As technology becomes more reliable and affordable, road haulage companies are increasingly switching to truck tracking.
Advanced fleet management systems allow many benefits related to fuel costs, better servicing and maintenance planning, security; they are also a useful tool to further driver education about sensitive issues.
Depending on the scale of operations and fleets, companies interested in truck tracking should look for specific features such as web-based management, advanced reporting and alerts, better mapping components and engine diagnostics monitoring.
Benefits of truck tracking
Advanced fleet management systems allow for several key benefits which are much appreciated within the road haulage industry.
• Cutting down fuel costs
First and foremost, truck tracking will significantly reduce fuel bills by:
- Accurately locating the nearest vehicle relatively to the planned destination,
- Pushing the most fuel-efficient routeing information directly to the driver’s terminal,
- Triggering alerts when equipped vehicles exceed speed thresholds...
- ...or when typical idling times are exceeded.
• Better servicing and maintenance planning
Tracking systems with good diagnostics control can help prevent accelerated ageing of various vehicle parts by identifying possible breakdowns before they happen, thereby helping to fine-tune the servicing and maintenance agenda for the whole fleet.
• Locating sensitive freight in real time
When especially valuable freight is on the road, the haulage company wants to make sure they know exactly where these items are located in real time. Truck tracking allows just that.
• Driver education
Tracking systems are also a great tool for improving driver behaviour, through several channels:
- Reporting sheets generated by the system will help identify when and where a specific driver was too fast, too slow, idled for too long, or engaged in hazardous driving,
- It is therefore quite possible to pinpoint the moments when the truck was used for personal trips,
- timesheets can be automated, which helps streamlining payroll processes and paying the correct compensations.
• Enhanced security
GPS systems hidden in the truck and/or freight itself will make it possible to locate stolen cargo immediately, or even trigger alerts when a truck is used off-hours.
• Improved customer service
Proper mapping software help diverting the nearest truck to the nearest warehouse or to the nearest delivery point.
- Customers receive their orders faster,
- Proof of services can be obtained from the system.
Truck tracking features to look for
Depending on the haulage company’s needs, several truck tracking features will be sought.
• Web-based management
Truck tracking has made it to the Cloud: rather than installing proprietary software on local computers, some vendors offer web-based solutions that can be accessed and managed from any computer.
• Reports and alerts
Exactly what alerts, based on what usage scenarios, can be set up depends on how advanced the software is. Alerts may or may not be set up concerning:
- Daily truck activity,
- Idling times,
- Fuel consumption,
- Speeding violations, etc.
Real-time, and historical reporting features will also differ from one software to another.
• Advanced mapping component
Mapping is the key resource for a tracking solution. Tracking systems make use of third-party mapping providers like Google, Bing or Navteq - these are more or less accurate, depending on your needs.
• Engine diagnostics monitoring
Only the most advanced truck-tracking devices will connect with the vehicle’s computer and provide engine diagnostic monitoring, covering such metrics as:
- Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC),
- MPG data,
- Mileage, etc.