How Real-Time Vehicle Tracking Will Help Optimize Your Fleet
By David Ryan for America's Backbone Weekly
Imagine being able to view the location and status of your entire fleet by glancing at a single dashboard on your computer or mobile device. Sound like science fiction? Thanks to remarkable breakthroughs in fleet tracking technology, the power to manage your enterprise through a single platform is already here. It all starts with GPS trackers and remote sensors that provide real time location data to headquarters. At the office, data is analyzed by software which can be used to manage your operations in incredible ways, making your business more efficient and profitable.
GPS Trackers and Software Solutions
Installed on your vehicles, GPS devices transmit location signals every few seconds. Just knowing the status and location of your fleet at any given moment can provide peace of mind, but the true value of real time vehicle tracking goes much deeper. With today's fleet management software solutions, you have the power to make better, data driven decisions than ever before. In fact, in many cases, the software can make decisions for you. It's no wonder that the market for fleet management systems is growing. According to Statista, there were 5.9 million fleet management systems in use in North America in 2016, up from 2.8 million in 2012.
One of the primary benefits of using a remote monitoring solution is route optimization. With up-to-the-second knowledge of vehicle location, you can plan routes efficiently, saving time and money on fuel costs. With a basic GPS system, if a client calls with a new order, you can simply find the closest driver by looking at your GPS dashboard. You can then factor in each driver's current load and schedule and decide on the best option. With a more robust software solution you'll have an additional layer of automation and the work of analyzing vehicle cargo and scheduling will be done for you. For example, if you have five trucks in Arizona and a client calls with a pickup request in Phoenix, the software will not only look at which truck is closest, but which trucks are carrying cargo and where that cargo is going. The closest truck isn't the best choice if it already has a full load and scheduled destinations. Instead, the software will schedule the truck that is closest and which will have the time and space to load new cargo. Fleet management software can also manage other variables, such as weather and traffic conditions, enabling your drivers to avoid adverse conditions.
Savings and Costs
By sending the closest available drivers to each job you can achieve substantial savings in fuel costs. Every mile of driving saved is equal to roughly $2. By using the ORION navigational system, American shipping giant UPS is expecting to reduce costs by $300 million or more per year by 2017. And shortening A to B driving distances isn't the only way to save money. By alerting drivers to bad weather or traffic conditions, fleet software can prevent the amount of time spent idling. The Ford Motor Company has determined that every hour of idling equates to 25 miles of driving in terms of fuel usage. In short: the amount of money saved depends on the size of your business, but there's no doubt that the savings gained through route optimization are substantial.
As for costs, a simple GPS device (including a web or mobile app) can run from $200 to $300 per vehicle. A more comprehensive solution will cost more than that, and the price will have to be negotiated with the vendor.
There are dozens of remote monitoring solutions for fleet on the market today. A simple online search will reveal plenty of options. For instance, Comet Mobile Workers from Actsoft gives you comprehensive control of fleet routing, factoring in vehicle and driver location, weather, and current job schedules. It has additional features that will help you manage your mobile workforce, including an electronic timesheet system. In addition to monitoring time spent on the road, your employees can sign into work using a mobile device or in-vehicle dashboard. From the same platform you'll be able to manage payroll, driver profiles and your vehicles.
If you're in the fleet industry, there are a plethora of high-tech tracking solutions available that can help save money and make the management of your enterprise easier than ever before. If you've never adopted a high-tech system, now is the time to do some research. Subscribing to industry blogs and magazines is a good idea, as is using Google. Speaking to vendors is also recommended. You'll get information on features and pricing, and a good consultant can help you become more acquainted with the ins-and-outs of remote vehicle management.
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