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How will vehicle tracking benefit my business?

Vehicle tracking technology and its applications have evolved over the years. Historically, GPS tracking devices were used to recover stolen vehicles and two “spy” on drivers who were suspected of overclaiming mileage or overtime. Now, vehicle telematics systems are appreciated for the data insight that they provide – powerful management intelligence that can help businesses plan, identify trends and manage KPIs. In addition to this, the data can ultimately help identify cost savings, generate revenue opportunities and improve operational efficiency.

The technology itself is now easier to install, more robust, reliable and integrated than ever before. Rather than standalone connectivity, using Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, vehicle tracking companies are now able to provide more data from more devices, in one place. ABAX’s connected platform, allows businesses to access information about all of their assets from one log in. And as more devices are connected to the IoT, the more integrated and powerful the data becomes. 

What is a vehicle tracking system and how do they work? 

business vehicle tracking system allows a company to access information about the location, and often driving behaviour, of their fleet of vehicles. GPS tracking devices, which are fitted with data SIMS, enable global positioning data and vehicle activity to be recorded and transmitted to a server in real time. Vehicle tracking companies then make this information available to the business via fleet management software. Depending on the fleet tracking system being used, the GPS tracking information may be available in real time (to see where vehicles are right now) and/or retrospectively (to see what vehicles have done and how they were driven). Either way, the data provided by vehicle tracking companies is invaluable for most fleet managers and businesses.

Make smarter decisions – based on accurate data  

Depending on the technology used, and the software provided by vehicle tracking company, a wide range of data can be collected and reported on. Using the accuracy of GPS satellite technology, fleet tracking systems are able to pinpoint the location of tracked vehicles to within a couple of meters. In addition to this, some vehicle tracking companies also connect the telematics device to the vehicles’ on-board diagnostics (OBD) system or CANbus network, which can provide insight into how the vehicle has been driven and operated.  This includes insight into speed, cornering, idling time, harsh braking and accelerating. Armed with this remotely accessible and digital data, managers are able to make smarter decisions – based on real data, rather than making assumptions after conducting labour intensive manual investigations. 

Vehicle tracking offers improved fleet and vehicle logistics  

The information provided by fleet tracking systems can help businesses to improve their customer experience. Equipped with real time vehicle location information, companies are able to improve the accuracy of their vehicle route planning and scheduling and provide live updates to their customers about estimate arrival times. For some industries, accurate arrival times are crucial.  Food production and other types of precision manufacturing often rely on “just in time” deliveries. The introduction of a business vehicle tracking system into the supply chain is vital for these operations.  

Furthermore, businesses who bill by on site time, are also able to accurately record arrival and departure times and share this data with their customers using a fleet tracking system.  

The right tracking software can enable better productivity  

Tracking devices for vans, cars, trucks and other fleet vehicles capture activity data and real time location information, which is available to access remotely. Using this information, businesses can automate processes, set alerts, run reports and gain powerful insight into their operations. GPS tracking data can cut out hours of manual administration each month. Timesheet reporting, mileage claims and HMRC compliance reporting can all be automated with a business vehicle tracking system.  

Using the real time tracking functionality, businesses are also able to schedule and route their vehicles more efficiently. If new jobs are added to an existing schedule throughout the day, businesses can allocate the work to vehicles in the vicinity; saving time and fuel costs.  

Vehicle tracking systems can even look after your employees and improve company culture 

As the perception of vehicle tracking systems has evolved and changed over the years, its applications have as well. By embracing a business vehicle tracking system as a beneficial business tool, companies have developed the way that they share information, both with the management team and their employees. Rather than the information being used to identify wrongdoing, the telematics data is now being more widely used to identify issues before they happen, provide remedial training and best practice guidance for drivers. Tracking devices for vans, cars, trucks and other road vehicles can help businesses to improve their duty of care compliance and adhere to Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency and HSE fleet legislation. The real time information can be used to manage vehicle usage and ensure regular breaks are being taken and the drivers are fit to drive. 

Rather than keep this driver and vehicle activity data at management level, many businesses are choosing to share it with their drivers. This can encourage a healthy sense on competition amongst drivers, an add an element of gamification to their performance: comparing each other on a “league table” style report for parameters such as speed, idle time and overall driving time. In some cases, businesses go further and choose to incentive their drivers, based on the performance recorded by the fleet tracking system. 

Let’s reduce those fuel costs. 

One of the biggest challenges for fleet managers is managing fuel costs. Although they have no control over the volatility and unpredictability of pump prices, there are ways to reduce fuel consumption. Managing driver behaviour using a vehicle telematics system enables fleet managers to identify drivers who exhibit inefficient driving techniques. This might include excessive speeding, unnecessary idling or harsh breaking and accelerating. By reducing instances of such behaviours, fuel costs can be significantly reduced. According to the Department for Transport, idling can use up to 2 litres of fuel per hour, emitting over 5.26kg of CO2. With petrol prices currently at a eight-year high, managing driver behaviour has never been more important.  

Vehicle tracking systems can help businesses to achieve sustainability goals  

With sustainability becoming high on the agenda for most businesses, fleet operations are often identified as a key piece of the puzzle. Internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles are CO2 emission generators and businesses are increasingly under pressure to manage and reduce their impact, where possible. By managing driver behaviour, and reducing instances of inefficient fuel use, carbon emissions will subsequently be cut. Businesses can use information recorded using a fleet tracking system to measure and manage performance improvements over time and demonstrate to their stakeholders and customers that they are focused on achieving sustainability goals.  

In addition to this, using a vehicle tracking system, businesses are able to make informed decisions about the shift to electric vehicles. By having a better understanding of vehicle utilisation, choices can be made about the type of electric vehicles required in the future, and the charging infrastructure needed. 

Locating stolen vehicles. 

In recent years, there has been an increase in the theft of keyless entry vehicles. Research from LV shows that between 2016 and 2019, insurance claims for car theft jumped by 20%, with keyless car theft accounting for a large proportion of the claims made. They are stolen using the “relay” theft method, which means that the thief does not need to have direct access to the keys, but instead they use a device to bounce the signal from the key to a receiver.  

Once a vehicle is fitted with a fleet tracking system and it is connected to a network, its position can be located. In the case of a vehicle theft, the vehicle can be tracked in real time using the vehicle tracking software and the software can be configured to trigger and alert if a vehicle enters or exits a given geofence. For example, if a vehicle is kept in a given location overnight, a geofence can be drawn around this position and an alert set if the vehicle leaves the zone. This can speed up the process of theft identification and ultimately improve the chances of vehicle recovery.   

Are vehicle tracking devices legal? 

Vehicle tracking devices are legal to use by companies who have a duty of care to their drivers and a responsibility to protect their assets. Concerns raised about privacy, can easily be dispelled by the installation of privacy switches, if a fleet vehicle is permitted to be used for private use. As long as vehicle data is being used purely for the management of athlete, and is not being shared to any third parties, there should be no legal concerns. 

How to install a vehicle tracking system 

The installation of a vehicle tracking system has developed at the technology has evolved.  The hardware is smaller, lighter and often simpler to fit. The ABAX tracking unit is designed to be an easy two wire installation that can be fitted in 10 minutes. In standard form, it consists of an antenna housed within the compact black unit, a red positive and black negative connector and 1.5 meters of cable. An optional third yellow wire and connector can be used for other digital inputs. The ABAX GPS unit requires power from a constant 12V or 24V source, such as the vehicle battery or, for example, a jump-start point. Connecting the units positive power cable to a switched feed will not only impede the operation of the unit, but also likely damage the unit and void your lifetime warranty. 

Vehicle tracking devices are now considered more as a key part of a fleet management strategy, rather than a spy in the camp, as they were historically perceived to be. The benefits include cost savings, duty of care compliance and reduced environmental impact amongst so many others. With the increasing demands for information, the job of a fleet manager is almost impossible without the data available via a fleet tracking system. Not only is the insight accurate and robust, it is timely and can be integrated with other web-based systems to generate big data for businesses who strive to improve their operational efficiency. 

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