8 Ways a GPS Vehicle Tracking Solution Can Help Your Fleet Stay Ahead of the Curve

April 29, 2020

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Key Takeaways

If you’re a fleet manager, a GPS vehicle tracking solution can be a powerful way to help you understand the location of your vehicles and assets, even if you’re hundreds of miles away from them. Not only that, but GPS vehicle tracking can be a great way to improve driver safety, simplify fleet operations, and increase visibility into assets like heavy equipment.

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Advancements in GPS technology have made fleet tracking easier and more accurate, while cloud computing services provide a simpler way to make sense of tracking data via intuitive SaaS platforms. The result is GPS fleet tracking—an integral tool to help you manage your vehicles and assets in real time. 

If you’re a fleet manager, a GPS vehicle tracking solution can be a powerful way to help you understand the location of your vehicles and assets, even if you’re hundreds of miles away from them. Not only that, but GPS vehicle tracking can be a great way to improve driver safety, simplify fleet operations, and increase visibility into assets like heavy equipment.

Read on to learn more about how GPS vehicle tracking solutions work and what to consider when selecting a telematics system that’s right for your fleet.

How does a GPS vehicle tracking solution work?

GPS tracking devices are one of the more widely-used tracking systems available to businesses and consumers today.

Put simply, a GPS tracker is a device that uses the Global Positioning System to determine and track the location of its carrier—typically a vehicle or person. A GPS tracking system is able to do this by using the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network which transmits signals to GPS devices via satellites to determine location, vehicle speed, time, and direction. Because of this, GPS vehicle tracking systems can provide both real-time and historical navigation data on a vehicle’s route.

How can you use GPS vehicle tracking solutions to improve your fleet management

Though GPS tracking devices are primarily used to obtain vehicle location, they can also provide additional benefits to your fleet. For example, a GPS vehicle tracking solution can:

1. Improve your asset management with real-time asset tracking

As trailers continue to outnumber trucks on the road three to one, it's becoming increasingly important to have GPS trailer tracking in place as an additional layer of visibility. With nearly 6 million trailers in use in the United States alone, vehicle tracking solutions like GPS trailer tracking present a quick and easy way for you to locate and keep track of these important assets. By providing real-time location updates, GPS trailer tracking devices give fleets a cost-effective way to maintain cargo visibility, accurately right-size fleets, reduce time spent on yard hunts, and prevent theft with geofencing.

2. Decrease your fleet's fuel costs with engine idle alerts

It’s no secret that fuel is one of the leading expenses for fleets. But just how much does fuel management impact your fleet’s bottom line? 

To help your fleet reduce fuel costs, opt for a vehicle tracking solution that can help you identify areas of excessive fuel use. Specifically, look for a telematics provider that can help you track idling time through alerts, monitor DEF levels, and prevent fuel theft to make sure your fleet is optimizing its fuel use.

3. Promote a preventative vehicle maintenance schedule

In order to keep your fleet healthy and your vehicles on the road, select a vehicle tracking solution that provides real-time visibility into your vehicle’s diagnostics. This means getting insights into engine fault codes, fuel levels, battery voltage, and more. This level of detail makes it easier to schedule preventative maintenance based off mileage or engine hours and understand exactly when a vehicle is due for maintenance to minimize downtime on the road. 

4. Streamline compliance with an ELD that accurately collects Hours of Service

Commercial motor carriers mainly use ELDs to record drive time and electronically log HOS, as required by the FMCSA’s ELD mandate. However, because ELDs record a range of informative data beyond driver logs, they are a critical component of a comprehensive fleet management software solution. 

With real-time visibility into every driver’s log, ELDs give you visibility into drivers’ statuses when planning routes so that Hours of Service violations can be avoided. Certain ELD providers, like Samsara, even provide HOS reports that allow you to quickly identify compliance violations—or an alert if a driver is nearing an HOS violation. These alerts can be easily customized so you can choose to be notified if a driver is approaching a compliance violation.

5. Create more efficient and streamlined routes with route optimization tools

Whether you have regularly scheduled routes, create new routes daily, or do a mix of both, vehicle tracking solutions can help you make data-informed decisions for efficient routing and dispatch. Using a telematics solution to analyze the performance of your past routes can help you plan the most fuel and time efficient routes for future deliveries and better predict departure and arrival times.

Some vehicle tracking providers analyze the performance of planned versus actual routes so you can identify deviations from a planned route, pinpoint trends in performance over time, and drill into individual route histories. This coupled with a Time on Site Report can give you visibility into where drivers are spending their time and how much time they're spending at each location, making it easy to quickly flag unauthorized or suboptimal activity.  

6. Improve security with geofence alerts to prevent unauthorized activity and help recover lost or stolen items

By setting up geofences, you’ll be automatically alerted if your vehicles or assets unexpectedly move outside your yard’s perimeter so you can take immediate action to stop theft. If a vehicle that shouldn’t be moving does move, a GPS tracking solution like Samsara can provide you with instant access to a real-time “helicopter view” of your vehicle, which you can share with authorities to retrieve your stolen property.

7. Track fuel and energy usage for electric and hybrid vehicles

In certain instances, the most effective way to manage the fuel efficiency of a vehicle is to electrify. Electrification can be a good option for fleets looking to significantly lower operational costs and can be particularly valuable if your fleet needs to meet certain emission or TCO requirements.  

Though EVs come with their own unique operational challenges, there are certain vehicle tracking solutions that give you the tools needed to manage an electric fleet. Read more about how Samsara can help your fleet transition to electric with tools that help improve range anxiety, notify you of low EV battery, optimize EV route planning, and more.

8. Help you run a mobile workforce with a fleet mobile app

Consider selecting a vehicle tracking solution that includes high-speed LTE connectivity. This can help enable a connected fleet and can speed up your back office operations, providing more accurate information in real time, with less reliance on paper trails. For example, with the Samsara Driver App, drivers can stay up to date with changes in routes or deliveries, and with high-speed Wifi, they can instantly submit paperwork on the go—even in low connectivity areas.

How to choose the best vehicle tracking solution

A GPS fleet tracking solution could be valuable to your fleet if your business relies on providing products and services to its customers. But which system is right for you?

When evaluating a system, it’s important to consider:

Quality of location data: Would your fleet benefit from real-time tracking or is a single location ping every five to ten minutes sufficient?

Ease of use: Consider how straight-forward the dashboard is and if it would require a heavy-lift to onboard and train employees to use it.

Customer support: What type of customer service will you need? If you want a provider who's easy to get in touch with, check to see if your provider has 24/7 customer support.

Ease of install: How seamless will the install process be for your fleet? Will it require hiring additional people or new resources?

Samsara offers customers real-time visibility into fleet operations, unlike many GPS fleet tracking services that provide breadcrumb-style trails with location updates that refresh every several minutes. With live-to-the-second tracking, fleet managers have the real-time GPS information they need in order to know exactly where their vehicles are at any given time. This provides fleet managers visibility into their operations and gives their customers the confidence of knowing exactly where their delivery is.

Beyond added visibility into vehicle operations, Samsara provides robust management tools that enable fleets to complete more jobs in less time. Samsara's data-rich reports help improve operational efficiency, while dispatch tools, real-time traffic, and route analytics help operators boost performance. Customizable alerts and route analytics also help fleet managers improve driver productivity and fuel efficiency.

Samsara GPS tracking is part of a connected telematics solution that offers real-time visibility into fleet operations with an integrated connected driver workflow for ease of use and scale, geofence functionality for added vehicle security, and is an FMCSA-approved ELD for HOS compliance. Plus, the Samsara vehicle tracking solution can combine real-time tracking with Samsara AI dash cams to help you make informed decisions to build a smarter and safer fleet.

Want additional information about how Samsara’s vehicle tracking solution can help you manage your fleet? Reach out for a free trial today to learn more about how Samsara can help your fleet be more sustainable, safe, and efficient.

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