The Transformation of Fleet Businesses: GPS & Telematics

Since the introduction of GPS satellite systems in the 1960’s, GPS technology has evolved at an unprecedented rate. Although GPS systems initially had military origins, their use quickly turned to improve the quality of our lives, with countless tech companies and the US Air Force all competing to develop new GPS-based technologies and applications. GPS was a revolutionary breakthrough for civil aviation and other industries that rely on accurate location tracking. The field of GPS also helped pave the way for advanced systems like telematics and IoT. Today, GPS devices and telematics systems are used all around the globe to enhance the safety of individuals and modernise business operations.

When it comes to fleet businesses, the saying ‘you can’t manage what you don’t measure’ is often quoted. This mindset is one of the founding principles of fleet management systems. Telematics systems started as simple tools to track the location of vehicles and store GPS data, but they have become increasingly advanced over the years. Now, just about every detail of a fleet operation can be measured and stored in a cloud-based server that can be accessed on-demand. As a complex data system that provides valuable insight into every aspect of a vehicle and the driver behind the wheel, telematics systems have major benefits for fleet companies in the form of efficiency, cost savings and productivity. Let’s take a look some of the tools GPS tracking systems offer for fleet businesses regardless of their size.

Eliminating Excess Fuel Usage Through Telematics

Fuel has always been one of the biggest expenses for fleet businesses. Company vehicles rack up thousands of miles every year, and fuel prices play a big role in budget evaluations. Excess fuel consumption is a common issue among fleet companies due to unwanted driver habits, malfunctioning vehicles, and inefficient routes. But eliminating these issues without identifying the underlying causes is challenging, which is where the use of fuel cards and telematics systems enter the fray.

In order to identify these issues and prevent them from reoccurring, companies have to gather information on driver habits and the condition of vehicles. Telematics devices supported by GPS technology collect and transmit essential data to a secure server for managers to generate comprehensive fuel reports. By analysing these reports, business managers can make the necessary changes to reduce excess fuel usage and significantly lower costs. For example, the driver behaviour data can be used to identify and train misbehaving personnel to comply with company rules, and the driving trainers can use this data to encourage safer driving habits.

On-Demand Vehicle Location Tracking

Precision is essential in every step of a fleet business’ operation. Delivering important cargo, responding to an agitated customer, or even meeting a client on-time requires meticulous planning when there are hundreds of vehicles and employees involved. Fleet managers have their work cut out for them; they have to streamline operations to meet customer demand while being exact about every detail. Achieving this level of precision requires a tailor-made solution for fleet businesses. GPS-based telematics systems provide the ability to locate a vehicle or employee on-demand. The benefits are clear: With access to real-time vehicle location data and live traffic information; managers can help company vehicles avoid traffic jams or road works and plan for more efficient routes. Field managers can also locate vehicles in the vicinity of a customer and re-route a company vehicle to respond to their request promptly.

Real-time location tracking reveals its true worth in times of emergency. In the unlikely event of a theft, accident or vehicle malfunction, field managers can immediately locate the vehicle and, depending on the situation, send help or inform the police. Regardless of where the vehicle is, the GPS tracking device onboard the vehicle allows the responsible parties to determine its exact position in a matter of minutes. With real-time GPS location data at hand, emergency services and law enforcement agencies can step in and prevent a possible injury or apprehend the criminals.

Revised and Improved Maintenance Cycles

Keeping a fleet healthy is crucial for efficiency and cost savings; it is important to have a robust maintenance plan to prevent unexpected malfunctions. The difficult part is knowing which vehicles require maintenance – before they break down. One of the key improvements made to telematics devices was the ability to access engine error codes and transmit them to the cloud-based servers along with other tracking data. Normally, only car mechanics are privy to such valuable information. Engine performance reports provide fleet managers with the unique opportunity to determine which vehicles require servicing and when granting fleet managers total control over the whole maintenance process, which substantially lower repair costs by avoiding unnecessary vehicle inspection fees, as well as lowering downtime by the use of preventative maintenance.

The days of executives using pen and paper to sift through rough overviews of overly complex monthly reports are a thing of the past, replaced with sophisticated fleet management tools thanks to telematics and GPS systems. Even on a mobile device, fleet managers can access essential location and telematics information at the push of a few buttons to aid their decision-making process. Real-time location tracking, comprehensive reports, sensors, geofence zones and event alerts are only a few of the prominent tools that managers can utilise to oversee and vastly improve their fleet operation.


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