If you have a fleet of commercial vehicles, then the Global Position System (GPS) fleet tracking is an essential element of your transport management operation. As such, below is a brief summary of what fleet tracking is and why it is important.
GPS fleet tracking comprises of three components:
1. The hardware – tracking device.
2. GPS tracking server
3. The software – user interface
In other words, GPS fleet tracking is essentially a tool which combines the fleet management software with a GPS tracking device. Once installed, a business will be able to know the location of their vehicles.
A GPS tracking device looks like a small box and is fitted inside the vehicle. Once in place, the truck fleet tracking system will collect and send vehicle data back to the central server. Below are the types of information that can be collected by the system:
• Information about vehicle usage and driver behaviour
The tracker will operate in real time, showing such things as fuel level, engine temperature, usage of lights, brakes and general driver behaviour. Tracking data can be relayed back to the driver’s fleet manager for analysis, enabling efficiency opportunities to be identified and improved.
• Satellite tracking
The GPS fleet tracking system uses satellite networks to send data back to the User Interface (UI). This is far more efficient than cellular tracking by phone, which can be limited due to network coverage. The tracking ability can also serve as an anti-theft device, enabling stolen vehicles to be located. The more sophisticated systems can control locking of doors and even engine immobilisation, should the vehicle be the subject of theft.
Fleet tracking systems fall within two categories, active and passive:
• Active GPS fleet tracking – data is submitted in real-time to the server. The fleet manager can see exactly what is happening and when.
• Passive GPS fleet tracking – data is stored at set intervals when an event triggers it, such as a destination point being reached or key used or door opened. It is sent to the server retrospectively and is normally downloaded manually by the fleet manager.
Depending upon which GPS fleet tracking device is used, a mix of active and passive is the norm. Data is uploaded when a connection is available and stored if necessary. This is very useful in remote areas of Australia where satellite networks may not always be available.
Fleet tracking management is important not only because it helps to track vehicle usage and driver behaviour but additionally, the data collected can provide insights to help identify safety concerns, maximising operational efficiencies and improve vehicle usage.
Here are a couple of examples of fleet tracking management in use:
• Delivery trucks – the satellite GPS tracking capability enables management to track where their vehicles are and at the same time inform customers as to the delivery status of their postage items, should they wish to pass that information on. Management can also be notified when a delivery has been completed and whether the driver is awaiting further instructions from management, for example, whether they should return to the office or proceed with another job. In the event a claim is made for non-delivery of goods, the fleet tracking device will supply evidence, thus helping to prevent financial losses.
• Organisations – this type of mobile technology helps track both vehicle and driver behaviour. For example, Toyota Fleet Management’s (TFM) telematics product, ForceField Telematics, helps identify ‘at risk’ drivers. Identifying such drivers can help businesses improve driver behaviour, prevent collisions and injury, damage to vehicles, as well as lost productivity.
With the sophistication of GPS fleet tracking advancing and costs reducing, more companies are looking to track both vehicle and employee movements. This functionality not only assists with improving productivity but also employee safety, asset security and customer service. However, this feature is best utilised where an organisation’s fleet tracking management team are carefully monitoring the data.
Alan Sankauskas, Connected Mobility Manager at Toyota Fleet Management Australia has this to say about mobile fleet tracking: “We are continually looking for new ways of harnessing technology and looking to the future with a strong focus on connected mobility. Our focus is very much on providing services to customers that deliver value and efficiency through a highly effective and engaged team.”
As far as installation costs, this will vary according to how many trucks you have, which supplier you use and the sophistication level of your units. The cost of a basic truck fleet tracking device can vary considerably and adding on options such as trackers to monitor fuel levels will cost more.
The cost of GPS truck tracker hardware will depend upon the brand chosen as there are many different models to choose from, all with a variety of features and benefits. They all have one thing in common and that is that they incorporate sophisticated electronics along with a GPS satellite locator and often a mobile phone network communication module. These features are used to send data to the truck fleet manager for analysis.
Toyota Fleet Managements telematics product, ForceField Telematics, comes with many benefits worth considering:
• Driver safety is improved –the data provided by the tracking software, can help management identify drivers that are at risk due to their driving behaviour. By being proactive and taking control of this in advance, accidents can be prevented and good drivers rewarded.
• Operational efficiency is enhanced – because all vehicles will be carefully monitored, their utilisation can be optimized. By knowing where each vehicle of your fleet is at any one time, you can easily identify if you have a regular surplus, in turn allowing you to decide if you want to dispose of or reallocate those vehicles. Route planning can also be better implemented, and logbooks will now become electronic, resulting in more efficient lodgement of data and enhanced productivity as time is no longer wasted making manual entries.
• Reduction in costs – utilising ForceField Telematics technology may also help to reduce insurance costs as accident rates are lowered along with claim costs.
Once your fleet tracking software is in place, it will need to communicate with the telecommunication provider office base.
Should you require further information or if you would like to know more about TFM’s telematics product, ForceField Telematics, do get in touch with them today here or you can contact TFM on: 1300 888 870.
The information provided by Toyota Fleet Management, a division of Toyota Finance Australia Limited ABN 48 002 435 181, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 392536, is of a general nature and for your information only. Nothing in this article constitutes or should be considered to constitute legal, taxation or financial advice. Before making a decision about any product or service described, we recommend that you seek independent professional advice such as from your accountant, taxation or financial adviser or lawyer, who can advise you about your personal circumstances and what would be suitable for you.
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