouldn’t. You can also look up your drivers’ locations and find the vehicle that is already closest when you need to send someone on a job. GPS tracking can also be used for assets such as trailers and equipment.
Help you map out efficient routes
Another way you can make use of location data is by examining the routes drivers are taking. Are they taking the most efficient routes, or are they getting stuck in traffic when there’s a quicker alternate route? Once you’ve determined the best routes for your drivers, you can then check your GPS data to make sure they’re following those routes.
Track stolen fleet vehicles
If a vehicle or other asset is stolen, GPS tracking can show you its location. This makes the process much simpler when you report the incident to authorities. Once again, real time data is the best way to know where your vehicles really are as soon as possible.
What GPS Vehicle Tracking CAN’T Do (Alone)
Installing GPS tracking software in your vehicles is a great start, but a comprehensive fleet management solution can take the tool of vehicle data to the next level.
GPS tracking by itself can’t do the following:
Dispatch drivers to jobs
Knowing where your drivers are so they can be easily dispatched to nearby locations is great. What’s better? An automated dispatching system that can work alongside your GPS tracking system and do the same without the fleet manager having to lift a finger!
Track driver behavior based on rules you set
GPS might show you where your vehicles are, but alone, it doesn’t tell you much about how your employees are actually driving. Are they speeding or exhibiting other unsafe behaviors? Fleet tracking software can tell you whether drivers have been speeding, accelerating too harshly, or idling excessively. The most successful fleet tracking solutions measure these behaviors in real time and can therefore send you alerts right when they happen. With GPS tracking alone, you wouldn’t have the power to set your own rules for driver behavior and create alerts.
Create paperless forms for drivers to record status
Comprehensive fleet management solutions do more than just fleet tracking. They utilize software that integrates with vehicle tracking functionalities in order to make a fleet manager’s jobs easier. Creating paperless forms is one function of comprehensive fleet management software. These forms can be customized to your needs for drivers to report anything from completion of a job to problems with their vehicles.
Track vehicle maintenance and schedule reminders
Fleet management software allows you to keep data about your vehicles and their service history in one place. Then, you can set automated reminders for maintenance like oil changes. This helps you avoid breakdowns caused by poor maintenance, which can really slow down your ability to get jobs done. It also keeps your drivers safer. Paperless forms can work seamlessly with maintenance scheduling because forms can be submitted when maintenance is complete.
GPS Vehicle Tracking Should Be Used As Part of a Complete Fleet Management Solution
While GPS tracking is a major part of any fleet management solution, it simply isn’t enough on its own. Effective fleet management encompasses a variety of factors beyond simple location data. Therefore, when choosing a fleet tracking and management system, it is necessary to look for a solution that can truly make your job easier by tracking a variety of metrics and allowing drivers to submit forms.