The telematics industry is replete with GPS fleet-tracking service providers and tons of tracking solutions from which fleet owners, fleet managers, and utility companies can choose. The various providers compete on prices and the variety of their offerings. However, companies seeking solutions should consider some critical features when selecting a fleet management solution.
Here are some of the five key elements of a good fleet management solution:
Since the crew for utility company vehicles spends a substantial amount of time in the vehicles going to various job locations, a GPS tracking solution is very important. It enables the management to know where the employees and the vehicle are, as well as where they are headed at any given time. Managers use job scheduling, dispatching, and route optimization all in unison to come up with a comprehensive picture of the day’s plan, and to ensure the employees take the best route and arrive safely to their working sites. Ideally, the routing feature ought to be an easy-to-use feature that considers all the stops and locations on the path of the vehicle and arranges them to make the shortest and most efficient path. For minimal incidents of drivers using mobile devices, the optimized route should be relayed to the in-vehicle’s Personal Navigation Device (PND), which has voice-directed, turn-by-turn instructions.
A good telematics solution should offer fuel tracking and management features. While selecting a telematics solution, a utility company or fleet management should go for one that enables tracking, monitoring, and investigating fuel consumption. The capacity to do those things will allow reduction of waste, improved efficiency, proper accounting of fuel purchases, and better fuel-buying habits.
The dispatch feature allows the managers or dispatchers to dispatch directions, addresses, and instructions to the driver’s Personal Navigation Device throughout the day, for example when management receives new jobs, as well as allows them to check which drivers are nearest to the sites. This feature also enables messages to be sent both ways—office to the driver and vice-versa—thus significantly reducing the need for drivers to use mobile devices while driving. The use of dispatch by companies improves productivity, as a lot of work is completed in a day and keeps the office and the field connected. Also, it improves customer service due to the allocation of the nearest driver to the site in question. Other features that enhance customer service, especially in passenger vehicles, are the entertaining bus TV, like the one sold and installed by Eyeride, as well as the availability of Wi-Fi, which enables customers (commuters) to surf the Internet using GPS.
When choosing a solution provider, reports from the telematics solution are critical to consider and should not be overlooked. Fleet managers/owners should choose a provider whose solution has a plethora of customizable reports on various aspects, like the drivers’ behavior, routing, fuel consumption, and more. The reports and dates should be availed to the relevant persons via email, or generated from the system and sent through email or otherwise to the parties who use them. The report may be for a single vehicle or the whole fleet, but the vital thing is that there are reliable reports available.
The primary thing in fleet management is to know the whereabouts of the assets (vehicle) and other things related to it. These include the speed, maintenance, and operation of the vehicle—whether it is being driven recklessly or responsibly. A good solution should allow for proper tracking of the vehicles, relaying of data promptly, and so on.
With many providers competing for fleet managers/owners’ attention, the above features can help the customer pick the best solution provider. Also, the elements will allow the realization of efficient fleet operations, returns on investment, and improved customer service.