GPS technology has come a long way from the era of software displaying dots on a map. It has become an indispensable fleet management tool. Not only can it that give your daily operations visibility but it also gives you insights into every aspect of your operation.
GPS technology increases efficiency and bolsters your bottom line. These top five ways GPS technology improves fleet management illustrate just how much GPS can do for your fleet.
After years of stable prices, fuel costs are going up again. Managing fuel costs is consistently cited as the #1 reason fleet managers opt for GPS.
Telematic GPS systems can help you keep fuel costs under control in several ways.
A heavy-duty truck will burn about 0.8 of a gallon every hour it idles. At $4.00 a gallon, a rig that idles by the side of the road in California will burn $32 worth of diesel if it idles for 10 hours.
Smaller vehicles will burn a lot less fuel when they are idling, sometimes just 0.2 gallons per hour. That's not a lot for one vehicle, but it adds up when you consider your entire fleet.
The U.S. Department of Energy published estimates that aggressive driving can reduce miles per gallon between 15% and 30% on the highway and between 10% and 40% in stop-and-go traffic.
Let's say you have an 18-wheeler that gets 6 mpg on the open road. Overly aggressive driving will reduce fuel efficiency to 4.5 or 5 mpg on the highway. Let's also assume that your rig gets 4 mpg in stop-and-go traffic. Overly aggressive driving will shave off as much as 1.6 mpg from your fuel efficiency. If you are paying $3 a gallon for diesel, then aggressive driving can cost you as much 17 cents a mile more for fuel on the highway. And aggressive driving can add 30 cents a mile to fuel costs on runs through city traffic.
Of course, GPS won't help if your operator chooses the wrong grade of fuel at the pump, or fills up a personal vehicle on a company card. But GPS-enabled telematics can tell you when your operators are idling, and where, and when they are driving too aggressively and where. Management can intervene to coach drivers on ways to reduce fuel costs.
Reducing insurance costs with GPS systems is a no-brainer. You'll pay less for insurance if you get GPS. The discount can be higher with telematic monitoring systems.
But it isn't just insurance costs that are lowered with GPS. You care about your operators and don't want them to get involved in crashes. You care about your brand. No one wants to be known as the carrier that had that awful crash. And you care about the costs that aren't covered by insurance.
The average injury crash costs a fleet $70,000. Sometimes, even with excess liability coverage, fleets can be exposed to millions of dollars of risk from aggressive litigation.
Use telematics to weed out the driver behaviors that contribute to risk on the road. Fleet manager intervention sometimes saves lives and sometimes saves millions.
GPS technology isn't all about catching errant operators in the act. It is also a tool for reinforcing and rewarding desirable operator behavior.
The same way football coaches use game films to give feedback to their players, fleet managers can use GPS data to give feedback to their operators. GPS is a tool that can be used to reward professional driving and to enhance operator retention.
You can use GPS to turn performance reviews and coaching into a game — preferably with a payoff. For instance, the driver who has the least idle time at the end of a month might get a Visa gift card, or a cash bonus. Drivers who get exceptional fuel efficiency could be rewarded a share in cost reduction.
GPS and telematic systems also empower fleet managers to respond to undesirable driving behaviors immediately. And they can be used for geo-fencing, drawing invisible lines around work sites, delivery sites, direct routes, and company headquarters. GPS can notify management immediately when a vehicle is taken for personal use, or is stolen or hijacked.
Tracking a lost load or vehicle becomes much more efficient with units equipped with telematics and RFID technology, enhancing GPS tracking for fleet vehicles. Units with telematic and RFID technology can make asset tracking a snap. GPS Technologies can help you integrate GPS data seamlessly into other back-office software and fleet management tools.
Additionally, GPS Technologies can provide you with a platform that communicates with all of your other business software. That way you have all of your information in one place. GPS technology can be integrated with timecard management, vehicle maintenance management, inventory management, parts management, and much more.
You will be better able to manage your contract specs, salaries and contractor payouts, and pricing to customers. This enables you to have a more complete view of your profits and losses. Plus you will be able to track all of your assets in real-time.
And you will be making a lot fewer calls to your drivers.
Fleets that have GPS have happier customers. And you will have a happier receivables manager.
GPS enables you to give your customers a more exact arrival time for their shipments, not just a vague time window. It creates a trail of digital breadcrumbs you can use to track shipments. Thereby allowing you to explain delays precisely to your customers when they occur.
Your drivers can complete more deliveries per day, and your managers can bill the same day a load is delivered. The ability to communicate accurate, actionable information increases customer satisfaction and customer retention. And you can grow a reputation for being on top of every shipment, delivering on time.