Do you spend hours trying to identify the exact location of your vehicles? Are you worried your drivers are engaging in bad driving behavior and do not follow the traffic rules? Would it not help if you knew exactly where your vehicles and drivers are? A vehicle tracking system can do just that. But, what exactly is a vehicle tracking system? Let us find out.
What Is a Vehicle Tracking System?
A vehicle tracking system locates vehicles and other movable assets and gives managers the visibility they require to streamline their operations, reduce costs, increase profitability, and keep customers satisfied. According to a report, the global vehicle tracking market was $6,420 million in 2017 and is likely to reach $11,000 million by 2025.
Route4Me’s vehicle tracking system is no longer just nice to have, it has become a must-have tool for every field service business. Think of the vehicle tracking system technology as a virtual ride-along with your drivers. But, you do not need to sit in the passenger seat physically and monitor the vehicle and driver; instead, the vehicle tracking solution enables you to keep an eye on all your drivers regardless of your location. So, managers can make sure their vehicles are operating smoothly and the drivers are driving responsibly by using a fleet management solution.
How Does a Vehicle Tracking System Work?
In a vehicle tracking system, the following four components make the communication possible:
- GPS satellite
- Vehicle tracking device
- Wireless network
- GPS servers
The tracking system uses GPS satellites for asset tracking at all times. Using a wireless network, the vehicle’s location information is transmitted to the GPS server, which acts as a “cloud” which allows the users to access the information regardless of their location or mobile device. The information gathered from the vehicle is even displayed on a map in real time. So, users can access the data as breadcrumb trails of the vehicle’s journey. Users can also see how fast it traveled on the way to the assigned destinations.
Image credit: VectorMine/Shutterstock.com
Since the complexities of gathering the data are done in the background, the users only have to log in to set up specific vehicle tracking system reports that are relevant to them.
To learn more, read our article on how tracking works.
What Vehicle Tracking Systems Can Be Used?
There are four main types of tracking systems available. These are discussed below.
Cellular-Based GPS Tracking
These systems use a device that connects to cellular towers and gathers the location for a particular individual or vehicle. For cellular-based tracking, individuals just need to install the tracking app on their mobile phones and the phones will then use the internet to send the tracking data.
Satellite-Based GPS Tracking
Businesses that operate in rural areas often prefer using satellite-based tracking because such a system has stronger signals than cellular-based tracking and are capable of reporting location movement at a faster rate.
This is used to track objects, but not necessarily vehicles. For example, supermarkets previously used cart blocking barriers to recover stolen carts, but many now use asset trackers to track their shopping carts. Since they have switched to an asset tracking system, they have been able to prevent cart theft and recover more carts.
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These are primarily used to track the movements of people or animals, but have some use cases for businesses too. For instance, if you wanted to confirm that your field reps are completing regular walkaround inspections of their vehicles, a personnel tracker would be able to do that.
Why Should You Have a Vehicle Tracking System?
Route4Me’s GPS vehicle tracking system provides information on vehicle diagnostics, improves the safety of vehicles, and enhances the productivity of drivers. The end result is increased profitability.
Many field service businesses across the world have already deployed vehicle tracking software as an integral part of their fleet operations. In fact, research predicts that the global vehicle tracking systems market size will grow from $3,795.0 million in 2017 to $14,957.5 million by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 19.9% from 2018 to 2025. And, why not? Fleet tracking software help monitor fuel consumption, reduce maintenance costs, and make customer service more efficient. So, there is no reason why companies should not go for automated vehicle tracking systems.
But, that is not all. Advanced business vehicle tracking systems can do a great deal more than just identify vehicle locations.
Here are some of their many benefits.
- Improves driver safety: When drivers know that they are being monitored, they are less likely to indulge in unsafe driving practices, such as speeding and tailgating.
- Reduces costs: Efficient route planning and improved driving behavior mean less fuel consumption and reduced fuel expense.
- Enhances customer service: With a vehicle tracking system in place, you will be able to communicate the driver’s estimated arrival time to the customer. And, drivers arriving timeously at customers’ location is one of the best ways to boost customer satisfaction.
- Increases operational efficiency: A vehicle tracking system helps you learn when maintenance is pending and indicates the overall health of your vehicles to avoid potential breakdowns and reduce repair costs.
- Prevents vehicle thefts: Vehicle tracking systems powered by geofencing technology can help protect your business from driver fraud. This is possible as geofencing technology helps create a virtual boundary on a map and notifies you when a vehicle moves into or out of the defined area limit. This is useful in identifying whether your drivers are taking too much time at a stop or leaving too early.
Route4Me’s Car tracking solutions do not only tell you where your vehicle is being driven, but it also shows how it is being driven. For example, these systems can identify poor driver behavior, including breaking road rules, harsh braking, exceeding the speed limit, and accelerating quickly. In this way, you can keep the drivers safe, provide constructive driving feedback, and, most importantly, reduce unnecessary hefty expenses due to road law violations or mishaps.
Also, if a driver is stuck on the road (in the middle of nowhere) due to an unanticipated circumstance, such as a breakdown or medical emergency, you can send roadside assistance without delay.
A vehicle tracking system even helps you protect your vehicles from theft. For example, if any vehicle moves outside of work hours or if you notice any suspicious behavior, you can immediately share the data with the police to recover your vehicles.
The benefits of vehicle trackers do not end here. To learn more, read our article on why your competitors have GPS tracking software.
How Can You Choose the Right Vehicle Tracking System?
There are many things to consider when you plan to implement a vehicle tracking system. To make this easier, we have listed a few of these below.
Make sure that the vehicle tracking system you choose comes with a speed alert feature so that you immediately know when a driver engages in bad driving.
Supports Mobile Devices
Not all vehicle tracking system apps support mobile devices. However, if you require anytime, anywhere access to your vehicles’ activities, make sure the system is cloud-based or check if a mobile app is available for your devices.
Ease of Use
Choose a system with a simple and easy to use interface that does not require specific skills or a steep learning curve. You can ask for a virtual demo from the vendor before committing.
Reliable Customer Support
Opt for a vendor that allows you to contact a customer service representative whenever you need help. This support can come in the form of helpdesk tickets, emails, how-to videos or FAQs.
Go for a vehicle tracking system which offers a free trial so that you can test the waters before spending a large amount of money.
Make sure that the service provider does not make you a hostage by binding you to a lengthy contract.
Long Standing Company
Ensure that the provider you opt for has been in business for a long time and has a long list of happy customers. The last thing you would want is to be a service provider’s experiment, right?
Proper Return on Investment
Do not select a system solely based on its price. Choosing the cheapest system could mean you end up with a system that neither performs well nor gives you enough ROI. So, rather choose a vehicle tracking system that will help you reduce costs and make your field service operations more efficient.
How to Get the Most out of a Vehicle Tracking System?
A tracking system is a reliable tool to keep your field service operations under control. Unfortunately, most managers or dispatchers are unaware of how to harness the full potential of a tracking system. So, here are five tips to help you get the most out of your tracking systems.
Go for a Route Planner with Vehicle Tracking Capabilities
Tracking your drivers is not enough. You also need to plan accurate routes to make sure that your drivers show up on time at each customer location. A route planner will help you plan such optimized routes which are free from traffic, under-construction roads, and other hazards. This will help you save travel time, reduce fuel costs, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately increase your profits.
You just need to upload the list of addresses into the software and set some parameters. The route planner will then come up with 100% accurate routes in just a few seconds.
So, go for a route planner that comes with GPS tracking functionality to get the best of both worlds.
Use the Reporting and Analytics Feature
Use the reporting and analytics feature to get all the historical information about your vehicle so that you can identify improvement areas, control fuel and maintenance expenses, and make your operations more efficient.
With custom alerts, you will immediately know when a driver goes over the speed limit or drives off route. So, alerts are the most convenient way to monitor vehicles and save time on administration.
Go for Access Restriction
Some of the best tracking systems come with an access restriction feature that enables your field service managers to set access permissions for specific users. Once these restrictions are in place, only the authorized users can access the restricted details on routes. This will strengthen your data security and help you delegate responsibilities.
Take Advantage of the eSignature Feature
The eSignature feature will allow your customers to sign for deliveries directly on your drivers’ mobile devices. In this way, you can eliminate paper slips all together which are not as reliable as electronic data since they can be lost or misplaced.
To learn more, read our article on how to get the most out of tracking devices.
How to Convince Your Employees to Adopt Vehicle Tracking?
Drivers and other employees are often apprehensive about a vehicle tracking system as they feel their employers are implementing such a system because of a lack of trust. While it may not be possible to eliminate the resistance, it can be reduced. Below are some simple ways to help drivers accept vehicle tracking.
Transparency is key when implementing a tracking system. So, be honest about your expectations from the tracking system by informing the drivers that you do not just want to monitor their activities, but also want to increase their safety, prevent incidences of vehicle theft, reduce fuel costs, and optimize the overall operations.
Explain the Benefits
Explain the different ways in which a vehicle tracking system can benefit them. Tell them that GPS tracking is one of the most effective fleet management solutions and will strengthen company operations which will eventually help them get stability on the job, get growth opportunities, and earn more money.
Outline the Policies
Set rules as to how the tracking will be used in the vehicles. Once your drivers understand that there are rules and policies in place, there should be little resistance to the new technology.
Have an Open House
Addressing their concerns and answering their questions about a vehicle tracking system will make them more comfortable. The more understood they feel, the more they will trust the process and the quicker they will adapt.
To learn more, read our article on real fleet strategies for coping with driver objections to tracking.
Regardless of the size of your field service business, you will benefit from tracking your drivers and vehicles. So, it is no surprise that vehicle tracking systems have quickly become a mainstay in every field service business. The amount of time, money, and resources it saves makes it a must-have tool. Are you up for it?
If you have any questions about vehicle tracking systems, feel free to leave your comments below.
Finally, answer these three questions correctly to confirm that you understand how to make GPS tracking software part of your fleet strategies:
- Why should you use a route planner that comes with vehicle tracking capabilities?
- How can a vehicle tracking system ensure driver safety?
- How can a tracking system help reduce insurance costs?