Operating a fleet of vehicles is typically the biggest expense in a business apart from staff and buildings. It’s also the most addressable cost, so represents a real opportunity to take control of variable costs for many small to medium businesses.
This is where implementing GPS fleet tracking can give you a valuable competitive edge. You can reduce fuel costs through better route planning and better driver behaviour, and improve fleet servicing and maintenance to prolong vehicle life and reduce repair costs. It can make more of a difference than you might think.
Using a GPS tracking system gives drivers and dispatchers a fast, efficient way to plan their daily routes. The system allows for route optimisation (the shortest distance and the fastest time on multi-stop routes) saving time and money and ultimately improving the fuel efficiency of your fleet.
A Christchurch plumbing firm uses GPS tracking to coordinate jobs: because dispatch is aware of the locations of the staff they can see who is best placed to attend a job and schedule jobs to avoid sending a driver from A to B, and back to A again.
Improve driver behaviour
Identifying driver behaviour that wastes fuel or is unsafe allows managers to reduce fuel costs and improve safety. GPS vehicle tracking can show behaviour such as speeding, harsh braking, high engine RPMs and other poor driving habits. You can use the system to analyse driver behaviour across your fleet, then set benchmarks for improvement for individual drivers.
An Auckland firm used over-speed reports to improve the behaviour of one driver who regularly travelled at excessive speeds.
Careful monitoring of idle times can save litres of fuel each hour. GPS tracking systems measure engine idling by lack of movement combined with sensors that connect to oil pressure switches or other machine components. The resulting reports document idle start and end times, duration and location for each vehicle. Excessive idling may indicate that a vehicle is underutilised, and that the business is being run inefficiently.
An Auckland firm of heat pump installers found drivers were leaving engines idling while eating lunch to charge their mobile phones. A quick conversation solved that problem.
GPS tracking systems also help manage maintenance schedules, which improves vehicle performance. A poorly-serviced engine can use up to 50 percent more fuel, highlighting the importance of up-to-date maintenance and servicing. Regular maintenance also reduces unnecessary wear and tear and identifies mechanical issues before they cause unexpected downtime. The system allows you to keep accurate maintenance records and to schedule preventative maintenance through pre-set alerts.
One Northland concrete company uses their tracking system to schedule the servicing, COFs and regos for all their vehicles. It saves time as they don’t have to run round checking the individual trucks to see when they next need attention.
Overall, GPS fleet tracking is increasingly used by small to medium businesses around New Zealand. SMBs are finding that the efficiency gains and lower costs achieved are providing them with a significant competitive edge.