Keeping your fleet of vehicles in excellent condition saves money, improves productivity, and keeps your drivers and customers happy. The most basic step is to set up a schedule of preventive maintenance and the easiest way to do this is with the use of GPS fleet maintenance software.
Here are four key ways you can optimize your maintenance efforts.
Way #1. Reduce the amount of driving.
Less driving means less wear and tear. This translates into fewer dollars spent on repairs and labor costs. The vehicle will last longer, so it needs replacement at longer intervals.
The best way to minimize the amount of driving needed is by using GPS fleet management software. It helps by:
- Providing accurate directions for drivers, reducing extra miles because a driver gets lost
- Routing vehicles in the most efficient manner. This helps the driver plan his trip to avoid roadwork delays, commuter traffic and accident slowdowns.
- Monitoring unauthorized use of the vehicle. If it is out on the street outside normal hours, you get a report that helps you identify cases of using the vehicle to run personal errands on company time or driving the vehicle home for lunch. Tracking the use of a vehicle after hours also helps to reduce the chance of theft.
- Analyzing driving patterns, which helps to limit unnecessary use of the vehicle.
Way #2. Track emission levels.
If the emissions on a truck are consistently high, it means the engine needs work. The sooner the problem is fixed, the less expensive it will be. Fleet managers who use a diagnostics-based system to spot engine problems report lower overall vehicle costs for maintenance.
At the same time, you can track idle time, a prime cause of wasted fuel. It causes wear on the engine and increases the cost of maintenance. By monitoring idle times, you can set thresholds that pinpoint vehicles with excessive amounts. You can set overall goals for drivers and teach them how to reduce their idle levels.
Way #3. Use automatic reminders for maintenance.
With fleet maintenance software, you can set up reminders for oil changes, tune-ups, tire rotation, brake checks and other standard upkeep.
The software automatically optimizes the schedule to reduce driver downtime. Diagnostic alerts let you fix problems early, avoiding a vehicle breakdown with all its attendant frustrations.
Way #4. Better accounting.
You get regular reports on each vehicle, letting you get a comprehensive overview of the condition of each truck. And it is done electronically so you aren’t awash in paperwork.
The reports also accurately track labor and repair work done, so you avoid duplication. You save money by keeping a firm handle on the work done for each vehicle. Many software programs let you create purchase orders and track payments.
GPS fleet tracking is the ultimate fleet management and maintenance system. Call us today toll free at 1-888-544-0494 for a demo. In as little as 5 minutes, we can demonstrate what the system can do for you, your drivers, and your fleet.
A doctoral candidate in Zurich has found a new way to use GPS trackers: track local hedgehogs and follow their nightly routes.
Sonja Braaker, who is a doctoral candidate at the Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL, is at the head of a hedgehog study. Braaker wanted to learn more about hedgehogs, particularly how the nocturnal animals spend their time at night.
It wasn’t easy, but she was able to track a total of 40 hedgehogs, each with a GPS tracker that had very limited battery power.
For the study, she began searching outdoor areas of Zurich where she thought hedgehogs would roam. This included dozens of parks, lawns, streets, and gardens. When she saw one, she would have to move fast to pick up the animal.
Hedgehogs tend to freeze momentarily when someone sees them, so they would stop long enough for her to grab them. She cut a small portion of their spine by using scissors, which is a part of the animal that does not cause them pain. She then glued a GPS tracker to this area and set it free.
Since the particular GPS tracking device she used only lasted 8 hours before needing a new battery, she needed to follow the tracker to the animal before time ran out so she could put in new batteries. Braaker admitted that many nights she would be wandering the streets for hours tracking down a hedgehog.
There were others who claimed the hedgehogs in front of their property were their pets and they refused to let her track them. Others were concerned that she was a thief who was going to rob their houses, since she wasn’t too afraid to walk slowly and quietly around neighborhood streets.
In Zurich, they have what are known as habitat connectivity; these are corridors that let animals go from one habitat to another within the city. Braaker and her research team were interested to know exactly where the hedgehogs were going at night, and how they were getting there. By the end of the study, they successfully tracked 40 hedgehogs and saw the pathways they took and where they avoided.
Through her results, she found that hedgehogs tended to avoid soccer fields and highways, but would be glad to travel along city streets. They seemed to prefer walking across asphalt as opposed to gravel. She also now has a map of the pathways they would take most often through the city streets.
While hedgehogs are usually in rural and country environments, there are many of them now living in city streets just like Zurich. As Braaker pointed out with her study, they still have plenty of paths to take at night for food, shelter, and activity.
It’s hard for a small to mid-size company to compete with larger shippers. You can help level the playing field by using fleet tracking with global positioning software, better known as GPS. The software is affordable and lets fleet managers effectively monitor deliveries, trucks, and workers.
Ecommerce has changed the way people shop. Instead of going to the downtown or mall department store, many are simply purchasing online. Retailing is increasingly shifting to the internet.
And customers have come to expect their packages delivered promptly, often overnight. This puts an incredible strain on smaller fleets. For online customers, it is routine to get exact tracking information every step of the shipment. They expect a range of delivery options at checkout.
This puts pressure on fleets trying to claim their share of the market from the big boys. GPS fleet tracking can help you stay competitive.
4 Ways GPS Fleet Tracking Helps
#1. Direct trucks easily and quickly. Customers need to be your focus. It all starts with them. GPS fleet management and tracking helps you stay on top of pickups and deliveries. By offering priority service, you make your company stand at the head of a very crowded field.
You can reduce wait time for these priority jobs by quickly re-directing a truck in the area to the pickup point. Regular routes are the essence of your business, but offering your clients the chance for special service instills loyalty.
GPS tracking software lets you electronically dispatch vehicles after consulting your location device for the nearest vehicle. You can send text messages to the driver and also through messages delivered directly to the GPS receiver in the truck. There is no delay radioing for a location and waiting for a report back.
#2. Save money. Fuel costs are lower when you track your fleet with GPS software. It checks for speeding and for idling, which wastes fuel. You and the driver can easily pre-plan the best route to avoid construction, accident and commuter delays.
With the help of GPS tracking devices in the truck, drivers can plan routes that have the fewest lights and turns.
#3. Keep track of your drivers. You become Big Brother, keeping an eye on what your employees are doing. This avoids problems with too many breaks, personal errands, and moonlighting.
#4. Handle emergencies quickly. If a truck breaks down, you know it right away and can send help directly to the stalled vehicle. You get it back on the road faster and your driver back to work. GPS also helps you avoid breakdowns on the road with engine diagnostic capabilities.The Takeaway
If you’re still relying on clipboards or even computer spreadsheets to manage your fleet, it may be time for an upgrade if you want to give your business a competitive edge.
Give LiveView GPS a call today at 1.888.502.3636 to discuss how GPS fleet tracking can help improve the success of your company.