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How to select a GPS vehicle tracking system for your business

A GPS-based vehicle tracking system can be a highly effective tool to help lower costs and manage your fleet more efficiently. But with so many different systems to choose from - each with a different array of features, functions, and benefits - how can you determine which will best fit your business?

Identifying the right GPS fleet management solution for your organization isn't as hard as you might think. In fact, it can be done in three steps:

  • Understand the different types of GPS vehicle tracking systems
  • Identify your fleet management goals and objectives
  • Match GPS system capabilities with your goals and objectives

We've created some useful checklists to guide you through these steps and help you achieve a positive return on investment for your telematics fleet management system. If you have any questions or need assistance evaluating your GPS fleet management needs, please contact us at INFO@fleetGPSsolutions.com or 630-517-4808. We look forward to hearing from you.

UNDERSTANDING THE BASICS

There are two basic types of GPS vehicle tracking systems. The first offers vehicle tracking capabilities allowing you to determine the location and speed of and direction in which your vehicles are traveling at any time of day. These systems also typically include a variety of mapping, dispatching, reporting, and alert features to help improve vehicle routing and other fleet utilization metrics. This type of system is best for fleets that primarily need to keep tabs on where vehicles are in order to route them more efficiently.

The second type of system combines GPS technology with sophisticated onboard engine diagnostics to offer a much broader array of fleet management capabilities. With this type of system, in addition to knowing where your vehicles are and what they're doing, you also receive extensive data on the performance of the engines in those vehicles. This includes everything from fuel consumption to idle time, greenhouse emissions, driver behaviors such as speeding, and potential engine problems. This combination of vehicle location and performance data enables you to monitor and manage many aspects of fleet performance.

Both types of systems will automatically track vehicle speed and location, the direction vehicles are traveling, and previous locations. The difference lies in whether or not the system includes engine diagnostics and what additional features and functions come with it. Those can include asset tracking, third-party software integration, and other features that can significantly extend the system's capabilities. When researching different systems, be sure to look at the whole package, not just whether or not they include engine diagnostics.

SETTING YOUR FLEET MANAGEMENT GOALS

Now that you understand the different types of GPS vehicle tracking systems, the next step is to determine what you want to accomplish by implementing a telematics solution. For example, is lowering fuel costs your only concern, or do you need to control other costs? Is driver safety an issue? Do you want to reduce your fleet's environmental footprint? Are unexpected repair costs eating away at your bottom line? Your answers to these kinds of questions will help you pinpoint the right GPS system for your fleet.

To determine your fleet management goals, answer each question:

FLEET MANAGEMENT GOALSYESNO
GPS
Know where our vehicles are at all times?
Reduce unauthorized and/or after-hours vehicle use?
Reduce or prevent vehicle theft?
Control labor costs?
Reduce driver overtime?
Route vehicles and drivers more efficiently?
Improve on-time arrival rates?
Improve response times to emergencies or last-minute requests?
Lower fuel costs?
Reduce vehicle wear and tear by driving fewer miles?
GPS & DIAGNOSTICS
Reduce roadside breakdowns?
Reduce vehicle downtime?
Reduce speeding and other risky driver behaviors?
Lower insurance premiums by reducing our accident rate?
Protect our drivers against false claims by customers or other drivers?
Improve maintenance to keep vehicles in safe operating condition?
Promote safer driving habits?
Perform more preventive maintenance?
Keep better fleet maintenance records?
Reduce greenhouse emissions?
Lower replacement costs by extending the life of our vehicles?
ASSET TRACKING
Track fixed or mobile assets in the field?
SATELLITE
Improve our ability to track vehicles in remote areas?
FUEL CARD
Prevent unauthorized fuel purchases?

Upon completing the checklist, see how many "yes" and "no" answers you have in the GPS and GPS & Diagnostics sections. (Keep in mind that all features listed in the GPS section are included with a GPS & Diagnostics system.) This should give you a better idea of which type of system is best suited for your fleet management needs.

SYSTEM FEATURES AND CAPABILITIES CHECKLIST

The more comprehensive the product suite, the more you'll be able to cut costs and improve productivity. When evaluating GPS vehicle tracking products, look for the following features and capabilities:

GPS & DIAGNOSTICS Track light, medium and heavy duty vehicles with diagnosticsGPS
Track light, medium and heavy duty vehicles
ASSET TRACKER
Track generators, trailers, and other valuable property
SUPPORT
Customer Carexxx
On Demand Trainingxxx
Live Trainingxxx
Certified Installersxxx
Limited Lifetime Warranty*xxx
REPORT/ALERTS
Mapping & Routingxxx
Dispatching & Messagingxxx
Unlimited Landmarks & Geofencesxxx
GPS Reporting Suitexxx
Grouping by Classificationsxxx
Real Time Exception Alertingxxx
Location Frequencyxxx
Vehicle Maintenance Managementxx
Driver Identificationxx
Advanced Driver Behavior (Seatbelts, Hard Braking/Acceleration)x
Vehicle Diagnostic Trouble Codesx
Engine Data (Speed, Odometer, Engine Hours)x
MPG Reportingx
Emissions/Smog Reportingx
FEATURES
Online Dashboardxxx
Self-Install Optionxxx
Unlimited Usersxxx
Third-party Integrationxxx
Configurable Status Reportingxxx
Real-time Lost Power Alertxx
Fuel Card Integrationxx
Garmin Integrationxx
Roadside Assistancexx

LEARN MORE

There's a lot to consider when evaluating telematics fleet management systems. To discuss your fleet management goals and priorities, or simply learn more about the powerful benefits these systems can deliver, please refer to Contact Us information listed.