While trade is a practice as old as time, the rise of the digital era allows businesses and end consumers to purchase goods and await doorstep delivery.
Consequently, more than ever, B2B and B2C businesses rely on transportation, including investing in vehicle fleets, to facilitate customer satisfaction. Moreover, fleet transport creates opportunities for logistics companies to serve businesses for which owning a fleet is impractical.
On the one hand, a fleet of vehicles facilitating order fulfillment is a worthwhile investment for businesses in the logistics space. Even so, improper fleet management can result in unnecessary high operational costs. Fortunately, you can lower your fleet’s operational costs using tracking systems, as highlighted below.
What Is Fleet Tracking?
Fleet tracking is a fleet vehicle management system that uses multiple technologies, including GPS, telematics (telecommunications and informatics), and onboard diagnostics (OBD), to track assets. Its primary function is facilitating efficiency and productivity and lowering the fleet’s operational costs.
Vehicle tracking using GPS dates back to the late 70s when the US launched its first satellite into space. GPS vehicle tracking was exclusively for military use in tracking vehicles during missions until GPS technology landed in the public domain in the early 2000s, marking the inception of private vehicle tracking, which inadvertently carved out the fleet tracking niche.
Fleet tracking has evolved to offer businesses and fleet managers significantly more than vehicle location. New-age fleet tracking devices transmit, store, and receive data via their telematics function, generating data aggregates for real-time data analytics and data-driven decision-making. Moreover, the tracking systems may integrate with OBDs to generate data on the vehicle’s health metrics via its sensors.
Also, the systems integrate with fleet management systems to facilitate workflow automation, from scheduling and dispatch to maintenance and compliance. Below is an overview of how fleet tracking systems can maximize fleet efficiency.
1. Optimizing Fleet Routes
The dynamic nature of e-commerce means that delivery requirements constantly change, necessitating an adaptive routing system. Manual route mapping for fleet vehicles misses nuances that cumulatively result in inefficiency. Moreover, manual route mapping takes time and is likely to become obsolete before or after implementation, rendering it ineffective.
In contrast, fleet tracking systems feature automated route mapping facilitated via GPS. Moreover, the tracker’s analytics function allows fleet managers to monitor different plausible routes and accurately deduce the most efficient route in terms of distance and time.
Also, fleet tracking systems that operate in real-time can identify hurdles like potential traffic build-up due to unprecedented circumstances and re-route drivers accordingly.
Optimized route mapping enhances drivers’ productivity by reducing time spent per delivery and increases customer satisfaction through timely deliveries. Additionally, route mapping helps lower fuel costs. While the specifics of fuel costs vary depending on mileage, data suggests that maximizing fleet efficiency via route mapping can lower fuel/mile by up to 33% along highways and 5% in city centers.
2. Implementing Preventive Fleet Maintenance
Although fleet managers may schedule and observe a pre-set maintenance routine for all vehicles, individual vehicle conditions vary. Therefore, some vehicles may fail to hold up until the scheduled maintenance date, causing unscheduled vehicle downtimes.
Also, a routine vehicle maintenance appointment may reveal problems beyond the expected issues, necessitating a longer downtime duration than initially planned.
Fleet businesses lose hundreds of dollars daily per vehicle to unscheduled downtimes. Fortunately, fleet tracking systems can help overcome downtime inefficiencies via OBD.
Integrating fleeting tracking systems with a vehicle’s OBD generates real-time data on a vehicle’s health metrics, including battery temperature, engine control, air-fuel ratio, and exhaust-gas ratio. Such data facilitates preventive fleet maintenance by allowing fleet managers to decipher which vehicle parts need repair and plan purchases in advance.
Also, OBDs track a vehicle’s maintenance history. A vehicle’s history is essential for efficient fleet lifecycle management, helping fleet managers maximize vehicular assets.
3. Optimizing Vehicle Safety
Poor driving and vehicular theft are the two primary factors that compromise fleet vehicle safety. Reckless driving habits like overspeeding, quick acceleration, and sudden braking strain the vehicle’s engine, causing it to wear out faster. Moreover, such habits compromise a driver’s control over the vehicle, increasing the chances of a car crash.
Fortunately, fleet tracking systems utilize real-time GPS monitoring, allowing fleet managers to view reckless driving remotely. They can take action, including immobilizing the vehicle to avert road crashes.
Regarding theft, the tracking systems have features like real-time geofencing alerts and geo-tracking that notify fleet managers when a vehicle exits its demarcated operational area and track it to facilitate recovery.
Also, fleet managers can engage the immobilization function remotely, explaining why fleet vehicles with tracking systems have low theft incidences and a high recovery rate. Therefore, fleet trackers maximize fleet efficiency by enhancing vehicle safety.
4. Monitoring Driver Behavior And Optimizing Performance
Poor driver conduct, like vehicle idling, making unscheduled stops, and unauthorized vehicle use, increase fuel costs while lowering performance efficiency. However, fleet tracking systems can monitor driver behavior, allowing managers to address such inefficiencies by setting standard operational procedures or handling individual cases.
On the other hand, fleet tracking systems may also feature electronic login devices (ELDs) that track when individual drivers start and end their shifts. The ELD function facilitates compliance, preventing costly HOS (hours of service) violations.
5. Negotiating For Lower Fleet Insurance Premiums
As highlighted above, fleet vehicles fitted with trackers have a lower theft rate and a high recovery rate after theft incidences. Insurance companies base their premiums on risk, with high-risk assets attracting higher premiums. Therefore, a fleet tracking system allows you to maximize fleet efficiency by negotiating for lower premiums based on lower theft risk.
Fleet tracking systems maximize fleet efficiency by lowering operational costs and asset risk while enhancing productivity. So, follow the tips above to maximize fleet efficiency and reap unparalleled benefits from your fleet tracking system.