A GPS fleet tracker utilises satellite systems to monitor the location of assets – usually vehicles and the goods and personnel they carry. Sometimes referred to as vehicle tracking, the technology is designed to continually collect data from an entire fleet of vehicles.
The process of GPS fleet tracking starts with the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network, a network of satellites which emits signals down to earth and into GPS devices. In the case of GPS fleet trackers, these GPS devices are found in fleet vehicles. These GPS fleet devices then send relevant data, through mobile networks, to a server. Only upon authorisation, can the data in the server be accessed (usually through a fleet tracking software).
Collected in real-time, fleet tracking data is used for security purposes and for making timely operational decisions.
Components of a GPS fleet tracker
This is the GPS device that receives signals from GNSS. This data-capture device is fitted to each fleet vehicle. Most modern devices should take only a few minutes to install and do not require trips to the garage.
The GPS device collects pertinent data in real-time and sends it to a central server. The most important information collected is usually the vehicle’s various locations, routes, speeds and direction. However, advanced GPS devices are designed to collect additional data, beyond GPS data, like on fuel consumption, tyre pressure, maintenance issues and driving style.
The tracking server is the centralised system that receives information from the GPS device through mobile networks. Tracking servers have vast amounts of memory enabling them to store the data sent from various tracking devices. The server is located remotely, and it can only be accessed by approved authorisation. The way in which this data is extracted is through a GPS fleet tracking software.
A tracking software is what the end user (like the manager of a fleet) actually ends up interacting with. This user interface allows key personnel to easily read data, statistics and reports. Sophisticated fleet software now allows businesses to use the information collected from the GPS device to help save their fleet time, money and hassle and help improve customer service.
Real-time fleet tracking
Managers and decision-makers often need to alter schedules, manage driver-performance and redistribute assets to maximise efficiency and control costs. And this is only possible with real-time fleet tracking.
A passive system stores all of the data in the tracking device. This data must be uploaded to a server manually – often with a cable. Crucially, this passive type of tracker doesn’t allow decision-makers to react to what’s happening at any given moment.
A GPS fleet tracker, however, transmits the data continually – via satellite or mobile networks. While these systems are more expensive than passive options, they pay for themselves in the form of improved operational efficiency.
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The latest GPS fleet trackers include a user interface with map and street views. This allows the user to ascertain the exact location of a particular vehicle, as well as the vehicle’s starting point and the route it took. This function is very useful when last-minute delivery requests come in. The user can give the job to the driver who’s closest to the pickup location.
Geofencing involves setting a virtual boundary around a defined location. When a mobile device or tracker enters or exits this boundary, a signal is sent to a central location. The signal is often sent in the form of a message – accessed via the user interface. But geofencing notifications can also be sent via text message, email and push notification.
Geofencing is a good way to ensure drivers stay within their allotted delivery territory. The user can modify boundaries and driver groups at any time.
The single biggest costs incurred by any fleet operator is usually fuel. An effective GPS fleet tracker conserves fuel and drives efficiency by calculating the optimum route in real-time. Based on the driver’s current location and traffic data, the system can calculate the shortest or fastest route in seconds.
The latest fleet tracking systems include theft warning functionality. If a vehicle that’s not in use suddenly begins to move, the system administrators are sent a warning via SMS, phone call or push notification. This silent alarm can be switched off by the user via the interface. But if it isn’t, an automated message can be sent to the relevant authorities. And once the alarm is activated, the vehicle is tracked for the duration of its journey.
Vehicle and Driver Information
The newest GPS fleet tracking software uses the GPS device to help collect information beyond GPS-related information. The registration number, VIN, odometer, fuel efficiency and idling time are just a few of the readings on fleet vehicles that a user can call up.
The latest GPS fleet trackers monitor driving styles and keep detailed records. The information collated on drivers includes speed profile, idling, work hours, accidents and braking. This data is essential for effective risk management — which improves profitability and safety. A clear risk management strategy is also a requirement for comprehensive insurance cover.
Maximise Efficiency and Customer Service
Logistics and distribution are dynamic industries that must adapt to ever-changing circumstances on the roads of Britain. Rather than react to issues and inefficiencies after the fact, companies can now use fleet trackers to make operational decisions that have an immediate impact. The result is lower costs, increased efficiency and, ultimately, higher profits.
Fleet tracking systems that work in real-time give companies complete control over their vehicles. Not only does this improve a firm’s efficiency, but it also provides the customer with a faster, more reliable service.
All in all, GPS Fleet Trackers are becoming increasingly popular. Find out why companies chose Vimcar’s GPS Fleet Trackers in particular.
Case study: customer appointment before & after GPS fleet trackers
Before GPS Fleet trackers
- You get a call from a client. They say your driver is late and want an update on where your driver is. You try and call the driver, but they can’t pick up. They’re in the car, driving.
- Having not been able to communicate with your driver and specify an ETA, your client has no idea when the driver will arrive. Fed up and not willing to wait around indefinitely, your client decides they’ll arrange a last-minute meeting with one of their business partners.
- When the driver arrives at the appointment they have multiple missed calls from you and no client present to meet them.
- Your driver is left hanging around in their car, waiting for your client to eventually finish their meeting. Only then can your driver complete the job.
After GPS Fleet trackers
- Having installed a fleet tracker into your fleet, you have a large screen in your office displaying all your vehicles’ locations at all times. You and your team can see one of your drivers is still 6 miles away from an appointment that starts in 1 minute.
- You apologise to your client and inform them that the driver is 6 miles away and will be there in 5 minutes.
- Your client, happy to be kept in the loop, makes sure they’re ready to meet the driver when he arrives. The job is completed efficiently and your driver is able to move on to their next task without delay.
Installing fleet trackers makes appointments with customers that simple! GPS fleet trackers save everybody’s time and money, slash your driver’s turnaround time and help you deliver a first-class service to your customers.