Can Vehicle Tracking Help My Business?
GPS tracking has become quite widespread not only in business but also in consumer applications. With GPS radios impacting our day-to-day lives constantly, it is no surprise that the technology has now started to be applied in new ways commercially as well. Organizations from logistics and transportation providers to corrections agencies and social workers have all begun making use of tracking for both safety and efficiency. How do you know if integrated tracking would be beneficial for your company? Today we explore the benefits of implementing real-time tracking in business.
What is Vehicle Tracking and How Does It Work?
Vehicle tracking is made possible by placing a GPS device within the vehicle. From the moment the device is implemented, it continues to gather location data while moving, transmitting this information back to a central location from which it can be effectively monitored for a variety of different purposes. Most tracking solutions require wireless connectivity (using commercial cell phone networks) although some providers also offer satellite or hybrid products as well.
How Can Tracking Help My Business?
The most noticeable advantage offered by real-time vehicle tracking is the benefit to the end client. For organizations that provide logistics services, vehicle tracking can enable package recipients and senders to watch their relevant shipment’s travel progress in real-time, alleviating stress and eliminating the uncertainty that delayed shipments can cause. Additionally, tracking integration can allow end clients to receive automated communications when their shipment enters or leaves a specific area (this is called “geo-fencing”).
The efficiency that can be gained through tracking provides a major competitive advantage to any organization that maintains a fleet, provides dispatching, or needs to keep track of the whereabouts of its employees. For instance, trucking companies often use GPS tracking to ensure that shipments will arrive on time. Visibility into the location of an asset allows managers to plan accordingly and schedule staff at correct times. Immediate awareness of delays can also allow staff to better respond and avoid service disruptions. With the advent of crowd-sourcing, GPS trackers will soon be able to consistently predict the most efficient routes to travel in order to avoid areas of high traffic, construction, or other road closures.
What is Crowd-Sourcing?
Crowd-sourcing is the practice of communicating environmental information between devices (called Machine-to-Machine or M2M) to enhance various aspects of our day-to-day lives. The most common crowd-sourcing applications are GPS tracking smart phone applications that can communicate traffic flow information to the web, allowing other GPS devices to suggest other, more efficient routes based on the aggregated traffic data that has been supplied by others.
Improved Employee Safety
Employee safety is an important and highly valued by responsible organizations. Through tracking, organizations can better facilitate the safety of even the most highly mobile employees. In its most basic form, tracking can provide safety by allowing employers to locate their employees promptly should contact be lost. This enables the best possible response in the event of an emergency. More sophisticated systems can also provide specific alerts should an emergency occur, rather than leaving the emergency alerting to an hourly or daily phone check-in.
Improved Fuel Consumption
For organizations whose operations rely heavily upon vehicle fuel consumption, GPS tracking can help to cut expenses significantly. While better trip routing can result in large fuel savings, devices that integrate vehicle statistics tracking in addition to location tracking can provide greater accountability for drivers to operate their vehicles responsibly and in a more fuel efficient way. Drivers are less likely to speed or accelerate aggressively if they know that such behaviour results in a supervisor receiving immediate notification via email or text message.
Insurance is a big question for fleets of any size. Luckily many insurers provide discounts on premiums when a GPS tracking system is implemented into a vehicle. Depending on the value of the vehicle being insured, a GPS tracker may actually pay for itself through insurance premium discounts. In Europe and the USA, some insurance providers have also begun to experiment with using real-time tracking information to review driving habits, allowing them to reduce premiums for good drivers and optimize their plans for higher-risk drivers. Needless to say, this offers a wealth of cost-saving opportunities for many proactive businesses.
Ultimately better supervision of vehicle use also results in better maintenance of those assets. Because tracking devices can potentially be plugged into vehicle analytics and keep accurate logs of vehicle usage, maintenance schedules can become easier to follow. Vehicle maintenance can also be verified by looking through vehicle location records to determine that the vehicle was at a service station.
Should I Implement Vehicle Tracking?
In the past vehicle tracking was an expensive endeavor. High setup costs and higher continuing service fees made tracking commercial prohibitively expensive for all but the largest, most profitable global companies. More recent advances have allowed tracking technology to become more accessible, even being employed by private consumers wishing to monitor their own vehicles. For that reason, the decision to track has become less risky – even becoming a best practice industry-wide across numerous sectors including international & regional freight, manufacturing, oil & gas, government agencies, and police forces.
The decision to employ vehicle tracking should be driven by the desire to improve on the aspects stated above in this article. If your organization can benefit from better vehicle and asset visibility in regards to greater customer service, improved routing efficiency, better safety monitoring, or lower fuel consumption, then vehicle tracking may be an excellent solution to consider.