- Photo: Getty/LeoWolfert

Photo: Getty/LeoWolfert

The majority of today’s fleet professionals aren’t questioning if they should invest in a GPS tracking system, but rather which solution to purchase. 

It’s a given that telematics are the future of fleet, as noted by worldwide management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, globally, fleet telematics is predicted to grow 23% each year over the next six years, emerging as $75-billion industry by 2025. 

Early adopters of GPS management systems are already realizing the benefits. In a survey conducted last year by Bobit Business Media and Verizon Connect, 74% of respondents who were using a GPS fleet tracking system said they considered it “extremely or very beneficial” in managing fleet, with 30% having realized a positive ROI in six months or less.

Vehicle tracking systems can transform the way fleets conduct business in the short- and long-term, aiding in day-to-day operations and enabling companies to store and analyze data about fleet operations in near real time. Increased visibility results in better safety measures, improved asset maintenance, decreased downtime, and an overall cost savings that makes the initial investment worthwhile.

Identify What Telematics Can do for Your Fleet

With so many GPS tracking solutions on the market, choosing a provider can quickly become an all-consuming, daunting task. 

Among the first steps in the process is to identify the top challenge or challenges that have pointed to the need for a telematics solution.  Next, familiarize yourself with how GPS tracking is able to address those problems. Following are some areas where businesses are seeing fleet management solutions make a difference:

  • Safety: Real-time alerts enable you to identify and address poor driving habits, including, harsh braking and speeding. Use of monitoring solutions can reduce preventable accidents by 20 to 30%, through driver coaching according to McKinsey & Company.
  • Maintenance: Diagnostic alerts help managers stay on top of maintenance issues before they lead to catastrophic, non-revenue-generating downtime. Having the right parts and tools available, in the right place and time, limits vehicle downtime and keeps inventory costs to a minimum. Predictive techniques can cut maintenance costs by 5 to 10%, according to McKinsey & Company.
  • Right-sizing: Visibility into how, when, and where assets are being used equips managers to match their vehicle assets to actual demand. Optimized utilization and reduced fleet size can lead to significant cost savings, as can the ability to anticipate seasonal variations and other changes in demand. Better control of staffing levels means companies cut their overtime costs and can improve field-force productivity by 10% or more, according to McKinsey & Company.
  • Customer satisfaction: Telematics solutions can help improve or maintain a company’s reputation with customers and the public. Route optimization helps drivers get to their destinations safely and on time, and real-time status updates better predict arrival times to customers. Improved safety and environmental strategies, based on GPS data, also help bolster customer satisfaction.

Make an Informed Decision

It is crucial to partner with a provider who will be with you every step of the way during the telematics implementation phase and beyond. Take time to do your homework, starting with making a list of GPS fleet management providers. You may want to begin with some of the top names, such as: 

  • Verizon Connect, the largest provider of fleet telematics systems with about 1.7 million units in service in the U.S. 
  • Geotab, which reached 1 million units in service in 2018. 
  • Fleet Complete, an AT&T partner that's among the largest providers in the U.S. 
  • GPS Insight, another leading player that now counts about 140,000 units in service in the U.S.

Partnering with a reputable telematics provider that has a history in the industry might cost a little more up front, but it can pay off in the long run. There are many other providers, but not all have a proven track record that offers the assurance of staying power and resources to weather future digital disruption. 

To narrow down your list, research online reviews and ask to talk to current clients about their experiences with their provider. Finally, ask for a live demo or a test period so you can determine if the solution is the right fit for your fleet. Some things to look for during a pilot include:

  • Scalability: You may not have the need or the budget to implement a full package of digital solutions right away. But as your fleet grows, the company’s mission evolves, or new challenges arise, you will need a solution and a partner that can grow and change with you. 
  • Integration: Increasingly, it’s becoming crucial that a telematics solution be able to integrate with other fleet management and back-office solutions. The days of technology silos are at an end. 
  • Training: The provider should include training both during implementation and beyond as part of its menu of services. 
  • Customer Service: As with any new technology, it is inevitable for a few hiccups to occur during the implementation process. A reputable provider will make live assistance accessible to customers 24/7, preferably by phone and possibly by email or chat. A solution without support is likely one that will cause more headaches than they solve.
  • Innovation: A GPS tracking system should not only equip you to know what is happening in your fleet, but offer predictive features to help you anticipate specific issues that could disrupt business operations. Prescriptive systems are emerging that take it a step further, not only telling you what is likely to happen, but also what you should do in response. Fleet technology continues to evolve, and you want to know your provider has the resources to stay current with innovations and keep your business relevant.

Choosing the right management solution now will give your fleet a foundation on which to build a strong digital future. Take the first steps towards making this critical business decision today. Get free quotes from top suppliers of GPS tracking systems at businessfleet.com.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet