GPS Fleet Management Buyer's Guide


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Regardless of what your business does and how many vehicles you have - whether it's 5 or 500 - a tracking solution can work for you.

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GPS Fleet Management Buyer's Guide

  1. 1. Is fleet tracking rightfor my business?G P S F L E E T M A N A G E M E N T B U Y E R ’ S G U I D E
  2. 2. TA B L E O F C O N T E N T SWhy You Should Read This GuideHow GPS Fleet Tracking WorksFeatures & Benefits of GPS Fleet TrackingChecklist for GPS Fleet Tracking ProvidersThe NexTraq™ Fleet Tracking Platform346910
  3. 3. Selecting the right GPS fleet tracking solution for your business is not an easydecision or one to take lightly. With an increase in the number of solutionsavailable in the marketplace, finding your way through the considerable amountof choices can seem like a daunting challenge. The features and benefits ofeach solution can and should differ depending on your company’s needs. A GPSvehicle tracking solution is not a “one size fits all” solution. The needs of asmall to medium-sized business varies greatly compared to a large enterpriseorganization’s needs. Finding the right system for your business requires carefulresearch of available options and solutions.T H I S G U I D E I S A G R E AT S TA R TTo start, take a moment and consider your daily operations. Are you a smallHVAC company that makes service calls to residential locations within a smallmetro area? Or, are you a national food and beverage distribution companythat needs to track vehicles that could be anywhere nationwide? Choosing thesolution that fits your company’s size will make installing the system easierand get more of your employees on board.In an Aberdeen Group benchmark study, 66 percent of respondents saidenhanced productivity and resource utilization was the most important factorthat pushed them towards a GPS vehicle tracking solution. 45 percent of allrespondents said they needed to speed up delivery of their services toconsumers. Consider what you’d like to get out of a fleet tracking solution.This buyer’s guide will help you navigate the path to purchasing and adoptinga fleet tracking system and find the soution that maximizes your revenue whilereducing operating costs. The solution should not only be easy to use, butshould provide a quick return on investment. When it comes to adopting abusiness solution, it always comes down to your bottom line.In this guide, you’ll see how GPS fleet tracking technology works, what thetechnology has to offer businesses and you’ll see how real customers have putthe system to use with great success. Finally, we’ll provide you with a checklistfor what you should look for when purchasing a solution.Thanks for downloading this guide! Best of luck to you and your business!W H Y Y O U S H O U L D R E A D T H I S G U I D E3Adopting a new business solutioncan be a daunting process.Even after you begin to research asolution, you may start to feel doubtabout whether it’s right for you.Regardless of what your businessdoes and how many vehicles youhave – whether it’s 5 or 500 – atracking solution can work for you.Here are just some of the industriesthat have found success with GPSfleet tracking:HVACConstructionElectricalPlumbingWaste ManagementCable/TelecomFood & Beverage DeliveryLandscaping & Tree ServicePest ControlParatransitSecurity ServicesGovernmentUtilitiesIs fleet tracking rightfor my business?
  4. 4. 3W WWThere are two basic types of GPS tracking: active and passive tracking. These two systemsdiffer a lot. While they both track vehicles using GPS satellite signals and let you view thatdata in a map interface, the big difference is in how the data is delivered to you and theability to react in real time.A C T I V E T R A C K I N G1The US has approximately 34 GPS satellitesin orbit around Earth. These satellites allowdevices to pinpoint their location.Installed inside each vehicle is adevice that reads GPS signalsand transfers that data throughcell towers or satellite networks.Cellular (both CDMA & GPRS)or satellite networks read andtransmit data in real time.The solution providers serversreceive the vehicle data — speed,location, heading — from the cellnetworks and begin to churnthrough the information.The servers are accessiblevia the Internet.Using a customerportal, users can log inand receive real-timeupdates about wheretheir vehicles are,where theyre headingand how long theyvebeen stopped — amongother things. This ismost often done usingonly a web browser.453P A S S I V E T R A C K I N G1Passive tracking use the same GPS satellite links asactive tracking solutions. Realistically, we only "see"about 16 satellites at any point and only 12 are reallyneeded for an accurate position within 10 meters.Installed inside each vehicle is a device that reads GPSsignals and stores that data. Devices can be battery-operated or hardwired into the vehicle. They can also beinstalled into the ODM port.Using either a close-rangewireless connection (WIFI) orby removing the device andconnecting it to a computer,users download historical datafrom their device. Softwareinstalled on the computer thenplots out the historical data.622H O W G P S F L E E T T R A C K I N G T E C H N O L O G Y W O R K S4
  5. 5. While the same basic technology drives both tracking systems, there are some pretty sub-stantial differences for different end users. For businesses, the difference between activeand passive tracking can be great. Depending on the nature of your business, and yourday-to-day needs, the pros and cons of each can range from dealmakers to deal breakers.A C T I V E V E R S U S P A S S I V E T R A C K I N G5A C T I V E T R A C K I N G P A S S I V E T R A C K I N GPROSReal-time dataCan reroute vehicles based on businessCan make workday decisionsCan handle issues as they ariseHelp vehicles arrive at their destinationReact to real-time traffic dataSolutions allow for smart phone access to dataRelatively inexpensive one-time costNo installation costsGives accurate view of routes drivenCONSMonthly feeOften requires contractRequires cell data coverageMust download data often enough or memorywill overwrite itselfCannot make decisions on the flyCannot communicate with driver through deviceCannot be used to track stolen vehiclesData cannot easily be accessed on multiplecomputers or smart phonesW H AT F L E E T T R A C K I N G C U S T O M E R S S AY:“We originally had a low cost solution that didn’t provide enough functionality for our company.Because we lease space for our trucks throughout our market area, it was important to track vehiclemovement at a moment’s notice.”- Jeff Dumas, Vice President of Acres Group North
  6. 6. So now that you know how the technology works, you’re probably wondering how it canbenefit your business. The features of each solution provider do differ, but many offer thesame basic functionality.F E AT U R E S & B E N E F I T S O F G P S F L E E T T R A C K I N G T E C H N O L O G Y6MappingUsing the device locations, fleet tracking software willplot where your vehicles are on a mapping interface.Depending on the service, map software can be proprietary– meaning it must be installed on a computer – or web-based, meaning you can access the map with just yourInternet browser. Some mapping software offers familiartools, such as satellite view, zooming and panning and astreet-level snapshot.Locations & GeofencesWithin the mapping interface, you should be able to definelocations as addresses and general areas. Locations can bejob sites, customer businesses or even employees’ homes.Saved locations allow you to quickly route vehicles andalso receive alerts when vehicles arrive at, or leave an area.AlertsWith an active tracking solution, real-time information isavailable around the clock. But you shouldn’t have to hoverover a computer all day. With alerts, fleet tracking systemslet you know (either by text message or email) when adriver does something you’ve asked to be alerted about.Examples include speeding, first movement, excessiveidling and after-hours use.ReportsGenerating reports through a fleet tracking system canhelp you see where your operations need improvement andwhere they are performing up to par. Many fleet trackingsystems also integrate maintenance scheduling andreporting into the application. By running this report, youcan see which vehicles need scheduled maintenance.Reports should be able to be created in multiple formats.Closest VehicleWhen emergency situations arise, finding the closestvehicle to a location can make a big difference. Withactive tracking solutions, vehicles can be found basedon how close they are to a given location.RoutingRouting is an important feature of active trackingsolutions. You can create a complete itinerary withmultiple stops and then name and save any number ofcustomized routes. Systems may also provide an efficientroute tool, which reduces your fuel costs and makes driversmore productive by giving them the shortest route for theirworkday. Routes also help reduce your payroll expensesby reducing the number of overtime hours paid out toyour employees.
  7. 7. F E AT U R E S & B E N E F I T S O F G P S F L E E T T R A C K I N G T E C H N O L O G Y7DashboardDashboard applications allow managers, drivers anddispatchers to see how their vehicles are performing overa period of time in an easy-to-understand, visual platform.The application should let you set benchmarks based onidle time, miles driven, engine-on hours, stopped time,moving time and speeding violations. You should alsobe able to define what time period and vehicles youare looking at.Map OverlaySolutions with a robust product will often offer web mapservices. With web map services, you can overlay your mapdata onto the applications. This gives you a view of whereyour vehicles are in relation to your points of interest.This is especially helpful for those who deal with locationsnot found on standard maps. Custom integration can alsopull in weather radar, making sure your employees stayahead of a storm.SensorsMany solutions offer sensors that monitor different aspectsof your vehicles. Other sensors include temperaturesensors (for refrigerated cargo), Power Take Off (PTO)sensors (for equipment operation) and Pick Up/DropOff sensors (for passenger transport). These sensorscan be especially helpful if a claim is ever made againstyour business.W H AT F L E E T T R A C K I N G C U S T O M E R S S AY:“If there is a customer dispute about the hours our technicians spend at a location, I can pull up thereport and validate time spent on the job. With this data in hand, our billing and customer invoicesare accurate and we aren’t losing service revenue.”- Louis Turner, Operations Coordinator for Premium ElectricHistorical Replay (Breadcrumbs)A major advantage of both active and passive trackingsystems is their ability to replay a driver’s route. Withpassive tracking systems, the data is stored on a devicethat then has to be transferred onto a computer – usuallyby plugging in the device. An active tracking systemuploads the data to a web server that can be accessed byany web browser. Historical replay allows you to see if yourdrivers are sticking to their approved routes and scheduledstops. With this functionality, there’s no need to hoverover a computer to watch your drivers’ every move.Asset TrackingSome systems will offer to track assets as well as vehicles.These devices are more rugged for outside mounting andcan be hard-wired into the power supply, fed by batterypower or a combination of the two. Asset trackers generallyonly send signals a few times a day, as opposed tocontinuous trackers on vehicles. They can run on cellular orsatellite networks, so they can be used to track anything, atany time, anywhere. They can also report back informationsuch as engine-on hours or unauthorized movement.Starter InterruptIn the event of theft, or unauthorized use, this feature canremotely deactivate the starter on the vehicle, preventingthe vehicle from being started.
  8. 8. F E AT U R E S & B E N E F I T S O F G P S F L E E T T R A C K I N G T E C H N O L O G Y8DispatchingWith active tracking solutions, there is often an addedfeature available, which allows businesses to route driverson the fly. Dispatching functionality may integrate withpersonal navigation devices (PNDs) and can feature jobscheduling. This is especially helpful when responding toemergency situations where time is critical.MessagingAlong with routing, dispatch solutions can offer messagingfeatures that work with the PND or other devices. Commonresponses can be stored – called canned messages – tominimize the time a driver has to spend replying to thedispatcher. With cell phone based tracking solutions, thisfeature is already built in by the nature of the device,though the carrier may have a per message charge.Role HierarchySome systems will allow you to organize access to certainvehicles based on your business. For instance, a divisionmanager may only see his employees, while a higher-levelmanager may see all vehicles. This is especially importantfor larger organizations that have numerous divisions.Driver IDFor businesses that don’t assign drivers a permanentvehicle, Driver ID allows for a “check out” using a key fobor other sign-in credential. The system then knows whichdriver is using which vehicle.M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N :Fleet tracking systems vary greatly and can offer servicesother than the ones listed here. For the best insight,contact a sales representative for a demonstration.The demo should be free.
  9. 9. C H E C K L I S T F O R C H O O S I N G A G P S F L E E T T R A C K I N G S O L U T I O N9For many companies it is easy torealize the benefit of GPS FleetTracking, but it can be difficult tochoose between the ever-growingnumbers of companies that providethe service. When consideringproviders, it is important to lookat the company. Here is a simplechecklist with the top 10 thingsall providers should have.L O N G E V I T YGPS fleet tracking providers come and go. They shouldbe financially stable and, even though this is a relativelyyoung industry, they should have a proven track recordof at least 10 years.V A L U EValue doesn’t mean the cheapest solution. It means thetotal package, including the company, its solutions, thepeople and their level of commitment to your success.R E L I A B I L I T YUnexpected outages are not unheard of but should not beaccepted. Companies should have a system uptime in the99.999% range.A B E S T- I N - C L A S S I N S TA L L E R N E T W O R KCompanies should use installers that are not only conve-nient and local to their customers but that are the best atwhat they do. All installers should be certified to ensurea smooth and seamless implementation.I N N O V AT I O NA quality provider should have industry-leading technologywith extensive investments in research and development.They should have a proven record of industry firsts. Theyshould also have an aggressive software developmentroadmap. All upgrades should be automatically appliedand should be provided for free.T O TA L C O V E R A G ENot only should the company offer both CDMA and GPRS,they should offer satellite coverage as well. They shouldoffer top quality hardware that is diverse enough to trackany type of vehicle or asset.S T R AT E G I C P A R T N E R S H I P SThe best GPS fleet tracking companies have industryleading technology and solution partners to provide greatfeatures and value to their customers. These partnersshould include mapping partners, network providers, fuelcard companies and other 3rd party vendors that can fullyintegrate with their clients’ business applications.E X T E N S I V E T R A I N I N GTraining should be free, unlimited and ongoing. It shouldoffer new user orientation and advanced training. Thecompany should have dedicated training resources to ensurethat customers are getting the most out of the solution.S U P E R I O R C U S T O M E R S E R V I C EA company’s customer service associates should be highlyknowledgeable, professional and should respond quickly tocustomer requests. Moreover, they should be available nightsand weekends as well as during normal working hours.S AT I S F I E D C U S T O M E R SProviders should have customers that realize ROI in as littleas a month and cite up to a 20% decrease in fuel costs and anincrease in driver productivity by 35%. They should have acustomer referral rate around 95%. They should also have casestudies and customer testimonials as proof of their reliability.
  10. 10. M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N :For more on the NexTraq Fleet Tracking platform and its host of applications, please visit or call 800-358-6178.One of our sales representatives will be happy to provide a free online product demonstration.Thank you for taking the time to look through this buyer’s guide. We know you’re well onyour way to understanding what features are available for fleet tracking solutions. Whileyou’re considering new solutions, please consider the NexTraq™ Fleet Tracking platformand its applications – Fleet Metrics, Fleet Dispatch and Fleet Mobile.T H E N E X T R A Q ™ G P S F L E E T T R A C K I N G S O L U T I O N10T H E N E X T R A Q F L E E T T R A C K I N G P L AT F O R MT H E N E X T R A Q F L E E T M E T R I C SA P P L I C AT I O N ( A B O V E ) A N DC L E A R P AT H R O U T I N G ( B E L O W )QUICK FACTS:All NexTraqhardware isMADE INAMERICACustomers haveseen a return ontheir investmentin just 1 monthMONTH195PERCENTof customerswould referus to anotherbusiness