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Fleet Management

GPS Fleet Tracking: A Guide For Fleet Managers

GPS fleet tracking is essential for modern fleet management. Learn more about this technology and how it can benefit fleet-based businesses of all sizes.

GPS Fleet Tracking

Tracking company vehicles can be complicated for business owners, fleet managers, and operations managers alike. In today’s fast-paced business world, these professionals need an efficient way to monitor fleet activities. This is where GPS fleet tracking comes in.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the basics of GPS technology and how it can be used to monitor small and large fleets alike. We’ll also look at specific industries that benefit from GPS fleet tracking and how it can help streamline operations for larger small- and medium-sized businesses that rely on fleets.

Table Of Contents

Understanding GPS Fleet Tracking

Understanding GPS Fleet Tracking

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It’s a satellite network that transmits signals to receiver equipment on the ground. With this information, the equipment can calculate the exact location of an object or person in real-time.

To use this technology to manage a fleet, business owners first install a GPS-enabled device in each vehicle. Then, they use software or a mobile app to access the data transmitted by those devices. This provides real-time updates on the location and speed of those vehicles.

How Does GPS Fleet Tracking Work?

GPS-enabled devices use three main components to determine location: satellites, control stations, and the GPS receiver.

  • Satellites: The U.S. Space Force maintains and operates 24 satellites that make up the GPS satellite network. These satellites transmit one-way signals back to Earth.
  • Control stations: Located around the world, control stations track and monitor the satellites. They also make necessary adjustments to their orbits and provide updated navigation information.
  • GPS receivers: These devices, installed in fleet vehicles, receive signals from the satellites and calculate their exact location using a process called trilateration.

Note: GPS tracking is one component of fleet telematics.

GPS Fleet Tracking Use Cases

Being able to pinpoint precisely where fleet vehicles are at any given time isn’t the only benefit of using GPS fleet tracking. Here are a few other advantages this technology can offer fleet managers.

Tracking Fuel Efficiency And Routing

With real-time data on vehicle location, COOs and fleet managers can plan and optimize routes to save time and fuel costs. This is especially helpful for larger small-sized or medium-sized businesses with fleets that make multiple stops or deliveries each day, such as a limo service or pest control company.

Driver Behavior And Training

GPS fleet tracking allows fleet managers to monitor driver behavior, such as speeding or harsh braking, so they can address any issues that arise. This promotes safer driving practices and helps reduce the risk of accidents and potential liability for the business.

Additionally, with accurate vehicle location and route history data, business owners and operations managers can hold drivers accountable for their whereabouts if they make unexpected stops or get off their approved route.

Proactive Vehicle Maintenance

By tracking real-time data on mileage, engine hours, and other factors, fleet managers have the information needed to schedule regular maintenance. This can help extend the life of their vehicles and prevent costly breakdowns.

And by keeping vehicles up and running, the fleet will be more productive. With the ability to monitor routes and driver behavior, operations managers can identify inefficiencies and work toward improving them.

Industries That Benefit From GPS Fleet Tracking

Now that we’ve discussed GPS tracking technology and how it can be helpful for businesses with fleets of all sizes, let’s look at how a few specific businesses could use this system to their advantage.

In particular, we’ll focus on larger small and medium-sized businesses in two industries – transportation and field services (i.e., landscaping, plumbing, pest control, construction, roofing, etc.).

Transportation Services

Limo that is using GPS fleet tracking

Transportation companies, such as limo or taxi services, often have anywhere from 15 to hundreds of different vehicles to manage. This can make it challenging for COOs and operations managers to keep track of the location and condition of each vehicle.

With GPS tracking, fleet managers can easily monitor all limos or taxis in real-time. They’ll be able to respond quickly to customer requests while tracking:

  • Delays or detours in the route
  • Estimated arrival time at a given destination
  • Total distance traveled on each run
  • Idle time

They can then use this data to provide better customer service, optimize routes for more efficient travel, and make informed decisions about vehicle maintenance.

Field Services

Exterminators Outdoors In Work Wear Spraying Pesticide With Sprayer.

For field services businesses, it’s important to remember that, unlike in the transportation industry, employees’ main job is not driving — it’s completing whatever task waits for them once they reach their destination.

This means drivers may not be thinking about things like fuel mileage, vehicle maintenance, or even which route is the most efficient.

For example, consider a pest control company when a customer calls with an emergency pest problem. Quick response time is crucial, and the operations manager’s main concern is getting someone to the job site as soon as possible.

GPS tracking allows owners or fleet managers to dispatch the vehicle closest to the customer’s location and provide them with an accurate arrival time, all while also streamlining operations.

GPS tracking helps:

  • Reduce wasted time between jobs
  • Identify fuel wasters that can impact gas mileage
  • Notice when a job is taking longer than expected and make changes to the schedule accordingly
  • Note any non-work related stops drivers take

Another example is a landscaping company. Whether it’s a small business with a couple of trucks or a medium-sized company with a large fleet servicing multiple cities, GPS tracking can help fleet managers or operations managers handle jobs more efficiently.

With real-time tracking, they can monitor when a vehicle arrives at a job site and how long it takes to complete the task. This helps COOs better quote similar jobs in the future to improve forecasting and cash flow.

With GPS tracking, managers can also tell when their team leaves a job site, which makes it easier to ensure they’re staying on schedule and not wasting time.

GPS Fleet Tracking Considerations

Construction workers

Of course, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider when implementing GPS fleet tracking. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Initial Investment And Ongoing Cost

Purchasing and installing GPS tracking devices for an entire fleet can be a significant upfront cost, especially for smaller businesses with a limited budget.

Additionally, owners may need to pay for regular software upgrades or subscription fees to access the full range of features and data. It’s crucial to get accurate pricing information and consider return on investment before making a decision.

Employee Pushback And Privacy Concerns

Some drivers may not like the idea of constantly being “watched.” They may feel like it violates their privacy. This can lead to pushback or resistance to using GPS tracking technology.

It’s important for operations or fleet managers to address employee concerns and clearly communicate why they are implementing this technology and how it will benefit the company and employees.

HR departments can also establish clear policies and procedures to ensure employee privacy. For example, if drivers take company vehicles to and from work, fleet managers may want to exclude that data from being tracked.

By taking these steps, fleet managers can help their employees feel more comfortable with the tracking system.

Data Accuracy And Technical Issues

While GPS technology is generally very reliable, there can be instances where the data collected isn’t completely accurate. Factors such as weather conditions or radio interference can affect the accuracy. Nearby buildings, trees, and other objects can also impact the signal.

And like any technology, GPS tracking devices can experience occasional technical issues or malfunctions that result in downtime. This could disrupt operations or cause delays.

Operations managers will want a backup plan in place, such as having a spare device on hand or an alternate tracking method to use in an emergency.

Integrating GPS Fleet Tracking With A Fuel Card

Person going through a check list
Key Benefits Of Integrating Fleet Tracking With A Fuel Card

GPS fleet tracking can provide valuable insight into operations and help improve the bottom line for any and all types of fleet-based businesses.

But integrating a GPS fleet tracking solution with a fuel card offers even more benefits, including:

  • Real-time fuel tracking and reporting
  • Enhanced control over fuel expenses and efficiency
  • Integration with comprehensive fleet management platforms
  • Simplified expense tracking and reporting
  • Improved driver behavior and fuel efficiency
  • Automatic odometer collection
  • Calculated miles per gallon (MPG) for every driver and vehicle
  • Proactive notifications for fuel tank capacity exceeded

How To Make The Most Of Fleet Tracking And Fuel Card Integration

For fleet owners and managers looking to make the most of their GPS fleet tracking and fuel card integration, the following tips may be helpful:

Get Streamlined Fleet Management With Coast

Get Streamlined Fleet Management With Coast

GPS fleet tracking provides a wealth of information about each vehicle in a fleet. But it’s not the only real-time data needed to run fleet-based businesses. Driver expenses and fuel management are also critical factors. That’s where Coast comes in.

Coast offers smart fleet cards that can help fleet managers control spending, track expenses, and get a universal rebate on every gallon of fuel. It can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, so drivers won’t have to venture off the optimized route to get fuel.

In addition to those perks, Coast also offers convenient integrations with Samsara, Geotab, Verizon Connect, Azuga, Fleetio, and Intuit QuickBooks.

To learn more about how Coast can benefit fleet-based businesses, visit CoastPay.com today.