Most of us have used GPS technology, especially navigation, to seek directions to reach our destination -a newly opened restaurant, nearest vet, or to search for the best hiking trail. In a very similar manner, GPS tracking also helps in monitoring the real-time location of anything or anyone.
This feature of GPS technology has revolutionized the way our modern businesses function. Through GPS, businesses of all kinds and shapes can streamline their operations to increase productivity, economy, and efficiency while also providing for better customer satisfaction.
GPS tracking has significantly changed the way fleet companies now operate. From monitoring fuel expenses, driving behavior, route optimization, to other several ranges of functions of fleet management has been made easier and efficient through this technology. Several fleet management service providers offer GPS integrated solutions that allow streamlining of everyday fleet operations like allocation of vehicles and drivers to a job, recording of Hours of Service logs, fuel requirements, maintenance, adherence to relevant laws and regulations. It increases productivity as well as the profitability of these businesses.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration believes that “safety is good for your business.” According to the agency, the average cost of a “large truck” crash involving a fatality is $3.6 million. A crash with injuries costs almost $200,000 per crash, and the average cost of all large truck crashes is about $91,000 per crash.
GPS and insurance premium
One of the biggest benefits of employing a GPS tracking solution in businesses that either operate a fleet or hire them is the discounted insurance premiums. Because a reliable and advanced GPS tracking system helps in saving money on claims, several insurance providers extend huge discounts on commercial auto insurance premiums.
How is this significant? Let’s look at some numbers. According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), there have been a total of 4,102 casualties in multiple-vehicle crashes involving a truck. This number shows a significant 52% rise from the lowest point back in 2009 since the report was first drawn up when only 3,147 lives lost in the same manner. Every year, insurance providers and the fleet industry have to settle millions of dollars in claim, making it one of the top 10 expenses for this industry.
Insurance companies base their decisions on premium costs on historical claims. They assess the record of events or mishaps that give an understanding of risk factors of a commercial vehicle operator or business.
Modern-day GPS tracking devices can do a lot more than just recording the real-time location. Here are some of the features that benefit business operations and also allow insurance providers to assess a business’s commitment towards creating a safer work environment and providing security for its assets and resources.
- Theft claim: When a vehicle that does not have a GPS is stolen, it takes weeks for law enforcement to track and recover it. Moreover, there is a high probability of the vehicle never getting recovered, in which case the insurance company has to pay a big claim. GPS tracking devices record and transmit the real-time location of the vehicle. So if a vehicle does have a tracking device, in case of theft or hijacking, knowing the exact location makes it easier to recover and avoid heavy losses. As these tracking devices can be programmed to send alerts in case of accidents or any other emergency, necessary help and assistance can be made available faster.
- Driving Behavior: When FMCSA, DoT, and other authorities were looking into ways of making road traffic safer, they found that reckless and tired drivers caused a lot of accidents. To ensure that drivers did not overwork and took time to rest, the DoT revamped the Hours of Service regulations, and FMCSA introduced electronic logging devices that automatically recorded authentic HoS. GPS-enabled ELDs also record information regarding driving behavior like unnecessary speeding, unsafe driving, hard braking, and taking sharp turns. This data is insightful and helps fleet managers train their drivers in safe driving practices. It also avoids man-handling and unauthorized use of vehicles. Also, when the drivers know that they are monitored, they tend to be careful and follow the rules, thereby offering reassurance to the insurance providers. Improved driving behavior not only reduces the chances of an accident but also helps in reducing fuel consumption. Managers can use driver scorecards, based on information collected by FMS, to reward good performance and motivate them, as well as discover areas for improvement and training that supports safety.
- Maintenance: When FMCSA was looking into probable causes of accidents involving a commercial motor vehicle, it was found that one of the biggest reasons behind such mishaps was the lack of maintenance of the CMV. Small scale fleet companies and owner-operators often find it difficult to schedule the maintenance of vehicle because of traveling. In large scale fleets, managers too can find it hard to keep all the vehicles in their best condition. GPS-enabled solutions give them a respite. When integrated with FMS, a GPS tracking device can help in monitoring and recording engine and other auto-parts diagnostic, which allow fleet managers and drivers to create a regular schedule and alert for maintenance. From oil checks to tire rotation, auto-part repair and replacement, and any other kind of wear and tear can be easily planned, thereby keeping the vehicle in the best condition and avoid any mishap.
- Responsibility: Quite often, when a heavy CMV like a fully-loaded truck is involved in an accident, people immediately place blame on the driver driving the bigger and heavier vehicle. It is indeed true that heavier vehicles are hard to control and drive. Also, memories of the drivers involved in the crash can be different and thus unreliable. With GPS-enabled solutions like dashboard cameras that record driver performance, traffic conditions, aggressive driving or moving violations, or the cause behind a collision or other incident, it has become easier to find the reason behind such mishaps. These cameras provide video documentation of what happens when a motor vehicle is in use. The recordings from the dashcams can serve as trustworthy evidence in a dispute regarding which party was accountable, making it valuable in protecting fleets against costly legal action – both in proving that negligence was not involved and in speeding-up settlement instead of prolonged, expensive lawsuits.
GPS-enabled Fleet management system – a great money-saving tool for businesses
Whether it is transporting raw materials from suppliers to manufacturing unit, or finished product to retail store, or employees from work to their home, or delivering food, fleets are a very important part of several businesses. And to effectively utilize all the available resources requires excellent management, which thankfully is made easier with FMS. Once integrated with GPS tracking, fleet management solutions can completely transform business operations and help achieve great results.
Every single feature of a top-notch fleet management system has multi-fold use. For example, real-time location tracking not only helps in route optimization but also in reducing wastage of fuel, making the business a little environment-friendly. In the delivery business, customer satisfaction can be accentuated by sending them timely notifications of the location of their package and estimated time of delivery. A company can verify that the car allocated to an employee is strictly in use for official purposes only. Dealerships who also offer loans against vehicles can also ensure the security of their asset.
Another benefit of GPS and FMS is the management of fuel. The GPS tracking device can also collect data regarding idle time, driving behavior, mileage, and more, and generate reports that provide useful insights into fuel consumption. Efficient route optimization helps in finding the best and fastest road to the destination eliminating unnecessary traffic, saving fuel, and increases productivity. As all the data is automatically recorded, there is no chance of misuse of fuel, unauthorized use of the vehicle in off-hours, or any other kind of discrepancy. Several fleet management solution providers also have add-on features that help in accurate calculation of taxes and filing of IFTA, reducing the paperwork and making the entire process efficient.
Drivers are a very important part of the fleet, they are the backbone. Providing them a safe, secure, and satisfactory work environment ensures better productivity and motivates them to strive for an excellent performance. Fleet management solutions allow managers to allocate work to drivers based on their Hours of Service (HoS) logs so that they are not overworked, and are well-rested. These solutions also assist businesses to follow a regular schedule for vehicles’ maintenance, thus reducing the risk of breakdowns, auto-part failure, and other problems. With the help of on-board safety software, speed tracking devices, and alerts about changes in weather and traffic patterns, managers can safeguard their drivers.
Compliance with various rules and regulations about fleet and trucking industry is one of the major goals of every fleet manager and driver. Any lenience, delay, or violation can lead to fines and strict actions like cancellation of license, special permits, and so on. From fuel and other taxes to environmental laws, roadside inspection, hours of service logs, and more, GPS-enabled FMS assists businesses in strict adherence to all the required and relevant regulations.
According to studies, the implementation of GPS-enabled fleet management can help reduce several operational costs by 30%. However, apart from saving on money, FMS also brings the much-needed change in managing the business. Automatic recording accounts for accurate data, thereby aiding the fleet managers in making informed and effective decisions. With features like real-time location, GeoFencing, continual connectivity, driving behavior, idle-time tracking, fuel management, asset tracking, roadside assistance, route optimization, vehicle diagnostic, and more, fleet management systems are the comprehensive tool for many businesses. They assist in synchronization and streamlining of all business functions to improve productivity and profitability.
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