30 Experts Help Us Learn How To Compare Fleet Tracking Companies
When Fleet Managers are looking for a Fleet Tracking solution it can be very difficult to compare fleet tracking companies with so many services and options available. We wanted to know the key questions a fleet manager should ask before he chooses a company. We asked 30 leading fleet experts and companies the following question:
“What are the top 3 things fleet managers should look for or consider when comparing fleet tracking companies?”
We have then put them together in this expert roundup for Fleet Managers to use as a guide when considering their tracking options.
We collated some of the most mentioned points which are:
Accuracy: How accurate is the data that is generated?
Company should have a proven track record: This was seen as very important. It is possible to speak to existing clients of your potential choice and to also do an Experian credit check to see their financial stability.
User-friendly Interface: It is all very well having amazing functionality in fleet tracking but if you and your workers cannot use it effectively it becomes worthless.
Reporting and ability to have push reports via email to supervisors: Find out about the reporting capabilities and make sure they are flexible to your needs.
No long contracts: Quite often you can get the best deals on shorter term contracts, make sure you are not tied into an overly long contract.
Reliability and uptime: Obvious as it may seem, you need to know that the data is reliable that is produced. Speaking to existing clients can help with this or looking at testimonials.
Customer Service/ After sale support: It is very important to know that you will get good after sales support and training. Find out about extra costs for this before you enter into a contract.
Flexibility and adaptability: Telematics and fleet tracking are evolving fast. You need to choose a company that is able to move quickly with emerging technology and is not restricted by it’s software. It must be able to adapt and upgrade seamlessly to meet the future needs of your fleet.
Click on a name to jump to the comment from any specific person.
Chris Truelove, Eron Iler , J.Kimo Ketner, Kevin Holmes, Bruce Jobson, Deborah Cheadle, Jim Samocki, Eddie Kartun, Wyn Partington, Oscar Chavarria, Richard Brayshaw, Johan Peijnenburg, Fraser Moore, Simon West-Oliver, Michael Forbes, Richard Lane, Kjell Anderton, Andy Tyriver, René Fournier, Mike Keener, Alan Drabble, William Reid, D. Sunil Manohar, Mark Wilcox, Alan Housley, Raj Singh, Antony Pennington, Samir I. Abdul Hadi, Kristie Sanderson, Jason Robinson, John Cameron
Managing Director of Back2You
- Make sure they do not get locked into long contracts- Tracking technology is changing fast and prices of mobile data and hardware are falling all the time. Many companies will try and tie you in to 2 or 3 year agreements which could leave you paying over the odds for outdated equipment.
- Beware of hidden extras – Make sure the price you see is the price you will pay; some companies will charge extra roaming fees if your vehicles go out of the country or if you want to change your vehicle. Check out termination fees, some companies will also charge you to remove the units at the end of your contract.
- Make sure the tracking device uses a multi network SIM – Many tracking providers use SIM cards that are locked to one mobile network. If the tracker is in an area with no coverage or network congestion the tracker will stop working. Units with a multi network sim are not fixed to one network and will constantly search for the network with the strongest signal and least congestion so you will get the greatest possible coverage.
President of Fleetistics
Eron Iler has been in the GPS tracking industry for over 14 years; first as a customer, then as a fleet management provider. His time as a customer enables him to guide team Fleetistics to think like a customer, see customer issues and build resources for customer. During his time in the fleet management industry he has worked with single vehicle operators, to multi-thousand vehicle government contracts. Knowing that GPS tracking is just one component of a fleet operators needs has helped to position Fleetistics to provide many module products and services for customers. Fleetistics has maintained a focus on.
- Can your potential partner provide your top 3 “must have” features and several of the “like to have” features in a fleet management system? Keep the “must have” list short and realistic.
- Can the platform expand and be customized to meet future needs which may or may not be realized yet?
- Are the tools available to keep the program going after the initial 30-90 day deployment process? Having the right tools in place makes it easier and less time consuming on a daily basis for years to come.
Vice President of Fleet Safety Institute
Today, the focus on safety is becoming more important every day. New regulatory requirements demand higher levels of accountability. Fleet owners are stepping up efforts to implement safety programs, train drivers and use new tools, technologies and programs to improve highway safety. One of the best ways to drive that focus is to create a culture of safety. That is where the Fleet Safety Institute can help.
Our services begin with individual safety, health and security assessments to identify areas that might present unnecessary risk. Then we design and implement a safety program customized to your safety needs. Our primary goal? Helping you minimize your exposure to risk and allowing you to operate your business more safely. At the Fleet Safety Institute, we know fleet safety is an inside job. And we’ve assembled the industry’s leading consultants with with today’s leading technology and service to support you.
1) We at the Fleet Safety Institute believe that they fleet tracking companies should fit your needs and wants from a overall fleet safety program, and or the data should be able to be gathered to present in the needs of the business. Data is only a tool and it must be able to be used and applied to the overall program. Most of the time we find that the data is not being utilized for the full business but only a small sub segment of division. The data is useful to many entities and as a fleet tracking company we need to ensure that we are looking at all the entities that might need to utilize the data from fleet, to human resources, to accounting. Managers should not settle for a template system, but should have the resources to support them in their customer model to their business.
2) We at the Fleet Safety Institute believe as a telematics industry have gotten so focused on what we at the Fleet Safety Institute deem as “active tracking” or “always on”, when in our cases we have seen a lot of customers who do not benefit from the extra cost of cellular machine to machine bills for GPS. We believe that the technology needs to support the business needs, whether over cellular, or over their local area network in a sync at the end of shift type of scenario.
Customer want the ability to regulate there needs and there may be a need for both types of systems and they should be able to choose.
3) Lastly, we at the Fleet Safety Institute feel that training and follow- are something every manager should be inquiring fleet tracking companies about. We often see so many times that the end user does not know the power of the tool and or how to use it to its fullest ability. We at the Fleet Safety Institute make it our priority to have a comprehensive and ongoing training and support with our end users. Managers need to know that they have experienced and knowledgeable support structure there for them. It is not the easy questions, it is the ones that come about after months of using and having it applied to their business that they need to rely on. If a fleet tracking company does not understand your business how can they support your business? It is our mission to understand all the nuances so that the system conforms to the operations.
Founding Partner & Chief Technology Officer at Carma Systems
Kevin Holmes is a founding partner and Chief Technology Officer at Carma Systems whose motto is “Fleet monitoring made simple.” He has been a part of Carma for the past seven years, and guided the CarmaLink product from whiteboard concept to manufactured and deployed product. He believes the future of fleet tracking is a flexible platform where customers only pay for what they use, and have 100% control of their data through easy to use websites, apps and APIs.
1. Ease of use. If it’s hard to use – your team isn’t going to adopt the product into their daily routine, and the savings you’ve been promised aren’t going to happen.
I speak to a lot of fleet managers and business owners who were impressed with the amount money a fleet tracking system could save them on paper. Then, once it’s delivered the product is so clunky and hard to use for actual fleet tracking, they just give up on using it. Once that happens all the savings go away, and now they’re in a contract, stuck paying for a product they don’t use. That’s unfortunate, because people get a sour taste in their mouth, thinking fleet tracking isn’t worth the money.
I’d like to think that once someone sees the approach CarmaLink takes, they might get the feeling that there’s at least one fleet tracking company out there paying attention to the small and medium sized fleets of the world who just need something that works.
2. On-demand, Cloud based tracking with flexible payments.
Q: What can you do to save your fleet a ton of money when shopping for a fleet tracking product?
A: Don’t buy it!
Is the vendor asking you to buy the tracking hardware up front? Does a fleet tracking provider let you pause service when you don’t need it in the off season for months at a time? Do they make you sign a big, multi-year contract up front for a fixed number of vehicles? If so – keep searching for better deals.
Seek out companies that will bill you monthly based on actual vehicle usage, without upfront hardware costs, and require no more than a year long contract. The prices will be more competitive, because you only pay for the service you use. We have a number of customers who’ve switched to us because they were sick of paying for a tracking product they didn’t use over the winter when they’re running 30% less vehicles on the roads.
3. Stop letting fleet tracking companies tell you about just the savings. They’re like a broken record! Ask about how they can help you make more money, and not just save on fuel.
I stay in frequent contact with customers, because our business is genuinely interested in how they’re getting along with our products. When we learned one of them was using CarmaLink to actually increase their earnings (and not just save on fuel) – we were thrilled. We sat down and learned what they were doing, and then baked this concept into our product, so now all our customers who bill hourly can see an increase in what used to be unrealized revenue.
Managing Director/Teletrax Limited
Based in Oxfordshire, Teletrax Limited we are one of the UK’s leading Certified Business Partners for TomTom Telematics. We provide connected navigation and fleet management systems that bring real benefits to our customers, providing them with increased fleet efficiency, which reduces operational costs and helps improve service delivery. As well as vehicle telematics, we are also able to provide our customers with best in breed vehicle CCTV, mobile worker service desk solutions & routing and scheduling solutions and other products and services that add value to our customers fleet operations.
We have access to a national network of industry approved engineers which have successfully installed thousands of fleet telematics and navigation systems into our expanding SME and corporate customer base. Our engineers are trained to FITAS standards and are continuously trained and audited to ensure we are in touch with latest trends in technology and vehicle electronics, therefore providing unrivalled service and response times to our customers.
Teletrax Limited help business fleets deliver smarter, quicker and cheaper. From initial enquiry to implementation, Teletrax Limited are here to guide you every step of the way.
1. A trusted partner for both products and support.
Your fleet is integral to your operation: just one break in the supply chain can be devastating. To prevent this from happening, you need a reliable long-term partner. We partner with TomTom Telematics as they provide our customers with reliable uptime, as well as the financial stability TomTom Telematics can offer as part of the TomTom Group.
2. Rapid ROI
When you’re running a business, you need to be confident that any changes you make to your operations will reap rewards. Over the past few years, Teletrax Ltd have implemented hundreds of solutions and have seen the majority of our clients achieve real cost savings in just six to eight months.
3. User-friendly solutions with future ready technology
Ease of use is important. TomTom Telematics ensure everything about their business solutions is easy: they’re easy to deploy and so easy to use that minimum training is needed. Employees will find the solutions so user-friendly, you’ll reach maximum efficiencies in no time – which means a faster return on investment (ROI).
Also it is important to look for products and services that are specifically designed with the future in mind, so you never have to worry about being out of date. As well as supporting out-of-the-box integration with third-party applications, TomTom Telematics solutions may be customised, updated and upgraded, ensuring you benefit from innovations to come.
Director of Fleet Manager
- Vehicle maintenance updates – a telematics system should be able to be programmed with different service intervals to provides drivers and managers with an alert as to when servicing is required.
- Fuel reporting- reports should be used to manage and achieve fuel savings by monitoring fuel use, this will also help to aid better route planning.
- Driver behaviour monitors – the telematics systems should be able to monitor speeding, excessive braking, so that it can be used to target drivers who consistently infringe the rules with further driver training courses
General Manager at Doran Manufacturing
Cincinnati-based Doran Manufacturing has been creating solutions for more than 60 years including providing reliable transportation safety products since the early 1970s. The Doran 360™ tire pressure monitoring systems were introduced in 2008 and utilize an in-cab display or be integrated with telematics providers for off-truck communication of tire pressure data and alerts. In addition to TPMS for truck fleets and mining vehicles, Doran produces LED/incandescent Exterior Light and Sleeping Child Check® monitors for the school bus market and also manufactures customized terminal boards for commercial applications.
Bio – Jim Samocki:
Jim has been the General Manager at Doran Manufacturing, since 2007 and has more than 22 years of combined experience selling and developing tools and technology for the trucking and retail hardware/home center markets. In addition to his professional experience, he earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration from the Farmer School of Business at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Fisher School of Business at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
1. Uptime, Accuracy and Reliability
– a tracking system needs to be consistent and accurate to provide useful data/information to fleet managers
2. Realistic road map for implementation of technological advances
– fleets have told us a number of times that they have heard “it will be ready in the next 6 months” but, in general, they haven’t been able to count on that timing, so they have become skeptical and only believe it when they see it
3. Focus on delivering features/benefits to improve fleet operations and ability to customize to meet the needs of the fleet
– improved efficiency, minimized redundancy and find ways to help them save costs – listen to their problems and find ways to help create solutions.
Intelligent Transportation Systems South Africa CC
- Credibility, knowledge, experience and proven history in and of the industry.
- Sound financial stability regarding operations, stock supply and service delivery.
- The client interface to the company must be a customer driven service orientated entity.
VP of Marketing at Nextraq
Wyn Partington has nearly 20 years of experience in the technology industry, with a diverse background in development, database management, marketing and demand generation. Mr. Partington has been with NexTraq for 6 years and has a proven track record in planning, building and executing successful marketing strategies to increase brand identity and drive lead generation.
With more than a decade of industry experience, NexTraq® is the GPS fleet management solution of choice for a growing number of customers with fleets ranging from 2 to more than 200 vehicles. Since its inception, NexTraq has been a pioneer and innovator in the telematics space. Over the last few years, NexTraq has grown more than 20 percent annually and today serves more than 100,000 subscribers.
- Reliability: Fleet managers should check the background of providers and be confident that a company isn’t here today and gone tomorrow. It’s also important that fleet managers do their research to ensure the provider they choose offers reliable software, hardware and services. Fleet managers should have peace of mind knowing that their fleet tracking system is up and running when they need it and that their data is safe and secure.
- Cost Effective: The cheapest solution isn’t always the best. Fleet managers should look for a solution that combines advanced functionality with low monthly fees and no hidden costs.
- Comprehensive Product Suite: A quality fleet tracking provider should offer a complete solution, allowing fleet managers to pick and choose from a variety of features designed specifically for their business. Comprehensive solutions should come equipped with lots of reports and alerts, advanced dispatching functionality with an automated job schedule board, free fuel card integration and mobile apps for improved communication between the office and field.
It is getting increasingly difficult for fleet managers to sift through the volumes of GPS vendors available today. It is important to first determine what the business issues are, and what exactly needs to be solved, so they are prepared when walking into a conversation with a vendor. The reality is that making a selection is a significant time investment for all the stakeholders at the company, and looking for a solution when the business issues are not quite clear can make the process much lengthier and confusing than it needs to be. A telematics solution is a business tool aimed at helping companies increase profit margins, requires a shift in company culture to adopt and utilize effectively. The selection process should not be delegated to an individual who does not understand fleet challenges, and does not have a good understanding of what the solution benefits should be. Do not ask your summer student to phone all the companies he can, get pricing, and compile all data on a spreadsheet, this approach simply does not work. It is very much a hands on process, where fleet managers, safety managers, and maintenance managers need to take a part of. Looking at just price will simply not provide the solution a company truly needs.
Once the business challenges are clearly defined it is time to look around, trade shows are an excellent source for vendor lists, colleagues in the industry, and internet.
First thing to consider about a vendor is the length of time it has been in business. GPS telematics is a sticky solution, so once in place you will want to have it for a very long time, and you will want to know your vendor will be around. Length of time in business is just about the only metric one can have to infer how solid the company really is.
Secondly, portal services. It is the actual software that now makes the main difference amongst vendors today. Many vendors now purchase the GPS hardware from the same OEM, and nearly all devices are already 3G, so capabilities are similar. It is the software that makes all the difference in the world, and some of the most important points to consider are:
- Does it offer a customizable dashboard
- Is it possible to customize reports
- What type of exception based reporting can it deliver
- How long can it store data for
- What other systems does it currently integrate to
- What tools are offered to start a new integration
- Is the data airtime service included the monthly service
- Ease of navigation
- Does it allow to connect to custom GIS map servers
- Does it have eLog capabilities
- Does if offer eDVIR
- How is diagnostics information displayed
- How are custom rules set up
- Detail of driver behavior reporting
So yes, there is no way to get out of this one. You need to attend webinars, webinars and more webinars. It truly is the only way a customer has to view system features and benefits and understand if the platform is a fit or not.
Third and last point, look at trailling the system for a month, get on the software’s driving seat and start pushing buttons see what it can do for you and your business.
Corporate Account Manager at Causeway Telematics
- Ease of use – In order to ensure the level of employee adoption required to reap the benefits of implementing a telematics solution, it must be intuitive. A fully functional one-screen solution is now expected by day-to-day users. Buy-in from all users allows companies to benefit from improvements in day to day efficiency and scheduling and also strategic changes to the operation.
- Reporting capabilities – Telematics solutions are collecting largely the same data, the way in which it is captured, summarised & displayed is vital and a key differentiator. Systems must be able to present users with scheduled KPI reports (on vehicle utilisation, driver performance, attendance etc.) and also have the ability to let users interrogate data to an individual data point on demand. These reports can be used to shape fleet management strategy.
- Agility – Providers must be able to adapt to a rapidly changing market place integrating advances in vehicle, mapping and mobile technology in to their solution as soon as it becomes available. These advances are not readily apparent years or months in advance of release so telematics providers must adopt an agile development strategy in order to adopt them as they become available.
- Can they really service a contract throughout Europe?
- Is the provider / hardware neutral and can be applied to all of my fleet or are they limited?
- What are their warranty terms, just 2 years on hardware or during full contract term?
Managing Principal at Fleet CEO
Fraser is the founder of Fleet CEO, a leading fleet management consultancy and service provider in Australia. With more than 15 years progressive fleet management experience, Fraser provides advice and support to help organisations realise their goals to generate more efficient use of transportation resources and improve the quality and cost of their fleet program.
Fraser’s experience includes almost ten years working for Esanda FleetPartners (a division of ANZ Bank) and the past six years running his own fleet consultancy practice. During his time at Esanda, Fraser held various roles including an executive management position responsible for the pricing and residual value risk management of the company’s lease portfolio. Since founding Fleet CEO in 2008, Fraser has worked with a number of leading organisations in the public and private sector to review and create more effective and efficient systems of fleet management. His consulting experience includes business model review, strategy development, business process re-engineering, policy development and tendering of outsourced fleet leasing and management arrangements. Fraser is a member of the Australian Fleet Managers Association (AFMA).
- Define your requirements – The very first thing you must do is define your requirements. With so many products and options on the market, you will never be able to solve for your requirements unless you know exactly what you want to achieve. This way you will be able to evaluate and select the tracking company that offers the best value for money for your situation.
- Communications network and installation – Some devices can simply be plugged into the vehicle OBDII port while others require more sophisticated installation, so it is important to be aware of the potential costs and limitations of each option and select the device that best meets your needs. Similarly, be sure to understand the service coverage of your service provider as it is no good selecting a provider with a network solution that has large black spots if you are after a solution to assist in managing lone workers or a remote workforce. Conversely, there is no point paying the additional cost for iridium satellite communications when cellular transmission of data is more cost effective.
- Alerts and Exception Reporting – Let’s face it, none of us have the time or resources to monitor our fleet of drivers on a continual basis, so the use of alerts and exception reporting that can be pushed to drivers, supervisors or managers via email and text messaging can be vital in alerting you to an incident and facilitating a prompt response.
DRIVE Software Solutions Limited
DSSL don’t provide telemetry we are a provider of a global fleet management solution that captures telemetry output and turns it into meaningful information to benefit our clients. We always ask our clients these key questions;
- What is the supplier truly capable of delivering?
- Be very accurate on what you want from your telemetry project, what data is going to give you “True” business benefit, cost savings and a real ROI.
- Talk to the potential vendors existing customers and understand in detail what they have achieved.
- Agree very clear project milestones and always conduct a trial exercise before committing.
- Talk to at least 5 potential providers.
Managing Director at Electric Compass
Mr. Forbes is the founder of Electric Compass and has been an innovator in enterprise mobile applications for nearly 20 years. He has led the development of Electric Compass’s line of GPS tracking solutions for vehicles, mobile workers and assets. Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Does the system have the ability to configure reports that meet our needs and automatically email them to my supervisors so they don’t have to look at the system all day to get value out of it?
- Does the system support multiple devices types including installed trackers, asset trackers, smartphones, tablets and mobile computers so we can track our workers regardless of their role and the device they use?
- Does the system offer the ability to have full hierarchical login permissions and viewer access from desktop computers plus smartphones and tablets for mobile access?
European Distribution & Partnership Manager at Ctrack
About Richard Lane:
10 years telematics experience having owned my own business from 2003 to 2007 before taking up a “Head of Channel Sales” role as part of the senior management team of Cybit PLC. Cybit then acquired Masternaut adopting the Masternaut brand where I continued in this role for 18 months before taking on a similar role late 2012 with Ctrack. Mid 2013 I was promoted to my current role of “European Distribution & Partnership Manager” assuming responsibily for our European Distribution operations in 11 countires as well as developing new strategic partnerships within Europe.
Ctrack is a division of DigiCore Holdings, one of the world’s largest telematics companies, with over 830,000 units deployed in 56 countries including 11 countries within Europe. Operating since 1985, we deliver the widest range of solutions available in the telematics market place. Our telematics systems every day to help reduce costs, increase productivity, improve vehicle security, manage legislative compliance, enhance customer services and reduce their carbon footprint. We offer solutions for every type of vehicle and fleet – With proven and reliable hardware and software with quick and easy to use interfaces – On-going investment in research & development focused on delivering value for our customers.
- UTILISATION OF TELEMATICS DATA – One of the main challenges for any fleet operator is how to take advantage of the data produced by their tracking / telematics system in order to deliver operational efficiencies, cost reductions and business improvements. The key to success is to effectively convert the telematics data into useful meaningful management insight /business intelligence and then acting upon this information to drive business improvements.Therefore, it is important to choose a telematics partner that not only provides a telematics data in an intelligent and manageable format whilst mirroring the organisational structure of the business, but also a supplier offering ongoing support throughout the lifecycle of a solution. For example, effective Project Management and Benefits Realisation Processes based around a continuous cycle of planning, validation, action and review will ensure a company is targeting the high priority focus areas in order to achieve the expected results.
- SELECT A PROVEN PARTNER – It is always worth ensuring when selecting a supplier that it has a good track record, an excellent reputation and, not least, a sound balance sheet. Without ensuring a telematics partner has the scale, expertise and experience to deliver, a company could be left with a tracking system that is inadequate and simply not fit for purpose.
- MEET CURRENT AND FUTURE REQUIREMENTS – Choosing a vehicle tracking system takes careful consideration to ensure a solution, both hardware and software, meet not only current but also future technology requirements. While focusing on what can realistically can be achieved now is of course important, but it is important to also understand that needs do change, so any telematics system has to possess the flexibility to evolve and adapt over time.Furthermore, no two businesses possess the same needs, so it is critical to select a system that can be tailored to meet specific requirements. Every company will have individual requirements and operate with differing working practises and processes. It is therefore imperative that any solution offers enhanced functionality, flexibility in order to keep pace with the ever evolving technology demands
TrackCompare.co.uk are fleet consultants which help businesses to lower fleet related costs and increase the safety of their drivers.
- Make sure the company has been around for a while and if you have access to either the Experian or Exquifax systems do a credit check on the company. You want to make sure they are financially stable. It is wise to be as sure as you can that you choose a tracking supplier which is likely to be around for the foreseeable future.
- Consider carefully before committing to a long 3 or 5 year contract with a tracking company. You can often get very competitive deals with companies offering 12 month contracts.
- If you intend to monitor your fleet via a mobile device, make sure the system you choose is user friendly on a mobile. Virtually all vehicle tracking suppliers will give you an online demo both on your mobile and your desktop PC.
Business Development Manager at Elite EXTRA
Elite EXTRA is a cloud-based dispatch management solution designed to drive efficiency. From dispatching, optimized routing, real-time GPS tracking and ETAs, to POD/signature capture, and advanced reporting with integrated telematics, our customized and dynamic platform is helping our clients realize a return on investment.
- Dispatch Mangement – we are seeing great value and ROI by employing a disptach management solution. Streamlining dispatch and delivery operations into one platform that does it all is an easy way to cut costs and save time. Combining that with a telematics solution is the future of fleet management.
- Innovation – an all-in-one solution with customizable, optimized routes, with built in flexibility to handle real-time challenges is crucial. By utilizing the latest technology (bluetooth, mobile, cloud), you stay on the cutting edge, while constantly improving fleet operations.
- Integration – capturing data, and then reporting on it is just the beginning. A nimble platform which can push and receive data in real-time, and is designed to integrate easily with other platforms will help you evolve as your business grows.
GPS Police, Inc.
Co-founder and Chief Software Architect of GPS Police, a company started in 2003 and based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. GPS Police designs, manufactures and sells vehicle-tracking and fleet management products to companies across Canada and the United States, making their fleets safe, secure and efficient.
In that order. If reliability is low, then ease-of-use and features won’t matter. Likewise, if a product is hard to use, then more features will not add value. We are proud that our products, while being feature-rich and simple to use, are first-and-foremost the most reliable in our industry.
Managing Partner of GPS TrackZone LLC
Twenty plus years experience in the GPS industry. Started GPS TrackZone in 2007. We serve a wide range of industries domestically and internationally. Our partners include leading industry leaders within their respective categories.
- Proper evaluation of their company needs for their fleet specific to hardware, platform and analytics.
- Choose a company that will respect their intelligence and offer them value options which will get the job done without spending more than they should.
- Support after the sale should be top priority. Choose a fleet tracking company that will provide quality support after the sale.
Managing Director of SafeTrac Solutions
William has worked in the Telematics industry for almost 20 years and established SafeTrac Solutions in 2004. Safetrac are a global provider of vehicle tracking devices and telematic services who provide solutions for lone worker protection, vehicle CCTV and fuel saving. They are also an approved supplier of leading brand names TOMTOM and Tracker.
1. Does the company support their devices through their own website mapping software or just outsource to a third party?
Having your own mapping application means the customer will receive a quick and easy response to problems. When new features need upgrading this will be done easily and efficiently and also brings peace of mind that the software is secure.
2. Is the hardware firmware supported by the supplying company?
Fleet managers should ask: Can hardware be programmed or upgraded remotely? i.e. saving the time of an engineer visit, therefore unnecessary downtime for the client is reduced and new features can be added with ease.
3. Do they supply added services on their own platform i.e. lone working protection, asset tracking as well as vehicle tracking?
Having this allows Fleet Managers to have a one stop portal for viewing their company assets. If you require more than one piece of hardware i.e. lone worker protection device and asset tracking device, most companies would not be able to offer a solution to encompass both. Having this allows the Fleet Manager to control all their company assets at one location, making the process seamless and simple.
D. Sunil Manohar
Managing Director of Chekhra Business Solutions Pvt Ltd
The three things Fleet Managers should look at
1) Does the application being provided by the fleet tracking company address its pain points and are we saving more than what we are investing?
2) Is the application and device more than 98% accurate so we can depend on the system for automatic billing records and other aspects ?
3) Life of the device and the service uptime?
General Manager at Exactrak
Exactrak design real-time vehicle tracking and monitoring systems which can be accessed 24/7 via a dedicated web portal. With over 15 years of experience, we work closely with our partners to design bespoke tracking solutions, tailored directly to help you run your business at optimum efficiency. Exactrak technology can be found in a variety of market sectors and has grown to become the leading specialist in municipal and highway maintenance vehicles in the UK, expanding into fleet tracking for engineering, agricultural and service vehicles. Exactrak technology also serves global tracking, mapping and routing requirements.
1) Accuracy of data
The accuracy of combining both mapping and GPS data is vital to any tracking business. At Exactrak we use highly accurate Ordnance Survey mapping in the UK which can be customised by adding various asset layers which can be toggled on or off to meet the end user needs. Through our mapping partners we can customise alternative detailed maps, add customers own mapping layers and colour schemes to suit the tracking application, which in many cases is key to its success.
2) User-friendly access
Having tracked data on your fleet is all well and good but if it’s not in a user-friendly format then it will not be used to its full potential. Having your data at the touch of a button is now easier than ever, with apps and data stored in the cloud or online you can access and manage your data 27/7. Exactrak understand the need for user friendly systems and have worked with their partners through user forums to develop a site that fits the user’s needs. Exactrak also offer a tailor made design service led by their specialist consultants to ensure the system is built to your business specifications. As well as 24/7/365 access to your data through an online portal, alerts and filters can also be set up to manage your data effectively, only alerting you when issues in your fleet arise which are exceptions to the normal procedure.
3) Customer service
When a vehicle is tracked, it is to ensure that a job is being done at a set time and location and provides proof for insurance claims against loss or delays. If data is not being recorded, you are at risk of not obtaining proof so it is crucial that whichever company you chose, they are rated highly for their customer service to respond and resolve issues quickly. Exactrak have an excellent track record with customer service and after-sales support. We constantly watch all of our tracked vehicles for exceptional behaviour and if a vehicle does not report within three days, we contact you.
Creative Microsystems, Inc
LoadMan On-Board Scales and Load Management Software
About LoadMan On-Board Scales:
LoadMan is a global leader in on-board weighing solutions unsurpassed for accuracy, ruggedness and customer service. Our complete, integrated weighing solutions include rugged loadcell sensors, precision electronics, in-cab computers to guide drivers, wireless connectivity, GPS tracking and Google mapping technology, and Load Management software that easily integrates with almost any accounting software. Furthermore, LoadMan offers the data analytic and reporting software that provides both operational and business decisions – automatically. “It’s all about the data™.”
About Alan Housley:
With a high technology background in Fortune 100 companies and venture backed startups, Alan has gained extensive experience in business/operations management, strategic planning, and rapid business growth. Twenty combined years at Hewlett Packard and Eastman Kodak provided Alan with world class business skills — especially in the area of product marketing & management, go-to-market execution and strategic planning — while delivering outstanding business results. After moving to the Seattle area, Alan has focused his skills on starting and growing smaller, high technology and e-commerce businesses – leading marketing, sales, product management/marketing, product development and operations.
Diverse businesses managed have ranged from enterprise computing and networking, to wireless mobile software & services, factory automation/control, professional and consumer based photography and imaging, high capacity document management & printing, and field customer technical support. Some of the vertical markets Alan has served include waste & recycling, health care, government, defense, manufacturing, energy & aerospace.
Alan holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri – Columbia. He also holds a Certificate of Product Management from the Association of International Product Marketing & Management.
Does your Fleet Management software connect to external weight sensors?
Most do not and the demand for on-board scales is sky rocketing. Especially in municipalities, universities and military bases. The world of Sustainability is no longer a paper exercise for these large entities who have such an impact on the environment. The ideal solution is a fully integrated scales, OBC, and back office software – all from one company and supported by one company. “No Finger Pointing Required”.
Does your Fleet Management software provide detailed analytics and reporting?
Not just pivot tables and exports to spreadsheets; but sophisticated software that pinpoints issues and signals the management team. Most Fleet Management software ends at the operations team. The amount of data is enormous and can be used by sophisticated analytic software to manage the bottom line – not just the fleet.
“It’s all about the data™.”
Does your Fleet Management software require volumes of training curriculum?
The software user interface needs to be intuitive for administrative operators – with minimal training. Rather than purchasing several weeks of consulting experts to get the software working and trained. Furthermore, is analytic data reporting part of the software – and does it require intense training or an army of consultants.
Managing Director of Crystal Ball
Raj’s background is predominantly in the B2B Mobile Phone Industry. He setup Crystal Ball in 2005 to meet the communication challenges business face when reliant on a mobile workforce.
Before you consider any fleet tracking solution, it’s wise to spend a little time researching the types of data & functionality available and decide which ones fit your company’s needs.
Once you have your list of data requirements, you can start to discount those providers who can’t provide you with your core list of requirements. Then with the remaining companies we would suggest you should be asking the following three questions:
What level of support will you receive post sale?
Some companies build their own solutions while others offer a white labelled solutions built by a third party. The latter are often unable to provide the same level of support, instead offering a self-service approach to support through online documentation, tutorials and some limited email support. But if it’s important to you and your company to receive quick, reliable support then you may want to look at companies who can offer you a dedicated account manager & a service level agreement to guarantee the quality & level of service and support you will receive.
Will the Technology scale with your business?
Some companies may offer solutions that you’re company may not need today but could make use of in the future. Look for those companies that provide a modular solution that easily allows you to add on this additional functionality as and when you need it or when budgets allow.
Technology moves fast, when the inevitable updates are required, you need to know how that will impact your company. Check if the supplier has any additional charges for additional hardware installs/uninstalls, setup, training fees. Also check if software updates are free of charge.
Additional costs like these can quickly eat into any savings you may make by purchasing a solution with a lower monthly subscription fee.
Do you need to track more than just your fleet of vehicles?
Crystal Ball are a little different than most fleet tracking companies in that we offer a suite of field service applications to track and report on what happens outside of the vehicle. So as well as our vehicle tracking solution, you can also have your lone worker protection and workforce management data via our mobile applications. This allows our customers to unify multiple dispersed systems into one platform for all of their workforce management needs. Helping companies to realise a quicker return on their investment into their fleet management solutions.
Director of Fleet Acumen
At Fleet Acumen, we have pulled together a group of fleet specialists with a wealth of experience that over the years have demonstrated a positive impact on fleet operations. By constantly challenging what we do now, how we could become more efficient and the realistic savings that we could achieve, we can all make a difference.
The Fleet Acumen group consists of professional consultants, fleet management system specialists, vehicle tracking and telematics providers, vehicle camera providers, engineers, software developers, hardware manufacturers and suppliers, driver trainers and many more. Within our group of advisers, we also have available the fleet managers and company directors that have embraced the technologies available and made a real difference.
Unfortunately, it is rare that organisations get the chance to use the tools available in the best possible way. Many have the systems in place but have lost their way due to the day to day pressures of running a fleet and ever changing priorities.
People move on regularly in this industry and quite often all the hard work put in by an outgoing fleet manager or director is lost when they leave. This is often reflected in quite startling steps backward with increased costs when this needn’t happen.
One person in an organisation is not enough to make a fleet operation more efficient…..it needs everyone to play their part from the drivers, admin, customer services, planning teams through to procurement and the board of directors. This doesn’t need to impact on time and the solutions our group of specialists implement actually help those involved to become more efficient within their role, allowing them to focus on issues they haven’t had the time to even consider in the past!
Without everyone on board, it is difficult to get real improvements off the ground. It doesn’t need to be that way and the industry professionals within Fleet Acumen can help you to make the impact you are looking for now and then keep the momentum going in the coming months and years.
1) Consider and clarify the appetite of your own business to not only find the cost drains in the fleet operation but also what resources are going to be allocated to make the fleet more efficient.
2) Look past the salesperson and get to know who will be looking after your account (day to day support) within the vehicle tracking provider. These are the people that will ensure you get the service you are looking for.
3) Document a plan of action with all stakeholders within your business and the vehicle tracking provider, highlighting the part everyone needs to contribute to a realistic plan of improvement across the fleet.
Samir I. Abdul Hadi
CEO, SamTech Middle East
Samir Ibrahim Abdul Hadi is the CEO and founder of SamTech Middle East since 2003. SamTech is an Emirati systems integrator and service provider company for M2M Smart Wireless Tracking & Asset Management solutions.
Prior to this role, Mr Abdul Hadi was based in Palestine where he established the first Information and communications technology (ICT) Company named SAMCO in 1980, which used to supply computers, servers, networks, small and large size switch boards, cell phones, security & fire alarm systems and also providing training programs in computers and telecommunication.
Mr Abdul Hadi is the co-founder of the Palestinian Information Technology Association (PITA), board member of the Palestinian American Chamber of Commerce, member of the Information Communication Technology Advisory Board (ICTAB) and the European Palestinian Chamber of Commerce, also founder and president of “Operation Smile Palestine”. Recently, he was elected as Chairman of the Palestinian Business Council for Dubai and Northern Emirates.
Mr Abdul Hadi has 35 years of experience in the field of ITC and holds a Degree in Electronic Science. He has been nominated as the Arab Entrepreneur of the Year by Stars of Business Award, and is also an active member in Chamber of Commerce, Center of Responsible Business.
Top 3 things fleet managers should look for or consider:
After Sales Support.
Data (GPRS) Charges.
Product Marketing Executive at Mix Telematics
I work across Europe in a variety of industries including Transport & Logistics, Bus & Coach, Construction and Field Service, marketing products and managing public relations in vehicle tracking and driver safety solutions.
Gone are the days when fleet tracking was unique and only the most profitable businesses could afford to invest in a system offering visibility of its vehicles. The fact of the matter is there are lots of suppliers selling tracking all of which pretty much claim to do the same thing. But what capabilities are really important and should be considered when weighing up the pros and cons of different tracking suppliers?
Quality and sustainability over price
There seems to be a price battle going on out there amongst suppliers all attempting to offer the lowest price possible, but is it really all about price? Unfortunately not, it’s about the quality of the solution. Anyone can buy a cheap box form China throw together some integrated software and sell it on to some unsuspecting prospect who thinks they are going to be quid’s in having found a company offering them the world for a rock bottom price. Only to find that within just a couple of weeks the quality of their investment has cost them so much time in trying to get hold of their supplier when things start to go badly wrong they wish they had chosen more carefully. Telematics solutions are in fact complex and in order to perform efficiently should be built around quality hardware and well developed software supported by an organisation with sustainability. Fleet Managers stay wise and think for a moment do you want to invest in a company that could be here today and gone tomorrow just because they offer you the cheapest price or should you invest in quality that will deliver the information you need and never let you down.
Anyone that is in the market for a tracking system will have their reasons as to why they want to invest. This may be to see where all of its vehicles are at any one time, it may be to plan better routes and optimise fuel usage, and it may be to stop drivers using vehicles out of hours. Whatever the reason in order to get the absolute best return on investment fleet managers should know how to use their system inside out to make best use of the data that is made available to them. Not only that they may need support and advice on how to introduce drivers to the new monitoring devices that have been fitted to their vehicles. Some tracking suppliers may send the hardware, forward some login details and then that’s the last you hear from them. It’s very important to receive some level of fleet consultancy from a tracking supplier to help get set up properly, to understand the system, to understand the data and offer support on how to get drivers on board. Some telematics suppliers are very good at delivering this kind of service others don’t offer it all.
Ability to add new functionalities
Tracking alone is great but it may not be enough, as businesses grow and develop their needs change and Fleet Managers may be tasked with accommodating new requirements such as monitoring driver behaviour or reducing accident rates. Choosing a telematics supplier that proposes different levels of functionality based on a business’s specific needs is a very good road to take. Fleet Managers should look for a supplier that offers an overall fully comprehensive solution which allows them to choose only the functionalities they need. Then if at any point in the future they wish to add on new functionalities they are able to do so without uninstalling every bit of hardware from every vehicle before starting all over again.
Overall it’s a tough choice in choosing the best supplier but these 3 things should help Fleet Managers make more informed decisions.
Sales Manager/AMI Group Ltd
AMI Group is a UK based business that has been providing location based solutions for over 10 years. Our Nexis platform provides vehicle protection and intelligence to help organisations improve security, fleet management and reduce running costs. The Nexis Incontrol Management platform developed by AMI Group provides the latest in asset protection and business intelligence, offering Fleet Managers unparalleled control at the click of a button. Features include, visibility of your entire fleet, fleet intelligence such as driver management, idling, unauthorised use and servicing and maintenance alerts, ability to monitor driver behaviour through our smooth/green driving feature and easy to use web portal.
- The company should have a proven track record and be able to demonstrate this.
- Ability to be flexible and adapt a solution to meet the exact requirements of each individual client as well as being able to change the software and the client needs change and grow.
- The solution should be reliable and accurate with a strong customer service and after sales support.
General Manager of Trimble Field Service Management Division
Companies with large vehicle fleets and mobile workforces face serious demands to maximize efficiency and reduce operational costs while still managing to keep customers happy. It’s s tough challenge but it’s the only way to stay competitive in today’s market. That’s why companies need a GPS fleet management solution to improve fleet performance and mobile worker productivity, and boost customer satisfaction while reducing labor, fuel and other expenses.
Some telematics providers supply individual components, while others offer end-to-end integrated platforms. Customers have no shortage of options when considering telematics and fleet management providers, but it’s important to understand the differences between the various solutions, lest you end up with a system that falls short of meeting your needs.
For starters, make sure all components are truly interoperable and the system is easily scalable so you can meet current requirements and accommodate future needs as your fleet grows and your field operations become more complex and diversified. Often, it is best to select an integrated, full-suite solution provider, rather than cherry-pick individual components that may or may not work efficiently together as your needs evolve.
To help make the right decision, here are three key considerations in selecting a GPS Fleet Management Solution:
Integration and Support
If you are running ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management), accounting or other back-office applications, you will want to integrate them with fleet management to optimize operations. Integration with existing technology is always a plus because it reduces the learning curve for users. Besides, systems that run independently, and don’t communicate with each other, create complexity and extra work.
With that in mind, you’ll want a provider with an experienced in-house professional services group that can evaluate your needs and develop the best plan for integration. You want a provider that offers APIs (application program interfaces), direct data feeds, and the ability to handle custom integrations so you can use your fleet data in your existing applications.
Flexibility and Scalability
As your business grows, so do your requirements. You may deploy a basic telematics solution to meet immediate needs and later expand it to incorporate more comprehensive work management functionality. You’ll need a provider that can keep up with your growth without charging too much for the initial deployment. Scalability is important because it helps protect the initial investment and training, without needing to start over.
Ideally, you want to partner with a full-service, end-to-end fleet management provider that offers an “a la carte” menu of options that meet initial needs and scale up later. Modular, scalable solutions save money because you pay only for the components you need while staying current with the latest technology. They also provide targeted ROI so you can project your solution’s return on investment before adding features.
Proven ROI and Value
Though sometimes overlooked, ROI should be a critical factor in any business purchasing decision. Ask potential GPS fleet management solution providers about their customers’ typical ROI for their solution and request specific examples. Research firm Aberdeen Group estimates GPS fleet management solutions deliver an average 27-28 percent increase in productivity and cost savings of thousands of dollars per vehicle. Expect a three-to-six-month average payback on the capital investment and up to 50 percent increase in the number of jobs completed per week. These figures could serve as a comparison benchmark to what various providers can promise.
Value goes hand in hand with ROI, and you will want assurances that your provider can support you for the long term, so choose one with a history of financial stability, growth and service reliability. Demand nothing less than uptime of 99.9 percent, which providers can deliver by maintaining duplicate data centers in alternate locations. Data protection is paramount, so you’ll want to make sure your provider backs up data regularly and stores it securely to protect your company’s private and proprietary information.
The key in selecting a fleet management provider ultimately is to focus on value, not necessarily the lowest price. Remember what’s at stake – workforce and vehicle optimization, operational costs and customer satisfaction. By investing in these goals with the right fleet management solution, you will benefit in the long run.
It is clear that there is a lot to consider before you compare fleet tracking systems and companies. It was surprising to us that price did not come up much in what to look for. This could be due to the companies that took part but also could mean that cheaper is certainly not always better. What was most important was the financial stability of the company, adaptability of their technology, ease of use of the tracking and after sales support.
There may well be more things that were not mentioned here but using this list as a guide certainly cannot hurt you either. You are able to trial fleet tracking and also contract lengths vary so try not to tie yourself into long contracts too quickly.
We would like to thank all the experts that took part and hope you find this guide useful. You can visit any of the sites of the experts by clicking their name.
The Telematics.com Team