Before choosing a fleet tracking system, it is important to understand your business needs. Different needs require different features from the system. Taking the time to understand your business and needs can help you choose the right fleet-tracking system. Let’s look at some of the significant factors that should be considered before investing in a fleet tracking system.
Identify your fleet size
As your business grows, so does its fleet of vehicles. It is important that you select a fleet-tracking system that can accommodate the size of your business. When identifying your fleet size, consider elements such as the type and number of vehicles, drivers, routes taken, and deliveries made each day.
If you are a small company with 10 or fewer vehicles, you can get away with using basic GPS tracking features. However, if you have more than 10 vehicles within your fleet, you will likely need an integrated software solution for tracking and managing all aspects of your business.
For larger fleets with hundreds or even thousands of vehicles, an enterprise-level system should definitely be used to ensure proper compliance with regulations and laws and an integrated platform for monitoring vehicle location at any given time. Investing in the right system upfront can reduce expenses and improve operational efficiency in the future.
Determine the features you need
When evaluating the various types and models of tracking systems for your organization, consider the essential features for you and your business. Different models and systems will offer different features, so it is essential to determine which setup would best suit your operations.
Features that you may want to include in your fleet tracking system are:
– Real-time location reports – Track vehicles or drivers wherever they go with real-time mapping services.
– Instant alerts – Receive notifications whenever vehicles go outside predetermined routes or when destinations change.
– Reports – Generate reports at regular intervals to better understand the utilization and mileage of each vehicle.
– Maintenance schedule alerts – Establish schedules for oil changes, tire rotation, inspections, and more.
– Driver safety monitoring – Monitor speed limit compliance and seatbelt usage to keep drivers safe on the roads.
– Fuel tracking & usage – Automatically monitor fuel levels and usage patterns of each vehicle in the fleet, helping reduce waste and expenses associated with fuel costs.
Understand your budget
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a fleet tracking system is the cost involved. While a system’s potential return on investment can be considerable over time, it’s important to understand your current budget and financial goals when selecting a provider. Ask yourself what you can realistically afford to pay on an upfront basis, in initial setup fees and/or monthly subscription fees, as well as what kinds of long-term commitments or contracts may be involved. Consider any tradeoffs between short-term costs vs long-term savings or performance gains that make particular features attractive for your fleet. Speak with multiple providers and get quotes for any product or service you seek- comparing features and costs can help identify what solution is ideal for your needs and budget.
Research Different Options
If you’re in the market for a fleet tracking system, then you need to carefully consider all your options. Researching different systems will help you identify the right one for your needs. You should look into different technologies and features offered by different companies and compare them with your requirements. You also need to consider the cost and the associated fees that come with the system. This comprehensive research process will help you make an informed decision regarding the best fleet tracking system for your business.
Compare features and pricing
When you’re in the market for a fleet tracking system, one of the most important things to do is compare features and pricing. You need to make sure that you’re getting a product that meets your specific needs and fits within your budget.
Take a look at the features offered by each system and read about them carefully. Consider what type of reporting capabilities and analytics the system offers, as well as whether it has integration capabilities with existing software solutions. It is also important to research different pricing models available to decide which option will best fit your business’s needs and budget.
Additionally, inquire about discounts or trial periods offered by vendors. Some may have introductory discounts or special offers, which could save you money in the long run. Also, many vendors offer free downloads of their tracking solutions so that you can try them out before purchasing them; this allows you to see how different systems work with your own data before investing in them.
Getting feedback from current users of any particular system is also important before making a purchase decision — asking around gives some insight into how the product performs out in the field and whether it meets expectations. Ultimately, it is essential to understand your business’s needs thoroughly before selecting a fleet tracking solution that fits that structure perfectly.
Read customer reviews
Reading customer reviews is an important step in the process of choosing the right fleet-tracking system for your business. Taking the time to read reviews from previous customers will help you gain insight into the product’s performance and user experience and its potential pitfalls and complicating factors.
Reviews can provide a wealth of information, ranging from general observations about the overall performance of a product or service to detailed accounts of particular experiences or situations that may have arisen during its use. Positive reviews can help increase your confidence in a particular product, while negative ones can indicate issues you may want to consider or avoid altogether. Additionally, many online retailers offer ratings and Customer Experiences that feature customer feedback so that users can get an even more complete picture of potential problems or positives.
In order to get an accurate view of the pros and cons of a particular fleet tracking system, it’s important to read multiple reviews from different sources, such as verified purchasers, platform developers, and independent reviewers. Reading through existing customer reviews allows you to gain insights into how others have interacted with certain products or services—and also highlights any everyday experiences some people may have had when utilizing them. As such, it’s essential that you take your time researching different options available for fleet tracking systems to ensure you get one that is suitable for your needs.
Check for compatibility with your vehicles
One of the most important details to consider when researching fleet tracking solutions is compatibility. When you choose a fleet tracking system, you’ll want to ensure it is compatible with the vehicles in your fleet. This can be critically important because some systems use different tracking technology or connectors that may not be compatible with every type of vehicle.
Before investing in an automatic vehicle location (AVL) system, it’s wise to research potential providers and software vendors to ensure compatibility with hardware and existing infrastructure. It’s also important to compare pricing plans among multiple providers so that you make an informed purchase when you invest in the right technology for your business.
Additionally, certain features should always be investigated when looking for a comprehensive fleet-tracking solution. Having complete visibility into connected vehicles enables businesses to monitor operational efficiency and help prevent accidents or violations while minimizing expenditure costs and fuel taxes. The following features should be taken into consideration:
– Real-time vehicle locations
– Route navigation and optimization capabilities
– Fleet analytics
– Driver behavior monitoring
– Comprehensive network coverage across geographies
– Optimal fuel management accuracy
– Remote maintenance performance assessments
Compare The Costs
Choosing the right fleet tracking system is essential for efficient fleet management. One of the most important factors to consider when evaluating fleet tracking systems is their associated costs. The cost of a system will depend on the features and options you need, as well as the size of your fleet. Let’s explore the costs associated with different fleet tracking systems to help you decide which is the right one.
Consider the upfront cost
When comparing fleet tracking systems, the upfront purchase cost is the easiest to compare since these systems vary dramatically in price. However, it is important to remember that while an initial purchase cost may seem low-cost or expensive, the total cost of ownership (TCO) varies greatly depending on many other factors. The total cost of ownership includes the actual device costs and ongoing usage fees associated with web-hosting services and data plans.
It’s important to take into account how and where you plan to use your system — whether you will be using it in a large city or off-road in rural areas and taking advantage of constant connections like 3G/4G or an advanced satellite services — when considering the costs of using a fleet tracking system. Different devices and data plans have different power consumption requirements and connection types, which should factor into your TCO calculations.
In addition to direct costs associated with purchasing a fleet tracking system, consider any other indirect costs that could be incurred when implementing the system, such as labor for installation and training for employees who will use it. By understanding all levels of cost that can be associated with fleet tracking systems before purchase, you can help ensure that you make an informed decision based on long-term value versus short-term savings.
Factor in the long-term costs
A key factor in budgeting for a fleet tracking system is the long-term cost. Initially, you may be tempted to focus on hardware and software costs, which can be substantial. However, in the long run, an important economic consideration is how much your system will save you on 3 key elements: fuel costs, labor expenses, and operational costs.
Fuel cost savings can come from improved routing and driving habits resulting from having a fleet tracking system in place. Labor savings are achieved by reducing the time required for trip planning by placing this responsibility on your tracking system rather than manual scheduling. Operational costs will also go down due to increased accuracy of locating vehicles and ordering parts correctly, leading to quicker turnaround time and improved customer satisfaction. Considering these three elements gives you a more comprehensive view of what kind of benefits a fleet tracking system can provide over time.
Consider the value of the features
The key element you must consider when selecting the best fleet tracking system for your business is assessing the value of its features. While understanding the capabilities and limitations of different tracking systems will play an important role in determining how well they work for your fleet, it’s essential to also analyze how much additional value each feature brings to you.
Keep in mind that some for-purchase systems may require additional costs for installation, training, configuration, and support, making them more expensive upfront. This might be a worthwhile investment as such features can amplify the benefits of efficient fleet management over time. Other systems may offer limited features at a lower cost but need to be more sufficient to meet your current or long-term business needs.
To help you make an informed decision, create a list that compares available sets of features across different options you are considering and include any extra costs associated with each option. With this methodical appraisal of various offerings, it’ll be easier to assess which solutions provide the most advantageous blend of price and performance for your specific needs.
Ensure Your System is Compliant
When choosing a fleet tracking system, one of the most important considerations is to make sure it complies with relevant regulations. Depending on your industry or region, specific laws or regulations may govern the type of fleet tracking system you need to use. It’s important to research these regulations to ensure you choose a compliant system.
Check for FMCSA compliance
Choosing the correct fleet tracking system is a very important step toward ensuring your business complies with all of the expectations and standards that have been set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA has a strict set of rules and regulations that must be followed in order to operate a fleet of commercial motor vehicles, and the laws are constantly changing. It’s important to ensure your chosen fleet tracking system is up-to-date and compliant with FMCSA standards.
In general, two main compliance-related features should be taken into consideration when selecting a fleet tracking system: HOS (Hours of Service) logging and electronic driver vehicle inspection reports (eDVIR).
HOS Logging: An Electronic Logging Device (ELD) is required for any commercial motor vehicle operating interstate or intrastate commerce; it simplifies compliance with FMCSA regulations concerning Hours of Services (HOS) by automating HOS record keeping. Some fleet tracking systems offer ELD functions directly, while others may require integration with an additional third-party ELD solution.
eDVIR: This refers to an electronic driver’s vehicle inspection report system which helps monitor critical safety elements such as lights, tire treads, warning labels, brakes, power steering fluid level, fluid leaks, etc. A complete eDVIR package should include software for mobile devices and desktop applications for easy online access anytime from anywhere. Most modern fleet tracking systems can accommodate either an eDVIR module integration or an API integration in order to connect it directly to your chosen platform.
To ensure full compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, you need a reliable, proven solution like those mentioned above – Hours Of Service logging & Electronic Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports – please always consult with your lawyer when verifying compliance matters and inquiries about mandatory requirements or legal obligations you may have under FMCSA guidelines.
Ensure the system meets GDPR requirements
Making sure your fleet tracking system is compliant with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) requirements is essential to protecting the privacy of your customers and employees. GDPR affects how organizations acquire, store, and use the personal data of European Union citizens. Depending on where you operate, failure to comply with comprehensive data protection regulations can lead to hefty fines or even criminal prosecution.
When evaluating fleet tracking systems, it’s important to consider the key factors in ensuring system compliance: data storage, encryption, and securing customer information or personal data access.
Data Storage: You must be aware of how and where the system stores information gathered from its sensors about vehicle location, driver behavior, and more. Data storage providers should offer encryption capabilities built into the cloud platform or developed by a third party. Ensure your chosen provider is contractually obligated to notify you should there be any security breaches in their systems and that your staff is made aware of their responsibility in safeguarding customer information.
Encryption: Your chosen solution must provide encryption options at rest (data stored at rest) or in transit (data traveling over public networks). Additionally, ask if there are additional defensive measures taken by the provider, such as two-factor authentication for extra layers of security for access to sensitive systems or widespread audit logging reaching back over a period of months/years, which detect malicious behavior when managing personal data stored on their platform.
Securing Customer Information: Fleet tracking systems store a wide range of customer accounts, including driver profiles and real-time tracking information around vehicles and employees’ locations that can potentially be subject to unauthorized access from hackers gaining unauthorized network access. Project managers should review standard contractual terms & conditions regarding services provided by fleet tracking companies for consumer protection measures such as employed personnel screening processes & database security audits if applicable when handling consumer accounts.
Personal Data Access: It is paramount that you clearly define which user groups require access to specific types of company data, including fleets, vehicles & employee authorization levels, when setting up an account on a fleet management system. Project managers also need to confirm that account privileges are granted only after proper authorization is given via secure credentials under the managing entity’s control
Check for any other relevant compliance requirements
Every fleet tracking system should provide data that helps you to meet compliance regulations. However, it’s important to check that any extended requirements are also accounted for. If a compliance program or reporting requirement changes or is extended, the system you are using must be updated appropriately.
It’s not just laws that govern the industry – your customers and other stakeholders may have additional regulations you must follow. For example, if your company provides services to another company, then they might require specific information about a vehicle’s service or location history.
Anytime regulatory criteria change or a computing environment adds new advancements and capabilities, fleets must update their systems to accommodate everyone within their walls and outside of them, from customers to regulators and more. This proves critical for safety-sensitive fleets, such as those in trucking, waste management, and oil & gas; these companies must ensure their systems remain compliant with strict federal regulations at all times. Therefore thorough testing of all fleet-tracking solutions is key in evaluating firms’ preparedness against rising standards within the market.
To stay on top of any additional compliance requirements:
-Stay up to date by regularly checking government websites detailing relevant laws or industry regulations
-Implementing software tracking systems that use automatic updates will keep users informed of any changes in legislation
-Conduct ongoing research into new technologies available on the market which may improve safety measures
Make Your Decision
Choosing the right fleet tracking system is essential for keeping your business running efficiently. A good system will provide you with accurate and timely data on your vehicles and drivers. It will also allow you to better monitor and manage your fleet to ensure maximum efficiency. This article will explore the factors you should keep in mind when choosing the right tracking system for your needs.
Evaluate the pros and cons
When researching the different fleet tracking systems out there, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each option. Consider how a system will impact your fleet operation, fleet efficiency, regulations compliance, and personal preferences.
- Decreases fuel costs associated with idling and over-servicing.
- Reduces the time drivers spend waiting for service or deliveries.
- Provides real-time visibility of your entire fleet to allow more efficient resource allocation.
- Improves customer experience by providing real-time updates on vehicle location and delivery estimates.
- Helps meet regulatory requirements such as Duty of Care and Electronic Tachograph regulations (if applicable).
- Cost associated with software development and hardware installation/ maintenance to run a fleet tracking system.
- Risk of data privacy breaches with companies managing their own system or data leakage from third-party providers if required to migrate data externally.
- Initially complicated setup, particularly when implementing onboard devices from multiple vendors or integrating into existing software systems (e.g., accounting or transportation management system).
Consider the cost-benefit analysis
Before you make the final decision to purchase a fleet tracking system, it’s important to consider the associated cost. Check with your existing service providers to determine any hidden costs, such as monthly subscriptions or fees required for data access. Consider the monthly expenditures you can save with an efficient fleet tracking system, such as reduced fuel costs and improved driver performance. Determine the value of improved customer service and delivery efficiency since these factors contribute to the overall cost-benefit analysis. It’s also helpful to compare competing systems, so research various models and evaluate their features to find the one that will be most suited for your organization’s operations. Make sure your fleet tracking technology is up-to-date, secure, and meets industry standards in quality and reliability.
Make your final decision
Now that you’ve gathered research and analyzed the needs of your fleet, it’s time to make your final decision. It is important to follow a process when making a choice to ensure you select the right product for your business needs:
- Consider preferences – Sit down and prioritize the features that suit you best in a Fleet Tracking System. Some will be more valuable than others based on the size of your fleet, number of drivers and compliance requirements. Further, narrow down the field by comparing pricing options and customer satisfaction ratings.
- Set up product demonstrations – When contacting vendors, ask for technical demonstrations or personalized walkthroughs either over the phone or in person, depending on preference. This allows for an in-depth look at features and an assessment of how easy it is to use them once installed.
- Read customer reviews – Read customer reviews from other businesses who have invested in Fleet Tracking Systems from various vendors; this will give you an honest insight into user experience with different products before making a commitment and investing resources in it yourself
- Get cost estimates – Run through different cost estimates provided by vendors; this will help narrow down further what optional packages are available, what each one provides, how much they cost, and which ones are most suitable for your needs
- Ensure customer support is available – Don’t hesitate to reach out directly to sales representatives or general customer support teams via online chat, email, etc.; this can help get additional information about any FAQs you may have related to products or services provided
- Sign contracts & install software – Before officially launching your new Fleet Management System, double that check details written in service agreements, such as pricing & terms, are correct; finally, start downloading relevant software onto hardware installed into vehicles & enjoy improved tracking capabilities,
Written by Terry Whysong
Terry is an Automotive Enthusiast and the face behind TTR. He’s an avid reader, mechanic and loves writing blogs about car guides. You can find him on Linkedin