A Comprehensive Guide to Fleet Tracking Systems


Chapter 2

What are the data and reports you can get from fleet tracking systems?

Fleet tracking mainly gathers location data for your vehicles. Depending on your systems, it is possible to get real time location data up to the last minute. You also get historical trip data, start times, end times, distance, durations and even the amount of time that a vehicle was at a stop.

Plus, you can get vehicle data, such as information on carbon emissions, fuel efficiency, and even speeding, harsh braking and engine idling.

What’s more, you get all of these in various reports that you could access from your dashboard. You get visual and graphic maps of all the information gathered by the tracking device.

Uses of fleet tracking systems and its data and reports

Fleet managers have derived the most value and utility out of fleet tracking systems.

Fleet managers can track their fleet easily. They can see where their trucks are and it could be all in one screen. The reports could help them know how to route their fleet to make the most out of their drivers’ time, fuel and all other resources. It also helps with dispatching vehicles, getting on-board information and most importantly vehicle security. If a truck, bus, lorry, or car gets stolen, you can easily call up a map that displays where it is exactly and you can then recover the vehicle. Fleet tracking systems are also used to monitor drivers to see if they are staying in their assigned routes, rather than taking unnecessary trips.

Transit companies also use fleet tracking to learn more about how their vehicles are adhering to the schedule. These systems also automatically changes the buses’ destination sign boards as well as playing pre-recorded announcement when the buses reach a certain point.

In fact, in 2009, according to the American Public Transportation Association, half of all public buses now have a systems that uses GPS that may be fitted with automated stop notifications. These notifications would be very helpful for the visually impaired passengers, as well as other passengers, know where they are and if they are nearing or at their stops.

It can also help passengers know the estimated arrival time of the next bus, all in real time. For some bus companies, they even have maps on their Web sites or on a mobile application that shows you the location of their buses at any given time.

Furthermore, parents can use fleet tracking systems to monitor their teenaged drivers. Consumer vehicles are fitted with fleet tracking technology in order to aid in theft and recovery. Some tracking devices work with other technologies to further secure your fleet or vehicle, such as sending an SMS and e-mail alert when the vehicle’s alarm goes off, or if it travels beyond a geofence, which means that you get notified when your car goes beyond a specific area that you have set up as safe or normal. For example, you can set a geofence that would include the areas close to your office, home and the places that you frequent. If your car moves to places outside of this area, you will get notified about it.

The main benefits

Now that you know what data and information that fleet tracking systems gathers, it would be easy to appreciate the benefits of using one. Focusing on fleet managers, these benefits may also be experienced by other users.

  1. Cut down on operating expenses. When you plan routes better based on the data that you have gathered over time, you gain operational efficiency that leads to lower fuel consumption. You can make sure that each of your vehicles is able to service all areas that you cover, without being redundant about it. What’s more, if you have real time location information about your vehicles, you can avoid traffic jams especially if you tie up your fleet tracking systems with other sources of data, such as weather conditions and traffic data. You can also save some money by having less discrepancies in billing, incurring lower overtime expenses paid and avoiding costs arising from unauthorized use of your vehicles.
  2. Optimize your resources. Depending on the software that you use, you might be able to gain insights on how to optimize your use of your daily resources. And it would be easy to do so because you get reports from the data you have gathered, which has been analyzed by the software. No more guessing at what you are looking at, you get everything in graphics, tables and in descriptive form. Plus, you get to eliminate unnecessary idle time and misuse, so you are able to maximize the use of your vehicles.
  3. Deliver superior customer service. There are a lot of ways that fleet tracking systems could help you improve customer service. For one, you could accurately give a customer a more or less accurate time of arrival. A courier service, for example, could give their customers tracking numbers that would help them monitor their packages to ensure that (a) it is getting delivered, and (2) when it is getting delivered. For pick up transactions, you could easily dispatch the closest truck so that the transaction is fast and quick.
  4. Maximize your labor costs. When you avoid dispatching mistakes and inaccuracies, monitor any vehicle misuse, reduce idle times and know when to pay for overtime, you get to maximize your labor costs and increase your employees’ efficiency and productivity.
  5. Save on insurance costs. There are insurance companies out there that give you discounts if your fleet has been equipped with fleet tracking systems. Sometimes, these discounts could reach up to 35 per cent. It would also help you prove that your drivers are safe drivers and that they stay out of dangerous areas.
  6. Better financial management. You will be able to use location data to come up with a better budget or a more accurate and useful profit and loss analysis.