A Comprehensive Guide to Fleet Tracking Systems
What are other things you can request to the provider that you want to be tracked?
Aside from the usual vehicle location data and diagnostics information, there are other things that you could request your provider as an add-on to its regular service. This helps you make the most out of your fleet tracking systems and to make sure that it works perfectly with your own IT systems or to make sure it works according to your needs.
We have already discussed how your fleet tracking systems can keep track of location, dangerous driver behaviors, routes and zones, as well as maintenance related information. These are more or less included in any fleet tracking systems by default. But what else can you expect from your fleet tracking vendor?
1. Driver identification. If different drivers drive your fleet vehicles, then it is imperative to have driver identification modules to go along with your tracking systems. This is to ensure that you can easily track the operator and correspond it to the driving behavior you are looking to reward or correct. Driver identification solutions require an operator to log in using a key fob or a wireless tag. This can help you ensure that you are tracking driving behaviors accurately for each of your employees. It can also help you comply with obligations related to duty of care, and even link your drivers’ records with driving licenses.
2. Peripheral tracking. Depending on your business, your vehicles might be fitted with peripherals that you might want to track. These peripherals may include flashing lights, sirens, trailer doors, gritting systems, and even specialized equipment. You can ask your vendor to add in solutions that would help you track whether these special equipment and peripherals are being used and when they are being used. This can alert you when, for example, the vehicle’s siren is being used wrongly.
3. Privacy solutions. Some businesses allow their employees to use the fleet vehicles for their personal use. You can ask a vendor to include privacy solutions that would allow your employees to keep their private trips hidden. Exact location details will not appear on the systems’s dashboards for the entirety of the journey. You will still be able to get the details of the private journeys, such as the travel date and time and the gas mileage, and you can access these at a later time. This is particularly useful for charging back fuel charges and car maintenance charges to your employees who use company vehicles for their personal purposes, as well as keeping their privacy intact.
4. Speed and safety management solutions. While overspeeding is tracked by default, you can ask your service provider to help make sure that your drivers are notified if they are approaching the speed limits, or if there are any road hazards up ahead. This helps you ensure that not only are your drivers driving within speed limits, but that they are also aware of their current speeds so they stay within the limits.
Aside from these, there are applications that automate things for your users. For example, a module that alerts you via SMS message or e-mail if a parked truck is moving when it is not supposed to. Or perhaps a hotel limousine alerting the hotel’s frontliners if a VIP is already near so that they may be given a proper welcome.
Depending on the needs of your business, you can customize and get more additional services for your fleet tracking systems. All you have to do is ask.
Top fleet tracking add-ons AND options you can install
Additional options have made it possible for fleet managers to get more out of the fleet tracking systems that they get out of the box. These add-ons fit the needs of some businesses to a T, but they are not for everyone. What are the top add-ons being requested by companies who are opting to get fleet tracking systems?
1. Video. For some fleet managers, the information provided by the tracking devices might not be enough. Video helps them get the complete picture when it comes to their vehicles and its activities. For instance, when it comes to accidents, you can easily get information on the vehicle’s speed, and even things like hard braking and any kind of engine trouble.
However, a video of the interior could show driver distraction. Your driver might be driving well within the speed limit, but then he or she might have been distracted during the moment of the accident. Exterior cameras, on the other hand, can help you “see” what is happening all around the vehicle, including road conditions and the approach of the other vehicle involved in the accident.
If for anything, video integration with your fleet tracking systems would help you get the complete picture. So much so that it would feel like you are in the driver’s seat. With video streaming, you can actually see what is happening inside, outside and around the vehicle. No need to reconstruct the data you have into 3D models to fully understand what just happened.
Moreover, video integration would help you verify things. In the case of school buses, you can be sure that students are safely on board the bus.
2. In-vehicle navigation and messaging systems. One of the top things that most fleet managers have been requesting as an add-on to fleet tracking systems are In-vehicle navigation and messaging systems. These are tools that help you communicate with the driver using a screen in the vehicle. This way, you could provide turn-by-turn directions, or perhaps send messages that they could read. This helps you save on phone calls and it helps your drivers get the information they need to do their jobs, while also keeping things safe. They do not have to read off a piece of paper, but they can read the instructions or directions without taking their eyes of the roads.
Also, you can further automate this systems. For instance, a courier and forwarding company can assign a delivery route to a particular truck or driver. Once the GPS detects that the driver has arrived at one location, the navigation and messaging systems would then display directions and navigational information for the next stop.
3. Fuel card integration. Fuel cards or fleet cards provide businesses with a great way to have better control over fuel purchases, which ultimately leads back to their bottom lines and profitability. Integrating fuel cards into the fleet tracking systems helps fleet managers track miles per gallon, reduce fuel costs and determine non-compliance of fuel card usage. It also gives fleet managers a better view of their fleets’ carbon footprint, as well as provides a great indication of their fleets’ environmental sustainability.
A fleet manager can now easily manage and monitor fuel card transactions and help them save on costs. This is especially true for large fleets. A fleet manager can see the accurate amount of money being spent on fuel and check that with the actual mileage readings and even the trip histories. In short, any discrepancy between the fuel card transactions and the gas mileage recorded by your fleet tracking systems, which may indicate fraudulent activity and wasting of fuel, could easily be detected.
Depending on the report you specify, you can easily see:
- Actual fuel costs vs. actual fuel used
- Accurate location and time data for your fuel card purchases
- Alerts on any discrepancy between actual costs and actual usage
- Alerts on high fuel consumption
Additionally, you get all these without having to manually check anything.
4. Driving style. Another add-on that most companies request has something to do with the drivers’ driving style. This will help you evaluate your drivers to see if they are safe drivers or not. It will capture various behaviors – including dangerous driving behaviors, such as harsh braking, hard cornering, and quick starts, among others. Your service provider should be able to give you an overall score that would help you rank your drivers according to their driving style and how they observe safety regulations.
5. Smartphone access. There is no question that smartphones are now everywhere and just about everybody is using it. So it would be a great convenience if you could access your fleet tracking systems, as well as the data it gathers, from a mobile device or, more importantly, a smartphone. Take note, however, that access on your mobile browser may not count as an add-on. Technically, you should be able to access your fleet tracking software on any dashboard that you have.
You might want the option to have a mobile app for your fleet tracking software. A mobile app would prove to be more intuitive for mobile devices and it is easier to use. Plus, you can get more functionality while on the road, including one tap access to call your drivers, to check vehicle activity and others.
A mobile app means that everything was designed for a touch interface and you can activate features and view data with just a few taps. Additionally, you can immediately do things that you could do easily on a desktop computer. If you are out on the road and you have an urgent job that needs you to dispatch a driver or a vehicle to a certain location, you should be able to do it on your mobile app.
A mobile app, therefore, is not just another screen to view your fleet tracking dashboard. It should give you the functionalities and features to take control anywhere you may be. It should also give you real-time and operational information if it is available to you.