How Fleet Tracking Systems Work
GPS fleet tracking works off all the same basic principles that have been discussed all across the this blog. It all begins with some satellites that are currently orbiting the earth broadcasting this signal that can be picked up by specialized receivers. These receivers than give that information to a small computer which does some math called trilateration that calculates the exact position of the receiver when it received the signals. This information is then sent to another part of a GPS tracking device where it is then transmitted wirelessly across the great expanses of space and time until it appears on a server somewhere.
On this server somewhere the position information is then ran through some fleet tracking software which makes the information palatable to a business owner or dispatch operator. This individual then uses this information to better run the business, route drivers effectively, monitor worker activity, or schedule necessary maintenance on vehicles. It is all rather simply yet amazingly complex. The process is simple and clearly defined, and yet the theory and technology behind the process is shrouded in mystery and even has the allure of a magic-like quality to it. For many people, GPS tracking just is and there is no need to explain it.
Fleet Tracking Software
But this is a good tie into talking a little bit about the nerve center of any good flee tracking system – the software package. Most GPS tracking devices are going to do a great job of calculating their position information and then sending it to a server somewhere for it to be processed. If you think about this information, which is usually just simple information like position coordinates, speed, and direction, it is not going to be very useful to a business person trying to make real time decisions that will benefit their company right now.
Sure, it would be good to know that your truck has just made a delivery to coordinates 30.299691,-97.951401 and that they are now heading south by southwest at 25 mph – but how is that going to help anyone get this truck to its next stop? It isn’t. A dispatcher would have to go to a mapping software like GoogleMaps and enter the information gather by the fleet GPS tracking device manually to find that they are on Hacienda Ridge in Austin, Texas. This is doable, but it will take a lot of time to find the closet truck to a new service call if you have a fleet of 3 or more vehicle.
This is where fleet tracking software comes in. All the things that you might want to do by hand with all the information you gather from your real time tracking device can be done automatically and displayed to you on the fly when using fleet tracking software. Want to get a birds eye view of all the vehicles in your fleet at any point in time? Want to know if any of your drivers have left their area of operation for any reason? Want to see if one of your vehicles has been idling for more than 30 seconds? This is the type of information that commercial grade GPS fleet tracking devices and fleet tracking software can provide you.
There is even a very decent free fleet tracking software package called OpenGTS. It is featured on our list of free GPS tracking software suites. It is open source and complete free to use. You do have to jump over some technical hurdles if you are not already familiar with setting this type of thing up, but for some companies this can be well worth the extra effort.
Using a GPS Fleet Tracking System Effectively
Now that we all know the low down on how fleet tracking works from a technical standpoint we should probably try and figure out how we can leverage this technology to make businesses better. If you are a business owner you are already having ideas pop into your head about how GPS fleet tracking systems can make your business more efficient, make more service calls, and end up making you a lot more money. And this is exactly the outcome that many small business owners experience when they install fleet tracking systems in your fleet. According to an Aberdeen group study, small fleets (1-10 vehicles) saw an completed work orders increase by 25% after two years of using a tracking system.
Here are a few things that a business owner can do to make the most out of their tracking devices:
- Use it to identify wasteful employees – cutting off the fat from your operation or turning the fat into lean muscles through some disciplinary action will help you get more bang for your salary buck
- Use it to more efficiently route drivers to new service calls – getting the closest driver to the service call will save the company two invaluable assets: time and fuel.
- Use it to incentivize performance – getting workers to work harder by rewarding hard work is a great way to increase the overall effectiveness of an operation
And those are just a few of the ways that a fleet vehicle tracking system could be used to benefit a business. There are more too.