For construction professionals, managing a project is just one of the challenges of the trade. Today’s contractors are also tasked with managing their mobile assets—not only vehicles, but trailers, equipment, tools, as well as drivers and staff. Optimizing fleet management will result in more savings, more productivity, and more profits. The question is: What’s the best way to manage your mobile assets with maximum results?
A vehicle and asset tracking system built on GPS technology equips local fleet operators with the ability to pinpoint the exact location of a vehicle or piece of equipment anywhere, anytime—in real time. But beyond locating the position of your vehicles and assets, your GPS-based fleet tracking system should connect you to a wealth of real-time data that provides you with the actionable business intelligence you need to lower costs, drive productivity, and increase your profitability. Here’s how:
REDUCE FUEL-RELATED COSTS
With the rising cost of fuel, reducing fuel consumption is a priority for contractors. A GPS-based fleet and asset tracking system can help you identify driving behaviors that increase the consumption of fuel such as excessive idling—a practice that can cost you up to 1 gallon of fuel a day. For a fleet of 10 vehicles, that comes to 50 to 70 gallons of gas wasted each week. At $4 per gallon, you’re looking at around $200 to $280—or up to $14,560 annually—in fuel waste alone. A GPS fleet tracking system helps you reduce idle times and related costs.
Chances are you’re guessing when to perform preventive maintenance based on time. In other words, you’re manually identifying and tracking down vehicles, trailers, and equipment whose last maintenance check was, say, 3 months ago—whether the vehicle or asset needs it or not.
The most effective fleet tracking systems will allow you to track actual miles traveled or engine hours so that you can perform maintenance based on a more accurate mileage metric. Your system should also automatically alert you when a vehicle or piece of equipment comes due for maintenance, plus tell you exactly where that vehicle or asset is—saving you considerable man-hours and costs.
CHANGE DRIVER BEHAVIOR
Ideally, your fleet and asset tracking system should capture data about your drivers’ behaviors, including speeding, aggressive driving, and idle time. This information will allow you to identify those unwanted driver behaviors that increase risk, liability, and costs related to speeding tickets, fines, as well as insurance premiums. Once you’ve identified those behaviors—and how often they’re occurring—you can take the appropriate measures to curb and modify them.
IMPROVE BILLING AND PAYROLL
A fleet and asset tracking system allows you to track the exact routes and working hours of your staff, with time-stamped verification. You’ll have a record of the actual hours and miles driven so that you can ensure the accuracy of your billing and payroll, while at the same time reducing overtime costs. Your fleet tracking system will also allow your dispatch operations to identify more efficient routes, redirect drivers on-the-fly, and improve scheduling, which leads to improved time management, as well as billing and payroll.
From a single web-based screen, an effective GPS fleet and asset tracking system will tell you where your vehicles and equipment are at any given time, in real time. What’s more, when integrated with Garmin, the system should tell you when a driver will arrive at a customer’s location. This invaluable information allows you to notify customers of arrival time, or in the case of an unforeseen delay, explain the cause of that delay to keep your customer in the loop.
A system with reporting features will also generate reports that demonstrate your track record for on-time arrivals—and share this information with customers. So, more than a fleet management tool, a fleet tracking system also becomes an effective tool for managing customer relationships, expectations, and satisfaction.
RECOVERY AND PROTECTION
A GPS fleet and asset tracking system can help speed the recovery of stolen vehicles and assets, prevent unauthorized use of vehicles, and improve route compliance.
YOUR GPS SOLUTION
There are a wide number of GPS fleet tracking systems on the market today. But not all of them are created equally. Before you make an investment in a system, be sure to compare available solutions to find one that meets the check-list of must-have features and functionality, including:
- A simple, scalable, and secure cloud-based platform that eliminates the need for buying or managing complex, costly hardware and software.
- Real-time visibility of your fleet and assets via intuitive, easy-to-read web-based dashboards, interfaces, reports, and alerts.
- Reliable connection and coverage even in remote areas—look for a GPS system that transmits data over reliable wireless networks.
- The option to bundle hardware, installation, and services for a low monthly cost.
- Simple, covert installation of GPS devices with minimal wiring.
- High-sensitivity GPS that captures positioning data every 10 minutes so you get the most current location information.
- Support for commonly used Garmin navigation systems.
- A reputable, reliable solutions provider with industry experience and road-tested technology. ■
About The Author:
Richard Pearlman, director of product management, is an experienced fleet management product strategist and business development professional at Spireon, Inc. With nearly 30 years of industry experience, he has worked with a wide range of transportation technology applications, including telematics, routing, navigation, mobility, as well as location-based solutions and services. Mr. Pearlman can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 949.599.8476.
Modern Contractor Solutions, July 2013
Did you enjoy this article?
Subscribe to the FREE Digital Edition of Modern Contractor Solutions magazine.