If you are a fleet manager, logistics coordinator, operations manager or even an owner-operator of a company with a mobile workforce, you have likely considered GPS tracking for your business. There are many GPS tracking services on the market; choosing the right one can be a very difficult task. Here are some things you need to know before making the leap.
Top 4 Things to Know before Tracking
- Fleet Telematics – If you have searched for enterprise fleet tracking solutions to any extent, you have likely seen the term “telematics” thrown around a lot. Telematics is a combination of the terms telecommunications and infomatics. Coined in the 1970s, telematics is used to describe the long-distance transmission of computerized information. The fleet management industry has thus adopted the term to describe the use of cellular transmission to collect vehicle data such as location (via GPS), vehicle starts and stops, idle time, hard-braking, and other engine data.
- Real Time Fleet Tracking – While the term “real time” is thrown around frequently, it is not completely accurate. To have truly real-time tracking would require an immense volume of data, extremely large database capacity, and use a great deal of cellular bandwidth. Instead, companies offer frequent (anywhere from every 5 minutes down to every 30 seconds) updates to the data, allowing you to keep a very close eye on your assets without overly taxing the system. In addition, you can also manually locate the vehicle if you need to know the location immediately.
- Fleet Tracking Cost – Most fleet tracking services cost between $19.95 and $39.95, depending on the company you select and the length of contract you are willing to commit to. Equipment and trailer trackers, which typically will only update their location a few times per day and are usually battery-powered rather than installing in a vehicle, will usually cost less per month. Some companies offer prices lower than $19.95; Rhino Fleet Tracking’s service costs $16.95 when you track three or more vehicles and does not require a contract or minimum commitment.
- GPS Tracking Devices – While there are a wide variety of devices, most will fall into one of four categories: OBD or plug-in devices; Installed Vehicle Trackers; Advanced Vehicle Trackers; and battery-powered trackers. OBD devices are the simplest to install as they simply plug into a port on the vehicle’s dashboard, but this also makes them very easy to remove. Installed Vehicle Trackers install inside the dashboard near the steering column and are more difficult to find and tamper with. Advanced Vehicles Trackers are installed inside the dashboard as well and are best used when you want to monitor switches, power take-off (PTO) or ancillary features of a vehicle (like a tow truck lift). Battery-powered trackers are typically only used for equipment and trailers that lack their own power source or rarely turn on.
[Editor’s Note: You may find GPS tracking services that include the tracker in their monthly price, but odds are you are limited to only OBD trackers and you likely do not own the trackers yourself. While this may be the cheapest and simplest solution, it is not the most flexible and may not be the best solution for your business.]
Regardless of the size of your fleet – be it two vehicles or 2,000 – GPS tracking is something you will want to seriously consider. There are many benefits of fleet tracking that go beyond simply knowing the current location of the vehicle.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of fleet tracking and find out what kind of solution works best for your business, contact one of our knowledgeable team members today at 1-800-293-0420 or request a demo here.