Think you know all there is to know about the benefits of GPS fleet management software?

Now that the GPS tracking industry has matured and most businesses have been approached by GPS tracking vendors, many business owners and managers know the core functions of GPS tracking that provide the ROI (return on investment).

But you might not be aware that there’s more to tracking than these core functions.

In short, GPS fleet management software provides a level of transparency that reduces fleet running costs and improves productivity. Much of these benefits are derived by running a few management reports each month, and require very little administration.

But seeing your vehicles on a map and running basic reports is not all you can do with today’s GPS fleet management products.

So, what could you be missing out on?

1. Fleet maintenance

Most high quality GPS fleet management software will have a built-in vehicle maintenance module.

Because the system will already have a list of your vehicles and their details, and is keeping tabs on the mileage, it makes sense that it can also handle your scheduled maintenance.

Set up your scheduled maintenance with all your service types, apply them to the applicable vehicles, then set up the notice period. You’ll then be warned when a vehicle is approaching a required service, by date, mileage or even engine hours.

You can use the system to create a booking, advise and remind both the driver and the mechanic, and record all the service history (including costs) for the vehicle. The reminder will be reset for the next service.

You can also use the system to set reminders for insurance and registration as well as safety inspections or even recalibration of onboard equipment; it’s not just about the minor and major mechanical services.

2. Win and retain business

With the right GPS fleet management system in place, you can provide exceptional customer service. Give your customers accurate ETAs as well as reports to verify proof of site visit and validate time on site for billing.

GPS systems can provide your customers with their own access portal which they can log in to and see certain vehicles (such as vehicles contracted out to a customer for 3 months). These benefits make your customers love dealing with you.

If you have a GPS system already in place, make it known on your website and in your tenders and proposals. It demonstrates that you have robust systems to manage vehicle and driver safety and to boost productivity and efficiency – which can help you to win new business.

3. Best practice health and safety

Ensure your business meets and exceeds its duty of care requirements.

Run regular reports (such as speeding reports), set up alerts (such as when vehicles enter restricted areas), set up your GPS tracking units to report and alert you to negative driving behaviour, or simply have a screen showing the location of all of your field staff in real time.

4. Automatic timesheets

Businesses equipped with a fleet management system commonly use a GPS-generated run sheet report to compare a driver’s manual timesheet with vehicle data to highlight any discrepancies.

This is a great way to get ROI from the system, as you can quickly spot discrepancies when they occur. Although you might only do this as a ‘spot check’ process, it encourages your staff to be diligent when filling out manual timesheets.

Another great way to get ROI is to have each driver receive their report by email (.xls format works well), so they can jot down the job number for each stop, highlight which stop was lunch and add any other notes.

Essentially, this forms their timesheet, as it has the time they started the vehicle in the morning, the time they got to the office or depot, the time spent at suppliers and on jobs or making deliveries, and then the time they got home.

It jogs technicians’ memories and makes them accountable for their time. In one fell swoop you’ve got accurate timesheets and improved productivity!

5. Integration to other systems

Most advanced GPS fleet management systems will have what’s called an API (application programming interface). This allows software developers to push information in to or pull information out of the software, making integration to other software platforms possible.

For example, you might want to include the current location of your vehicles on your website (either public, or private with a login for customers). You might want to integrate your GPS software with your job management system such as simPRO Service, or maybe you want to develop your own mobile app and include time on site information for your customers.

With an API, this added functionality becomes possible – allowing you to extract even more value from your GPS software.

So there you have it. GPS vehicle tracking isn’t simply about surveillance or the “big brother” stereotype – there are many other benefits to having a quality system in place.

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