Using GPS to Manage Your Fleet of Vehicles

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July 7, 2012

As any business owner will know, it’s never easy to keep track of your employees all hours of the day, but it’s even more difficult when you have to run a fleet of vehicles and you spend every waking minute concerned as to the wellbeing of not only the driver, but the vehicle as well. After all, it’s a fair few thousand of your hard-earned cash out there.

Fleet management is normally done from the head office or main depot of a fleet, whether it’s a haulage firm or courier business, and all checks are done by contacting the driver and making sure that they’re on time and on course, therefore keeping the customer happy. But using the phone while you drive is illegal and your driver could find himself or herself being pulled over by the police for using their handset at the wheel. While many vehicles have hands free kits installed into the cabs to enable drivers to remain in regular contact, it can still reduce the amount of attention they are paying to the road, other road users and the weather conditions

In order to maintain contact with drivers, a number of fleet owners have turned to a new and innovative form of technology which has been around for a while now, but never utilized to this extent. The use of satellites in the motoring industry has already proved to be highly beneficial, you only have to look at satellite navigation and the sales figures to see that, but now GPS tracking devices are also taking advantage of the numerous satellites placed in the atmosphere.

The devices work by pinpointing the exact position of the vehicle on the planet, and transmitting this back to a main computer at the depot, allowing those in charge of the planning and arrangement of drivers and their routes to monitor where they are. This has been extremely useful in dealings with customers whose deliveries or collections are running late. For instance, if the manager of the main supermarket in Birmingham is expecting the morning delivery of milk at 5am and it’s now 7am with no sign, an angry phone call can be diffused by explaining that the delivery driver is taking a detour around a closed road and is in fact a matter of minutes away.

They have also proved to be incredibly useful in monitoring and predicting fuel costs. By establishing where the driver is, is going, and has been, you can work out roughly how much the trip should cost in terms of fuel. Having worked this out, managers can then find out if there is a cheaper route to the same destination, saving both time and money.

Possibly most importantly, however, is the fact that these devices can help to reduce thefts and increase recoveries. By fitting these devices, and monitoring the location, fleet managers can establish whether the vehicle is severely off course, and if they cannot get in touch with the driver, or even if they can, they might find that the vehicle has been stolen or ‘jacked’. Using the coordinates given by the satellites, they can then alert the police and recover the vehicle, making GPS trackers highly cost-effective investments.

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