If you are in the shipping, delivery, or home service industry you have probably already heard about the many benefits of using GPS fleet tracking for your fleet of vehicles. You already know that small businesses seem to thrive the most from the use of this wonderful technology, increasing the number of service calls by an average of 25% after two years. You probably have already heard that using fleet management tools like GPS devices and fleet tracking software help with dispatching, driver routing, and overall worker performance.

It is nice to hear about these things and to know that your fleet tracking system can provide you and your business with these benefits, but do you know how to get the most from your fleet tracking software? Do you find yourself lost in the see of technology? Do you want to have some simple guidelines and steps to get your fleet managed, your worker productivity increased, and the more money for your business? Well, I hope that this little guide is able to give you that.

Things You Will Need

The first thing that you are going to need is to have a fleet tracking service. This can either be a self run service using OpenGTS fleet tracking software or a paid service through a company like GPS Fleet Solutions. Both methods have their pros and cons.

If you want to go the 'free' route then I would recommend that you go with OpenGTS. It is a free and open source fleet tracking software that can be used with any compatible GPS tracking device. By going with the free, open source software you do have to invest some time in learning how to use the software but you are going to avoid any reoccurring subscription associated with most fleet tracking programs. This is only partially free because you still have to buy a GPS tracking device and these can cost hundreds of dollars. There are cheaper alternatives out there, like cell phones, but that will take more effort on you part as well.

Going with a company to manage your fleet tracking for you is easy, but it is going to cost you a lot more money. This can be cost prohibitive for some smaller companies since their profit margins can be smaller than larger companies with more vehicles to spread their costs out over. This can still be a great option for those seeking to do a lot with their fleets.

Once you have the GPS tracking devices and the software service that you want you are going to need a couple different things in order to effective use your fleet tracking software. You will need:
  • A strong desire to get the most out of your fleet
  • A willingness to make your fleet tracking work, no matter what the investment
  • Some common sense
If you have these attributes then you are ready to find out how to make the most of your fleet tracking software.

Step 1

To begin, you are going to need to gather some data on how your fleet is currently operating. For this step, you might need to set up some individual accounts for each of your vehicles or drivers in your fleet. This will help you get a picture how each of them operates during the course of a regular work day. This will give you a baseline upon which to base all your future changes. About a month of tracking is going to be a good amount, with one week probably being a bare minimum.

In some cases, you will need to tell your workers that GPS tracking devices have been installed in their vehicles. If the law doesn't require you to inform them then I would recommend that you do not as this will help you get a better understanding of which workers already work very efficiently.

Step 2

After getting your baseline of fleet operations begin to implement changes one at a time. By making changes slowly you can see which ones provide the greatest benefit for your team. Here are a couple different things that you should probably try depending on the reason you are using fleet tracking software:
  • Have your dispatcher use the real-time information provided by your software to dispatch your vehicles on service calls
  • Train drivers who consistently leave engines running on idle to turn of trucks and vans
  • Take disciplinary action on employees who use company vehicles for personal use or who use company time for personal time
  • Have drivers use their GPS to develop better routes from location to location
These are just a few of the things that you can do.

Step 3

Continue to monitor how effective your changes are to overall fleet efficiency. Compare some key metrics (like number of service calls made, time in transit, number of on-time service calls, etc.) from the baseline period to the time after you implement your changes. If there is an improvement you keep the change.

Step 4

Now is the time to make tough decisions about the changes you have implemented. If certain changes do not increase efficiency it is always okay to go switch back to the way they were before. Also, if certain workers show themselves to be poor performers then it is time to confront them about their activity and even fire them if necessary.
GPS fleet tracking software is great at helping businesses streamline the operations of their vehicle fleets. It saves money and increases overall worker productivity which is a great way to generate more revenue for you, your employee, and your business.

Tips & Warnings

  • Not all employees are going to be enthused with the fact that you want to use GPS fleet tracking software. Be careful how you couch the software's introduction into the work place and make it clear that this is for helping everything work much more efficiently.