Using Fleet Tracking to Raise Accountability and Lower Insurance Costs
How GPS Tracking Can Keep Tabs on Employees and Assets in Real Time
As a decision maker for a company that controls a fleet, you probably realize that your employees are both your greatest asset and, often, also your greatest liability. This fact especially holds true in a business where your vehicles are varied and used extensively. You need employees to drive the vehicles to make deliveries and move product, but what happens when certain employees seem to be lowering productivity levels? With GPS fleet tracking, you can keep tabs on fleet vehicles and employee productivity while saving on fuel and insurance costs.
How GPS Tracking Can Help
Fleet tracking at its simplest allows you to keep track of where and when your employees are driving. Real-time GPS tracking gives you immediate data on where the vehicle is at any given time and records of where the vehicle has been as well; this means that exact location is available if billing or service questions arise. For example, if a driver is claiming 500 miles, a fleet tracking system can eliminate the doubt and verify whether he drove 500 miles or only 250. In the case of vehicles available to employees on off-days or weekends, GPS tracking verifies whether the vehicles are being used during this time. However, verifying use and miles driven is not the only critical function of fleet tracking: it also works to cut costs in several areas while increasing safety and productivity.
Increase Employee Safety, Lower Liability
Fleet managers likely felt a moment of truth upon hearing of the accident that critically injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed James McNair. The accident was caused by a tractor trailer driver who failed to brake while driving at unsafe speeds. The truth is that unsafe driving has both a mechanical and a personal cost. It reduces the lifespan of vehicles, and it can also open a company to serious liability if a driver is found to be negligent. Civil lawsuits are becoming more common in the United States, and nearly half of plaintiffs win their cases to the tune of an average $60,000 in compensation. For smaller companies, even one such lawsuit could be devastating; this is where fleet tracking can help solve a problem before it manifests itself. Trackers reveal not just where employees are driving, but how they're driving, including speed and acceleration data. It also keeps track of how long employees are driving. In the aforementioned accident, the driver had driven over 13 hours at the time of the accident. The same system that lowers your liability also improves employee safety by keeping them accountable for how, and how long, they're driving.
GPS tracking helps companies cut costs in several areas. Managers can monitor fuel consumption during idle times and driving miles per gallon. This helps reveal inefficient drivers, whether through bad driving or prolonged idle times. An hour of idling is worth about 25 miles of driving time. Because a fleet tracking system monitors driver speed, it can identify drivers who are routinely driving too fast. Every 5 miles driven at speeds over 60 miles per hour wastes about 24 cents per gallon. Needless to say, that 24 cents per gallon adds up. If your driver is filling up to the tune of three dollars per gallon, they are now filling up at $3.24 per gallon. Fuel costs are not the only way GPS tracking helps companies save money. By monitoring emissions systems, it can identify vehicles in need of service. By identifying reckless, inefficient drivers, it can save on vehicle wear and tear.
As previously mentioned, fleet tracking does not just save on mechanical costs but on personal costs. Insurance companies see the trends, and now many of them offer up to a 15 percent discount if you maintain a GPS tracking system. By increasing and encouraging safe driving across your fleet, you can show the insurance companies the numbers they want to see for lower rates.
Setting a Level of Productivity and Customer Service
Another benefit of fleet tracking is to set a stronger level of productivity and customer service. It is no secret that some employees are more productive than others. Some employees may be making several deliveries in a day while others are taking the entire day to do one delivery. The question is whether those slower employees would be as slow if they knew their vehicle was being tracked. In a sense, fleet tracking is like having a manager in the passenger seat for the entire day. Employees are more likely to stay on task when they know they are under direct supervision.
The same principle applies to increasing customer service. A GPS tracking system enables you to keep track of your vehicles and thus alert customers where their delivery is and when it might be arriving. The best GPS systems can even offer shareable, live maps that can be given to a customer, providing real-time tracking of a package or vehicle. By letting a customer know exactly where their order is, not only do you improve satisfaction, but you cut down phone times for customer service reps responding to callers wondering where their packages are. Additionally, in a dispatch system, fleet tracking enables you to contact the closest driver and have them arrive on site sooner than if you didn't know where exactly the vehicle was at any given time. Often, good customer service translates as quick service.
Even a small fleet of company vehicles can benefit from a real-time fleet tracking system. Not only does it allow you to monitor your assets, both vehicles and employees, but it also allows you to make sure your product is being moved efficiently. This translates to savings of both time and money.