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How a GPS truck tracking system benefits fleets

By Verizon Connect May 10, 2024

GPS fleet tracking is a crucial tool for fleet managers of businesses reliant on vehicles for product and service delivery. Employing GPS software yields tangible financial benefits, providing complete control over your fleet to help you enhance productivity while keeping a close eye on costs. 

Understanding the benefits, options and features of GPS fleet tracking software is key to making the right choice for your fleet. Read on to learn about:

  • How telematics works
  • Reducing fuel costs
  • Driver safety, vehicle security and operations
  • Active vs passive vehicle tracking
  • Web-based vs client-based GPS tracking
  • Importance of mapping and reports
  • Securing employee buy-in

How to track a truck with telematics

Telematics technology takes near real-time GPS data from vehicle tracking devices, combined with additional vehicle-specific data gleaned from on-board diagnostics ports, and transmits it back to centralized servers via cell phone or satellite networks. Managers can put GPS truck tracking systems to work for their business to reap a number of benefits. 

Reducing fuel costs 

Speeding is a huge factor in high fuel usage, and encouraging your drivers to maintain proper speeds can help you get a handle on the fuel consumption of each of your vehicles. Many telematics solutions provide speed information and alert you when a truck exceeds set speed thresholds.

Excessive idling can also contribute to high fuel costs for many businesses. When drivers unproductively waste fuel by using their truck as a climate control system, you lose money from your bottom line. Semi-truck GPS tracking can help reduce idling times by alerting you when vehicles idle longer than a preset duration so you can take corrective action. 

Truck monitoring systems also provide location-based data for efficient dispatching. Truck GPS tracking provides better routing and dispatching, which helps lower fuel usage, reduce truck mileage and increase the number of jobs completed in a day. You can also determine when a truck arrived at a job and when it left, providing accurate and verifiable proof of services, supporting your customer service efforts.

Prioritize driver safety, vehicle security and operations

GPS fleet management systems can relay a variety of information to fleet managers regarding driving behavior including speed, harsh braking, engine start-up and shut-down times, and idling time. 

The system also can signal when trucks leave authorized areas using geofencing features, and immediately notify managers if a vehicle is used during off-hours. In the event a vehicle is stolen, a GPS tracking device can help recover an asset and any onboard equipment quickly.

Quality GPS trackers for work trucks also streamline operations by automating timesheets. You will know exactly when employees start work, how long they take for lunches and breaks and when they stop working for the day, without relying on manual timesheets. Accurate, verifiable timesheets will streamline payroll processes and help you avoid paying excessive overtime pay due to timesheet fraud or unintentional errors.

Active vs. passive vehicle tracking

In any GPS fleet management system, data from the vehicle tracking device is transmitted to a remote user at regular intervals. But is it better to go with a passive system that provides only periodic location updates, or one that gives you active, near real-time location information? 

For passive tracking, all the GPS tracker data is stored in the receiver and must be downloaded once all the vehicles return to the office. Be cautious of tracking systems with “updates” every 5, 10, or 15 minutes. This isn’t a truly live experience, and often you can be charged for additional pings if you need to locate your vehicle between intervals.

Despite marginally higher cost, active-update GPS systems have become the most popular method for tracking trucks because having near real-time vehicle location information enables fleet owners to make critical on-demand management decisions.

Client-based vs. web-based GPS truck tracking systems

Many client-based GPS truck tracking systems utilize proprietary software that requires installation and frequent manual upgrades and downloads. Another drawback to proprietary software is that the interface can only be used on computers with the proper installation.

Web-based GPS truck tracking systems, on the other hand, provide information securely over the Internet to any connected device, no special software installation required. As long as you know the login and password, you can access your account from any internet-enabled computer or handheld device. The flexibility and 24/7 accessibility of a bring-your-own-device online solution makes it the far superior choice when deciding on a GPS fleet management system.

The importance of mapping to track trucks

GPS tracking for fleets requires current and clear mapping. Some fleet tracking software solutions have partnered with well-known mapping providers for the most accurate and up-to-date mapping available.

The best mapping features allow you to zoom all the way down to street level and provide street, terrain, satellite and hybrid street-satellite views. In addition, you should have the option to view real-time traffic information in the system to help drivers avoid delays.

See how route planning software can reduce fuel costs for your fleet.

Using reports and alerts in your truck monitoring system

Tracking trucks with GPS solutions like the Verizon Connect Reveal platform allow you to automate delivery of concise and easy-to-understand reports on a weekly or monthly basis. You can also generate reports on demand as needed, giving you information about:

  • Daily vehicle or driver activity
  • Speeding violations
  • Violations of company driving policy
  • A complete list of jobs
  • Excessive idling times and much more

Verizon Connect Reveal also can instantly notify you of unwanted driver behavior—text and email alerts can be triggered as soon as a violation occurs. Alerts can be triggered for excessive speeding and idling, engine start-up or shut-down times, after-hours unauthorized truck usage and the moments a truck enters or exits specific locations. 

The alerts are also included in relevant reports to aid tracking over time, and GPS vehicle tracking solutions have extensive historical reporting functions. You can access information gathered by your solution from the time you started using it and compare the performance between two employees. Or, utilize a custom report to compare an employee’s performance against the company average in areas such as speeding, idling, miles driven and engine-on or -off times.

Secure employee buy-in with truck tracking 

Truck tracking can help fleet managers both identify bad habits that lead to serious financial losses and reward good driving via metrics-based incentive programs. Once you’ve decided to implement vehicle tracking solutions, it’s important to get buy-in from your drivers and staff.

Share the important safety functions vehicle tracking provides for your business and your drivers with your team members. GPS tracking allows you to stay up to date with proper maintenance, helping keep vehicles safe on the road. In addition, fleet vehicle tracking can      allow you to recover stolen assets more quickly, which will help keep your business from incurring losses.

Most importantly, tracking your vehicles provides numerous benefits that help increase revenue, which can add to financial stability and driver job security. In fact, many businesses use the increased revenue to reward employees with bonuses for their safe driving. Rewards based on tangible vehicle tracking data can boost morale and help increase acceptance of the solution.

While tracking trucks may be new to your business, GPS is a proven technology that is the industry standard for fleet management. By not tracking your most important equipment, you could be putting your business and employees at risk.

Why use Verizon Connect for GPS truck tracking?

Gain a competitive edge and streamline your fleet operations with Verizon Connect, featuring industry-leading expertise and a dedicated support team. Our comprehensive GPS solutions go well beyond basic location tracking, offering a powerful suite of features designed to boost your efficiency, reduce costs and prioritize safety all while scaling solutions to match the changing needs of your business. 

Key features include real-time visibility into fleet activity, from location and speed to fuel consumption and driver behavior; cost-saving aids like route planning, idling alerts and preventative maintenance reminders; and tools to enhance driver safety and simplify compliance, such as geofencing, hours of service (HOS) tracking, harsh driving alerts and real-time crash notifications.

Verizon Connect

Verizon Connect Staff represents a team of professionals passionate about everything telematics. Get to hear about the latest trends, product features and industry best practices from the desk of Verizon Connect Staff.

Tags: Data & Analytics, Fuel cost management, Performance & Coaching, Productivity & Efficiency, Safety, Routing, Team Management

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