There are numerous reasons for making the investment into a vehicle tracking and transport management system (TMS). While the up-front costs can feel like a risk, the risks of losses associated with not having a clearly detailed picture of how your operators perform day to day outweigh the initial outlay. Logistician have over a decade’s accumulated expertise in the sector, so can speak with some authority on the relative benefits to businesses of taking that crucial step to improving margins. Here is what we know from what the figures and our clients tell us, as much as our own experience.
What is Vehicle Tracking?
To begin with, it’s useful to look at what vehicle tracking systems are. Taken in isolation, tracking of vehicles is only one basic functionality; with modular integrations, designed to build in features suited to the variety of business operations, fleet owners can do much more than track fleet vehicle movements.
Additional functions include vehicle performance tracking, maintenance and fuelling alerts and driver performance monitoring. Depending on budget and current in-house transport management systems available, features can be tailored to complement pre-existing business functions. For instance, dispatch alerts and notifications can be sent directly to driver’s mobiles, rather than making time-consuming phone calls. Vehicle tracking hardware and software integration can prevent thefts of cargo and trucks. Importantly for strategic planning and future proofing your business, data harvesting allows for flexible analysis and report formats for your staff and supply chain partners. Even as this article is being written, other TMS innovations are coming to market. This article takes a closer look at some of the business case for investment in asset tracking solutions now.
Passive and Active Fleet Tracking Systems
Fleet management systems can involve passive and /or active tracking. Passive trackers save data for retrieval later, whereas active tracking systems collect and send information in real-time. Some transport and logistics companies prefer a combination approach, using both systems. Obviously, passive asset tracking devices and systems are a cheaper management solution that may be sufficient for some companies. However, contemporary software solutions are modular, allowing for flexible scaling up, as required.
Benefits of Vehicle Tracking and Management System Technology
So why implement a vehicle tracking system and what is possible? Let’s get into the detail.
- Cost Saving: Vehicle tracking systems have already proven return on investment and companies choosing to invest in TMS software and hardware will see immediate improvements in financial management following deployment. For instance, real time data tracking of fuel consumption by individual vehicle, fleet location, vehicle type can be analysed in minutes. Similarly, better fuel management by integrating GPS refuelling hubs into route mapping optimises resource management. In terms of driver habits, speeding will be tracked as can idle and maintenance time. Furthermore, pay for time worked will always be accurate. The cumulative impact of improving margins amount to significant savings over time.
- Insurance Discounts: Cost savings also include provision of data to insurance companies that can result in discounted insurance premiums. Insurance companies recognise the value of fleet management software in terms of data and resource management, particularly in terms of safety.
- Better Customer Service: Apart from speed of operations and the condition of goods on arrival, communications with customers is key to customer satisfaction.Data derived automatically from your vehicle tracking system improves performance management overall, which has a beneficial effect on customer experience. The increased transparency that the technology facilitates means that customers can download free apps which lets them see the route, stops, idle time in real time and eventual delivery arrival time. Data sharing is a valued element of customer service and can build trust and return of business.
- Public, Truck and Driver Safety: It is possible to reduce road traffic accidents through improved staff driving performance, following monitoring and training. GPS integration to fleet management allows drivers and managers to be alerted to problems ahead on route in order to avoid them. From traffic jams to road construction works, slowed traffic can cost freight forwarding companies daily in terms of time, cash-flow and reputation. Fleet can also be better protected from the risk of theft with various features.
- Theft Prevention: Theft prevention features of fleet vehicle tracking systems allow alerts and notifications to be sent to mobiles and devices should any suspicious activity occur. Faster response can make the difference between cargo and vehicle losses and continuation of business. Given the high costs of acquiring new vehicles and reported rise in commercial vehicle thefts, including LCV’s as well as trucks, this feature, together with training drivers on safe practices is invaluable.
- Staff Performance Management: Being able to see how employees perform, with data to back up management allows for clarity of communications and expectations. For instance, fuel and maintenance management or driver behaviours are trackable, making employees more accountable which in turn allows managers to identify training needs.
- Administration Efficiencies:The best fleet management software allows for comprehensive data gathering on all aspects of business operations and integrates this with administration systems. Automated document production with updated compliance obligations, faster data sharing, among other efficiencies mean significant time savings on administration. This frees staff to focus attention on tasks otherwise left aside, but important nevertheless. Partner communications will become smoother, leaving a better impression of your business’s professionalism.
- Time Management: Administration efficiencies add to better time management and ease of pressure, improving staff morale. Faster report production and in real time also has a potentially immediate impact on resource management, such as redeployments for more time savings.
- Asset Longevity: Tracking of vehicle and driver performance improves fleet management overall of vehicle engines, tyres and other key engineering considerations.Automated notifications on maintenance and service due ensures that a key asset of freight fleet owners is protected for the long-term.
- Vehicle Use: Real time vehicle tracking systems ensure that capacity is maximised, with better use of LTL and avoidance of unnecessary journey wastage, to say nothing of protection from employee fraud.
The above is just some of the many advantages of investing in a TMS and vehicle tracking system, or upgrading features to existing systems you may currently be using. Making the most cost-effective choice for your business will depend on business systems you currently use and future business objectives. Speaking to a specialist partner with significant industry experience guarantees you will get the best review and recommendations for your particular needs.