If you’re looking to improve the management of your fleet, you should consider the use of GPS devices. Many mistakenly believe that GPS fleet tracking systems are nothing more than vehicle location, but they are much more than that.
Benefits of GPS Fleet Tracking Systems
GPS fleet tracking systems provide a range of information and analysis to help improve fleet performance across the board, from productivity and fuel efficiency to driver and vehicle safety. They are used to improve driver behavior by monitoring metrics such as drive time, unauthorized usage, idle time, hard braking, rapid acceleration, and speeding. Speeding is one the leading causes of accidents on our roadways. A GPS fleet tracking system enables you to monitor the speed of each of your vehicles, in real-time, and to receive alerts and reports if any are traveling at unlawful speeds.
These are some other benefits:
- Speeding reduces fuel economy and increases wear and tear on brakes and tires (your biggest operational expenses after fuel)
- Eliminating idle periods greater than 10 minutes can save over $400 per vehicle per year
- Capturing correct odometers and diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) help you to maintain a healthy, safe fleet
- Monitoring rapid acceleration and rapid deceleration can help you identify dangerous driving behavior
- Stopping unauthorized driving will increase safety as well as reduce the hard cost of extra mileage
- Monitored vehicles tend to drive fewer miles, which improves vehicle life, reduces vehicle operating expense, and reduces the opportunity for accidents
Integration with FleetCommander
Now that you’re excited about the benefits of GPS solutions, you’ll be even more thrilled with the integration with FleetCommander. FleetCommander integrates with several leading GPS solutions. The integration can vary based on the strength of the GPS solution’s API.
Engine-Off: Within 60 seconds of the engine being turned off, the GPS application sends the odometer to FleetCommander. FleetCommander places that odometer in the vehicle’s Mileage tab. If you’re using the Motor Pool module, the odometer will be waiting for the driver when she returns the keys to the key control kiosk. You’ll no longer have to depend on the driver to accurately enter the odometer. If you have a dispatcher instead of a kiosk, the dispatcher will see a “Get Odom” button. Clicking the button will bring the GPS odometer on to the dispatch screen. Having timely and accurate odometers ensures that reservations are billed properly and that the fleet department is receiving the revenue that is due.
If you’re using the FleetCommander Maintenance module, having timely and accurate odometers ensure that FleetCommander alerts you to when preventive maintenance needs to be performed. Performing timely PMs also improves vehicle life, reduces vehicle operating expense, and reduces the opportunity for accidents.
Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs): DTCS are codes that the vehicle’s engine control unit uses to notify you about an issue. Each code corresponds to a fault detected in the vehicle. A vehicle stores the trouble code in its memory when it detects a component or system that’s not operating within acceptable limits. The code will help you to identify and fix the issue within the vehicle.
DTCs are passed by the GPS system to FleetCommander. FleetCommander presents the DTC data in two reports: one is a detailed report and the other is a summary report. These reports will help you quickly identify vehicle issues that need remediation before a small problem becomes a bigger (and more expensive) problem.
Trip Information: A “trip” is from the time the engine is turned on until the time the engine is turned off. Within 3 minutes of the engine being turned off, the GPS application will send FleetCommander additional utilization data to include:
- Engine Start Date/Time
- Engine End Date/Time
- Duration (Min.)
- Max Speed
- Average Speed
- Moving Fuel Efficiency
- Idling Fuel Efficiency
- Total Fuel Efficiency
- Idling Duration
- Idling Fuel Used
- Total Fuel Used
- Miles Per Gallon
There are two FleetCommander reports available that present this data. The Trip Detail report shows one row for each trip taken and the details of that trip using the data above. The Trip Utilization report consolidates the trips into one line for each vehicle. It shows the total days used, percentage of days used, total hours used, total trips, total miles, total idling, total idling fuel used, total fuel used, etc.
A significant benefit of the trip data is that it informs FleetCommander’s new Hoarding report. The Hoarding report assists administrators in determining when drivers are checking out vehicles, but they aren’t driving them immediately or at all. Do you suspect this is happening in your fleet…?
By clamping down on hoarding, you can further reduce your fleet size. The Hoarding report will be released in V5.04 (coming very soon). The release notes and my next blog will discuss this report in more detail.
Data-Only Option: If your budget constraints preclude you from purchasing the full GPS solution, we do offer a data-only version that can be less than half the price of the full version. You’ll get the odometer when the engine is turned off, the DTCs, and all the utilization data discussed above in the Trip Information section that feeds the Hoarding report. The data-only version can be upgraded in the future to the full GPS service without having to touch the GPS units.
Let us know if we can help you improve the management of your fleet.