Fleet Tracking: What It Is and the Best Fleet Trackers to Try
September 14, 2020 6 min read
The average commercial truck in the US drives 91,506 miles per year.
That’s over 350 miles per working day. So keeping track of even a few vehicles and drivers can be a big challenge for dispatchers and managers without the right system in place.
Fleet tracking solutions allow dispatchers and fleet managers to keep track of every vehicle in their fleets in real time. They can use this data to identify problematic routes, excessive idling, illegitimate overtime, and more.
In this article, we’ll cover what fleet tracking is, different kinds of fleet trackers and solutions, and which option will help you not just keep track of your fleet, but maximize its capacity and efficiency.
To navigate to the section which interests you the most, click below:
- What Is Fleet Tracking?
- The 4 Main Benefits of Fleet Tracking – or – Fleet Tracking in Action: Hardie’s Fresh Foods
- 3 Different Types of Fleet Trackers
- OptimoRoute Goes Beyond Just Tracking Your Fleet
- Fleet Tracking FAQs
What Is Fleet Tracking?
Fleet tracking is the process of GPS-tracking vehicles to check their real-time location and routes. Delivery or field service businesses often use these solutions to monitor their fleets.
Fleet tracking helps track where a driver and vehicle is, how long they’ve taken to perform a delivery or pick-up, their average speeds, their route, and more. Monitoring driver behavior like this can help you track things like fuel consumption and idle time, which have a significant impact on your bottom line.
OptimoRoute offers full-fledged fleet tracking, including real-time locations and historical driver performance, through our driver mobile app.
Fleet Tracking in Action: Hardie’s Fresh Foods
Hardie’s Fresh Foods is a major distributor of fresh foods based in Texas. Hardie’s makes more than 8,000 deliveries a week to 2,400 customers throughout the entire state.
The company uses a mix of different solutions to track and manage their fleet of over 160 delivery trucks and drivers.
Together, these hardware and software tools have helped them lower costs and improve the efficiency of the entire operation.
Here’s how they do it…
Step 1: Track Vehicle Location and Condition with Telematics
Hardie’s uses a telematics solution to both track the real-time location and condition of all their fleet vehicles.
Dispatchers and managers can see where every truck is in real-time, and check up on driver progress.
The telematics solution also checks key data points that help plan preventative vehicle maintenance, like total miles driven, breakage, engine fault codes, and more for the entire fleet.
With it, Hardie’s can stay on top of fleet safety and reduce avoidable vehicle breakdowns and costly repairs.
Step 2: Plan Routes Based On Real-Time and Historical Data with OptimoRoute
Hardie’s uses our API to import the order data from their ERP, including all restrictions like delivery time windows, vehicle capacity and more.
Our smart planning features automatically identifies the most efficient routes for the 2,000+ orders on any given day.
As a result, Hardie’s reduced mileage by 20% across the whole fleet and lowered driver costs by 12%.
It also made the whole operation more efficient — the fleet’s delivery capacity increased by 14%.
Through our driver app, OptimoRoute also tracks all drivers and vehicles in real-time, and stores historical data to improve the accuracy of its routing and scheduling.
“One of our customers expects a delivery of 30 crates. Using historical data within OptimoRoute, the system estimates that the registration time is 15 minutes. And the software also knows that we need 10 seconds to unload each crate. So based on this, we get an accurate total order duration of 20 minutes — making sure we get everything done within that customer’s time window.”
These smart features have helped Hardie’s increase their on-time delivery rate from 89% to 94%.
And it’s still improving, with a month over month improvement rate of 1.5%.
3 Different Types of Fleet Trackers
But there isn’t just one solution that you can use to track the location of your fleet while in the field.
Dedicated GPS fleet tracking software, often called telematics, involves installing a physical GPS tracker device in every truck.
It’s connected via 4G and communicates with a server in real-time and uses geofencing to ensure accuracy.
Most vehicle tracking systems also communicate with the ECU and check other crucial data points. For example, average speed, braking, idling, mileage, and more.
Most ELD devices and mobile apps go beyond tracking the hours of service. They usually have basic GPS-tracking capabilities as well.
The extent of this feature and its accuracy depends on the provider and the device or application.
Route Optimization Solutions
Industry-leading route optimization providers also provide GPS tracking functionality and go beyond the basics.
These solutions also help with the routing and dispatching of your fleet.
It’s not just a tool for monitoring and tracking.
OptimoRoute offers GPS-tracking through your drivers through our mobile app, making it a great alternative to telematics solutions.
OptimoRoute Goes Beyond Just Tracking Your Fleet
Tracking the location of your trucks and drivers can help you find problems, like excessive idling or inefficient routes.
But solving them and actually improving fleet performance is the real challenge.
And that’s where OptimoRoute comes in.
Track Vehicle Locations and Delivery Status With our Mobile App
With OptimoRoute, there’s no need to install expensive equipment in every single truck.
Our mobile app (available for Android and iOS) supports GPS tracking and powers our accurate live ETAs.
But it’s not just a GPS tracker. It gives your drivers directions, and drivers can also send dispatchers real-time status updates by clicking a single button.
Note: If you want to use a telematics device in addition to OptimoRoute, you can track internal engine metrics in addition to just driver locations and route performance.
Get the best of both worlds with vehicle diagnostics, tracking, and route optimization. Save on fuel and driver costs with more efficient routes, and reduce your maintenance costs.
Plan Efficient Routes in Much Less Time and Improve Customer Experience
OptimoRoute helps your dispatchers plan smarter and more efficient routes. Our software adjusts for loading and unloading time, delivery time windows, vehicle capacities, and more.
Bee Imagine, a third-party logistics (3PL) company, used OptimoRoute to completely transform their route planning process. With over 4,000 deliveries per month, they needed a solution that was fully automated.
Optimoroute automatically helps dispatchers effectively schedule and plan orders at scale, while accounting for all real-time restrictions like delivery time windows. This leads to more on-time deliveries, and a better customer experience.
Thanks to OptimoRoute’s advanced features, Bee Imagine can now quickly finish routing and keep overtime to a minimum when receiving last-minute orders at odd hours like 4:00 AM.
Reduce Overtime Costs With Workload Balancing
Overtime is usually a significant part of driver costs for trucking and delivery businesses.
OptimoRoute considers drivers’ schedules and logged hours when planning new routes and deliveries. Our dedicated workload balancing feature automatically divides deliveries equally among drivers.
It helps cut overtime costs and keep your profit margins high.
Give Your Customers More Accurate ETAs and Live SMS Notifications
With OptimoRoute, you can send automated notifications with accurate ETAs to lower the chance of no-shows leading to failed deliveries.
As more and more companies transition to home delivery, on-time deliveries have become essential.
The proof is in the sharp increase in the usage of text message notifications to customers so far in 2020:
The key to an efficient home delivery operation is delivering successfully on the first try. With OptimoRoute’s SMS ETA notifications, you can make sure every customer will be at home, ready to receive the package as the driver arrives.
Fleet Tracking FAQs
Below we answer some of the most common questions about fleet tracking and telematics.
Am I legally required to track my fleet?
If you’re a long-haul trucking or other shipping business owner, you may be required by law to track the working hours of all drivers in your fleet through an ELD.
To learn more, you can read our post on electronic logging devices (ELD), or the FMCSA’s official guidelines.
How much are fleet tracking devices?
There’s quite a wide range for telematics and fleet tracking devices. The initial hardware cost can be as low as $100, and as high $700 per vehicle.
You also have to pay a monthly subscription for the service, which ranges from $10 and $30 per vehicle per month.
With OptimoRoute, as we use our mobile app to track drivers, there are no up-front hardware costs.
Can I use a mobile device to track fleets?
With the right mobile app, like OptimoRoute’s driver app, it is possible to track your fleet using the drivers’ cell phones rather than an expensive hardware solution.
A mobile uses the same technology (GPS and 4G) to triangulate its position and communicate with the fleet management solution.
What is the best tracking device?
The best tracking device depends on the type and size of your fleet and the needs of your business.
If your company owns a fleet of expensive truck tractors, a hardware solution that also runs diagnostics might be more suitable. Keeping your own fleet running is priority number one.
If your delivery drivers or technicians have personal vehicles, a mobile app solution is probably the best choice.
GPS tracking software is a key part of the puzzle to streamline the operations of your fleet.
But if you truly want to increase productivity, you can’t just focus on monitoring and tracking. You have to be proactive, and improve how you map your routes and schedule your drivers’ deliveries.
With OptimoRoute’s flexible route planning and fleet management software features, your dispatchers can plan more efficient routes for your drivers, without giving up the benefits of real-time tracking.
Our GPS-tracking features help you provide more accurate ETAs, adjust planned routes in real time, and compare driven with planned routes with our breadcrumbs feature, and more.
To see what OptimoRoute can do for your fleet’s productivity, start your 30-day free trial today.
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