Nowadays, hundreds of companies provide all kinds of tracking software for both small and large T&L businesses. However, this widest selection of offers may be confusing for customers, especially newcomers. In this article, I’ve tried to highlight the most relevant criteria for choosing a proper fleet tracking software in 2021. I hope that you can find a system to make a difference in your fleet with that info at hand.
In recent years, satellite control has gone a long way, from simple solutions to multifunctional fleet management systems. The digitization of the logistics industry is in full swing, but it requires a complex set of measures. I mean it is important to understand that just installing a GPS device or fleet management software is not enough to reap all the benefits. The good news is that, when implemented properly, modern systems can give you much more than just controlling moving trucks.
Currently, two standard types of GPS tracking hardware devices exist: hardwired and OBD II plug-and-play. Perhaps, the second option is more popular as such a device can be easily inserted via the OBD II port of a truck. One way or another, when choosing a system, you need to know whether it allows you to keep abreast of all the important parameters of the fleet. For example, fleet managers have to:
- control fuel consumption
- determine the quality of driving
- monitor the work of the mechanisms
- remotely identify drivers
- evaluate the performance of staff
Secondly, you need to make sure that the transport system you’re going to use provides monitoring data promptly via detailed reports. This way, you can properly analyze and effectively plan future fleet activities.
Key takeaway: look for a system that contains all the necessary equipment and a professional GPS monitoring program with a user-friendly interface, visually-appealing reports, and flexible settings.
The best option will be if the same manufacturer releases both the device and corresponding software. This way, you’ll most likely avoid hardware and dispatch compatibility issues. Plus, you can count on decent technical support without delay.
At the same time, it is also important to pay attention to whether the system is ready to work with third-party equipment from other providers. This is especially vital for those companies that want to control hired vehicles or receive data from tachographs and other telematics devices. For example, I’m talking about information from equipment for monitoring security traffic, tire pressure monitoring sensors, and video surveillance cameras.
Another essential condition is the ability to integrate the solution with other ERP systems that your business is using: SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, etc. If such interaction is configured, then you will be able to see the data in a convenient mode. This will make the control and management of the fleet more efficient.
Like with other high-tech products, when looking for a satellite monitoring system, it is not always easy to immediately understand which tools are definitely needed now, which ones are optional, which may still be useful in the future. So give yourself time, don’t rush.
Key takeaway: it is most reasonable to consider systems that already have the ability to add new components. Sometimes these solutions are also called boxed solutions. The bottom line is that they take into account a specific type of transport, with an understanding of the specifics of the areas in which vehicles are involved, and include the most optimal combination of components to achieve specific goals.
For example, these can be separate control solutions:
- GPS monitoring of vehicles and their corresponding special equipment
- freight transport logistics companies
- bus fleet of passenger companies
- refrigerated trucks for transporting food and medicine
- agricultural machinery
- road and construction machinery
- collection vehicles, taxis, courier services, etc.
As a rule, the providers of such solutions also offer:
- satellite monitoring software
- equipment installation services
- training of your personnel
- technical support.
5 Tips to Consider
1. Be clear about the goals you want to achieve with the system. Be sure to ask your integrator to outline the possible preliminary pros of using such solutions.
2. Work exclusively with reliable manufacturers. I mean those integrators who have the official status of an installation center for a specific GPS monitoring system.
3. Be sure to learn more about the user experience of using the system. Read the reviews and (if possible) talk about them with other customers.
4. At the stage of negotiations with a supplier or integrator, take your time and visit the office or even the future partner’s production facilities. Every serious client-oriented company will be only happy to show how its work is arranged.
5. Don’t forget about preliminary free testing of the system in your fleet. By the way, nothing prevents you from testing several systems at once.
To Sum Up
More and more companies are striving to improve the manageability of their business using vehicle monitoring systems. And many do it for the first time, so proper guidance is much needed. I’m pretty much confident that these recommendations will help you make the right choice and start driving as efficiently as possible.