Operating a fleet comes with a constant stream of data that needs to be captured, organized, and analyzed. From fuel efficiency to driver behaviors, your vehicles have the ability to tell you where you can potentially maximize efficiency and drive cost savings — as long as you have the technology in place to do so.
Modern telematics and GPS fleet tracking technology are a fleet manager’s most powerful tools to maximize vehicle efficiency and drive cost savings. In fact, Automotive Fleet notes that 98% of companies that used GPS tracking software in 2019 reported positive benefits, while 45% of fleets achieved positive ROI in 11 months or less.
Ready to find the right GPS solution for your fleet? Read on to understand the basics and benefits of fleet telematics, and view our selection of the best GPS fleet tracking systems.
- GPS Fleet Tracking Overview
- What to Look for in a GPS Fleet Tracking System
- Pricing Structures
- 6 Questions to Ask Before You Buy
- The Top GPS Fleet Tracking Systems
GPS Fleet Tracking
GPS fleet tracking systems are an integral part of a telematics strategy. For fleets, GPS technology goes above and beyond just vehicle location tracking. With the right systems in place, you can use the technology to better manage and improve expenses, productivity, utilization, compliance, and safety.
Fleets are able to leverage data from two primary sources: Vehicle efficiency and driver behaviors.
Do your vehicles spend too much time idling, therefore wasting an excessive amount of fuel? The day-to-day operation of your vehicles can tell you a lot about the efficiency of your fleet. GPS tracking enables you to monitor advanced fleet data including:
- Vehicle Speed
- Engine Performance
- Idling Time
- Fuel Efficiency
- Location Tracking
Many telematics systems can also implement diagnostic trouble code alerts to indicate service needs to ensure that your vehicles receive the care they need to keep running efficiently.
Driver Behavior & Safety Tracking
Are your drivers being safe on the road? With telematics, your GPS fleet tracking systems can continually capture on-the-road driver behaviors like:
- After-Hours Usage
- Braking Habits
- Acceleration Habits
- Erratic Driving
In addition, telematics will enable you to stay compliant with Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations.
With this information, you can compile safety reports and provide feedback to drivers with the goal of improving their behavior on the road.
Hardware & Software
Using hardware in the vehicle and a centralized software system, GPS technology sends, receives, and stores information about each vehicle in your fleet.
Hardware – GPS Devices & Sensors
A device and sensors are installed in each of your vehicles, usually behind the dashboard or above the gas pedal. Some devices may come with the option to be hardwired or plug-and-play.
Software – A Dashboard for Metrics
The data collected from the vehicle will be transmitted to a centralized software system that presents vehicle metrics via a dashboard. GPS devices work with fleet tracking software to give fleet managers real-time and historic snapshots of vehicle metrics and driver behaviors.
Using data from your GPS fleet tracking systems, you can work toward accomplishing certain business goals, like reducing risk, reinforcing safety policies, and improving driver behavior on the road.
What to Look for in a GPS Fleet Tracking System
The exact type of GPS tracking system you need for your fleet will depend on many variables. Below are a few of the most common needs.
Mobile App and Navigation Options
Some cloud-based GPS trackers offer add-ons, such as routing and navigation capabilities. By connecting to a driver’s mobile phone, a GPS system can provide directions and instruct the driver on which stops to make and in what order through a mobile app.
A fleet manager can utilize a web interface to share turn-by-turn directions to drivers, while also alerting them of any schedule changes that may affect their routes.
A GPS fleet tracking system will require proper installation and setup, as well as ongoing management to analyze data. These services can be handled in house, but keep in mind the administrative responsibilities, potential for errors, and lack of customer support.
If you choose to work with a fleet management company, they will take care of installation and activation, and will work with you to identify trends and optimize your fleet performance. A fleet management company will also handle any device troubleshooting, updates, and adjustments you may need.
Many GPS trackers for fleets enable you to set up alerts through text or email for real-time updates on vehicle statuses, like when a scheduled stop has been completed. You can also receive alerts if issues arise, such as unsafe driving behaviors, accidents, or route delays.
Alerts can also be set up to notify you and your customers when an expected vehicle has entered a certain radius.
Ease of Use
One of the most important aspects of any GPS fleet tracking device is the ease of use for the device and the software. While the technology should be very sophisticated, it should not be difficult to understand for the end users.
It is important to have a dashboard that does not require advanced technical skills to operate. As you are looking for a GPS tracking system for your fleet, take advantage of free product demonstrations so you can see the software before making a purchase decision.
Fuel Card Program Integration
A fleet fuel card program makes it incredibly easy to track fuel spend and ensure that purchases follow your predefined policies. Many GPS fleet tracking providers feature integration capabilities to help you keep track of and manage fuel spend, and can also aid in detecting fraudulent activity.
GPS fleet tracking systems have varying costs, with tiered pricing being the most common structure.
The more vehicles in your fleet, the more you can expect to pay for your fleet tracking systems. However, many providers will offer pricing breaks as the volume of your fleet rises.
Upfront Costs: Covers the physical devices and installation.
Monthly Costs: Includes a service and management fee.
Many providers and fleet management companies will offer bundle packages that include the cost of the installation, hardware, and ongoing monthly service that can be broken up in terms.
6 Questions to Ask Before You Buy
As you are searching for a GPS fleet tracking system, consider the following questions before making a final decision:
- What do you want to achieve with a GPS fleet tracking system?
- How many vehicles do you want to track?
- What is your budget? Keep in mind the upfront and monthly costs.
- What type of information do you want to track?
- How will you use the data you gather?
- Do you have a fleet manager or fleet management company to help you implement a GPS solution, monitor the data, and make necessary improvements?
The Top GPS Fleet Tracking Systems
Below is a selection of GPS fleet tracking systems, as well as a few of the most notable features.
|Contract Structures||Notable Features|
|Geotab||Minimum Contract Term Varies by Reseller||Safety Reporting
Custom Rules & Reporting
|GPS Trackit||Month-to-Month Plans with No Long-Term Contracts||Mobile Apps
Temperature Zone Monitoring
|Teletrac Navman||Minimum 3-Year Contract||Extensive Reports & Alerts
|Quartix||Minimum 1-Year Contract||Advanced Reporting Features
|Samsara||Minimum 1-Year Contract||Advanced Hardware
Integrated Dashcams Available
|Verizon Connect||Minimum 3-Year Contract||Backed by Verizon Mapping
Several Hardware Options Available
Advanced Software Platform
|NexTraq||Minimum 3-Year Contract||Distracted Driver Prevention (Add-On)
Driver Education Platform
If you are ready to optimize driver behavior and vehicle efficiency, Merchants Fleet is happy to help. Contact us today and we will answer your questions and help you get started.